I was travelling to Belmopan (Belize’s capital) the cheap way….the old school way. Water taxi from San Pedro to Belize City ($55bzd round trip), taxi to the bus terminal ($6bzd) and then the bus to Belmopan ($4bzd!). It was a gorgeous morning and the boat was packed. I was way in the back on the boat. Smoothest ride but NOISY.
If you are looking to fly to Belmopan, the price is MUCH higher BUT you can fly directly from the island for $166.50USD.
My taxi took me to the bus station.
I was 40 minutes early for the express bus (CRITICAL, the local literally stops every 2 minutes) so I headed across the street to the Chinese food place.
This place in itself is a blog post. Dimly lit…a strange mix of families, guys enjoying a Friday afternoon by drinking straight from rum bottles, and super loud dance hall music. I ordered the fried rice and a Belikin. It was enough to feed a family of 10 and…well…not the best I’ve had.
But I could see the mass appeal. People were in there gorging themselves. 3 items from the “buffet” for $6bzd? Can you beat that?
To the bus station! My express bus was scheduled to leave at 2:15pm.
I boarded and sat in the front row. My seat mate handed me one of his 5 machetes to hold. Okay…
not a problem. This bus is equipped. I love the Beanie babies hanging from the kit.
Express it wasn’t. We stopped to pick up and drop off every school kid and grandmother on the way to Belmopan. No worries…the gentleman behind me insisted that we share his blackberry wine that he kept in a Gatorade bottle. Don’t worry…I had only one sip. And that was enough.
When you drive to Belmopan, here are the first hills you see…the Sleeping Giant. Can you see him?
I checked into my bed and breakfast and headed straight to the party down by “embassy row”. There were lots of people walking in that direction and a security stop with a metal detector.
Everyone was given a Belize flag and a British flag. A nice touch I thought…
The podium and the chairs were ready. The whole front area was clearly for VIP only.
A fantastic steel drum group was playing. And not just Harry Belafonte. They played Black Eye Peas and Akon.
People were packed along the sides of the road.
I needed to pick my spot. Harry would be stopping at each of the cultural food stalls. There was Creole, Garifuna and Mestizo. This was Garifuna…and they were AMAZING. The drumming…the costumes. I think they were my favorite.
But Mestizo was fantastic too. And the cooks were from San Pedro! Go Miss Elvi and Jennie Staines from Elvi’s Kitchen.
I found my crew. Locals from Belmopan, they totally had my back. Saved my place…held my beer. Thanks guys!
There were TV guys everywhere. Like this fine looking gentleman from Channel 9, Australia.
Or this American reporter. Does anyone recognize him? Is it ABC’s Bob Woodruff? He was hurt in Iraq, right? He looks AMAZING.
The Mestizo dancers and singers…we were waiting.
Okay…so we waited and waited. Harry gave a short speech. Very informal. And then made his way around to the different booths.
Here they come by us!
Harry ducked into the tent.
People were swarming!
He did a shot of Elvi’s ceviche!
There were 8 dishes to eat at this last station. Harry was begging for mercy…saying that he was so full. But he was such a great sport. He tried each and every one.