Monday, January 21, 2008

Property and Paperwork Progress

The first guest room is just about done, and Tom and Selwyn are in the process of doing the finishing touches like screening in the porch and making the towel racks and shower curtain rod in the bathroom look finished and polished. We picked out fabric for curtains so Olmi can make curtains for the room this week, we have to buy a few linens since we didn’t bring and queen bed linens with us from New York, and then we’ ready to go.

Well, we will be ready to go as soon as we complete all the necessary paperwork, which, as expected, involves a bit of a run around. We spent Friday running around in Spanish Lookout and San Ignacio, and actually got farther than we expected. We managed to talk to the Georgeville town chairman about our liquor license, and he referred us to his secretary to tell us about the process, and she referred us to somebody else who is the liaison between Georgeville and San Ignacio. The liaison was supposed to be at a meeting at 7:30pm in Georgeville on Friday, so after running around all day Tom brought me home to feed the animals, then he went back for the meeting, and found that the guy wasn’t coming. They were, however, able to reach him on his cell phone, so he made an appointment for Tom to meet him in his San Ignacio office Monday at 9:00am, and that’s where Tom is now. Hopefully things will go smoothly there, and we’ll get on the agenda for the Georgeville meeting which is this Thursday night, and we will have our liquor license by the end of the week.

I now have my food handler’s license, and am certified to be worm-free. This license has to be renewed every three months, and after talking to the doctor we found that I can either submit a sample every three months, or I can just get wormed, and then the doctor will renew the license. Right now, I think I’ll probably opt to just get wormed every three months, since the medication supposedly doesn’t have any side effects, and since I worm the horses every two months and the dogs every month here, I figure it probably won’t hurt to worm the humans four times a year as well. If I get any help in the kitchen, those people will also need food handlers’ licenses, so I’ll give them the option of getting tested or just getting wormed. It will be interesting to see which option they take.

The next thing we have to do is submit our application to the Belize Tourist Board, and we’re ready to go. We need our liquor license in order to do that, and it looks like we may have to incorporate, but we’re definitely getting close.

Right now Olmi is first on my list as kitchen help when we start having guests. When Tom’s parents were here, Olmi very graciously made them two Belizean dinners, chicken, rice, and beans, which we ate at Olmi and Damion’s house with Wilton and Daisy, and then escebeche, which Olmi made at home and then brought over here to eat after teaching me how to make the traditional corn tortillas served with the escebeche. Escebeche, by the way, is a sort of onion soup made from poultry stock, and the stock is especially good because the chicken is freshly killed, boiled, then roasted on the wood hearth, then returned to the stock pot to finish the soup. As we were working on the corn tortillas, Olmi asked if I knew how to make empanadas, and I told her that although I’d had them made by a friend’s mother in the US, I had no idea how to make them. So, the next week, I got everything we needed and Olmi gave me an empanada making lesson. She can make them about ten times faster than I can, but I’m getting the hang of it, and they’re so yummy they’re well worth the time they take to make.

We’re also getting close to applying for our permanent residency. The lab and the doctor we went to for our blood tests and physicals made it very simple, and we accomplished both within about an hour and a half on Friday afternoon. We’re free from any sexually transmitted diseases – the only thing immigration cares about for the blood tests – and we found that Belize is apparently agreeing with us since we both had lower blood pressure than we can ever recall having in the US; Tom’s was 110/70, and mine 100/65. Tom is stopping at the police station this morning to see if he can get our police reports, which basically just need to say that we haven’t been arrested since we’ve been here. He’s also going to see if our marriage license arrived in the mail from Florida, and then we’re ready to make the trip to Belmopan and either submit the applications or see what else we need.

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