Sunday started like any other day, except that instead of going to church for morning service, I was meeting the mission team to head off to the country of Belize to serve with International Servants (www.iservants.org).
I had a little problem with security, which is unusual since I travel so much. The TSA decided to check my hiking boots for explosives and then also decided to swab my back pack. I’m not sure what made them decide to do that – there wasn’t anything that I don’t usually carry.
Then I had a problem with the gate agent for American Airlines. I had my boarding pass at the gate and was about to get on the plane, when the lady scanning passes said that she needed to check my passport. So I got out of line, went to the gate agent, showed her my passport and got a new boarding pass (which was identical to the former boarding pass). Got back in line to board the plane and the same gate agent, without scanning my boarding pass said she needed to check my passport. My response was “The gate agent just checked my passport,” and she responded with “oh, okay.”
Very odd – I”m really not sure why she needed to check my passport again. Regardless, I was able to get on the plane.
The flight was uneventful, as was the landing. The airport in Belize is a bit small, so once the pilot stopped the 737, he had to pivot around and taxi back up the runway to pull off at the terminal.
We exited the plane with an old fashioned staircase (not a jet bridge) and walked outside on the tarmac down to the arrival hall, so we were able to experience the Belizan climate immediately. There was also several Cessna Caravans parked out on the tarmac, ready to whisk you off to other nearby islands or countries.
We were met at the airport by Evan, our bus driver. He actually owns the bus company with his brother and mother and doesn’t usually drive buses, but he makes an exception for International Servants teams. His bus, in a previous life, belonged to Dallas Area Rapid Transit. The bus ride to La Placentia took about 3 hours. The Belizan countryside is beautiful – a lush tropical landscape. Unfortunately, once we got to La Placentia, it was already dark. Belize does not ‘celebrate’ daylight savings time, so the sun comes up around 5am and sets around 6pm. By the time we arrived, it was about 7pm. We had a really good dinner and some initial instructions before heading off to bed. I also had the privilege of meeting Paul and his wife.