Here are Lowell’s 1st postings on Facebook and then his ‘thank you’ post to Amber about our trip there…
Traveled in 3 buses, crossed a river in a boat, road in another bus, laid on mattresses to hold them down while we crossed the ocean, spent the night in Punta Gorda, Belize. Rode another bus and one more boat to get to a place to stay in Palencia, Belize just to renew our passport so we can stay in Honduras for 4 more months. The positive – we are on the beach.
Lowell Anthony White–Amber Foster: Amber, thanks for the directions to Belize. We made it to the border, found out the bridge was out so had to cross on a boat. Got to Barrios and went across w/Memo, a Belizean. Spent the night in Punta Gorda and stayed a couple days in Placencia but at Lawrence and Julia’s right next to the Sea Breeze (cheaper but no AC). Went snorkeling out on the reef. And took the D-Express boat back to Cortes. Then 8 hours in a bus from San Pedro because of three wrecks. What an adventure.
… and here are some details …
“Traveled in 3 buses” … We left the house Tuesday, at 5:00 a.m. to walk to our Santa Rosa bus terminal … these bus rides were long, tedious but we enjoyed the landscape and watching people. After these 3 bus rides (which means we were not just on buses but either in terminals or at bus stops in cities and towns we’d never been to before … a little daunting to say the least) … we arrived in Guatemala where we walked to the immigration office on the border and got our stamps, then took a little mini-bus ride to where we had to cross a river in a boat – the bridge was out, looked like it just fell into the river! – this little boat was precarious and the banks of the river were steep and sandy = slick!
After a long wait in the bright sunshine, (yay!) some wicked heat, and some stiff negotiations we road in another mini bus to Barrios – then walked 4 or 5 blocks to pay our dues at immigration … and then some more blocks to the landing where we ate beef baleadas at a little diner on the ocean front – YUMMY (especially since we hadn’t eaten all day)!! By now it was almost 3 in the afternoon. After working out our fares and checking passports with Memo (mee-mo) – a Belizian, we rode across the ocean to Belize! We laid on some mattresses while we crossed the ocean on this water ‘taxi’ … these mattresses were in the boat being shipped over to Belize so Robin, Lowell and the captain’s son laid on them to hold them down – otherwise, man, they would have blown off! The boat was a bit bigger than a bass boat but not much. Far, far away in the distance one could barely see the outline of Belize. The ride was absolutely exhilarating!
We arrived at Punta Gorda, went through immigration, walked around for awhile, and spent the night in a little hotel that was nice enough and the food was good – that evening we were starving … this is a very small town with nothing to write home about – but it did have a very ‘Belizian air’ to it… laid back and easy and one great thing – they were speaking English!! Hooray! My brain needed a rest from Spanish! At 5:45 the next morning – which is now Wednesday – we headed out to meet another bus … this time we joined about 7 or more Peace Corps workers who were headed up to northern Belize for their annual health exams…and it was fun talking with one of them. We got off at Monkey River/Independence stop – and then walked about 6 blocks to where we would catch the Hokey Pokey water taxi (isn’t that cute?) And this was to get us over to Placencia … finally! We got to this shore about 8:30 a. m. – the whole wonderful day before us!
We stayed at Lawrence and Julia’s Guest House/Cabanas on the ocean front. They are Belizian and have owned this property for over 34 years, have 8 grown kids, lots of grands and were really nice to visit with. Wow, the ocean was so calm and beautiful – relaxation at its best! Our first morning’s swim was wonderful (Lowell found a humongous starfish) followed by a fun day of exploration and ease. Daniel rented a kayak for the day for him and Jake and they had a great time out on the ocean. Lowell and I enjoyed it right around dusk and it was a lovely time out on the water. Early on in the day we had rented snorkel and fins for each of us for the 2 days, had lunch at Omar’s Creol Grub, and supper at the Barefoot Grill … both yummy! Also, enjoyed ice cream after lunch … this guy had like 25 flavors (including sweet corn) and had us trying 4 or 5 before we all bought what we wanted – delicious!
The next day, Thursday, we went out to a private caye with a local, Shane, who owns a dive shop – he had someone else take a group out to the big cayes for a real diving gig, but took us to his uncle’s private caye and reef for several hours of amazing snorkeling! Talk about spectacular underwater scenery – this was some of the finest in the world I am sure! The colors were unbelievable – not just the fish and animal life but the sea grass, weeds, coral … so very fabulous! I talked with God the whole time … laughing and praising Him for His amazing design and gifts of the morning! I tried to count how many types of fish I was seeing but lost count early on. Jacob and I saw some of the cutest little cuttlefish and then Lowell and I followed a group of them and after a good little while, they got mad at us and shot up an incredible amount of black ink and swam away in a hurry! Amazing! Shane was able to do some spear fishing – got himself a couple of good size lobsters, a big crab and a pretty large fish for his freezer. The boat ride out and back was refreshing and fun and Shane was just a blast to be with – full of information and stories. It was a great few hours.
We came back to our little guest rooms to some sad news … we got a couple of messages from Donna, back home in Santa Rosa. Here is Lowell’s 2nd post from Belize …
Izzy, our Chinese Sharpei/Golden Retriever dog, passed away while we were in Belize. She lived with us since Jacob and I went to pick her out from a litter of puppies some 11 years ago. She was a product of an ‘illicit affair’ according to the owner of her parents. She was a great dog for a great son. She’ll be missed!
This was too sad for words … it definitely put a damper on the trip. I tried to put it out of my mind til we got back and could deal with some emotions… we still had an evening and morning to get the most out of. And also, the trip back… yikes, remember the trip here? Oh, no!
So, we went out to eat at Rum Fish that night – owned by Americans who came here on their honeymoon four years ago and decided then to buy this restaurant and stay! We ate beer-battered fried fish, caught fresh that morning – wonderful.
Friday was our last morning in Placencia … Lowell, Jake and I watched the sunrise and thoroughly enjoyed an early morning swim. The water is so clear you can see your toes as you walk around up to your neck! Jake found a gorgeous starfish to match the one Lowell found our first morning. Checked out by 8 and all 4 of us headed to a little outdoor diner down near the ocean and feasted on some great breakfast burritos with coffee – perfect way to start the day!
“And took the D-Express boat back to Cortes” … this is a little bigger than a bass boat … has a inside seating area and we were with a group of about 13 or 14 others … mostly tourists, but another couple (missionaries in Le Ceiba from Mississippi) and a young woman (exchange student from Colorado) were doing what we were – getting out of Honduras to renew passports. We had a totally enjoyable time visiting with these three and the ‘tourists’ – one couple was from England, another from California, a man from Ireland – all with neat stories. There were a few people who came on at another stop … where we were checked out of Belize by an immigration officer who came onto the boat. Conversation was impossible after the engines started up so, Lowell and I sat outside for most of this ocean trip and loved seeing what we could see – not a lot but enough to make me happy – we got back into Honduras right around 1 in the afternoon … good timing!
Port Cortes meant getting off at the docks in Honduras, negotiating for a taxi to get us to immigration, getting our much deserved stamp and extension, then after that, walking to the bus terminal – 4 very long blocks, getting an express bus to the terminal in San Pedro Sula – got there by about 3 and then got tickets for the bus back to Santa Rosa … we thought it was to leave out at 4 but we didn’t leave until 5 (which meant we had time for much deserved pizza lunch/supper from Pizza Hut) and then …
What should have been a 2 ½ hour bus trip took 8 hours – we were not even an hour out of the city before the 1st wreck held us up and then there were 2 more (probably due to the 1st one) Wow, talk about hot and crowded … there were people standing in the aisles the whole time and, at least, we had seats! Lowell handed out cookies to crying babies and kiddos and that helped them and the rest of us. We got to Santa Rosa about 1 a.m. Thank the Lord there were taxis waiting because I sure was dreading the long walk back home … but, because the roads in our neighborhood are so bad, they dropped us 2 blocks away … we walked into the house around 1:30 … exhausted to say the least. It is now very early Saturday morning.
We went to Belize! Hooray!!