Friday, February 23, 2007
Yet another creepie-crawlie
Tom and Selwyn uncovered this furry creature (our first tarantula) as they were moving a pile of scrap lumber from the ground into the truck. After taking his picture, we left him alone, and at some point he disappeared into the jungle.
Selwyn found a big stick and knocked down a coconut for each of us, then hacked the tops off with his machete so we could have fresh coconut water, right out of the coconut, for lunch. After posing for these pictures, I poured the coconut water into a mug and mixed it with fresh squeezed sour orange juice.
Tom and Selwyn finished clearing around the first cabin in preparation for Damion to spray for termites on Saturday. Between scrap wood and brush from around the cabin, they had enough to light two burn piles. Tom and Selwyn did an incredible amount of work on the place this week, with relatively little expenditure, so we plan to hire Selwyn full time when we close. He knows a lot about the jungle and living in the jungle, he’s a hard and fast worker, if he doesn’t know something he’s eager and quick to learn, and he knows about keeping horses in this climate. He said he would be happy to work here full time, since we let him go home every night; most of the resorts around here have their employees stay for the stretches they work rather than going home every day, so for Selwyn working here would allow him to live with his family full time.
I stopped by Jim and Sharon’s house this afternoon to see if I could “rent” time at Jim’s shop since he has a couple of machines that would make it possible to fit our new “custom” but made too big windows into Cabin 1. As I was walking along I was doing what Eagle Boy Scouts are trained to do, picking up garbage along the road. Here in Belize, throwing garbage out your car window is not really considered bad, people just do it, and it really irks me. So, I will do my part and pick it up when I am walking along, and hopefully I will start a new trend. Well, my hands were getting a bit full after a couple hundred yards and I was getting selective on what I was picking up. Luckily, when I got to the corner there was a small bag like a horse feed bag that I decided was sent there “from above” so that I could put all this garbage in it. So, I put the garbage I had in the small bag, and down the road I go, picking up more stuff.
“Hey Tum, hey Tum” - shouts I hear as I am ambling along. I was in front of our neighbors’ houses and the little kids are running out, shouting for me and darting back into their yards, behind trees, and into houses. I am chuckling to myself, “these kids are laughing at this new gringo doing something really wacky – picking up the garbage.” At least this is what I thought. So, some of the brave ones come out to see what I am actually doing. A couple of the kids know some English, the others, only Spanish. Trying to explain to kids about garbage in broken Spanish phrases and asking 5 year olds how to say things like “take it to the dump” can really be a challenge. Well, they finally understood what I was doing.
So off I go, “voy a mi casa con basura” (I go to my house with garbage), then “buenas noches” (good night), up the road to our house. And along come about 8 kids, picking up garbage along the road and putting it into my overflowing bag (remember, I was doing selective pickup at this point, the bag is SMALL).
We all get back to our driveway and they follow me up to our first cabin. This cabin has no roof at this point but Selwyn and I have picked up all the garbage and debris from within as of this morning. One of the little girls pulls a wooden top out of her pocket, wraps a string around it and proceeds to roll it out on the cement floor on its side. I see this and think “I know how this works” so I have her rewind the string and hand it to me. I set the top down on the floor in front of where I am sitting, put the top under my finger and pull the string. It spins for about 15 seconds and falls, and the kids are laughing. Then one of the bigger kids comes forward, wraps up the top again, and side-armed flings it into the middle of the floor. The top spins for about a minute. So, here I am, a mid 40 year old garbage collecting gringo in the jungle that doesn’t even know the best way to get a child’s toy to work. What did I even go to college for in the first place?
Then the parents walk in the gate. I have asked our neighbor, Damion, about spraying the cabin that Selwyn and I have been working on for bugs, termites, and everything else that crawls and/or slithers. So we wander up to the cabin with all the kids, since none of the kids or adults had really seen the cabins on the property. The kids ran around, ran out the back into the dog cage (chicken wire enclosure), race back into the cabin, then take off out the door heading towards the third cabin where Marge is on her Nordic Track for her 40 minutes of “gerbiling” (like a hamster on a running wheel).
Marge now has an audience of about 8 kids and 2 adults that are just amazed at what these gringos are doing. Whoever heard of exercising on a machine (that they have no idea what it resembles), carrying on a conversation, and reading in the light of a DeWalt flashlight, in a cabin that has no steps onto the porch. Marge tells them, 15 more minutes, and they all stand there to watch her like an animal in a cage at the zoo. Boy, do Marge and I have a lot to learn about how to fit in out here in the bush! I would like to stress that we are not thinking “boy, what a lot the locals have to learn about how to do things our way to stay fit.”