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Wednesday 27 Nov 2013
Caye Caulker, Belize

The worst journey yet?

Travelling back to Mexico turned out to be much more stressful than getting to Belize had been.  We discovered that the two fast boat companies alternated their travel days.  Having travelled over with the San Pedro Water Taxi, we were stuck travelling back with Jets International.  Things started badly when we discovered they had not brought the fast boat on from San Pedro, but were instead cramming over 30 people and luggage onto a mostly open speedboat.  Only the luggage was put undercover.  The passengers were squashed around the outside bench seat with little protection from the black clouds overhead.  The boat looked like one big wave would swamp it and there were no life vests in sight.  It was the first time in my travels that I felt the need to make sure someone at home knew where I was.  All I could think about was the explosion on one of the fast boats between Gili Trawangan and Bali recently, which left one of my friends from Lutwala in hospital for several months, needing skin grafts and struggling to walk. 

We seriously considered ditching the tickets and waiting for the San Pedro Water Taxi the next day, but we knew the hotel was full and we weren't sure what else we could find at short notice.  So with no choice, but no small amount of trepidation, we boarded the boat and clung on to a measly sheet of tarpaulin they offered us for protection.  The journey took around 40 minutes, during which time we were soaked by water splashing up the side and the rain that started during the journey.  We were cold, stiff and jarred from the boat bouncing heavily on the waves.  Christina had wrapped her raincoat around her bag to protect her laptop so was even wetter than me and we were both tired and unhappy. 

At San Pedro, we had to queue for customs and pay the port and tourist taxes.  Things were not very well explained and we weren’t sure what we were queuing for or if we were even in the right queue.  Things then got a bit lost in translation with the grumpy customs agent, who just stared expectantly at Christina when we reached the front of the queue.  Christina asked what she wanted, and had only meant to ask which papers the lady wanted to see, but the cold, wet, stressful journey combined to make her question a bit sharp.  The lady then gave Christina a lecture about her attitude, which just upset her even more as she hadn’t intended to be rude.  Thankfully, the lady didn't take it any further and we were able to get out of there and onto the next boat to Mexico.

The rest of the journey to Chetumal was in a larger, enclosed fast boat, so we were at least warmer and protected from the weather, but were subjected to a truly awful Eddie Murphy film where he played several characters dressed in fat suits.  It baffles me that these films keep getting made!  Everybody lined up down the side of the jetty while sniffer dogs inspected our bags.  The dog got excited about one bag, but it turned out to be food inside rather than drugs.  The girl looked very relieved when the police let her go.  We passed uneventfully through immigration and took at taxi back to the bus station. The driver tried to sell us a fare all the way to Tulum but we weren’t interested.  He then got annoyed with us when we paid him the $50 Peso fare before he had a chance to make up a higher price.  As a result, he left us to get our own bags out of the boot, while he got accosted by an irate backpacker who accused him of dropping him off at the wrong bus station across town and ripping him off $50 Peso more than the fare should have been.  Is it any wonder taxi drivers get a bad name?

Back in Tulum, we checked into the hotel Poseda Malix Pek, much nicer than the noisy hostel we were in last time.  Now we had a lovely first floor room overlooking a lovely courtyard with palms and bougainvillea trailing up the stairs and around the railings.  A definite improvement.  

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Zoe's Big World Adventure Part II - #2 Mexico, Belize and Costa Rica

Travel blog by zobeedoo



I met Christina in April. We travelled a bit of Australia together and both learned to dive. Now we're off to Mexico and Belize to see what the Caribbean and the Great Mesoamerican Reef have to offer, before I head down to Costa Rica for 10 days.

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