Next Stop – Belize!

Very excited to be flying to Belize! We managed to get packed without too much trouble. We hadn’t accumulated too much – just a few clothes to suit the hotter climate.

Our previous houseguest and friend agreed to move into our apartment and take care of our stray mom cat and her four kittens, which was a huge relief for me. He’ll find the kittens homes and, hopefully, the mom too.

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On Wednesday morning (the day we left) we spent the morning in the village saying goodbye to the lovely people we had got to know

and a last meal at our favourite Italian Restaurant

It was very hot in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria airport and security was a bit chaotic. Fortunately, one of the security staff was a cat lover and she was so busy petting and talking to our cats, she didn’t check our bags! Lucy was growling and complaining as we had to take our out of her carrier, and so we were whisked through quickly. The lady at the check in counter was also a cat lover and took the time to come round to the front and show us photos of her two Maine Coon cats. All the while, the line behind us was growing longer and longer.

Our flight was delayed by half an hour, and so we eventually got into Madrid at about 10:30 pm and then had to collect our luggage and find a taxi. By the time we got to our hotel, it was 11:30 pm and the cats were elated to finally be out of their carriers. The hotel gave us a little care package for them with food and toys.

Once they were settled in, we went in search of food since we hadn’t eaten since lunch time. It was now midnight. Fortunately, the Spanish eat late and we were told there was a restaurant about a 5 minute walk from our hotel. Our street was quiet and dark which made me a little nervous, but a few people were walking around and I started to feel quite safe. It was 30 deg. C, even at that late hour. People were sitting on their balconies enjoying the cool night air.

We found a little hole-in-the-wall kebab shop and ordered 2 doners. Even though they were closing, they said they would make them for us. We were very grateful. The doners were delicious – one of the best I’ve had.

Thursday was a very long day. The 10 1/2 hour flight from Madrid to Cancun seemed to go on forever and it was full, so no chance to sneak some extra space. Having to have the cats underneath our seats made our leg room almost non-existent.

We eventually landed in Cancun at around 7:00 pm their time. It was hot and humid and the heat hit me like a ton of bricks after the airconditioned airplane.

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Customs and baggage collection went smoothly and just when we thought we were home free, a customs lady told us that we had to stop in at animal control for the cats. Since we were only going to be in Mexico for one night, I’d done minimal research on their pet rules other than the fact that they needed to have all their shots up to date. The staff were extremely nice and everything was in order. They had to issue an import permit and the man on the computer was obviously new and his typing skills were the sort where he pecked at the keyboard with two fingers taking breaks in between each letter to look for the next. Uuugh. We nodded and smiled. After 30 minutes we were on our way, but we’d missed our shuttle bus to take us to our hotel.

We decided to take a taxi. It seems they try to rip you off as much as possible here. One taxi driver wanted US$78 to take us 10 minutes up the road. He even waved a “price” list he’d printed up as if that makes it official. I expressed my horror at this blatant crookery. He lowered his price to US$40 – “just for you” and then drove like a maniac to our hotel.

The room was clean and air conditioned – bliss. After feeding the cats and settling them in, we went in search of food. Nothing was open except the gas station across the road. We bought hot dogs, chips, beer, pop and chocolate! My body is rolling it’s eyes in horror.

Jet lag set in around 2 am and I was wide awake after only 3 hours sleep. I managed to sleep on and off until about 5:30 when I just gave up and got out of bed.

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The next two flights were easy and fun. From Cancun to Belize City, a 10 seater plane which bumped it’s way along the coast providing lots of interesting and beautiful landscapes to look at. It was wall to wall people at Belize airport due to 4 planes all landing at the same time, the 4th one coming in later than expected causing huge line ups.

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My heart sank as I thought we might miss our connecting flight to Placencia, but the airport staff herded us all into 3 lines and made sure the lines moved fairly quickly. We got through animal health very quickly also and had time for a beer while waiting for our flight to Placencia. It’s the only airport I’ve been in where you can buy a drink and drink in the waiting areas.

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Next and last flight, a puddle jumper. An 8 seater plane that took us the last 20 minutes of our long journey, dropping off a couple of people at another village close by.

Finally at our destination, we took a taxi to our apartment. Our landlady was waiting for us and gave us a very warm welcome. She showed us around and then took out a map and proceeded to tell us where to find everything – restaurants, bars, supermarkets, hardware stores, where to get SIM card for our phones and so on. She had bought toilet paper, laundry and cleaning supplies for us, for which we were grateful.

It was incredibly hot and humid and we were soon drenched in, er, perspiration. After feeding and watering the cats, we set off to find food and a drink, but that’s for another post.

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