One of my favorite things to do when entering foreign soil for the first time is to take note of the smells. Many parts of Belize smell very much like New Orleans' French Quarter, which is a combination of the sickly sweet scent of rotting garbage and the mingling of human perspiration and exotic flowers hanging like chandeliers in the humid air.
When we exited the plane and collected our luggage we had to wait for the bus. Because the bridge over the river in the southern part of the country had been knocked out due to the flooding; the bus we were supposed to take was unable to get to us. So we waited. As the trip progressed I realized that we would do a whole lot of waiting in this country.
We had an obscene amount of luggage due to the fact that in addition to their personal bags, everyone brought at least one additional suitcase filled with medical supplies. When the bus finally came to pick us up we were so crowded that many people had to sit on water jugs in the aisle.
We had to make a stop in Belize city to pick up a generator, and like most stops, this took awhile. We occupied ourselves by watching a rat run out from under a building to steal bits of dog food from a dog that was busy eating garbage. We laughed about the irony of this and were soon enough back on the road.
We stopped at a little restaurant for dinner but the owner said that she would not be able to feed us since most of her staff had already been sent home. We must have looked pitifully hungry (which we were) because she finally agreed to feed us. I offered to help take drink orders and serve food because I had experience as a server, honestly, what haven't I done? After that night, I was kind of delegated the job of group waitress and whenever orders had to be taken it was assigned to me.
We were served a wonderful dinner of BBQ chicken with beans and rice and coleslaw. To drink I had a real coke in a glass bottle; it was like having dessert. We loaded back on the bus, and before long we were on a very bumpy dirt road for what seemed like an eternity and at our final destination in Belmopan at a place called Banana Bank Lodge.
While waiting in line for our room assignments, we met a spider monkey who had jock itch and wouldn't stop scratching himself, typical man. And then I saw IT. I noticed something moving in the grass which I assumed was an opossum or cat, but upon closer inspection I noticed it was a cock roach as big as a man's hand.
After I recovered from the massive heart attack I had while looking at that bug, I decided to lock myself into my room and have a nightcap of benadryl to put myself into a coma and sleep through the night. As I was preparing for this, Jennifer who would be my roommate for this trip, said hey, there's a monkey peeking into our bathroom window.
Like an idiot I went outside and turned on the light. The area I was in was like a breezeway dining area and was open on both ends but connected to our room and the room behind us. There sat the monkey sticking out it's tongue at us in a way that seemed very judgemental. And then I looked down. There were spiders of a tarantulan nature all over the floor. I tried to remain calm, but at that point one of the herculean roaches came flying at my face and I screamed. This caused a chain reaction of screaming from Jennifer and the monkey. And we ran into our room and slammed the door and collapsed on the bed in fright.
As if it couldn't get worse, I noticed that our door had a two inch gap in the bottom and all manner of crawly things were just coming into our room like it was the LA expressway. That's when my inner Mcgyver kicked in and Jillian got resourceful. When it comes to a war with bugs, I win. EVERY. TIME. I got my industrial sized can of bug spray and sprayed the whole door frame especially concentrating on the bottom. Then I got a towel and soaked it in the spray and wedged it into the crack under the door. By God, no bugs were getting in that room even if it meant that Jennifer and I were going to suffer brain damage from all that deet.
I think I managed to fall asleep although I don't remember how long it took. My knife lay beside the bed all night. Open.