Journey to Belize: The End

This post completes the retelling of my 2017 trip to Belize: participating in an archaeology field school and meeting with jaguar experts. The previous post in this series can be found here.

The Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City. Normally there are airplanes there. Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport by Pgbk87. CC BY-SA 3.0

July 4, 2017 was the day I had to leave Belize.

I rose at 5 AM, since I had an early flight. To my surprise, Raj had gotten up before me to open the doors to his house. We exchanged fond farewells, and then I slung on my heavy packs and left.

The walk from Raj’s house to the Belmopan bus station, which normally took 15 minutes, seemed to go on forever. It was as if my body was fighting me: trying desperately to keep me from leaving the country that had been my home for six weeks. And it truly felt like home.

Nowhere else I had been, save possibly one, had I encountered so much kindness from so many people. The warm, jovial, and easygoing nature of nearly everyone I met in Belize made them feel like old friends. This applied not only to native Belizeans, but to tourists as well. The Slovenian couple I met at Casa Ricky’s stood out in this regard.

I was extremely impressed with Casa Ricky’s hostel in Orange Walk town, even though I was only there for one weekend.

Then there was the jungle. I fell completely in love with the jungle: the sounds, the smells, the abundance of wildlife – I learned to cherish it all. Do not get me wrong, there are serious risks to jungle living. The chief danger of all, the intense heat, put me in serious jeopardy on my first full day at the archaeology school. But it was worth it.

For the above reasons, I was not the least bit excited about having to leave Belize. I was also not a fan of the small, northern California town I lived in at the time. Knowing that I had to return there made the walk to the bus station even more difficult, and I hoped that none of the passersby could see the sadness on my face.

I eventually arrived at the Belmopan bus station and boarded a bus to Belize City. I barely remember the trip from Belmopan to the Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport. One way or another, I got there.

I went through security and entered the departing flight terminal. The waiting area was packed with presumably American tourists on their way home, some of whom had obviously spent much of their time on the beach (as evidenced by sunburnt shoulders and faces). Everyone seemed friendly enough, but I was in no mood for chatter.

I found a nice, isolated bench where I could sit and look pensive. Of course, given time even brooding becomes boring. I thus began to wander around the terminal, and bumped into a Belizean delivery worker. He was just as talkative and charismatic as everyone I had met in Belize, and we had a good conversation.

Unfortunately, before long the fateful hour arrived. I got on my plane – pensively, I might add – and began the long flight back to northern California. I took special care to look unapproachable the entire way.

Despite leaving, I am not done with Belize. I will return one day: both for the archaeology and for jaguars. Seen here is the mask temple at Lamanai.

16 Thoughts

  1. I found Belize a very fascinating and interesting place but culturally speaking I found it really difficult to get a grasp of it all. So I definitelly would like to go back there again to see more of it. But all the people we met were absolutely lovely :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mel! Despite its small size, Belize is an absolute hodgepodge of cultures: its citizens come from an incredible mix of backgrounds. So the culture varies tremendously depending on which region you’re in and the background of whomever you’re staying with.

      That being said, I did notice some GENERAL patterns while I was there. Most of the people I met were talkative, kind, friendly, laid back, and charming.

      Like

  2. I can imagine how hard it was to leave and to say goodbye! Will you be heading back anytime soon? I don’t think I’m cut out for jungle living (I am TERRIFIED of snakes), but one of the not so popular destinations I’ve been thinking of for some time is Greenland.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely go to Greenland now, before all the glaciers melt!

      I have no idea when I’ll be able to make it back to Belize. Depending on what my financial situation is like, I might try to go back next summer. We’ll see.

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  3. I really enjoyed reading about your Belize experiences, Josh – thank you for sharing it all with us. It must have been difficult to depart, but you can always return – if not in the near future then later on. (Personally I have always returned to places I enjoyed, sometimes 2 or 3 times and often several years later.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think many a country leaves it’s mark on one, either for better or worse. I can just see you being the broody, unapproachable passenger. LOL It has never occurred to me that those like you might not be liking where they are going. I’m glad you had a great trip though and we’ve (I) so enjoyed reading about it.

    Liked by 1 person

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