After spending an extended period of time in the states visiting kids and grandkids, I returned to Ambergris Caye this week. Anyone who has traveled to Belize is well aware there may be a few of your favorite things you cannot find here on the island. Knowing I will stay for at least a few months before returning to the states, I checked the additional bags, filled to the brim with my favorite things. By the time I arrived, I was second guessing this decision. My first sign should have been the need to sit on the suitcases to zip them, as I desperately wanted to bring my favorite bamboo pillow. Packed, zipped and headed to the airport, I thought the most difficult part was over. Bags were checked, boarding passes printed and we breeze through customs. Two carry-ons and a dog carrier with my “baby” Floyd, my 4lb Chihuahua, I’m feeling pretty confident at this point. Just praying he does not have to pee before we get to Houston.
My first sign should have been the need to sit on the suitcases to zip them, as I desperately wanted to bring my favorite bamboo pillow. Packed, zipped and headed to the airport, I thought the most difficult part was over. Bags were checked, boarding passes printed and we breeze through customs. Two carry-ons and a dog carrier with my “baby” Floyd, my 4lb Chihuahua, I’m feeling pretty confident at this point. Just praying he does not have to pee before we get to Houston.
Stepping onto the escalator, I feel my earring slipping out, as I struggle with the carry-ons, try to keep my balance on the escalator, and desperately trying to hold on to my 4lb Chihuahua I see it fall at my feet. ( these were a special birthday gift, so I’m going for it) As I regain my balance, I desperately bend over and grab just as it disappears into the revolving steps! Frustrated, but realizing with a knee replacement impeding my mobility, and thankful I did not smash Floyd into the escalator, I laughed it off and headed to the gate. Sign number two!
Flying Southwest allows us to pick our own seats. I take middle and aisle seats, hoping no one wants to squeeze into the window seat, providing extra room for Floyd. Wrong! A very nicely dressed man, I’m sure was headed to a business meeting in Houston, decides to chance it. I’m thinking, “Sir, you really look smarter than this!” Nonetheless, he chooses to sit next to us. Just as we prepare for takeoff and I’m putting Floyd back into his carrier, the stressful day of traveling hits him. His nose is running and he starts to heave. Oh mother of God, No! Having six children, I recognize these symptoms. My first reaction was to try catching it, obviously not my first choice, just a reaction. Yes, I try catching it while attempting to keep my own breakfast down. I avoid eye contact with the nicely dressed businessman next to me as I search for the airsick bag. Sign number three!
We arrive in Houston with just enough time to rush outside to find some grass, back through customs and board for Belize city. Taking a pet to Belize is fairly simple and only requires some minor paperwork and a visit to our local vet for a health checkup. Paperwork was completed, he has a “pet passport” and a quick stop at immigration to submit the forms. We’ve done this before, no problem.
Feeling confident there would be no more issues, we land in Belize City, present the paperwork from our vet, only to be told it is the wrong paperwork! Feeling certain this is the exact paperwork we submitted on our last trip. but a different agent at the airport. We are told we can not enter the country without a wellness checkup and correct paperwork. We are now on the Belizean side of customs and they are not going to let Floyd into the country. I was not surprised at the next comment: ” Yes, we can do the correct paperwork and wellness check here for an additional $50! Into the small room, yes, he looks healthy. I pay the money and head for the last leg of the trip to the island. Sign number four!
Once into Belize city, it’s a short 12-minute flight on “puddle jumper”. I’ve done this several times with no issues. We check in just in time to be told a smaller plane is boarding with room for only two more, or we can wait for another hour for our scheduled flight. My first thought was how much smaller can you get than your typical 12 seater? But OK, we’ll go now. I soon realize smaller translates to only six seats. As we board, or actually squeeze in, we are told, “one get in, the other wait, as we have to flip the seat down.” What?? The last seat flips down, as we try to buckle, uncertain whether these last two seats are secured to the floor. We are all laughing, well aware that in 12 minutes this long day will be well worth the hassle, and it was!
Welcome to Belize!