Wednesday, February 21, 2007

We're good for another month

Wednesday’s breakfast was very exciting, and we’re really glad we cleaned out the nose of the camper since we now eat and look out the windows at the property. The single toucan-like bird we saw in the tree on Tuesday brought seven of his friends, so the custard apple tree was full of upside down birds eating away at the custard apples. Tom got a few pictures, which are a little blurry, but you’ll get the idea. We also watched what we think was an agouti stroll across the driveway. The agouti is a funny little animal, about raccoon size, but with long legs. It looks like the archetypal picture of an animal – what you would get if you just asked a kid to draw a generic animal. It has a sort of roundish body, with a round head attached to the body by a short neck, little round ears, a short tail, and long sticklike legs.

Since we came into Belize on January 22, February 21 was the day we had to go to Belmopan to get our passports stamped and renew our 30 day visas. While we’ve been trying to leave one of us on or close to the property, we haven’t had any trouble, and we’ve been talking regularly to all the neighbors, so we figured it was safe for both of us to leave for the day so we could not only get our passports stamped, but take care of a whole list of other errands in San Ignacio, Belmopan, and Spanish Lookout. Bol stopped by as we were getting ready to go to see if he could borrow the bike for the day. He knew we didn’t need it since he knew our plans because Tom had told Selwin that he didn’t need help on Wednesday because we had to go to Belmopan. So, when Bol showed up, we said that of course he could take the bike, if he could keep a little bit of an eye on the property during the day while we were gone.

We loaded the truck and headed into San Ignacio. We’ve been trying to catch up with Greg, the Inglewood Campground owner, to pay him for the electricity we used between when we paid for the campsite and when we left. As we were driving through the narrow streets in town, Greg turned in front of us. We know he has a shop in town, but don’t know where it is, so we decided to follow him. That was difficult but possible, until we got to the top of a hill where two cars were parked on the shoulders, and a Toyota pickup was stopped with the door open facing us in our lane. Greg’s VW was able to get through, but no way was Tinkerbell slender enough to squeeze through the gap. We sat for a few minutes, figuring it was just somebody dropping something off at the hospital. We sat for a few more minutes, and shut off the truck. We sat for a few more minutes, and finally a man came out of the little restaurant across from the hospital with his two kids, whom he loaded into the Toyota. He got in and shut the door, tried to start it, and then opened the door and started pushing with his foot. He motioned us to back up, and we realized why he’d been parked like that – the truck has to be push started, so he’d just left it right at the crest of the hill so he could get back in and get it rolling down the hill so it would start. We backed up into the hospital driveway so he could get rolling, he got the truck going, gave us a wave, and was gone. We’d lost Greg and didn’t see his car in any of the driveways we passed, so we headed back into town to drop off the laundry and go talk to Noah.

After leaving the laundry, Tom tried to park the truck on the street at the end of Noah’s street. San Ignacio is full of open concrete drains, which have been making me nervous about parking, but every time I say “Watch the ditch,” Tom would assure me that he knew it was there, so I shut up. There was a huge drain – about three feet wide by three feet deep where he was parking, so I figured he saw it. Nope. He drove the front wheel right over the edge, and Tinkerbell clunked down to her axle. Since there wasn’t much to do about it, he got out to talk to Noah, and I stayed in the truck with the dogs – until the truck started shifting deeper in the drain. I unloaded me and the dogs out the driver’s side, since I had about a five foot drop to the bottom of the drain on my side, and went in pursuit of Tom, who hadn’t yet told Noah and Frank that the truck was in the drain. It turned out to be no big deal; Noah said it happens all the time, so he did what he always does and got in his truck and pulled Tinkerbell out, so there was no harm done and it caused a delay of only about five minutes. We talked to Noah about when the closing might happen, and were told it will probably take another week or so. Although the corporation that took over the property to sell it is based in Belize, only one of the people who has to sign is in Belize, and the others are in the US and England, so the paperwork had to be mailed to them, and they have to sign it and send it back, so we’re now waiting on the not so speedy mail system. We’re still being assured that everything is fine, but we’re still going to wait on the big purchases like water and electrical system supplies.

With that we took off for Belmopan, and got our passports stamped. We went to the Belmopan market for produce, and then headed in to Spanish Lookout. Of course we arrived in Spanish Lookout right at lunchtime, when everything is closed, so we went to the Western Dairy planning to get pizza for lunch, but they were out of pizza. So, we had mango and butterscotch ice cream, and mango and mango/guava yogurt for lunch, which was fine with me. We then did a gazillion little errands in Spanish Lookout which took most of the day, but we came home with enough groceries to get us through at least four or five days, windowsills and doors for the first cabin, a new wheelbarrow, a fuel filter for the generator, a truck full of diesel, and a can for diesel so we only have to pump diesel out of the tank in the bed of the truck every other day or so instead of every morning. The diesel can seemed to take most of the time in Spanish Lookout. Tom wanted a yellow can for diesel so we could keep plain gas in the red, but Belize seems to be out of yellow cans. Tom finally caved and got a red one, but said he’s going to continue to look for a yellow one.

We took the ferry across the river, picked up our laundry, and pulled in the driveway around 6:00. Bol was patiently waiting for us, and told us that the day had been uneventful. Since it was getting dark, Tom told him to ride the bike home rather than walk, and let Selwin bring it back in the morning.

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