By Bret Devies & Tera Williams
Day One: The Arrival
After a three hour layover in Houston, Texas, we boarded our connecting flight to Belize City. By this point, we were dead tired, but it was getting to be pretty early in the morning. We got out of the airport quickly and without any delays, and took our first in-person look at Belize. I noticed how earthy everything was first. The airport wasn’t hurried and manic like the American airports I have visited. It wasn’t particularly high-tech. However, it was efficient, and it had a vibe that really brought us both into the setting. We were met outside by Joe Awe, a well-known employee of Chaa Creek. We got in the van with him and three others, some girls from New York, and began our long drive to Chaa Creek. The drive was definitely the best part of the trip up to that point. Airports weren’t very much fun, but Joe Awe was interactive, full of information, and friendly. The six of us eventually stopped, although with how tired we were, I don’t know the name of the place. We ate lunch, chatted, and it felt authentic. The people around us were friendly, and despite all of the advances I had about how people reacted to tourists, I was not met with the expected distrust or hostility. In fact, I tried to pay for lunch with American money, but I had forgotten that a U.S. Dollar is worth twice of what a Belize Dollar is. Rather than accepting double, which I would not have been able to blame him for, the waiter reminded me, and gave me back the other half. I have to admit, I was impressed. Belize had, in the first few hours, proven to be honest, comfortable, and gifted in cuisine.
We eventually arrived at Chaa Creek, where we parted ways with Joe Awe and our fellow tourists. We were shown to our room. For lack of a better word, it was incredible. The bathroom was huge, with a double shower. We had a second shower that was outside, with large stone walls for privacy. Our bed was massive, with more than enough room for the both of us, and placed casually in the middle of the foot of the bed was an elephant. It was designed from several small hand-towels. We set down our bags, for we had finally arrived.
Our first order of business was showering. We had been traveling for the past 16 hours or so, and we were ravenous to get changed into some clean clothes. We took nice cold showers, changed, did a bit of unpacking, and then we used the internet at the community center to update our families and let them know we were safe and in Belize. We went to the bar and got our bucket filled with ice, as well as our water bottles. Then we hit dinner. That was an experience all by itself. The restaurant had open walls, so it felt as if it were outdoors. The dinner was lit by oil lamps. We started with small starter meals. Just a one or two bite teaser to tide us over while our food was prepared. I don’t know what was in it, but it was delicious. We order our drinks, and then received our soup. When that was gone, we were given salads, which made way for the entree. By the time we were finished we didn’t have room for dessert. My wife and I agreed to leave room for dessert tomorrow night, and then we went to see the concierge. We arranged our plans for the following day, having decided to get all of our spa treatments out of the way with one fell swoop. It was especially timely considering that nothing beats jet lag and sleeping on a plane like massages. And we went to bed, falling into the embrace of Belize’s comforting night life.