Hi all, welcome back to my daily life abroad! I’m in Belize for 6 weeks this time, working for my school as an environmental conservation educator via the Coral Reef Ed-Ventures program. This adventure technically started on Tuesday, but all the buildup was in Massachusetts and not nearly as exciting as I expect the rest of this summer to be 😉 Anyways, onto my first day in Belize and Central America (disclaimer: it was mostly a day of travel)!
So the day technically started at 3 am when me and my 5 fellow Smithies (see above) had to meet up on campus and catch out taxi. For me, the day never really started since I never went to bed. Surprisingly for all of my travel experience, I always get restless before I go somewhere and last night I misplaced my phone (aka my roomie, Danielle, put a plate on top of it) until 1 am and by that time what’s the point in trying to rest, ya know? Tangent aside, we had a triple hit of flights, starting with our 6:30 take off from Hartford. From there it was 3 hours until Miami, another 3 hours to Belize City, and finally a 15 minute flight to San Pedro. All of this was done with a massive amount of luggage, which was all for the camps we’re running but damn, that doesn’t change the fact that we had to lug 14 pieces of crazy heavy checked baggage around. We got laughed at a lot. Oh well.
I was able to sleep for almost the entirety of flights 1 and 2, but my butt was full awake for the tiny plane out of Belize City. There were maybe 13 of us total and everyone was excited about it – the travel, the tiny plane, everything. As I said, it was only 15 minutes so that was a fun whirlwind.
Here are some pretty out-of-window views:
Finally we arrived, in the coolest weather either of the 2 people who’d been there before (Dana & Emiline) had felt thanks to the stormy weather. Bless a breeze. We picked up our luggage and caught a couple of taxis to the apartment we’re staying in, a place that past program groups have also used. The joint was nothing like I’d expected – very blue, clean and cute with a bunch of tech updates, at least according to Emiline who hadn’t been back to Belize in 2 years (Dana was a bit less impressed by all of the updates). Super cute, and pretty cozy. Aidan, Carla, Kate & I are sharing 2 beds upstairs while Emiline and Dana, as trip leaders, have earned their shared room. Ahh, experience privilege.
After taking a hot moment to ourselves to unpack a bit and catch our breaths, we headed down the streets and beaches for an impromptu mini-tour of San Pedro. The colors of the buildings are fun and vibrant, there are interesting advertisements everywhere and the streets are littered with different resorts, cafes and gift shops. We got to Albertina’s, a well-loved taco/burrito truck that’s a favorite past haunt of the two leaders, and I had delicious beans and rice with pico de gallo. As we sat in the sand munching away at least 4 stray dogs came up to us to hang out – they’re all so long and short, it’s wild. I digress. After touring some of the island we took a break at a bar which was apparently destroyed in a hurricane 2 years ago but now proudly stands once more. It has a boardwalk portion that forms a square off of the main building, and the boardwalk forms a square outline such that stairs in the middle lead you down into warm water. We all agreed that it was a place to return to, lounging around for a bit longer before returning home.
We hit up the grocery store next for some basics and beyond, where our 2 experienced trip leaders lost their minds over seeing how much change has happened since a year ago, including a much broader selection, bigger storefront and air conditioning (the last one seemed most exciting). After getting our basics and unpacking some of our camp bags and food, the place is starting to feel more organized and homey.
Our final trip out of the night was for ice cream, which we got from a place called Paradice Cream. This place was lit, because not only was there a huge wall of flavors BUT there was also sorbet and, wait for it, vegan ice cream! The latter of which, actually, I would argue is even better than what Northampton’s famous Herrell’s has. A very impressive place – everyone ended up with 2 delicious scoops, myself included. My ice cream was a mix of coconut sorbet and the only vegan option, german chocolate cake, and dang was it delicious. We were all even a bit cold upon leaving the shop, a feat I hope to accomplish many times on this hot hot island. The walk back was uneventful, and here I am now typing up this blog in the dark at ~10 pm Belize time while everyone else lies passed out around me. I think it’s time for me to join them, so thanks for reading and look out for more updates!