Crossing the Border from Belize to Mexico and our Funny McDonalds Experience
Yesterday was the start of our whirlwind vacation between Mexico and Canada. We are booked to stay in 8 different places in 13 days. Right up until the day before our trip, we were not sure how we were getting from Belize to Mexico, and at the last minute we decided it made the most sense to fly from San Pedro to Belize City over taking the water taxi, so Paul booked us on the 7:00 AM Tropic Air flight to Corozal.
When we got to Corozal there was no shortage of cabs waiting, and we ended up with VIP transfers. Our driver was super nice and even came inside customs with us to help make sure we were filling out the paperwork correctly. Not so big a deal for Paul likely, but me being the ADD dyslexic, I was thrilled to have someone making sure I did not get distracted and filled in all the right boxes.
To cross the border from Belize to Mexico was a $30 USD cab to the Chetumal ADO bus station. Time was about 45 minutes, and can occasionally run longer depending on the border, but thankfully we managed to beat a busload by a few minutes. This was the first time we had made the trip using the ‘new’ bridge that has been built between Mexico and Belize, and I must say that is was a breeze getting through the Mexican Immigration offices in their large, new buildings vs. the small office everyone used to have to pass through to get into Mexico.
After we passed through immigration and then stopped at the “spraying” station we realized that we had a little while to spare before the bus from Chetumal would leave, so we decided to pop into McDonald’s for some breakfast. We decided to buy breakfast for our driver too since we were taking a little more of his time than we normally would. We got up to the counter and started to place our order – I wanted a few extra hash browns than the 2 that normally come with a combo (I do love McDonald’s hash browns), so Paul ordered 4 combo’s in a mixture of English and Spanish. I also asked for 5 hash browns (in other words, I wanted 3 extra ones in addition to the 2 in my combo) which caused a funny look on the face of the cashier. Paul said “to make it easy let’s just get the 4 combos and you can have an extra hash brown of mine if you want.” So I said okay and walked away to snap some pictures. I also ordered water instead of OJ or Coffee that comes in the combo. I didn’t realize that Paul decided to try and get the extra hash browns, again in stilted Spanish/English. The total of the order seemed a little high when Paul paid, which should have been a tip off, but when the bag arrived it was huge, and we realized that we had just ordered enough food for a small army… We didn’t count them all but it seemed like we had about 30 hash browns in the bag, in addition to our Egg Mc.Muffins – a dream come true :). Laughing on the way out, we jumped in the van and handed a bunch of food to the driver along with the extra drinks, and made our way to the bus station… My craving for hash browns was fully cured, and we munched on them all the way to Tulum.
We got to the bus station and Paul lined up to buy tickets. It turned out that a Mayab milk-run was heading out about 10 minutes later, so rather than waiting we decided to jump on that one. Paul ran out for a quick smoke and then we quickly got down to the gate. The 2nd class ticket experience was definitely different than what we were used to, as we had to load all our own luggage underneath the bus – no attendants in sight. In fact, Paul loaded the bags and then started to worry a little once he got on the bus, because he hadn’t closed the doors and it didn’t look like the driver had either! We have visions of seeing our suitcases rolling down the highway behind us. Overall though, the voyage was pretty smooth. We left at 10 AM from Chetumal and weren’t sure quite how long it would take as this bus stops often along the way (unlike the 1st class bus) but we pulled into Tulum at 1:30 pm, which was just about the norm for that run.
Carolyn and Surendra suggested Italian food for dinner, knowing we do not get a lot of that on the island. We ended up at La Famiglia and everything we had was delicious. We did a gelato stop on the way back to their place and all of us were pleasantly full and fell into a food coma.