As Tom was dropping off our Christmas guests in Hopkins, Selmo was picking up our next guests, a family of five from Chicago consisting of parents Tom and Sally and their adult children Bridget, Tommy, and Patrick, in Belize City. Our little blue truck only holds four passengers comfortably, so when we have a party of five adults coming in, we need to call in the reinforcements with bigger vehicles. They had a late flight, so it was just about dark by the time they arrived here, but we had plenty of time for Belikins all around in the brand new kitchen before dinner.
On their first day here, Selmo picked them up bright and early and took them to tour the Chechem Ha Cave, which everybody enjoyed. After the cave tour, they were treated to a real Belizean meal with Gonzo’s mom, Lea, at her house overlooking the mountains that border Belize and Guatemala. They spent the afternoon floating down the Mopan in tubes, seeing the wildlife and Bullet Tree village life, with Tommy being the only one to capsize – but no harm done, although it gave everybody a reason to tease him at dinner.
The next day they took a full day horseback ride with Joe. Everybody always loves Joe’s rides, and this family was no exception. They enjoyed not only seeing the caves and swimming at Big Rock, but also getting a chance to talk to Joe, whose family is Maya and who has lived in San Antonio for his whole life. From what he said, Tom managed to squeeze a good number of the stories we’ve heard from Joe out of him, and Joe even told him a few things we hadn’t heard before about life in this area in the past. When we heard about their day, the thing that amazed me most was that even though it was just a few days after Christmas, in a very busy holiday week, they had Big Rock Falls all to themselves for most of the time they were there. “Busy” has a whole different definition in Belize!
They had to leave the next day on a Tropic Air flight out of the Municipal Airport in Belize City. Their flight wasn’t until 2PM, and you don’t have to show up too much ahead of time for the domestic flights in Belize, so they had time to take a quick visit to the Butterfly Ranch in the morning. That their schedule was so flexible turned out to be a good thing because Gonzo, along with some of the other transfer companies in San Ignacio, was having car problems. This 5-member family was leaving and another 5-member family was coming in from Hopkins, and with only one large vehicle to work with instead of two, the transfer schedule had to be shuffled. The family coming in from Hopkins was scheduled at the last minute for an 8AM pickup, with plans to arrive here, pick up Tom and Sally’s family, and get back on the road heading to Belize City by 11AM or so. It didn’t work out quite that way since Selmo started having trouble with the vehicle on the way to Hopkins, so that pickup didn’t happen until almost 9AM, and it was after 11AM when he arrived here. In the meantime, Becky had commandeered another van in San Ignacio, and she had driven here to meet Selmo to swap vehicles so he had a dependable vehicle for the Belize City transfer. We had the replacement van loaded and ready to go when Selmo arrived, so we loaded up Tom and Sally’s family, Selmo switched vehicles, and they headed for Belize City – and arrived at the Tropic Air terminal with 10 minutes to spare! We always tell people not to worry, things always work out in Belize even when it seems that all of the carefully made plans are crashing, and now we have one more situation to prove that it’s true!