So back to the Chacos! How did not one, but two pairs of Sally's Chacos come to wander Central America, traveling from place to place without her? It started with her selflessly agreeing to carry our laundry during our border crossing from Palenque, Mexico to Flores, Guatemala. We arranged the transport with a company which has different drivers on both sides of the border. It was smooth, until we arrived at Flores and realized to make room for the laundry, Sally had accidentally left out her Chacos. Over the next few days, including three extra ones, we stayed in great hope and yearning, while our hostel owner, two hotel clerks, the sons of two angry Latino ladies, a local guide and countless shuttle drivers blamed each other, called each other names, and all claimed the Chacos were delivered to the next person. Sadly, after a week of perseverance and pleading, we gave up on seeing Sally's trusted companions, knowing they likely had new souls with different soles treading in her old friends. There was a moment of renewed Chaco hope in Guatemala when Jess discovered that a small store improbably in the middle of nearby Santa Elena, sold Chacos. In two years of travel, the only other place we have seen them was in Darwin, Australia at an army surplus store. We were amazed at our good fortune until we realized they had only men's size 11s and larger. Even duct tape could not help Sally reconcile 5 sizes.
Puzzled, we checked online, following the journey of Sally's Chacos across both North and Central America to find they were being held hostage at customs in Belize City. Despite her sister paying maximum expedited international shipping charges, strange messages appeared on FedEx tracking such as "Customer has not paid for expedited customs clearance" and "Contact third party courier" with none listed. Neither talking to nor visiting FedEx online elucidated the issue. But our local friend in Belize City helpfully explained that when she receives packages from DHL or FedEx, they call her for more money to release them.
Posted in Placencia, Belize. Images are of one of our sets of travel gear, our Luci lamp, Sally's surprise at her package delivery, and one of the last pictures of Sally's lost soles.