Thursday, April 5, 2007

Bread, ceviche, rain, no water

On Thursday, I went to San Ignacio and got the paperwork. It was worth the trip, since I also went to the San Ignacio market and bought enough produce until the beginning of next week, and some other basic supplies for the holiday weekend. Easter is a big holiday in Belize. Everything closes at noon the Thursday before Easter, and doesn’t open again until Tuesday morning. The kids are off school for the whole week before and the whole week after Easter, so families here do what Americans always seem to do over the Christmas/New Year holidays and plan trips. I took the money from the real estate agent and opened a bank account in San Ignacio, and the line at the bank was out the door as everybody was waiting in line to get the money they need for the holiday.

Since everything in town closed at noon, I made it home in time for lunch. It was very hot and muggy, to the point where even I was sweating just sitting in the shade. Tom and Selwyn continued working on the doors in the cabin, where it’s reasonably cool and shady, and I decided to make bread since it was a perfect day for the bread to rise. I also had to pick a couple of the last limes from our Jamaican lime tree and marinate a pound of conch I’d picked up in town for ceviche. In NY, I would make ceviche from shrimp or some other fish, but the first real ceviche we ever had was here in Belize, where it’s always made with conch, so in my mind real ceviche uses conch. Unfortunately, conch is pretty hard to find in NY, so I had to compromise, but here it comes fresh and cleaned and trimmed and all I had to do was chunk it up and let it soak.

The bread making plan turned out fine despite the heat, because around 4:30 black clouds rolled in and heavy showers started, which cooled the temperatures considerably. So, by the time the bread was ready to bake, it was cool enough to turn on the oven. Despite the fact that ceviche isn’t cooked, which you would think would make it a great meal for really hot days, heat still becomes an issue because ceviche is eaten with fresh tortillas, and cooking the tortillas involves turning two burners on the stove on to full blast and heating a cast aluminum griddle as hot as it will get, so that creates more heat in the camper than turning on the oven anyway. But, thanks to the rain, none of that mattered.

The rain also helped with another local problem. The water in the pipe has been off for the past couple of days, probably due to a break somewhere down line. Since we’ve been getting water out of the 200 gallon tank on the tower and keeping another 750 to 1000 gallons in the big tank, we didn’t even realize the water was out for a day. After the second day, the horses were out of water, so we had to fill their tub from the hose from the tank, and Selwyn told us that the water is off for the whole town. With the rain, most of our neighbors put out buckets and caught enough rain water for basic needs, but Honduran Marta didn’t do that. Just after dark, between showers, Thelma and Cindy came over with buckets to see if they could have some water. I was making dinner, but jumped out of the camper to help them. When I opened the hose valve, no water came out, so I assumed that the tank was empty. Tom was taking a shower, and he started giving me the lengthy set of instructions involved in hooking up the pump to pump more water from the big tank to the tower tank, and right about then the ants got me. The rain had driven the ants out of the ground, and they were all over at the back of the camper near the hose. I think I scared the girls, because I was yelling and jumping around and trying to get the biting ants off my wet legs in the dark, and trying to figure out what was going on with the hose. I ended up telling the girls to come back in a half hour, so I would have a chance to get all the ants off me, and Tom could get out of the shower and hook up the pump.

In the end, it turned out that the tank wasn’t completely empty, but somehow the hose had kinked about 20 feet out from the camper. Tom filled the tank anyway since he had the generator and the pump running. The girls never came back for water, probably because it started raining again and they got enough in their buckets from the rain. So, Tom and I started eating, and suddenly the generator shut down. We just figured it was out of gas, but after dinner Tom went to check on it and found that the glass vessel for the fuel filter had cracked so whatever gas was left in the generator at that point ran out on the ground. Tom says it’s my fault it broke, because I had just asked him how nice it was to be able to spend an entire week working on the cabin and not have to go out and run around doing errands – and the gods just wanted to let us know that they’re still in control, and Tom does have to spend at least part of a day in Spanish Lookout on Friday getting the new fuel filter vessel. I could have gone to get the part, but I don’t know the venders in Spanish Lookout near as well as Tom does, and since we’re not sure if they’re open on Good Friday or not, we figure it’s better for Tom to go so they won’t have a strange woman showing up at their home asking them to open the store for a generator part.

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