Thursday, May 28, 2009


Well, it woke us up around 2:23am this morning, Thursday, May 28, 2009. At first I (Tom) thought Recona, who was locked on the front porch, was scratching a lot and shaking the house. Then I realized, no, it is a LOT more shaking than that! We were a' shakin' for at least a minute, enough time to wake up, wonder what was up, go to the window and look out at the pitch black jungle in the middle of the night, and ponder how long do these tremors last; to us, it seemed like a very long minute. Nothing scary though, just wondering if our house would fall into the ground since caves are all over in Belize, and the whole place is undermined with limestone. Not sure how much we would have felt it if we didn't live in a house on stilts!

We have heard that there is a major fault in the Caribbean that is way overdue for some major shifting. Who knows, we had a major quake in Upstate NY while we were there. In the Adirondacks there were roads that had 2-3 foot shear rises or drops.

We will keep you posted! Travelers shouldn't change your their travel plans though (as far as we know), this just adds to the excitement in life! One of the advantages to living back in the bush is we don't have electric lines to come down, phone systems to fail, or huge buildings to come toppling down, however there are some tall water towers setup for the towns.

We really feel bad for the water board in the town of Independence. The UDP illegally ousted the PUP water board last year and the courts last week declared that the old PUP water board should be able to take back over. In a report we just read on, the water tower in Independence collapsed due to the quake. Bad luck for the PUP water board coming back in, I am sure that the water problems are all going to be blamed on them now.

Also, we are wondering if we can apply to NEMO for road much needed road repairs to the Georgeville Road!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Recona’s Whoop-de-doos

Recona is a very funny dog, and Tom and I sometimes wonder if she didn’t receive a good bit of coaching from Mel before he died since she does so many things just like he did. For example, since we’ve been keeping her on the porch at night, she’s been very good and hasn’t bothered to chew shoes or anything. But, one night earlier this week, we came out in the morning and found that she had taken our mini-binoculars off the rail, neatly out of the case, and had removed one eyepiece. The same night, she took a pair of my reading glasses apart. When Mel was a puppy, we were always baffled by how his destructive efforts always had themes, and he would collect things to chew and then leave them in a pile. One day I came home from work and he had apparently jumped up on the counter and taken a wooden spoon, a small plastic bowl, and a cookbook, and then he’d gone in the garbage and pulled out a bag that had contained flour. Apparently he was planning on a baking project. Another time, shortly after we’d moved into our Canadice house, he gathered a hammer, a jar of nails, and a few pictures in frames we had left propped next to a wall. I guess we weren’t decorating quickly enough for him. So, when we found that Recona was following his tendency to use themes for her destruction, all we could do was shake our heads.

The other thing she does is what we call Whoop-de-doos. Whenever we fed Mel, he would jump around on his hind legs, doing circles and pirouettes. Recona has taken this a step further, and she leaps, spins, and dances when she knows dinner is coming. She has a few distinct moves – the double spin-reversal, the pirouette-horse buck combo, and some pretty snazzy side to side moves – and I’ve been trying to get her to do specific moves on command by giving her a cue as soon as I can tell what she’s doing.

Tom says it’s as funny to watch me as it is to watch her, and he’s trying to figure out how to get our camera to get a video.

Another Adventure

While Tom and I have been less than busy with guests over the past couple of weeks, we’ve managed to take some time off and do some really fun things. One of them was a horseback ride to visit a friend who lives up in the Mountain Pine Ridge, and a ride to a waterfall we hadn’t visited before. We left around 9:00 Sunday morning, with Tom riding Es, me on Glin, and a saddled Tony dragging behind Es for George to ride when we got there. We knew it was seven or eight miles from here to there through the trails, and we figured it would take us about 90 minutes, and not more than two hours. However, we didn’t factor in the factor that Tony is basically a boat anchor with four legs. Even with Tom pulling him and me behind with a whip to tap his butt, it took us two and a half hours to get there, and George was just about to come looking for us when we finally showed up.

We made it without getting lost, following George’s directions for the trails we hadn’t yet ridden. We had a drink and a quick tour of the farm, and then we took the horses and rode for a delicious lunch at the waterfall, which is well off the beaten track. We thoroughly enjoyed the ride, the swim, and the lunch, when I suddenly realized it was a few minutes after 4:00. It gets dark here between 6:30 and 7:00 right now, and it didn’t take a mathematical genius to figure out that with about 45 minutes to get back to George’s house, and then two and a half hours home, we’d be riding through the jungle after dark.

We did a quick pack-up and got back on the trail. George volunteered to walk the bit between where we could pick up the trail home from the waterfall trail to his house, but we’d decided that it didn’t really matter since things always work out in Belize, and horses see in the dark anyway. So, the three of us rode back to George’s, taking a shortcut through the bush to save a little time, and Tom and I did a quick about face to head home.

This was where things got funny. We thought that because we were heading home, we’d just let Tony run and we’d drive him from the backs of the two mares. Horses always want to go home, especially when they know dinner is waiting there – right? That’s what we thought, but not Tony. He would have been perfectly happy eating George’s lawn, probably forever. After trying to chase him around to get him moving and getting a double-whammy kick well placed on Tom's shin, Tom put the tow rope back on Tony, and rather than going around and down the driveway through the farm, we decided to just cross the ditch. Tony seemed to think he’d rather stay and eat the lawn than cross the ditch, and after Es jumped across Tony slammed on the brakes and launched himself backward, pulling the rope out of Tom’s hands, which freed Tony to head back to the yummy lawn. Tom went after him, and jumped off Es to recoil the rope. Es pulled away, and decided she was going to head home on her own, and she seemed to think home was through the bush, the way we’d come back from the waterfall. So, I had to go careening through the bush on Glin, dodging trees, bushes, rocks, and vines, trying to get beside the galloping Es (how do they gallop like that through the bush???) so I could grab her reins. She finally came out on a cleared spot so I could pull up beside her and grab her. I got off to get things organized so I could pony her back through the trees, and Tom came crashing through to fetch her, having left Tony happily grazing on the lawn. We both remounted and galloped the long way – not through the trees – to get back to George’s to fetch Tony. I stayed in the road on Glin and held Es while Tom chased Tony around the yard. Tony was perfectly happy to stay there as long as he was left in peace to graze, but knowing that Tom was coming to drag him away somewhere gave him incentive to gallop around the yard. All this time the clock was ticking, and about 20 minutes had passed by the time Tom got Tony over the ditch, he got back on Es with the tow rope, and I got behind with a whip to keep Tony going. We took off at a somewhat herky-jerky trot with George shouting to drop him an email when we got home so he’d know we weren’t lost in the jungle.

Since I’m blogging, you know we made it. And, we actually did it in pretty good time – 1:38 as opposed to 2:30, and it was still light enough that I could read the words “I fear no beer” on the back of Tom’s t-shirt. The trail is fairly clear and flat, it’s downhill home, and even though Tony is a dolt, I think the horses knew dinner was waiting for them, so we managed to get them trotting. We’d seen a lot of wild cat tracks on the trail on the way up, so I was hoping to see a cat on the way home, but no such luck. We did find out where water is being collected to be delivered in San Antonio, since we had a brief delay and had to lead the horses across the Slate Creek concrete ford since the concrete pad was just about full with the tractor, the water wagon it was towing, and the noisy generator that was being used to run the pump to get the water out of Slate Creek and into the water tank. Es and Glin crossed without much problem, but Tony the dolt refused to move and the water guys had to turn off the generator before he’d tiptoe past the tractor and wagon. Tom and I had a brief discussion about whether to take the road home or use the jungle trails we’d used in the morning, and since my fear of idiots in cars and trucks on a dark road is greater than my fear of what comes out in the jungle at night, we took the trail and it wasn’t any problem. It was pitch dark by the time we finished feeding, but as Tom’s Gram used to say, no horses lost, no men killed. Or maybe it was no horses killed, no men lost…whatever, either way we all got home, ready to ride another day.

And regarding the water – we had enough pipe water to fill our tanks one night late last week, but we haven’t had any since then, and San Antonio didn’t even get that – which is why the water needs to be delivered to San Antonio.

Flor de Izote, Take Two

We caught another Flor de Izote at the prime time for eating, and the ripening of the flower perfectly coincided with the appearance of a Barton Creek Mennonite in a 2-horse wagon appearing in our driveway selling dairy products. So, I ran with my original idea of making something like Fettucini Alfredo, Belizean style. I sautéed the flowers with garlic, salt, and pepper, cooked up some linguine – the Belizean pasta company I like makes linguine, but I haven’t found fettucini – and used all local products to make the sauce. The result was delicious, but I wouldn’t try to pass it off as Alfredo sauce, since the local dairy products, which are completely unprocessed, are all a little stronger than the ultrapasteurized products we were used to in the US. The cow butter is not sweet cream butter and tastes a little like it’s already been mixed with parmesan cheese. The cream, which is super thick, also has a bit of a cheesy taste; I definitely wouldn’t use it to whip for a dessert although it’s perfect for a pasta sauce. And while real parmesan cheese is sometimes available but rare and expensive, the Mennonites in Spanish Lookout make a hard cheese coated in red wax which is a very acceptable substitute. The result was an “only in Belize” dish that Tom and I thoroughly enjoyed, although my stomach, accustomed to a much lower fat diet, had a few complaints after I went to bed that night – but all was well in the morning and we’re wondering if any more of the Flor de Izotes will bloom.

And, by the way, the Mennonite delivering the dairy products said he would stop by every Saturday morning. In addition to the fresh cream, he was selling blocks of cheese, which we also tried and really enjoyed. It’s not like cheddar or any of the well aged cheeses, but more like what we used to call “squeaky cheese” curds all pressed together with a mild flavor. It doesn’t melt and get gooey, but it will cook into things, and it’s tasty just to slice and eat. He never stopped before because he said most gringos don’t like their products, although we don’t know if that’s because they don’t like them or if they’re nervous about eating dairy products which are probably made of unpasteurized milk, and which aren’t refrigerated prior to being loaded into the non-refrigerated horse wagon for delivery. It’s a little weird to buy a baggie of very thick cream out of a 5-gallon bucket off a horse-drawn wagon, but the products are very tasty and Tom and I stayed healthy while eating them this week.

Jaguar Update

The update is that we don’t have any new news, either of the jaguar doing mischief in the area, or of the jaguar investigators doing anything other than talking to people and advising them on how to keep their pets and livestock safe.

However, Tom took a picture of the front and back of the brochure provided to us by George from the Forestry Department. It’s not all practical here – for example without electricity most people can’t rig up motion sensing lights – but the brochure provides lots of helpful information.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Jaguar Saga

We haven't heard any more reports of jaguar misdeeds over the past couple of nights, but today George from the Forestry Department drove into the area to interview people and assess the situation. Since we had submitted the report, he stopped here first, and then went to our neighbors' houses to talk to them. Tom went with him to our closest neighbors and said that they showed him photos of their mauled dog and the tracks around the dog, and George confirmed that it is a jaguar, and that a jaguar taking dogs is a problem. We don't know how far George got with his interviews today, but we'll post any new info as we get it.

Tom and I were talking, and we decided that George and the other "problem jaguar specialists" have an interesting job. We think it must be sort of like chasing ghosts. They hear about these happenings, and then have to go interview freaked-out people about something that could be very difficult to find. And the people are freaked out; Tom came back from our neighbors' this morning and said that all the women were yelling at George, telling him someone has to kill the jaguar, because it is going to come in their houses at night and eat their children. George told them that in the entire Jaguar Corridor, from the Southwestern US, through Mexico and Central America, and down into South America, only one death has been caused by a jaguar, and that was a unique situation. A man in Venezuela would go out into the jungle on a regular basis and take food to a jaguar. One day the man got drunk, went out into the jungle without any food, and fell asleep in the spot where he usually fed the jaguar. The jaguar came along and ate the man. That’s a somewhat horrifying story, but it’s a far cry from a jaguar breaking into people’s houses and eating their children at night. We were told we don’t understand because we don’t have children, but I have to wonder if some of this fear isn’t just handed down from generation to generation because the big threat parents use on their children is that if they don’t behave, El Tigre, the jaguar, will get them. If something is said often enough people start to think it’s true, and from what we’ve seen, that threat is used very frequently in this culture.

So, part of George’s job is to assess the situation and, if necessary, come up with a plan to trap the problem jaguar. The other, and probably larger, part of his job is to educate people so they don’t make themselves targets for a problem. They need to be told that the jaguar won’t hunt them or their families, but if they put calves or foals in open pens out in the bush, it’s pretty likely that a jaguar will make a meal of the young animal. They also need to be told that just running out into the jungle and shooting any jaguar they find probably won’t solve the problem, since multiple jaguars may be in one area, and there’s no guarantee hunters will find the right one. George gave us some brochures for farmers with recommendations on how to keep livestock from becoming jaguar prey, and he advises people to keep their pets contained at night. Tom and I have the attitude that this is something we have to deal with since we’re in the jaguar’s territory, but George said most people don’t have that attitude, and they just want to get rid of the cats from around where they live. We certainly don’t envy George and the others that part of their job, but in other ways, it’s rewarding because they get to see and study the animals. And, we wonder if the animals are studying them because George told us that on his way here today, he saw a young black jaguar cross the road – something most Belizeans never see!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Jaguar in the ‘hood!

The big news right now around here is that we have a jaguar in the ‘hood. After spending 20-plus years living in an area where bear sightings were big news, we think this is kind of a thrill. However, our neighbors, who use the threat of “el Tigre” to make their children behave, aren’t quite as positive about it as we are.

At 7AM on Sunday morning, our 11-year-old neighbor, Hector, was in our driveway. El Tigre had mauled their dog, Rex, and would we like to see him before he died. Or after. Whatever. Did we want to see what a jaguar could do to a dog? Our answer was – no surprise – NO.

We did, however, ask how they knew it was a jaguar which had injured their dog. The answer was, thanks to the rain arriving a few weeks before the rainy season, the mauler of the dog had left huge cat tracks in the mud. Apparently the families next door heard the fight in the rain around 3AM, ran outside making a lot of noise, and when they went to check on the dog, they found Rex, mortally wounded, with very large cat tracks around him.

Upon telling other area people about what happened, it turns out that about half a dozen families within a mile or two of here have lost dogs over the past couple of weeks. It’s an assumption, but it’s not unrealistic that some or all of these dogs have been taken or killed by a jaguar.

Today, we went to town to do some shopping. On the way home, two separate families in the area stopped us to see if we could contact the Zoo, knowing we have a good relationship with the Zoo due to us donating cage material. So, we emailed Sharon and told her what was going on around here.

Sharon almost immediately emailed us back, and told us that she had forwarded our email to the Forestry department, the Zoo department that handles jaguar cases, and Dr. Bart Harmsen, who works with Dr. Alan Rabinowitz, who is coordinating the entire Jaguar Corridor from the Southwestern US through Central America and into South America – recently documented in National Geographic. Sharon also told us that jaguars who take dogs are usually sick or elderly, and that the situation should be monitored – and that people should keep their dogs inside or otherwise contained.

Right now, Tom is out telling our neighbors that we received an almost immediate response from Sharon, and what that response was. We’re waiting to hear from other people in the area about jaguar sightings, which we will immediately report to Sharon. We hope the jaguar will either move on, or that the Zoo and the Forestry Department will team up to trap it before it does anything worse than kill a few dogs.

In the meantime, our dogs are, as usual sleeping in the house. Even Recona, who usually sleeps tied under the porch, has been elevated to “sleeping on the porch” status – which she is very quickly becoming accustomed to, and which is probably permanent whether we like it or not.

And we’ll keep all of you posted. This is big news around here!

More water...

Since our last post, we’ve had three days of rain. That has been a huge blessing, and we’ve not only been able to fill our tanks from the rainwater collected from the shop roof, but we’ve also had water in the pipe last night and tonight, which has been a relief for our neighbors. Tom actually took our two 200-gallon tanks back up the hill, and we’re hoping they fill from the pipe tonight.

The Water Situation

Since our last post about the water woes around here, we’ve had enough water. We haven’t had enough water that we’re comfortable, but by managing the supply to keep our tanks as full as possible, and by conserving and asking our guests to conserve, we’ve managed not to run out before the water flows in the public pipe and our catch-tank is refilled.

However, we now haven’t had water in the pipe in well over a week.

We’ve taken our two 200-gallon tanks down from the hill and put them in the back of Tinkerbell and rigged up a system so we can pump the water from the tanks in the bed of the truck into either the catch-tank or directly up the hill to the gravity feed tanks without any bucket hauling.

Tom went into 7 Miles this morning and filled the two tanks, and our new system seems to work – well enough that we decided I could do some laundry and we can get more water from 7 Miles in the next couple of days and keep hoping that either the pipe water starts to run again or we get a couple of good thunderstorms. We’ve had threats of thunderstorms and some rumbles, but so far we haven’t had enough rain to make a difference with our water situation.

We can’t complain too much since San Antonio is heading into its third month without any water, and as I said in a previous blog entry, we’re lucky to have Tinkerbell, the 200-gallon tanks, and a pump so it’s inconvenient but not too physically difficult to get water. However, it’s a very frustrating situation because the problem could be fixed. Tom talked to people in 7 Miles this morning about what’s causing this problem, and they say it’s as simple as a pipe being rerouted so that instead of feeding the town from the 600 foot drop out of the Mountain Pine Ridge, the town is being fed from a reserve tank which is only 200 feet above the town. By rerouting the pipe, they’ve significantly reduced the water pressure, and not only are San Antonio and everybody on this end of the pipe without water, but the pressure is only high enough to supply about half of the village of 7 Miles and it has nothing to do with water supply. When Tom asked if the Water Board has plans to fix it, his queries were met with shrugs and averted eyes since people are afraid to complain to the new Water Board for fear their supply will be permanently cut off. Some people are just resigned to the fact that the water supply always runs short in the dry season, which will last for about another three weeks, so even though they’re hearing that the problem could be fixed now, they think it will resolve itself in a few weeks. That remains to be seen, and right now we’re going to sit tight and do what everybody else is doing.

This is especially difficult for Tom, but he’s still standing by his resolution to stay out of the water politics around here since the Water Board takeover meeting a year ago when the authorities told him the water was none of his business and threatened our residency status if Tom chose to make a fuss. For the most part, we love the fact that everybody in Belize is close enough to the government to be able to talk to any official and make a difference, but in a situation like this, it’s difficult. When the individual is big enough to make a difference, the individual is also big enough to be a target if crooked officials are displeased. If this goes too far – for example if it looks like we’re going to be permanently without water – we’ll step up and start making noise, but in the meantime we’ll do what everybody else is doing, and just manage for ourselves.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Lunch on the hoof, er, trunk

As Tom was trimming the horses’ feet the other morning, I was looking around as I held them and noticed that the Flor de Izotes had bloomed. Flor de Izote is a once-a-year delicacy around here, so my mind immediately turned to lunch. The flowers taste somewhat like asparagus or artichokes – not surprising since all three are flowers – and can be cooked like asparagus or artichoke.

As soon as Tom was done trimming the horses, we got out the ladder and began to plan how to get the flower out of the tree, and of course the flower was on the absolute highest point possible.

Tom was a little uncertain about whether resting the ladder in the leaves of the Flor de Izote and the shrub next to it was really safe, but since we were both fantasizing about the pending lunch, we decided it was worth the risk.

You may say that the risk was all for Tom since he was the one climbing the swaying ladder, but he had a machete in his hand to cut the flower out of the tree, and I had to hold the ladder, so I was at risk too!

Tom successfully chopped the top out of the palm and got the flower, and himself, down intact.

The wok, some olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and egg, and it’s almost Artichoke French! The next flower is going to be eaten with white wine and cream sauce over pasta! Mmmm.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Good Luck to Selwyn!

Selwyn has decided to go out on his own to start his own guide business, and Tom and I want everybody to wish him good luck in his new venture. Understandably, I think, we have mixed feelings about this. When we were paying for his guide school, giving him paid time off from work to complete school, paying for his license fees, and running him around to cut through the red tape involved in getting his guide license, we understood that he intended to continue to work for Moonracer Farm and guide for us, and that the three of us were building a business together. However, since he obtained his license in November and has been doing most of our tours, he has been increasingly dissatisfied and unhappy about doing all the other things around here that always need doing on the days when he isn’t guiding. And, unfortunately for all of us, we’re not yet busy enough that we can keep a guide busy full time. We thought it was a good deal for him that he was getting paid on the days when he wasn’t guiding, rather than sitting around waiting for tourists and not getting paid like most of the freelance guides, but he feels that he can pick up other guide jobs on the days when he’s not guiding for us, so he asked to be released from Moonracer Farm, and we felt that not letting him go with our blessings was akin to keeping a parrot in a cage around here. We might treat it well and care for it to the best of our ability, but we would not be allowing it to be a parrot. By not allowing Selwyn to guide at will, we wouldn’t be allowing him to develop his career as he thinks he must.

We’re also worried because tourism was down during this past busy season in Belize, and we’re now entering the off season when even fewer tourists will be in the area. We worry because he hasn’t set up any sort of support for his business, so we’re not sure where he’s going to find enough tourists to guide to keep him busy full time. We’re not so worried about getting along here without him since most of the heavy construction work has been done and the two of us can handle the care and maintenance of the place, and Selwyn is still available to guide for us, as are many other guides in the area. However, we decided that we would give him his four weeks’ notice pay and only require him to work here for guide jobs, so we feel as though we’re helping a little by giving him time to work on these things. And, as I said in the beginning of this post, we want everyone to think good thoughts for Selwyn and wish him luck in his new venture!


We just finished a weeklong visit with our old (well, SHE is not OLD, we just have been friends for a long time) and dear friend Margaret from Virginia. She just earned her MBA and reached a milestone birthday, so her friend Billy gave her tickets to visit us in Belize as a congratulatory gift. We gave her a place to stay and, we hope, a week where she had as much fun as we did. We just received an email from her that she’s home, exhausted and sore, but nonetheless coming off the high of a great week in the Caribbean.

We’re really not surprised that she was tired and feeling the muscles in her legs when she got home, because we didn’t give her a break. Her brother David and his family were here in December, and they told her what they thought she would like to do, and we agreed. Unfortunately for Margaret, Dave and family were here for two and a half weeks, and Margaret was here for only one week, so while we were able to intersperse a few kick-back-and-relax days between activities for Dave, Tamis, and the kids, for Margaret it was one adventure after another through the entire week.

We picked her up from the airport and stopped at the Belize Zoo, where we toured the whole Zoo and then had a Junior Buddy encounter.

The next day it was off on a full day tour to ATM and the Handprint Cave with Gonzo, followed by a half day at Barton Creek Cave with Selwyn and a shopping expedition into San Ignacio in the afternoon.

On Wednesday we spent the entire day at Caracol with Selwyn, and were lucky enough to see a Great Curassow, also known as a Punk Rock Chicken, on the road on the way into the site. On Thursday, Tom and Margaret took off for Hopkins for the day, where they swam in the Caribbean and walked the beach.

Then, it was back underground on Friday, when we went to Chechem Ha Cave and had a delicious traditional Belizean lunch prepared by Gonzo’s mother at her house.

Yesterday was the tearful goodbye at the airport, with Tom and I glad we’re living in Belize so our friends and family can come visit us and we love it here, but sad because seeing such a good friend after almost two and a half years and realizing that we probably won’t get together again for a long time made Belize seem very far from our old life in the US. But, we’re now getting ready for our next round of guests where we know we’ll make new friends, we have more good old friends already scheduled to come in August, and we’re hoping that we’ll have a few more visits from friends and family scheduled in the next few months. In the meantime, we won’t have any trouble keeping busy!

Mysterious Orbs

As we were looking through Margaret’s photos with Gonzo, he pointed out that many orbs are in the photographs of the caves she had visited while here. We spent an interesting half hour or so each drinking a beer, blowing up the orbs in a photo shop program, and seeing what we could see in them. I then googled “orbs in photographs” to see what the “experts” say on this subject, and found that the jury is hung as to whether they’re dust motes in the photos or something paranormal. You decide…you can blow up the pictures by clicking on them, and then copy them into a photo app of your choice to blow up and manipulate the orb images. Have fun!

The orb is in the lower right corner of the picture. This one is interesting because it’s not inside the cave where the flash could create orbs from dust motes. Of course it could always be a drop of water on the lens…

More orbs outside the cave in a picture taken at a different time before they got in the canoe to go into the cave.

Orbs were photographed inside Barton Creek Cave as well.

For what it’s worth, this picture is part of a series of pictures snapped relatively quickly in sequence, and the orbs are only in this one.

This is on the beach inside the Rio Frio Cave, which we visited on our way to Caracol.

Dursban. Blech.

Now that Margaret has returned to Virginia, Tom and I don’t have any guests booked for a couple of weeks. So, we’re taking advantage of the time off (although it doesn’t feel much like the vacation type of “time off”) to take care of some things around here. Top of the list is to Dursban under the cabins, since we’ve had an explosion in the number of creepy crawlies which have been invading the cabins over the past few weeks. We’ve seen up to three or four scorpions a night (although not every night) as well as a number of spiders, roaches, bees, chinch bugs, and assorted other pests with whom we don’t choose to share our living space. Tom spent this morning raking under our cabin and spraying, and he’s holding off on spraying the guest cabin until we decide if we’ll be able to sleep in our cabin with the smell. So far it doesn’t seem too bad, so if all goes well Tom will spray the guest cabin within the next couple of days, then we’ll give it a couple of weeks to air out, and then we’ll be open for business again, minus the creepy crawlies.


Tom’s other task is to take Bluebell back to Bravo Motors for the well child oil change and checkup. We laugh because when we lived in NY we drove so many miles that it seemed like one of our cars was always in the shop for its checkup and oil change, but here, for the first time ever, we passed the time milepost for the oil change before the mileage milepost. Unfortunately Bravo is almost two hours from here in Belize City. Fortunately Bravo is quite responsive and schedules the maintenance at our convenience, although we’re bumming a bit now because since we’re in the down season most flights only arrive and depart on weekends, when the Bravo service department isn’t open, so we can’t combine an airport pickup with an oil change. But the little truck uses a lot less gas than Tinkerbell and we can always find something else to do while we’re out, so we’ll make it worth the trip.