Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma–which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. – Steve Jobs
Ding, dong….ding, dong. It is 5:30am, and our fear of staying directly across the street from a Catholic Church continues to be our arch nemesis. The constant clanging of the bells, every fifteen minutes, causes each of us to yell out noises that lack any meaning from underneath our covers at various times throughout the morning as we fight to ignore the early call for Mass and blatantly refuse to answer.
Lying in our beds we find solace in the fact that we are leaving shortly for Guatemala and away from the church bells. My first overland border crossing of my travels and I can’t help but be a little excited, and nervous for the experience. Due to the absolute annoying and incessant presence of Rudy, much worse than being followed around by the clueless neighborhood kid, previously we had foolishly agreed to his services to take us the 16km (10 miles) across the border and to the Island of Flores at $40 BZD ($20 USD) per person. Later, we realized this is the fare for transportation all the way from Belize City to the small island. Learn and let live I suppose, as there is no sense in getting angry after the mistake has been made. 9:30am and we pile nine people, six large backpacks, and six smaller backpacks into a minivan that should seat seven for the fifteen minute drive to the border. Stopping and parking forty feet from the building that rests before the entrance to Guatemala, one by one we uncomfortably contort our way out of the door and stand staring in to Guatemala.
Since our group of six has developed a bond in what can only be described as the backpackers community–existing outside of traditional tourists, but rather as travelers that embrace a unique lifestyle–I find myself sharing a hotel room with Char, Tim, and Kelly. Later we joke that it is a division between North American and Europe since Eva and David share a room at the end of the hall. Wi-fi has been exactly what I had heard and expected, dial-up type speeds in areas with the tendency to drop out faster than the chubby kid in a game of dodgeball. I find myself sitting in the lobby of the hotel straining for a connection, which according to the standards in the States is more the size of a small kitchen. As I wait painfully for my email to load, I find myself talking with the only English-speaking employee, Luis, a very friendly kid from Belize that is eager to discuss with travelers where they have been and where they are going next–the source and limitation of his travels. As our friendship grows over an introductory discussion he is kind enough to show us around from a local’s perspective and even assist us with booking our transportation to Tikal.