Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas in Belize

Let me just say - it did NOT feel like Christmas. I don't know if it's because I wasn't with my family, or because the weather was so warm, or because I didn't see a single decorated tree or house the whole time I was on the mainland, but it just didn't feel like Christmas.

I decided to take a flight over to the mainland to visit Trip so I could be with at least one friend for the holiday.



                                                          Caye Caulker, from the plane

Trip picked me up at the Dangriga airport, and then we drove to the land, where we stayed all weekend. I passed this place on the way there - and someone needs to come play with me!!!


I don't really have a lot to say about the weekend, once we got to the land we stayed there the whole time and didn't really do much except hang out, talk and EAT! For dinner my first night there, Trip made some amazing stewed chicken with fried plantains and rice - so yummy.  He made three meals a day, which is alot compaired to what I usually eat, and Im pretty sure I gained at least 5 pounds in the four days I was there.

I really love our spot in Alta Vista. (mile 15 1/2 on the Hummingbird Highway) Here are some pics of the land, way different than the first time I saw it when it was nothing but overgrown jungle:
The still unfinished driveway. We had to leave the truck about halfway up and walk the rest of the way

Robert, the caretaker, has planted rows and rows of flowers, this particular shot is of the pathway leading to the bathroom.


The bathroom - right now it's the only one on the land and it will eventually be the guest bathroom for people camping or renting out cabins.


Muffin!!!



Just some views of the land and one of the many toucans I saw while I was there.

Ok, thats enough pictures for now. I hope everyone had a great holiday!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Letter #4, Traveling with SugarBear (originally written on Sept 14)



I was really nervous about bringing Sugar down to Belize with me since she's only been in her pet carrier for, like, a half an hour on her way to the vet a few times. She always screamed and howled and got all kinds of cranky every time I've had to take her to an appointment or to move with me into different apartments, so I figured it would be 10 times worse on a plane.

On the way to the airport she made some noises and made it clear that she wasn't very happy with whatever was going on. The poor thing got snatched out of bed at 3am, stuck in the carrier, and then had to take a 45 minute ride to the airport in a very bouncy Jeep - I wouldn't be very happy about that, either.

I had called the airline 2 days before my flight to make the reservation for Sugs, so checking in with her was no problem. My biggest problem was carrying her fat butt around in Atlanta for two hours during our layover - I didn't realize how heavy 12.5 pounds would feel after a while!

She was very well behaved at the security check point - I had to take her out of the carrier and bring her through the metal detector with me, and she just held on to my shoulder and looked around curiously while we walked through, and then went back into her safe spot without any issues. One of the security guards even commented on how calm she was and said he's seen people with full protection gear on when they go to bring their cats out of their boxes.

She shit her pants and peed herself at some point on the flight from Atlanta to Belize City - but I kind of expected that and really... I still don't know if there's anything you can do about it or not. Luckily, it didn't smell horrible and I don't even think anyone noticed.

I didn't have the correct paper work when I arrived in Belize - I had depended on my friend and the vet she works for to take care of all the health certificates and stuff, and apparently I had all the right information, but I didn't have the right form. I also didn't have my permit from BAHA, which I should have taken care of through fax/email a few weeks ago.
You can get the correct info and the forms you need here: http://www.baha.bz/animal_health.html

I think the man working in the BAHA office was trying to tell me that, since I didn't have the health certificate, Id have to leave her there and buy her a ticket to get back to PA... but I wasn't going to let that happen. I must've looked like I was about to cry (because I was) and I asked what other options we had here. ("Can I just get her to San Pedro and I'll bring her right to the vet and get her whatever it is she needs?? Can you call my vet and have them fax the right form? I'll wait... I'm just not leaving my cat)
He was nice. He charged me $100 USD (threw it in a drawer... no receipt...) and let me through. I wasn't able to get the permit since I didn't have the health certificate... so now I think Sugar is here illegally. I don't care though - we got through and by the time we were on the puddle jumper to San Pedro, Sugs was already an experienced flyer and didn't bitch at all on the flight.

She did, however, have a big problem with the taxi once we got to the island, and I don't blame her. Our driver was horrible, he kept tailgating golf carts and slamming on his brakes, and he'd try to pass people but have to swerve back onto his side of the road to avoid running over pedestrians... BUT, we made it!

She found a good hiding spot in the guest room closet, she scarfed down a bowl of food and a mug full of water, she's checked out her litter box and found a good spot to lounge on my bed side table, and she's been following me around and laying on the floor next to me for most of the day.

I hope she isn't too lonely without Muffin and Bubby, but I think she'll be happy here. I'll introduce her to the balcony in a few days, after she's familiar with the inside of our place, and I'm going to ask Walter to build her some kind of scratching post that she can sit on - somewhere that's just HER spot.

 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Letter 3, Reasons you should come to Belize

Ok, my friends who don't even know I started a blog since I don't like to promote myself...

The first, and most obvious reason to come to Belize, is to come see me!!

In addition to that sweet treat, there is so much to do here! You can:

Go snorkeling at Hol Chan/ Shark Ray Alley and see all kinds of beautiful fish, turtles, coral... all the stuff that I find "creepy" that live in the sea.

You can go on a fishing trip. If you feel like making a whole day of it, you can do the fishing/ beach barbecue dealy, where you fish and then find a little spot on the beach where your tour guide will cook up your days catch for you, and you can eat, drink, and chill out.

You can try parasailing or windsurfing, some of the few things that I have not yet tried. (I can be convinced though)

Feel like getting off the island? Try zip-lining through the jungle canopy, or cave tubing. One of the best trips I did was the jungle horse-back riding tour that leads you to some amazingly private waterfalls, where you can swim and relax and give your sore butt a break from the ride.


Mayan Ruins... if you come to Belize you have to see at least one of the ruins. I've been to Altun Ha, Xanantunich, Lamanai, Caracol and Cahal Pech. My favorite was Cahal Pech. Even though it's a lot smaller than the other sites, you can actually walk inside the ruins.

I've never been to the Belize zoo, but everyone that goes says it's pretty cool.

If you don't feel like doing any real "touristy" things, you can always do what I do - just walk the beach and stop at a few bars for some tasty adult beverages. Some of my favorites are: Crazy Canucks (where I happen to work) Wayo's, Jolly Rodgers, and the Palapa Bar, where you can float around on inner tubes and have your drinks lowered down from the bar in a bucket. (They sell Cherry Bombs, which you have to try.)


Anyway... my point is, there's lots to do here, so come visit!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Letter 2, Let's talk food

Ok, I was going to wait until I had that list of reasons you should come to Belize, and I'll get to that at some point, but first, let's talk about the food.

I stopped at one of the little fruit/vegetable stands on my way home today and I bought 4 tomatoes, one cucumber, one cantaloupe and a bag of peanuts for $9.  ($4.50US) For lunch I had the cantaloupe, and for dinner tonight I had a tomato and a few slices of cheese with a little bit of salt and vinegar.

I've been craving lots of veggies lately and I found an amazing salad at a place called Wild Mango's. It was a little bit pricey, but for $21BZ the Chef Salad has lettuce, pineapple, cashews, avocado, artichoke hearts, cranberry sauce, papaya, and the most tender chicken you have ever tasted. It's super filling.

A lot of places sell the classic Belizean Stewed Chicken w/ rice and beans, but my favorite place is in front of the airport (I forget what it's called but it's on my mental list of things to check out) For $7BZ you get a big plate of the really good stewed chicken and your choice of sides. They usually have rice and beans, coconut rice, or potato salad, and the last time I was there they threw in a little side container of cole slaw.

Sometimes on Sundays I'll take a walk up north with Crazy Eric for the freshest sushi ever at a beach bar called Jolly Rodgers. I've only been there twice, and both times they served Wahoo sushi and shashimi - so I don't know if they only sell what they catch that morning or what.. I've never seen a menu, we just tell them we want sushi, and that's what they make. And it is freaking delicious, let me just tell you.
I love going there, even if Im not eating. It's just a really nice, chilled out place and the owners are super cool. They sell $10 chocolate chip cookies. (Take a guess why they're $10..)
I just played my first game of Ladder Ball there this past weekend... and I really can't recall what the price of the sushi was because, by the time we got up there, I had quite the nice little buzz goin.

                                                                        The Sushi!

I still love my bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich (though I am trying to stay away from them as much as I can) so I go to Miss Sara's Kitchen for the "bagel with." It's $12, which I find a little bit too much, but it's really good and I do splurge on one at least twice a week. Ug. Damn you, bacon!!

Another evil ,addictive treat that's really god here are the hot dogs at AJ's. They, too, are a bit expensive ($8BZ for a plain dog, $10BZ for a chili cheese dog) but again, well worth it if that's what you're in the mood for. Wade the Gringo's Famous Burgers are good, too. $12BZ gets you a basic cheeseburger and fries, and they go really well with a nice, cold beer.

I haven't eaten much lobster since I've been down here, but you can find a lobster meal going for somewhere between $20-$55BZ, depending on where you go.

Fiona and I used to take late-night walks to the park for some "street meat." I don't care what anyone says, street meat is damn tasty when you're drunk. The last time I was there I found a lady selling 3 tacos for $5BZ! What a deal!

Anyway... if I can promise you one thing about you're visit to Belize (to see me) it's that you will eat well, for sure. Let's go!

Letter 1. Thursday, 15 December 2011

I miss you guys.

I've been living down here in Belize for 7 1/2 months now, and I'm just starting to feel a little lonely. Maybe it's because it's the Holiday season. Maybe its' because I haven't been working a lot and I have a lot of free time on my hands. Maybe it's because none of you jerks have any plans to come see me yet!

Whatever it is, I miss you all. (If I'm talking to people, knowing I have no followers yet, does that make me crazy?)

In the next "letter," I'll be trying to convince you that this is where you need to come to on your next vacation... but I don't know how much longer I'll be living here, so you better hurry up! I posted a link on my FB page about GREAT deals on flights in January and February, so I really hope some of you can take some time off to come visit me and see this amazing country that I'm calling home during this portion of my life.

That's all for now... until I complete my list of ways to entice you to come to Belize!

Here's that link again:

Cheap flights to Belize City, Belize (BZE) - Airfarewatchdog