Belize – Sunday, 12/16
The diving is done, the souvenirs have been purchased, pictures were taken, our bags were packed. We woke up on Sunday morning and did all the last minute things you do when traveling. We packed our necessary morning toiletries, got a tip ready for the maid, arranged our airport transportation and headed to breakfast.
Ahhh, the last breakfast at Rico’s. We went without Nick, who wanted to sleep in for one morning of the trip. Since Kristen and I had packed our sandals, we made the trek in slipper booties and barefoot, respectively. Friendly familiar faces greeted us at the door. Like every morning the waiter handed us our menus, but like most mornings we already knew what we were going to order. Curtis and Kristen wanted to savor the flavor of the banana pancakes on more time. I, on the other hand, was going to try something new. The Rico’s English Muffin Egg Sandwich. On Friday when C, K and I were diving, Nick ventured to breakfast alone where he ran into Matt and Dan who recommended to him the egg sandwich. He confirmed that the egg sandwich was good, and I didn’t want to pass up the chance to try it. It proved to be a good decision, and helped to confirm the theory that there is no bad food in Belize. It was the best egg sandwich I have ever had, by a long shot. Which brought up the question, “How does this keep happening?” Everywhere we go the food is better than the last and better than what we’ve had before. Who would think that the best food in the world could all be found right here on Ambergris Caye?
Leaving Rico’s was another notch in the belt of leaving-Belize-realization. 9 am. We had 15 minutes before heading to the lobby for checkout. It went by quickly. We gathered our belongings to head to the lobby. Not three steps out of the door and a couple men were there for our luggage. Last time through the topiary garden. Last time to have the doorman graciously open the door to the lobby for us. Kristen signed off on the room charges and turned in our keys. We walked out the front door, filed into the limousine sized Banyan Bay golf cart and shortly after began our slow drive to the airport.
We passed by the grocery store where the same kid worked for our entire trip, and for the entire year previous. Every day 7 am – 11 pm. I watched all the familiar buildings and signs go by. After 10 days it felt like home. For how slow we were going it sure seemed like we arrived at the airstrip quickly. Kristen and I went inside the Tropic Air building to check in. What an easy process that was. After giving her our names she supplied us with generic laminated blue boarding passes, color coded to our flight. The boys took care of “checking” our luggage. We ended up in a smaller plane than the one we originally came in, it seated 8 plus the pilot. Curtis scurried aboard so he could sit in the copilot seat. The view leaving was great. The sky was clear and the ocean was calm. The second flight over the caye seemed different, perhaps the perspective of it changed because we were on it. I recognized our hotel and the hotels we walked past. It was also neat to see all the private homes from the air that we boated past during our trip to Bomba. The 17 minutes flew by (no pun intended) and soon we landed in Belize City.
Although we had a bit of a wait to check in, we went through customs quickly and there was no line for security. In fact, security was a little room dividing the check in area and waiting area. One gentleman manned the miniature sized x-ray machine while we walked through the metal detector unsupervised. Our AA flight was delayed about 30 minutes (surprise, surprise) giving us about 2 hours to kill. Kristen and I went in the souvenir shops and we stocked up on snacks for the flight. Nick also tracked down some hot dogs for us. The hot dot itself was a bit Oscar Mayer-ish, but the bun was big, soft and warm. As good as the hot dot was, Curtis hit it right on the nose when he said it made a disappointing last Belizean meal.
Aside from what seemed like an hour of the flight attendant talking, the flight went all right. Nick and I were the only two in our row so we got to have a bit of extra space. Then we landed at Miami International. We got stuck on the plane for what seemed like an eternity because the walkway that comes to meet the plane was broken and we had to wait for the mechanic. Once off the plane the airport was a nightmare. Customs moved smoothly, but poor signage led to much confusion while trying to find the area for our connecting flight. Going through security again was a pain in the ass, but that was to be expected. The gates there were not set up well. The gate we were at was pretty much located in the hallway, so we kept on walking to find a better place to sit. We had a four hour layover after all. Nick even heard a passerby saying that no prison in America is worse than Miami International. I was inclined to agree.
We boarded 10 minutes earlier than anticipated. Only to sit on the plane at the gate for a half hour after our departure time. Then more incessant talking. Of course when the captain comes on to talk about the weather in Minneapolis he was practically inaudible. The flight was full, but fortunately the woman next to me was small. I like night time flights, they seem more peaceful. Once we got off the plane we felt the refreshing cold air. We got to bypass everyone waiting at the baggage claim and got on the waiting shuttle to bring us to the Park ‘n Fly. Car side drop off service, you can’t beat that. The drive home was nice. High speed, no bumps. We pulled in the driveway around midnight. Boo was meowing loudly, happy to see us. Or perhaps expressing anger that we were gone for so long. Either way, she seemed to have fun sniffing our luggage and being a cuddle bunny.
Home sweet home.