The day approaches and coincidentally adorned by the presupposed importance of 12/12/12 was the opening day of Tropic Air’s office on the Maya Flats Airstrip, owned my Mr. Amin Bedran, in San Ignacio. Filled with anticipation, I arrived to a gravel parking lot with a beautifully constructed one story wooden building, the Tropic Air Maya Flat’s office. Immediately greeted by Denny, Tropic Air’s Customer Service Manager, we are led inside an air conditioned area that is modestly furnished and arranged with finger foods and Hors d'oeuvre for the 50 or so invitees anxiously awaiting the pomp and circumstance surrounding the event.
The ceremonies began and one speaker after another all concur that this is a monumental effort that will not only increase the exposure of Belize
, but will also connect different cultures and communities within the country, particularly the cayes with the mainland of Belize. The ribbon was cut and diminishing my personal fear of flying, I was as excited as a child on Christmas morning to board the fifteen passenger Tropic Air plane. Mingling amongst the other guests, the popular question was, “Are you going to take a ride in a plane?” Trying to maintain my game face I respond nonchalantly, “I am not sure.”
The first flight takes about 15 passengers up for a quick preview of the airplane and an aerial scenic view of San Ignacio and its surroundings. Applause fills the air as the plane smoothly leaves the ground and soars out of eye sight. A brief moment of relief came over me; I dodged getting on the plane. The flight returns and the passengers emerge, with thumbs up and a blissful look on their faces. It is obvious they all share the same sentiment and completely enjoyed the flight. Just as my nerves begin to settle, I heard, “The plane is going up for a second flight.”
Again my original emotions of fear, panic and nervousness resurface as I give into peer pressure and agree to take the second flight. Our names are recorded and the numbers of passengers that are to board the flight are tallied and we are ushered to the right side of the plane to board. Tip toeing around the rear of the plane, as to not let my five inch heels sink in the grassy dirt, I climb four steps and I am on the plane. The roof was slightly lower than the larger planes I am use to but it was very spacious and the seats are surprisingly accommodating and comfortable. Everyone is onboard and off we go. I gripped my seat anticipating the normal pressure you feel upon take off but to my surprise it did not happen. I began to relax into my window seat and I am immediately taken away by the aerial view of Belize.
We flew over the San Ignacio area and our pilot details points of interest while we are flying. Captivated by the view and comforted by the smoothness of the flight, I forgot I was in an airplane. I am able to capture several shots of the landscape from my window seat. We also flew near Xunantunich and I was able to capture a photo via my cell phone. (not a great one). It was time to land and immediately I am brought back to reality due to my fear of flying and most particularly landing. Closing my eyes and clenching the headrest in front of me I await the descent breathing in a consistent pattern.
Waiting, what seemed like an eternity for my learned idea of what a plane descent felt like, I opened my eyes to take a peek and see exactly where we were in the process of reaching the ground. Unknown to me, we were already there. Wait, what happened, I silently thought with a confused look on my face. What happened to that rollercoaster feeling of your stomach going in your throat that I am accustomed to when a plane lands? Thankfully and shockingly it did not occur. The landing was so smooth as if a cloud coasted us down to the ground and gently placed the plane back on the Maya Flats Landing Strip. I got off the plane and I am all smiles, both because I faced one of my fears and because of the wonderful experience I just encountered aboard Tropic Air’s flight. This was truly a “Once in a lifetime day,” for me.