Ah, Hilton Hotels. Woke up still tired from the previous day’s exhausting drive from nearby Veracruz. Our vehicles are slower than the plush-mobiles, but on these roads it’s not difficult to keep up. About 100 km west of Chetumal, our destination for the evening, we stopped along highway 180 for dinner. Several members of our group had already arrived at a restaurant that seemed like an oasis off of MEX 186. Unbeknownst to us at the time, there were spectacular ruins just 200 yards from the restaurant.
After dinner, we piled in the cars to finish off the last 100 km of the day. I hopped in and, just as I closed the door, I saw a BAT in the rear view mirror. It must have entered the car about 30 km before we stopped for dinner, because I heard a thud on the side of the car. It was dusk and all sorts of large insects, birds, and creatures were out.
Woke up in Chetumal at 6:45 and drove to the Mexican/Belize border. Three hours later, we'd taken care of insurance and exit/entry paperwork. A Coca Cola tent was just on the other side of the border, and an executive from Coke was present to welcome us to Belize.
Several unexpected delays kept
our group from taking care of everything smoothly, but such is life with
a group so large. Several folks on the trip were inexperienced travelers,
playing G.I. Joe safari dress-up in their comfortable, air-conditioned
plush-mobiles—with none too little travel sense. We couldn't wait to ditch
them, but the event line-up throughout the next few days seemed well-planned
and exciting, so we decided to follow their itinerary. Over the next few
days, group dynamics and the liabilities of newness would be put to the
test. The good news is that it tightened the bonds of our group and forced
us to make decisions as a team.