Leaving Belize

Part Eight // A Safe Haven

The Great House


Our taxi driver Collette has assured us this is a good place to stay despite being in the older part of the city. It is by now early afternoon yet the sun is so dim that it feels like early evening. There is light rain beginning as well. We pull up to the front of the hotel and see this is a large and well maintained British Colonial era home, turned Inn. As we climb the winged stair steps I can sense Collette didn’t plan to be our porter as well, but he’s a trooper and off he goes with luggage. He stays with us to make sure we have a room and all is well for us. We pay our fare to him and tip him generously for his help and guidance. He has a well worn business card that he hands us and says to call him when the hurricane passes and we need a ride.

We are given the key to room #5 which is down the hall a short ways. The floor boards look original to this lovely home and they creak and squeak with age as we walk to our room. It’s a beautiful room decorated in British Belizean fashion. We are drained, defeated and exhausted with all that’s taken place in the past hours. But we are safe. There are doors opened to the outside verenda of our room and the view has a real WOW factor. We can see the water, the park and it’s still working lighthouse from the outdoor seating. Waves are crashing over the seawall from the angry ocean while sea birds flap about in search of food despite windy conditions. The tall palm tree fronds rustle loudly.

The proprietor comes to our open door and shares the news of hurricane predictions for the entirety of Belize as well as neighboring Central America countries. He loans us a small radio that he tunes for us to NEMO to hear the latest. All US citizens are asked to report to the US Embassy to register their names; and the Steve, the proprietor, says this is standard protocol. He agrees to drive Jerry to the Embassy not far away and then to stop at a small grocery for provisions if wanted. There is an outdoor restaurant that is part of The Great House and it will be opening soon if the weather holds.

Later in the evening and after a fine meal of Caribbean stew fish we head to our room for the night. Steve and his help are busily boarding up windows and setting out kerosene lanterns on the veranda in front. He states the power will fail in the coming hours and if we need to make calls anywhere we should do it now. I am able to reach family in the States and they are so relived to hear my voice . I don’t talk long other than to state the current situation and what may be happening in the coming days. I will try to call again if it’s possible. We say our goodbyes tearfully, not knowing what we’ll encounter before our next call. From our room veranda we can see the Baron Bliss Lighthouses’ blinking beacon, guiding any boats who remain on the waters, to safety.