As usual, the conditions for the next long distance were less than ideal. I woke up at 5am, realizing immediately that the aircon in the dorm had died. It was a sauna. And it seemed like no one else had enough energy to go and fix it, so I put on some clothes and walked to the reception.
No one there, and it was locked. My rescue mission had failed.
I’m not sure if I managed to sleep anymore, but I got up at 8am, had breakfast, packed my things, chilled a little, and then left Bacalar at 9:40am.
It was a really nice ride until 50 minutes later, when I reached the road split where left goes towards Chetumal and right goes to Escarcega. Here, the Caribbean wind started working against me again.
I frikkin’ hate the wind!
After 50 minutes of biking on a lower gear, I reached the second road split, where right would take me to the Belizean border. Now the wind was at my back again, and it was joyous!
There are two entrances to Belize in this area; one on the highway and one through the town Santa Elena. I tried the highway first, but a guard told me I have to take the other way.
I arrived to the border after less than two hours of biking. Except for my tire once again being very soft (I really have to do something about it), the day had started perfectly!
There are lots of stores and eateries in the town by the border. I bought two liters of water for my final 17 coins (the price was actually 18 pesos, but the lady was nice) and I decided to just have another banana sandwich in a park as lunch, to get to Corozal as soon as possible.
Let me tell you more about banana sandwiches! For me, they’re among the best and cheapest food you can get. Buying a loaf of bread (preferably something whole-grain or just not the basic white one) is cheap, and bananas are amazing to put as filling; you just peel it, put between two slices of bread, and squeeze the banana mush evenly.
Written while eating my lunch:
Why the banana is the best fruit?
1. It has a natural cover, so you don’t have to clean it and it doesn’t make a mess.
2. You can have dirty fingers and still eat without touching the food part.
3. It’s soft and juicy, and can even get a little warm or mushy and be just as great with bread.
4. It’s generally cheap everywhere.
5. It’s tasty. I suppose this is a matter of opinion though. For me, banana works with everything. It goes with cereal, in yogurt, on pizza (especially with some curry powder sprinkled on), oatmeal, ice cream, fruit salads, or just by themselves.
Alright, I’m glad to finally tell the world about this magical creation of nature.
After my lunch, it was time to cross the border.
This is a banana sandwich.
Crossing the Mexican-Belizean border:
Sometimes you have to pay 500 pesos to exit Mexico. It’s quite a large sum, but I had read online that if you’re insistent, you can say that the cost was included in the flight ticket. I tried, hehe, but the guard’s mind was very set. I had to pay 500.
Now, I had thought a few days ago that I’d better have 500 pesos left at this point, just to make sure I could enter. But because of my credit card accident, I now had exactly 170 pesos left.
I was stranded!
I started thinking about how I could get money. There’s no free WiFi in the town, but I found a “cyber” (a place where you can pay to use computers), and they let me borrow one, so that I could see if there was a Western Union nearby.
No such luck.
I sold the 6 USD I had left from my USA trip earlier in the year, and got 90 pesos for them. But I was still 240 pesos short!
The other thing that came to mind was a pawnshop. I could sell a few unnecessary things, like my jacket or my shoes, neither of which I ever use in this weather, and frankly I’d be glad to get rid of them.
I asked around, but there is no pawnshop in Santa Elena.
I could only laugh at the situation. Would I really have to beg people on the street to buy my things, to save up for the exit fee?
I went to a supermarket, trying to ask for help. They were quite interested as I showed my shoes, jacket and Kindle. Together, they’re probably worth 2000 pesos (new at least), and I hoped someone would pay 240 for it all. A guy joked about how I could sell my body to the girls, but that was the best offer I got. (And it was probably a joke anyway!)
After standing there for a while, lost and out of ideas, I started walking, thinking that maybe I’ll be lucky if I keep telling my story to people.
At the next shop, the cashier and a big man were talking, and I explained that it costs 500 to enter Belize, I’ve only got 260 and my credit card is lost. And that I have a few things to sell if needed.
This guy turned out to be my hero! He reached for the cash machine and fished up 250 for me! I thanked him dearly, and asked what things he wanted, but he just shook his head.
I thanked again and asked if I could take a selfie with him! They laughed and I took the picture.
I returned triumphantly to the emigration booth. The guard was nice this time, and as a young teenage girl came to ask if he wanted to buy a Jamaica (some kind of fruit juice, tastes like Swedish lingonsaft) for 15 pesos, he said he’ll buy one, but for the young gentleman. Me, that is. Then he asked her if she had a boyfriend, and tried to put us together…
I thanked for the drink and crossed into the neutral zone.
Normally, the emigration and immigration are within 20-100 meters at country borders, but here, I had to bike for a while to even find where I could get a stamp in my passport. It was confusing, so be prepared for that!
The Belizean border control was nice and relaxed, and since there were no other people there at all, I got through very quickly.
I had made it to Belize!