It’s warm and humid in the mid afternoon as we begin the process of crossing from Mexico into Belize. As some would say, “we smell the barn”. Ahead of us lies the Rio Hondo River which divides Belize and Mexico, and begins in Guatemala. The crossing itself is a few miles out from the metropolitan city of Chetumal which is in the State of Yucatan. We must first process out of Mexico before entering into Belize. Forms are filled out, pesos are paid. All relatively easy and organized. Because we have a vehicle and belongings and we need to declare our final destination into Belize, we have planned to hire “a guide” to help us through the process. Before our tires even cross onto Belizean soil a young man steps forward and introduces himself as, John, a customs process guide. Of course, who else? John appears to be in his early 30’s, slender and quick as a whip darting here and there to gather the appropriate forms for us to fill out. He methodically explains the process to us, “no worries Mon, I will get you through”. Passports, signatures and the declarations of belongings are completed as he steers us towards the appropriate building. We groan as we see a long line of others before us. There will be a duty tax to pay after our boxed belongings are looked over and approved.
Surprisingly, our wait is not what we anticipated and we get processed easily through this phase. Our vehicle needs to be emptied and appraised by an agent who tallies up the value, looks over our processed papers from Mexico and with a flourish signs the needed paperwork and redirects us back into the same building to pay our tax. John is patiently waiting on the side of building as he for sure does not want to let us slip away. We pay our tax of $75 US and exit the coolness of the busy office. John has made his way over to our vehicle, standing guard. He asks if his services were beneficial and we shower him with praise but offer no other “tips” other then the steep price he requested at the start of the process. He tells us his day is finished and asks for a ride to the next main highway intersection which is 10 miles away; we agree. He’s a nonstop talker for the next 10 miles while sitting atop our boxes and luggage. He probably makes a decent living doing what he does and is able to support his family, whom he tells us all about. We drop him off at the appointed location and bid him farewell. He already has this thumb out, hitching a ride to the small village he lives in.
The day is quickly fading, as we are too. Gritty with dust and sand, we long for a cooling shower from the heat and humidity of this day. We have made it. We are here. Belize, the land of our thoughts and dreams for the past 5 years. Tomorrow we will make arrangements to have our goods shipped to the island and buy our one way ticket to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize Central America.
To my readers: These past 6 essays were constructed from a journal I kept during our travel adventure through Mexico to our destination of Belize. Bits and pieces were removed while others were shuffled and reorganized. All were true. Why the title of Be Careful What You Wish For? Because it was a Wish For Dream we chased but never caught. As hard as we tried for over 6 months, I came to realize I would never be able to shape my life to what I wished for. Perhaps it was a dream worthy of chasing and I don’t regret our attempt to make it happen. But wait…it gets even more exciting. I bet you can’t wait to read my journal, “Leaving Belize for Our Real Home”.