From Tulum I went by bus to Chetumal, a small town on the border with Belize. Chetumal turned out surprisingly pleasant, with a Caribbean feel to it, in the way the houses stand, which is different from a typical Latin American town. Chetumal’s malecón (waterfront):
Chetumal is the capital of the great state of Quintana Roo, which covers also Cancún and Tulum. Here is the local legislature in full glory:
A memorial on the waterfront. Belize is behind the bay:
I stopped in Hotel Uchum, rather downbeat, although obviously popular with Mexican families, at a cost of 220 peso = about 12 euros. When I asked the old lady at the reception ¿hay desayuno? she said that no, and she doesn’t get one either!
Next morning I took a 7 a.m. minibus to Flores, Guatemala. Ahead was 9 hour ride through Belize to Guatemala. I have very particular childhood memories associated with Belize. I was around 5, we were on a family holiday on the Black Sea, near Gelendzhik on the Russian Caucasus coast. I am reading a book from a library about a German archeological expedition somewhere in the jungles of Belize, how they fight the heat, the robbers, the mosquitoes to unearth the Mayan ruins. The little room we had is clear in my memories. My father answers my systematic questioning regarding all the relatives we have all over the old Soviet Union. I document it all in a thick notebook. Was always fascinated by our common genealogy.
It took 6 hours to go through all of Belize, including a short stop in Belize City. I wasn’t entirely sure if I didn’t need a visa for Belize, even called the Estonian Foreign Ministry to make sure, but indeed no visa was required. Belize is English-speaking and has a lot of people of African descent. It is also covered with a ridiculous number of churches. Seems like every building there has been, is, or one day will be a church… Bible quotes on every car.
Belize City, contrary to the rest of Belize, has a very negative reputation. To me it seemed inhabited by unnaturally slim rasta brothers with dreads and in black glasses.
Pawn shops all over the place in both Mexico and Belize
Unusual cemetery, I was wondering what denomination required an open book on every grave
I considered staying in Belize, on Caye Caulker, where apparently everybody smokes and swims and does nothing else. But finally opted to go straight to Guatemala, to Flores on Peten Itza lake. We arrived there at around 4 pm. I declined all the “best”offers of the agents around the bus and took a room in a small nice-looking hotel. The view on the lake from the hotel terrace: