Gerry’s Marvellous Adventure: Belize edition

I don’t know how it is, but every trip I take south comes with an adventure (read “trial”). Take this latest one for example.

My schedule was to fly out of Toronto at 6:35, and so I left a wake-up call for 2:30 AM. consequently, I arrived at the airport at 3:45 – I like to be early in case something goes wrong ( experience) – and everything was fine until I suddenly remembered I had forgotten my insulin back at the hotel. PANIC! So into a cab with an extremely good driver, and he drove like A.J. Petty back to the hotel and back to the airport in what must be record time.

However, by this time the place was packed, and it took nearly 15 minutes to find an attendant with a wheelchair. Panic #2. Finally a wheelchair was found (4:15 with boarding time at 5:50), but now we had to clear security – which was particularly slow – not to mention the gate was in the farthest corner of the airport. Panic #3.

Nonetheless, we made it, and my compensation was to sit beside a landscaper from Mississauga who fell into the movie star category of rugged outdoors-hunk.

The flight was smooth as well, and so everything was fine until I got to Belize City – cab fare from thed airport $50 American.

The ‘beautiful’ Bachelor Inn Hotel

The 'beautiful' Bachelor Inn Hotel
The ‘beautiful’ Bachelor Inn Hotel

Belize City is one big slum, and (in spite of the beautiful photos) the Bachelor Inn is in the slummiest corner.

When I contact them previously I was assured it was handicap-accessible, and that there were rooms on the first floor. Well, yes, a handicapped person can get in the front door, and ‘yes’ there are rooms on the 1st floor – they’re just not available for rent!

However, there is an elevator – circa 1910 – that only owner/manager (an oriental woman who would have made a good used car salesperson) can operate. So up to my prepaid room I went ($68 CAD).

Sumptuous bathorom (notice the shower faucet sticking out of the wall - upper right
Sumptuous bathorom (notice the shower faucet sticking out of the wall – upper right

Not surprisingly the room matched the district. It was ‘Spartan’ to say the least, and filthy. The washroom featured a toilet and wash stand without a mirror, and in one corner there was a shower faucet sticking out of the wall; a loonie-sized drain; and no shower curtain. That was the shower.

Well appointed living room (notice the 'designer chesterfield).
Well appointed living room (notice the ‘designer chesterfield).

The living room featured three pieces of furniture: a refrigerator; a filthy sectional sofa (that I wouldn’t sit on); and a bed. The bed had one sheet (not blankets) which was so thin I could literally see through it. Therefore, I used towels to cover myself for the night.

To get down from the 2nd floor I had to go to the top of the stairs and yell below, hoping that someone would hear my plaintive call.

Little ‘Mrs. Helpful’

Not surprisingly, the oriental lady used-car salesperson had a friend who was “velly helpful … good person … she show you around.” So nothing would do, but I had to meet this ‘velly helpful’ she.

Well, ‘Mrs. Helpful’ arrived with five kids in tow, and invited herself to dinner with me (after hubby collected the kids, of course), and over dinner (the most expensive dish on the menu – I ate fish and chips) she proposed she would come to Ambergris and ‘look after me.’ I think she meant my wallet, but neither wasn’t to be after I told her that I had been looking after myself since before she was born, and could manage ‘velly well’ without her ‘help.’

The boat ride

Mercifully the waters were calm – thank goodness – but just as we were coming into San Pedro one of the motors conked out. Therefore, we limped into port rather unceremoniously.

Belize is not cheap

The Canadian dollar may be worth $1.50 Belizean, but the Belizeans have simply jacked the prices to compensate. Therefore, breakfast is $28 BZD. Moreover, I took $100 BZD out of my account yesterday, and it showed up on my Canadian bank statement as $101 CAD (?). Gougers at both ends.

Next update: Ambergris.

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