In the event of a woman being found murdered in the Mopan River
, I decided not to take my scheduled self-guided tour to the Xunantunich ruins. That plus the fact that I was exhausted from my previous trip to Tikal. The final mornings were very cool with temperatures in the 50s, so I slept with two blankets and the windows closed. It warmed up by the time I got up and decided to get dressed. I missed breakfast, and had garnaches and escabeche for lunch. Garnaches are simply fried tortilla topped with refried beans and cheese. Escabeche is an onion soup with chicken in a spicy broth, and really need to learn how to make this at home. All of the food at Clarissa Falls was delectable.
I hung around most of the time along the Mopan River just listening to the tranquil sounds of the water. There were so many activities available for me to try while at Clarissa Falls, but I didn’t have time to do them all. Jungle tours, herbal medicine tours, bird-watching, river rafting, tubing, swimming, The family can also organize trips to Mayan ruins at better rates than one would pay if attempting to book oneself.
On the day of my departure, Mrs. Chena apologized for not having enough time available to get to know me since she was preoccupied with a group of college students. I told her I’d be back, and I would be bringing more people with me next time. We hugged and said our final goodbyes, and Mr. Jose, who had pretty much become my official driver while there, whisked me away yet again. Instead of using the shuttle transfer to the airport, I decided to use one of the country’s airlines to get to the airport: Tropic Air. The ride to the airport was very short – dirt road, 1 minute of highway, dirt road. I said hugged and said my final goodbye to Mr. Jose, and headed inside the airport.
When I say airport, I really mean a small wood cabin. I gave my name to the airport worker, and he handed me my plastic boarding pass. There was no need to confirm my identity, I guess. He didn’t check to see if I had any weapons of mass destruction either. I took a seat on the front porch next to a couple who was playing a board game. It had turned into a really lovely day with a nice breeze blowing. If they would have had rocking chairs on the porch, I probably would have dozed off.
More people strolled in as the departure time drew near, and there were 11 of us scheduled to fly on the plane. Most of them came from the midwest to escape the cold weather, and I was the lone southern girl. This would be my first ride on a very small plane, and the airport worker put me on the very back of the plane because I was the only person going to the airport in Belize City. Everyone else was continuing on to San Pedro. Some lucky guy got to sit in the very front of the plane next to the pilot. God and I conversed for a moment as we took off. The ride was wobbly upon departure and arrival, but was overall smooth and uneventful. Hey, I survived. What more can I say?
I arrived at the Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport, and had about 3.5 hours until my flight departed for Houston. I was told to get there at least three hours early, and Tropic Air recommended an earlier flight when I originally booked the flight instead of one that would have produced a shorter layover time. I don’t know why I needed to arrive so early because United Airlines wouldn’t even check me in until 2.5 hours before the flight. Even when I was at the San Ignacio airport, the guy told me I’d have so much time and I’d be very bored. Good thing the airport offered free wifi or I would have been miserable.
I got a sangria from Gold Spice to kill time, and browsed a few of the souvenir shops. They all sold pretty much the same thing at the same price. I was interested in a necklace with Mayan zodiac sign, but my birthday didn’t fall in the range of any of the available necklaces. It was as though everyone born in April had come and bought them from all the shops. At one shop, I purchased a Garifuna doll even though I didn’t visit an area where Garifuna people resided. I just liked it because it was beautiful.
When I was allowed to check in, it took 5 minutes. There was no line at United, no line at immigration, and no line at customs. I took a seat on the wooden benches and watched as the area slowly filled with people heading back to the U.S. My journey to Belize had come to an end.