Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Held Hostage By A Sponge Mop

A task that has been assigned to us during our housesitting gig is to find a sponge mop. 
Simple enough, right? 

We began housesitting about 3 weeks ago, each trip into town has been burdened with finding a sponge mop. We have visited virtually every grocery store (and there are at least 25) and household item stores in town...string mops galore, but no sponge mops to be had--anywhere.

The cleaning lady called this morning to forewarn us that if there was no new mop, then she would not be cleaning the floors tomorrow. Hence---hostage!

So, off to town we went - again - and just as futility was setting in, we asked a Cinty's household store employee if there were such a thing as a sponge mop in Corozal? "No," he politely said, "not in Orange Walk either--but if you go to Belize City you could find one, or have someone there bring it to you."
(Let me interject--from Corozal, OW is a 45 minute drive and BC is 2 hours)

Really?--drive that far for a mop?

We told him we don't know anyone in Belize City to bring us a mop, he then offered, "I can get one here for you on Friday, it will come on the truck." Wait, did that just happen? We excitedly told him that we'd purchase 2 and we'll be back on Friday.

In the meantime, we have purchased a string mop for the cleaning lady to use. She won't be thrilled, but...Lily was happy she had a new mop to use, regardless of the type...about the string mop she said, "It'll do until you get the other."

It's Friday now...we stopped back at Cinty's and were told he had not received the mop on the truck, it's on backorder---BUT he found one "in the back" does not have a protective cap on the handle, so he'd sell it to us for $10bze.....OK!

We are finally the proud owners of a sponge mop!

And did we mention..Lily's thrilled too?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Invasion Of The Pint-Sized "Animals Of Belize"

It's funny how these parades just seem to "happen" in Corozal Town. This one was held to celebrate the pre-schoolers in Corozal District. Both public and parochial pre-schools from Corozal Town, Copper Bank, Sarteneja and the little villages in between descended on Town Square; which, at 9a.m. on a Friday, was filled to overflowing with "The Animals of Belize." Floats, wild cats, sea creatures, farm animals, insects, birds, reptiles and 2 drum corps rounded out the procession. It was hot, 90 degrees in the shade with high humidity and these little troopers decked out in their homemade costumes...

well, need I say more? Pre-schoolers, costumes, parade...

Crocs---In The Bay?

Yep----here's proof!

Sure he's a solitary guy patrolling the shoreline, but at 4 feet long we didn't want to get too close!

After he left, I took his spot.....

That's me!


From the backyard, I'm between the 2 posts in the bay

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Posting a bond for our Jeep

Bringing a vehicle into Belize, for the ease of exploring is not as simple as it sounds. 

All the internet research and time spent pre-immigration was little preparation for the reality of crossing the border with a 2012 Jeep. Our intent for visiting Belize at this time of our life was to take our time--up to 12 months--and hit every district, stay a while, explore the non-touristy areas, live like a local and rent or housesit along the way. 

We immigrated to Belize December 1, 2012 - as tourists. We presented our Jeep title to the Customs Department, after some paperwork and stamping, Larry's passport was encumbered with the vehicle. Our understanding was that we could renew the vehicle each month for up to 3 months (90 days total) and then buy a nonrefundable bond that would carry us up to 12 months. 

At February's renewal time, we decided to ask Customs the procedure for getting a bond. A convoluted series of events then took place that even now, I'm confused as to what we did and when.  Discussing the process with Larry, we've been able to create a somewhat muddy chronological's our Cliff Note's version:

GET A BROKER!!! May we suggest Riverol's Brokerage (email: Hernan, Rony and their staff are go-getters who helped us wade thru the murky waters of getting a bond. They can be found at the North border, in a bright blue 1-room office just past the customs clearance area on the right hand side.

Riverol's Office
Office looking back toward customs clearance
Contact Information
Rony Riverol

Next step is to visit the Queen's Bond area. This building is across the street from the Immigration/Customs house.  The north side entrance to the building the entry fee is $3bze, you must present your title to gain entrance here; then proceed to the west side of the building. Meet the broker and a Customs Officer to obtain all the pertinent vehicle information. At this point they will consult the Kelley Blue Book for the current value. This value is then used to calculate the bond.

An official form is then generated. You take this form to the Insurance Company. We used ICB (Insurance Company of Belize) not only because their office is convenient to Riverol's, but we have comprehensive car insurance with them as well. The insurance agent completes the transactions, you pay, more forms are generated. This packet of forms is taken back to the broker.

You and the broker again return to the Queen's Bond area, more forms, more stamps, $10bze for the insecticide spray receipt and final approval. All this resulted in 3 copies of the bond forms: 1-kept at cashier's desk of Queen's Bond customs, 2-surrendered at the Customs gate officer and 3-ours to keep (with the original title stapled to it).

This process took us over 3 hours to complete. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Chan's - BBQ On The Bayfront

Ok, so we've been holding out on you.

 Our vote for the best BBQ in Corozal is--Chan's Fast Food. Located on the bayfront under the huge ficus tree, across the street from the Social Security building and Maya Hotel, sits a whitewashed wooden shack. During the week Mr. Chan works for the Immigration Department but his family-owned snack shack serves cool non-alcoholic beverages and cold snacks. However on Saturday, Sunday and holidays, Chan's explodes with charcoal smoke and the aroma of BBQ. Get there early--11:30 a.m. ish-- if you're a pork rib aficionado. Tender, juicy and hot off the grill these ribs melt in your mouth. And don't forget the chicken, white meat or dark it too just falls off the bone. For $10bze ($5usd) each, the meat is served with a flour tortilla, cold baked beans and homemade coleslaw--don't forget the lime juice or Coke! 

Welcome To Chan's Fast Food!
Mr. Chan and son manning the grill

Grillin' and Eatin'

Larry enjoying the pork ribs

See you there!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Mahahual, Mexico

Mahahual (Mah-ah-wall) Mexico is a Costa Maya town that sits on the Caribbean. 90 minutes from Chetumal, you arrive in a quaint village filled with hotels, shops, street vendors, restaurants and bars lining the pedestrian-only front street; the beach side is filled with overflow restaurant and bar tables along with beach chairs and some umbrellas. North of town, a taxi ride away, lies the port of Mahahual--this particular day one of the Disney ships was in port--the village hosts 2 ships a week.

We enjoyed a couple of beers, chips and salsa on the beach. It was a relaxing afternoon. We'll return when we can spend a few days.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Sarteneja - A Day Trip From Corozal

Sarteneja (Sar-teh-ney-ha) is a short 40 miles from Corozal; however, it takes about 2 hours to get there! Take in to account 2 ferries-their wait and traversing times- and the "charm of Belize" roads. Most of the time you are able to travel about 25mph, as you avoid the potholes. It would be a different story during the wet season.

We stopped just shy of Sarteneja at the Shipstern Nature Reserve. The $10bze entrance fee allowed us to enjoy the butterfly farm, a 1/4 mile well marked trail through the reserve and the observation tower. There were 3 species of trees only found in that ecosystem, they were well marked along the trail. There was a longer trail that split off about half way in, we chose to stay on the short one so we could get to Sarteneja.

We arrived in Sarteneja--since a picture is worth 1000 words.....ENJOY!