We’re finally on another adventure! There have been a lot in between – 6 weddings (including our own in June!), a few road trips, Las Vegas, trips to the mountains for skiing, and not to mention all those seemingly ordinary but wonderful everyday ones (ok, MOST of the time) Josh and I get to experience together. Denver has been great to us the past year, but we jumped at the chance to see more of the world! This time we are in Playa del Carmen, mostly in part to a lot of luck! Luxury Homeaway actually picked me as the winner of a contest to pin Follow Elizabeth’s board LOVE and ADVENTURE: Our dream wedding and honeymoon!!!! on Pinterest.}” target=”_blank”>”My Dream Luxury Vacation” – I know, I still can’t believe it either! So our friends will be here soon to enjoy this insanely AMAZING house in a few weeks! While we are waiting for them to get here, time to take in some relaxation, culture, cerveza and local nightlife, Mayan ruins and everything else along the way in Guatemala! Night bus (ADO – 556 pesos, so about $42 USD) left from Playa to take us to Belize City en route to Flores, Guatemala at 11:40 pm (after great tacos and drinks watching the Royals win, of course!) Paying 300 pesos ($25 USD each) seemingly very arbitrarily (horrible exchange rate, no signs, no change given, just what some dude tells us in the English he surely knows more of but doesn’t let on) just to leave Mexico at Chetumal border at 4 AM wasn’t great…but as it goes. Cross into Belize – more freezing cold bus (we were wearing ALL of the semi-warm clothes we brought and still freezing), and still feeling super dehydrated because I skimped on the agua for fear of no bathroom onboard, but still too scared to drink water (what about the next bus?!) We arrive at Belize City at 8 AM – only it’s 7 AM there. Had no clue about the time change. Either way, we still missed the Express bus to Flores. Luckily, everyone there is ACTUALLY helpful (no, seriously, not like Africa where “helpful” people were the ones to avoid because they would rip you off the most). Changed pesos we got from the Mexico border to Belize dollars, then we are off on a crowded old school bus for a 45 minute trip to Belmopan for 5 Belize dollars each (2 Belize dollars = 1 USD) Once there, stop at the ATM then a 2-hour ride on another old school bus to Benque Viejo del Carmen for another 5 Belize dollars each. Then it was another 10 Belize dollars to get a taxi to the actual “border” in Belize. Even with a “transit” stamp in our passport from 6 hours ago, we paid 30 Belize dollars each to leave Belize (they spared us the $7.50 each conservation fee:). We successfully dodged at least 12 people asking us if we needed rides, to change money, take a marketing survey, and generally rip us off, paid nothing to get into Guatemala then were off!! Only we had no clue what to do next. So we walked across the bridge, and realized they had been offering us rides at an outrageous price for what ended up being a 5 minute walk. We were finally in Melchor de Mencos – we made it to Guatemala!! We found an ATM to get our 3rd currency of the day, a colectivo (think very overcrowded minibus), and we were off to Flores. Since Flores is an island, of course it was one more ride – a tuk tuk at 10 quetzals ($1.30 USD) straight to a hotel we just blindly picked from a list. So – 15 hours later, we are in a GREAT room with a view watching the Royals, waiting out the rain and Josh to finish his work and trying some Gallo. Moral of the story for other travelers – you will be nickled and dimed, but if you really want to save money by flying into Mexico rather than Guatemala, it’s doable. If you miss the express bus from Belize City, still also doable, but it will take you what feels like A REALLY LONG TIME and you will be dreaming of cold cervezas awaiting you when you FINALLY get here. And since we’ve been bad at taking photos, a few from the past year and a half to catch you up!
We’re finally on another adventure! There have been a lot in between – 6 weddings (including our own in June!), a few road trips, Las Vegas, trips to the mountains for skiing, and not to mention all those seemingly ordinary but wonderful everyday ones (ok, MOST of the time) Josh and I get to experience together. Denver has been great to us the past year, but we jumped at the chance to see more of the world!
We were happy to make it to Kabale to say the least after the worst bus ride ever. With little patience for the touts, we packed up and got as far away from the bus as we could. We had our arrangements in order to get to Lake Bunyonyi in a private hire taxi. We ate a quick breakfast, stocked up on water and hit the road.
Our return to Fort Portal after the chimps was uneventful, which is always a pleasant surprise in Africa. We found bus station and booked a ticket to Kabale (not to be confused with Kibale National Park.) We were told that the only bus to Kabale is the dreaded night bus, which we have been happy to avoid thus far.
Since it was time to leave Kampala and the car we wanted to rent was not available (yes, we were considering braving the roads and traffic here!!), we needed to figure out a bus and a destination. With two weeks to go until we trek with the big boys, we chose to check out Fort Portal based on advice from a Colorado couple we met in Lamu. It seemed like an easy bus ride at only “four hours,” and it was available anytime we wanted to leave. This turned out to be complete bull, as we waited for three hours for the bus to fill up enough for it to leave the station, then it took about six hours to reach Fort P. Sadly enough, this was not our worst bus experience in Africa (more on that later).
We set off from Shela beach in Lamu early morning on a boat to catch our bus to Mombasa. We were not really wanting to leave, but after two weeks there, we knew it was time to get this adventure on the road again. On the boat to the mainland we witnessed something you would ONLY see in Africa!
It’s hard to feel bad about the decision to only see 3 towns in Kenya when one is a town like Lamu. Knowing that we want to spend our last 6 weeks in Uganda, our time in Kenya would have to be limited. We chose to slow things down yet again and spend some time to catch the Lamu vibe; hair of the dog for our post-Zanzibar itch to get right back into it…and by it, I mean “doing absolutely nothing.”
Our last real stop in Tanzania was to a great mountain town called Lushoto, in the very Northeast corner of the country. Besides the cool air, beautiful scenery, and friendly people, it was unique to see the remnants of German occupation (every other building or school was related to the Lutheran Church).
After two weeks of relaxing on the Indian Ocean, I think we are finally falling into Swahili time. It seemed to take a week to just relax and let the past month/thirty three years just slip away. I would imagine that in another month here we would even start to forget our own names!