The uniformed guard pointed at my bike again. This time I gathered that he was pointing at the tire, not just commenting on the size of my bike like most people did. I glanced down at the tire and noticed that the tire was flat on the ground. I could even see the staple sticking out of the tire as well.
One more thing to deal with, as if dealing with my first border crossing of the trip wasn't enough. I got out the compressor and let it sit and pump up the tire while I paid the guy for my entrance into Belize and got directions on where I needed to get my bike fumigated.
The squad of adventure riders with Guatemalan plates who were crossing into Belize gave me directions to the town just down the road, and thirty minutes later I was waiting once again waiting for a new tube to be put in. I was struggling with conducting the entire business in English after six weeks of being in Mexico - it felt like cheating - but it still only cost a few bucks, so at least that part hadn't changed.
I asked for directions to Orange Walk (in Spanish first, and then remembered I could ask in English) and got on what had looked like a large highway on the map. In reality, it was a narrow two lane road with no lines and occasional pot holes.
Orange walk ended up being a pretty slow moving town, and after settling into the hotel, I took advantage of the good internet to have a movie night with friends back in San Diego by Skyping and syncing up the movie start times.
In the morning, I debated my plan. One of the highlights of Belize, according to everyone I'd talked to, was the Cayes: Caye Caulker (the smaller, quieter one) and Ambergris Caye (the more commercial one with a few more things going on). The problem for me was getting there - the only way is by water taxi, and even if I could get a motorcycle on one, I didn't know how much I'd be paying or what I'd do with it when I got there. I certainly wasn't about to park it in Belize City, as there was only the slimmest of chances that it'd still be there when I got back.
A little research on the internet led me to one of the secondary water taxi stops where there was a hostel that, according to a few other drivers who'd done something similar, allowed you to park there while you took your trip to the Cayes. It was a little bit extra work, and it'd mean an extra 3 or more days in Belize, but it was doable.
But as I sat there thinking about it, I found myself hesitating. I had a plan, I could do it, but... if I thought about heading south to San Ignacio instead, I just felt better about it. I couldn't think of a good reason why, but one thing I've learned on this trip is to just trust my instincts, even if I can't dig up a good reason. I'd done it in Puerto Escondido, and that was how I ended up meeting the Italians that I then ended up hanging out with over and over again in the course of the next few weeks.
So I packed up the bike, wrote an apology message to my friend who'd been recommending the Cayes, and headed south. I missed one turn, but considered it more of a detour when it led me to a delicious barbecue chicken stand on the side of the road. Finding good barbecue in Mexico was almost impossible, but Belize seemed to be able to do it pretty well, and I had a friendly conversation with the woman cooking too.
I had a few plans for San Ignacio, so I knew I'd want a good hostel with safe parking. I found that on my first try with Bellas - and ended up stumbling across quite a bit more too.
Next few posts probably won't have many pictures, as I fell into a lake with my phone in my pocket, so the pictures I did take are stuck on there, and I wasn't able to take any after that. Will try to up the quality of writing a bit to compensate.