25 - student - NYC That's all for now.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The Worst Vacation Ever or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Belize (Day 1)

In a series of parts I will now attempt to do justice to a vacation I spent, last spring, in a little country called Belize. Bear in mind that everything I will relate is absolutely true, give or take some minor embellishments for narrative emphasis. Anyone who suffers through the entire story will realize that this epic tale of travel failure is one for the ages - but enough preface.


My girlfriend Jeanine and I arrived in Belize City sans my favorite ballcap - I left it at JFK Airport. No matter, I could buy something here - but it's really a harbinger of things to come. A sign that things had started out amiss and could only get amisser.

We made it through customs only to have the travel agency person, who was supposed to meet us, go completely AWOL. We eventually found someone who directed us to another part of the airport where we had to schedule a short puddle jumper flight from the mainland out to the island of Ambergris Caye where we were staying.

We arrived in the town of San Pedro and got to our hotel the Mata Rocks, with little incident. Our room was a first floor condo with a balcony overlooking the ocean. We decided to relax before dinner, so Jeanine took a nap and I went out on to the balcony to read. I got tired after a bit and joined Jeanine for a nap. When we woke up, we went to town for a dinner.

After dinner we returned and I wanted to take out my contacts to settle in after our long travel day and watch a movie. I went to look for my backpack but it was nowhere to be found. Strangely, two security guards were beside my balcony earnestly watching my increasingly frantic search. Finally they asked me what I was looking for and I told them. One guard responded by telling me that two shady guys were hanging around the balcony and probably stole my backpack.

This was the first time (and there would be many more times to come) where it occurred to me that my trip was doomed. Why they didn't do anything while observing the two "shady characters" lurking around the balcony is beyond me.

But what was really distressing was that my backpack held not only my glasses but also my iPod and our PASSPORTS.

Of course the guards could do nothing so we called the police. Two officers arrived about 3 hours later to take the statement. I don't think that either of them were a day over 17. And they sure did not inspire any confidence in me as we had to explain to them that they should probably write down what was in the backpack and what it looked like. Let's just say that despite their assurances to the contrary, I was not very hopeful that the passports would turn up.

We went to bed that night anxious - our first day in Belize and I'd already lost our passports. Little did we know that this was going to be the LEAST stressful day of our five day "vacation."

NEXT: Mata Rocks Incompetence Begins; Police Shack and the Thieving Infant; and How Jeanine Shut off the Power in the Entire Country of Belize


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Dan,

Sorry about your experience...I'm a college professor who takes 25 students to San Pedro for a Jan Term course, "Fishing and Diving Belize." I've done this seven years now and I would like to suggest the following.
First use Barb's Belize to book your trip and accomodations (I recommend the Blue Tang Inn). Second, book your tours through Seaduced by Belize...tell Rebecca that I recommended her to you. You won't be disappointed...and next time, go to Lamanai not Altun Ha.

Best regards,

Herb Smith (Baltimore, MD)

11:15 AM

Blogger Dan Chirlin said...

Wow. What college is that? I obviously didn't sign up for the right courses.

I think we did Searious for our Altun Ha trip. It was a good time.

Lamanai was just significantly more expensive and more of a time commitment.

12:10 PM


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