Back from Belize now to sunny North Norfolk but it was only just..
The day after I arrived, they banned any more Europeans from entering and Mr.Trump set up his ban on arrivals from EU unless they had been away for 14 days, which was a problem because all flights go via the USA to England from Belize and USA has no real transit area, you have to physically enter the USA and go through immigration customs etc.
No sweat I thought, at least I got in and it just means another extra week in Belize, not a problem, so I ordered another flight. Alas I could not get a refund for the first return flight.
About 2 days into my second week, five days to go before returning, there were rumors about Belize closing the land borders, despite having no cases of the virus confirmed as yet.
The next day I received a message from my hosts, which was sent to them from a government friend, that all the land borders will close at 4pm the next day and the airport a day after that. (Before my ticket home).
Left with no choice, I got into a taxi the next morning to the Mexican border, walked across and then found a bus to Cancun with the hope of getting a flight out from there, being a much larger and busier airport than Belize and it was in the back of my mind that if I did get stuck, Mexico was probably a better place as it had more infrastructure.
I booked the only flight out to London from Cancun, going via Canada. Due to number of people also trying to escape, all tickets were full for days apart from Business Class, which I reluctantly bought as again I was running out of options.
The day of departure, I got a phone call from a friend, who was trying to help some friends stuck in Panama, telling me that Canada had just closed its borders to non Canadians.
Its OK, I thought, I’m transit and Toronto has a proper transit area but when I tried to Check in online it refused me, stating the new travel restrictions.
I went to the airport where the lady at the Air Canada desk agreed new rules were in place since that morning and I would have to contact the airline directly to arrange a refund.
Now thinking waiting for repatriation was my last and only hope, I just tried to check in anyway, with one of the machines. To my great surprise it printed out two boarding passes but stated I would have to speak to check in assistance to confirm.
Fearing the worst I queued up anyway. By this time confidence was running low and expected to be turned down but they just waved me through.
Waiting for the plane, it was repeatedly delayed by 1/2 hour several times, so was still worrying about a last minute cancellation.
There were plenty other Europeans in my situation waiting for the plane, from all over South and Central America, looking for that elusive non USA bound transit flight to EU.
Finally they let me on and we left Cancun and I transited to London with no problems.
I’m lucky that I’m fairly used to thinking on my feet, having travelled quite a lot in 3rd world countries in my youth but even I acknowledge that was a close thing..
I still have no idea what happened toward the end but someone was smiling on me.