I had been preparing my daughter for a couple months for the trip to Caye Caulker. We’d have to get up early… like, 4.30 AM early, to start the journey. I knew it was going to be trying, on everyone. This isn’t a girl who deals well with a lack of sleep, or mornings.
We start off just fine. We getup. I get coffee, even, and we make our flight, no complications. Oakland to Denver to Belize City.
A couple hours into the second flight the questions start…
“When are we going to get there?”
“How much longer until we land?”
“How many more hours are we going to be in the air?”
Despite the questions, we land, eventually. She only goes to the bathroom 3 times during the 4.5 hour flight. Landing, we emerged into a heat and humidity very foreign to those of us from California. I dig it though, because it means I’m somewhere awesome. I know there are plenty of hot and humid places that aren’t awesome, but I don’t go to those places, so I associate heat and humidity with awesomeness.
This is the first time I’ve left the airport. Previously I’ve taken the puddle jumper, but not this time. This time we are going to take the Water Taxi from Belize City to Caye Caulker. It will be a new experience. I’ll see a little more of Belize and, let’s be honest, it is way cheaper.
The taxi is clean and has AC and is relatively fast. Waiting for the boat it is hot and there is no AC and it seems to take forever. People keep trying to sell me beer. I think getting tanked before we even get to the island and in front of my 10 year old isn’t a good idea. I decline.
At the entrance to the terminal area they take our bags and I am not totally sure I’ll see them again. It is all rather abrupt. They tell us they are with the company and they take our bags and give us claim tickets and away our bags go. I need those bags to show up on the other end of this little boat ride.
There is a long line to get on the boat, but there is room for everyone and the crossing is fairly peaceful. We sit at the back of the boat. It is easier to ride in the back… easier on the stomach and the back. I read that before we left and it seems to be paying dividends. Maybe I should have put on sun screen before we left though?
We pull up to the dock in Caye Caulker and it is pretty much paradise. Palm trees and beaches and golf carts, no cars. The streets are all sand. This is how I want to roll. Aspirational.
We go to pick up our bags and there is my daughter’s, but… where is mine? It isn’t there and now all my worst suspicious seem validated. Someone has walked off with my bag! They tell me that doesn’t happen and I should just relax, which is weird, because I’m rather relaxed, generally, but I’m maybe not so relaxed cataloging all the really important stuff in that bag. Medicine. Underwear. Sun Screen. Wading boots. Ugh.
There is a bar nearby, because, of course there is. I have a Belekin, because, of course I do. The girl has a Sprite, which she doesn’t finish, because ordering drinks she isn’t going to drink is one of her hobbies.
I go back to check on the bag. It isn’t there. Maybe they found it. Maybe. It will be here, they say. And I wait.
It isn’t on the next boat. Or the one after that. But they tell me it is on the next one… the last one of the day.
A taxi driver has been waiting for two hours for our bag. I try to give him some money for his time. He doesn’t take it. I’ll tip him well.
I’m stewing. I’m worried, but my girl… my girl doesn’t care. She’s in Belize with her dad. She’s playing in the water. She’s finding fish and chasing them. She’s calf deep in the Caribbean and loving it and even if this goes badly with the bag I have to think this is the right trip, the right place to be with her, this victim of divorce who doesn’t get to see her dad as much as she’d like.
The last boat pulls in. It is getting dark and this one came all the way from Chetumal, but it gets in before all sunlight has drained from the sky and and on that boat is my bag. Relax, man… it will show up. And it does and everything is perfect.