Thursday, March 17, 2011

Stumbling toward Paradise

Waking up to a thunderstorm should have been an indicator of how the day was going to go. After our final breakfast at Sherl’s restaurant in Independence Village, we boarded the bus to start the second leg of our trip. The destination was a quiet resort on South Water Caye, an island off the coast. It didn’t take long before chaos theory paid a visit.

Just seven miles from Dangriga, with our driver, Rhonesh, nursing a nearly empty tank of diesel, he pulled over to meet up with a van bringing some fuel. A close call seemed to have been averted, but as he tried to restart the bus, we heard a loud thud and knew that we were not going anywhere.

Upon further investigation, we saw a green fluorescent liquid leaking out from under the bus, which we later found out was radiator fluid. While stranded on the side of the road, a truck full of freshly picked oranges pulled over and offered a delicious snack.

After a half hour, Rhonesh’s company sent a replacement bus and we continued our way. We arrived at the Pelican Bay resort in Dangriga – a sister hotel to our lodging on the island – and were excited to discover free wi-fi. Everyone with a computer feverishly started blogging and checking emails. We even had a chance to see our journey and blog featured on the homepage of Pace University!

Quickly it was time to head to South Water Caye. We expected a smooth ferry ride but, as we approached the pier, were startled to see a 30-foot-long high-powered speedboat. The skipper ordered life jackets on all around and no one hesitated.

The boat sliced through the choppy seas at close to 30 miles per hour, but anxiety about seasickness faded and the quick trip ended with the boat pulling in over glassy clear water to an island pier, where we were welcomed by smiling staff and, soon after, had lunch and snorkeling lessons.

We’ll be spending our final three days in Belize logging our footage, filming b-roll, transcribing interviews and developing a script outline – and getting wet when we can!

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