On my last morning in Tulum, Mexico I accidentally woke up late because my cell phone hadn’t change time zones. Usually sleeping in on vacation isn’t such a big deal- unless you have bus to a different country to catch! I was supposed to be heading to Belize where I had my accommodation booked. Unfortunately, I ended up missing my bus.
Frustrated with how my day started out, I walked to the bus station in the scorching Mexican sun while hungover and carrying my backpack. When I finally arrived I purchased another bus ticket for the next bus. The next bus wasn’t leaving for another hour so decided to I walk my miserable, hungover self all the way back to my hostel to eat breakfast.
After breakfast, I walked my miserable, hungover self back through the scorching Mexican heat to the bus stop- just a bit more sweaty this time. As soon as I arrived I realized I didn’t have my phone! I didn’t have time to go back to the hostel for my phone and still make the bus. I ended buying my third bus ticket of the day and ran back to the hostel- backpack and all- to find my phone.
I looked high and low throughout the whole hostel but I couldn’t find my phone anywhere. Eventually I gave up. I didn’t want to miss another bus- I would never make it to Belize at this point- so I trudged my miserable, hungover, sweaty and phone-less self back to the bus stop.
I am happy to say that this time I finally got onto the bus-but my bad luck didn’t end there. As someone with extreme motion sickness who was also suffering from a hangover, I was not feeling so great. I asked the girl sitting next to me if she had a plastic bag that I could have. She had one that she was using for garbage but I told her that it would do just fine.
Literally the moment that she handed me the bag I started vomiting into it. It was quite mortifying. There was no garbage bin on the bus for me to throw my bag away so I had to go the rest of the trip with a bag of puke as my travel companion.
When I finally got to our destination I couldn’t have been happier to get off the bus. We had to take a taxi to a port where we would then take a baot over to Belize- talk about a cool way to enter a country! I had never entered a country by boat before and with my ticket in hand I was getting excited. It occurred to me that since I was entering another country- being the savvy traveler that I am- I should get organized and get my passport ready.
Then I ran into a problem. I couldn’t find my passport! Me and the girl (who I befriended after puking into the bag she have me) tore my whole backpack apart about ten times but it was nowhere to be found. There was only one boat heading to Belize that day and we were going to miss it. I told my new friend to go on without me- there was no point in both of us getting stuck behind.
Now I was alone and panicking. I found a tour company and asked them to call the bus station in Tulum for me to see if they had found a passport. They called but said that no passport was found. They even had them check the bus that I was on but nothing came up.
Without a passport not only could I not go to Belize but I also couldn’t go home. I had no choice but to go back to the bus terminal and take a seven hour bus to Cancun where I would try to get an emergency passport at the Canadian embassy.
To make matters worse I was stuck in a town called Chetmal that had abosultely nothing to see or do there. So with an endless amount of time to kill in this boring town I decided to walk to the bus terminal. I immediatlely regreted that decision when I found myself in some questionable neighbourhoods alone and vulnerable.
Eventually I made it to the bus terminal alive and purchased a ticket for the night bus to Cancun. As if I needed any more bad news, the next day was Sunday so the embassy would be closed.
I was really hoping that the embassy would be able to help me- I mean they couldn’t keep me in Mexico forever, right?
Finally my luck was turning around and the hostel was open. There was a sweet woman who was working there that kindly listened to my story. When she found out the I had missed the only boat to Belize and now had to wait until 3p.m. the next day to go over there she said that she knew another way. I was listening.
She said that if I crossed the border into Belize that there was a boat that left from the port at 7 a.m. The only thing was that I would have to wake up at 4 a.m. to catch a taxi to the border. The taxi could not drive me across the border so I would have to get out and walk across the boarder from Mexico into Belize. Then I would have to catch a taxi van from the other side of the boarder to the port and purchase a ticket for a boat so San Pedro Island.
With the time now being 2 a.m. it meant that I would only get two hours of sleep if I wanted to complete this crazy mission to Belize.
Well, that’s exactly what I did. I woke up at 4 a.m. and stood on a street corner alone in the dark in Mexico as I waited to hail a taxi. Once again, in the back of a taxi I clenched my fists in hopes that he would take this vulnerable, solo female to her destination.
The boarder was just like the woman told me- I had to get out of the taxi and walk about 45 minutes across the border into Belize. It felt pretty wild to be walking into another country on foot with nothing but a backpack. I certainly got a few odd looks and there definitely were no other tourists around.
After crossing the boarder- with my passport in hand- I managed to get into a mini van that took me to the port. I arrived in time to buy a boat ticket and reflect on the ordeal that occured over the past 24 hours.
I am happy to say that I eventually made my way to the port, got on the boat and was able to step foot in Belize. I can’t even explain the happiness in my heart that I felt as the boat approach San Pedro Island. I think that going through the whole ordeal made me a thousand times happier to arrive on the beautiful island than I would have been if my alarm clock had gone off on time the morning before.