I have been told to write something about my first experience with Belize, so here we go a short story about my trip from the cold northern Europe to the warm and sunny Caribbean.
I left my home in Denmark at four am and after a very long and exhausting trip, including an overnight stay in Atlanta and a suitcase stranded in Amsterdam, I was finally reaching my destination and what would become my home for the next four months – the beautiful country Belize.
As I was waiting in line at the airport security, I was thinking that this was going to be wonderful and exciting to experience a country and culture so different from what I am used to, but when I ten minutes later was standing outside the airport, I had my first encounter with the locals and it was far from pleasant, but I soon found out that this was not a true representation of the Belizean people.
After asking people how to get to my final destination in San Ignacio, and finding out that I had to get into town to get the bus, I was talking to someone who was on the same flight as me about sharing a taxi to the bus station.
But one of the local taxi drivers did not agree about that and started talking to me in an impolite manner and told me that we were not allowed to share a taxi because we stole business away from them and so on, and continuing talking not so pleasantly to me, even though he was not the one who was going to drive us and not the one we supposedly stole business from.
Being tired and just wanting to get to a place with a nice shower and a bed, I decided to say okay to the taxi driver and then take my own taxi into the city. Standing at the bus station with, what seemed to be a million other people waiting just for the same bus as me, I was approached by another taxi driver asking if he should take me to my hotel and pointing at his car. I looked at him and then the car, which really did not look road worthy, and kindly declined his offer. After waiting 15 minutes under the broiling Caribbean sun I made the decision to just pay for a taxi and found one who would drive me all the way to my hotel in western Belize.
A couple of hours later, after a truly bumpy ride – they have some seriously crazy speed bumps over here and only a few of them are marked and they are so high that drivers have to slow down to an almost complete stop just to get over – I had finally checked-in and found my cabin. After a quick shower and dinner, I collapsed on the bed and slept like a baby.
Before starting my internship at the business office at Chaa Creek, I had a couple of days just to settle in and get to know the grounds which was spent mostly relaxing by the pool working on my yet non-existing tan and walking around the neighborhood and exploring San Ignacio town.
During these days I learned a couple of things about Belize that is nice to have in mind. Firstly, if a car with a green license plate honks its horn and you wave you hand back at it, you are sure that it is going to stop, and ask if you need a ride. These are taxis, and it does not matter if the car is packed with people, they will always try to find a spot for you as well.
Secondly, as my experience at the bus station told me, here if a car can drive then it can also be used as a taxi, no matter the conditions its in. And almost every person you meet in the town will ask you if you need help to get anywhere or if you are looking for a taxi. Belize is really the land of the FREE. No worries and no hassles here; no wonder it made the list of the top happy countries in the world!
This leads to the third and final thing I have learned, so far, people are so nice and wanting to help you. If you walk around looking a bit lost, you can be sure that almost everyone passing you on the street is going to ask if you need help. This could perhaps just be because I am a young blond girl, who is very good at looking confused, but I choose to believe that it is because the people in Belize are just naturally hospitable.
And nice is just what they are at the Chaa Creek office, they welcomed me yesterday and I had a chance to look over the shoulder and see what they do here on a daily basis. Today it is my turn to do something productive as I have been told to write this so that I can learn how to write and post blogs on their Belize Travel Blog website.