Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Taking Off For Belize

Since we are now experts at traveling light, we managed to get 10 days worth of stuff in one backpack for each of us, and one big bag for other stuff. The kids are amazing, they get almost all of their stuff in their backpacks. The canvas bag is for food and snacks. That's the beauty of traveling to a warm place, you don't need a lot of heavy stuff. When we traveled to Quebec City, we needed a lot more space.

We flew out of Boston on Monday and arrived in Belize that afternoon, with a stop in Miami en route. It was cool and crisp in Boston as we departed, but by the time we were in Miami, you could feel the heat. It was in the mid-80s and humid. I realize a lot of people love this weather, but it's only April, I don't know how they survive the summer.

The flight was a pleasant experience for two reasons. First, there was a movie, which I was thought was a thing of the past. One of the biggest challenges in traveling with kids is entertaining them without the use of video games. Meals are important, too, but you can plan for that. It's hard for a kid to sit for 6-8 hours in a cramped airplane, even if it is fun and exciting to travel. I bring my laptop and tons of DVDs for the kids to watch, but there is a finite amount of time you can use the computer before the battery runs out. International flights are brutal and long, but they usually offer multiple movies, and if you get a more modern plane, they have the awesome screens right in front of your seat. You can't beat it.

You don't get those perks on domestic flights, and I've noticed they no longer offer movies, which is a bummer, but again, flying has just become more functional, less about comfort and enjoyment. This flight on American Airlines, however, they were showing Spiderman, which was a bonus for all of us, because we'd never seen it and it's probably not something we'd go out of our way to see. This also meant we could save battery power on laptop so we could use it for the second leg of the trip, which for the record, also had a movie, sort of.

Anyway, the flight was pleasant, there was a slight delay with an equipment issue, which you never like to hear about, but what are you going to do? It was about 3 hours to Miami, then about an hour layover, even with the delay. We had food and snacks so we were all set. Then, on the second leg, not only did they have a video (it was a TV show, not a movie), but the flight was barely 50% full. When does that ever happen? As a consequence, we got to spread out, and it was a comfortable trip. The kids used the laptop to watch a movie and I watched the TV show and took a nap.

Once we were in Belize City, we spent a little time in the Philip SW Goldson (how'd they come up with that name?) airport before boarding a small prop plane to Ambergris Cay, which is where we are currently staying. For anyone who hasn't traveled in Latin or South America, or for that matter, anywhere that is not an industrialized nation, the airports are always an experience. Much like you would expect in a movie, sort of rustic and small, hot and provincial. Sometimes it's amazing they land big jets there, but they do. It reminded me of Costa Rica or any of the Caribbean Islands. They seem to have the same decor, sort of dull muted colors on the walls and guys who look like soldiers walking around. There's always a small stand serving local food, most of which is fried, and a small souvenir shop. It's really an interesting experience, and I chatted with the woman in the shop and she gave us some tips on what to check out.

Once we checked in and went through security, we took a Tropic Air plane to Ambergris Cay, which is where we are currently staying. The flight was only about 15 minutes, and we were on some sort of prop plane I couldn't identify. That's a job for the Amazing PR Man. It was a pretty smooth flight, even though the cabin was sweltering, and then the shuttle came to get us and transport us to the hotel. It was nice to get to our flat and change into shorts.

The island is nice and inviting. The weather is warm and breezy, and maybe a bit more developed than we anticipated. Apparently there are lots of American tourists and ex-pats who have made this their home, and this area that we're in seems to cater to that demographic.

The cottage we are in is beautiful, and we have been doing a lot of exploring, but that's a story for another time.

Until then, thanks for reading.

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