Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Loss of Internet, Postcards, Suicidal Toucan and Permanent Residency

I have one of those USB wireless internet modem things, and I pay $70bz per month for 5gbs of useage (or something). This month though.... I used 11gbs because I watched so many movies online... so I don't get to have internet at home again until Sunday :( I don't know how I'll survive.

I'm "working" here today, at the Pelican Beach Resort in Dangriga
Perfect day by the Sea

I got three more postcards from my buddy Bob! They were hand delivered because he didn't have time to mail these ones, but he DID mail me others from Cancun, San Fransisco, Baltimore.... and somewhere else, while he was in the States last week.

"Or Texas will mess back!"

"Arm - a - diller"
"Some people call me a Space Cowboy, some call me a gangster of love."

Thanks, Bob!! Your funny little messages were as good as the cards themselves :) And the stamps!! I can't believe I didn't take a picture of them, too!
(Reminder to everyone - International Post Card Swap! Message me or comment if you want in on it)

Moving right along....
This guy flew into my windshield the other day when I was on my way to my interview with the police in town:

a toucan!

crazy!

After it hit the windsheild it just laid there for a few seconds, then got up and shook it's head. I think it heard Robert ask me if I wanted him to catch it for me, because just as he took off his shirt to grab it, it flew away and almost got creamed by another truck. I like to believe that it made it home and is doing just fine.

The interview with the police went well, too. It wasn't really an interview as much another guy just writing down all the same information that they already have AGAIN.:
Name, address, birthday, passport number, US and Belize Social Security numbers, birth certificate info, employment....

I think being a "Certified Massage Therapist," even a currently unemployed one, helps me out in these interviews. Everyone I've talked to so far seem interested in it and want to know how they can make an appointment with me. (I have a table but nowhere to set it up!)

I'm down to the final step of the Permanent Residency process - all I have to do now is wait for an immigration officer to call me and tell me to come in to pay the fee and get my passport stamped! I hear that this last step takes the longest.... but I'm hoping to be a resident in about 2 more months :)

Well.... I guess this is it for a few days. I'll be going to Santa Elena with Robert either tomorrow or Friday and spending the night with his family after one of his friends does my hair.... Yes, I decided to go with dreadlocks. I'll take before and after pictures and try to get some as the work is being done.
I know a LOT of people don't want me to do it... but you'll just have to deal with it :)

Until we meet again.....












Saturday, June 23, 2012

Postcards, Puppies and Farming... things that make me happy

I got my first postcard!!! What makes it extra cool is that it's from one of my blog readers - Sandy in Arkansas - and not even from the Postcrossing site!

Thank you, Sandy!! I never realized how pretty Arkansas is!
Come them coming, people!

The boys here were supposed to take the truck into town yesterday to run errands and stuff - but the truck wouldn't start... so I somehow got volunteered into taking the bus to Dangriga to do everything. 

I got into town around 12:30, stopped at the bank, and then went grab some lunch at Ponce's Panades Shop across the street from the Western Union. If you only have $5bz to feed yourself in Dangriga, I'm pretty sure this is the place to go. They sell huge burritos for $2.50bz - I mean HUGE. You could feed a small family with that thing. I decided to go for two Salbutes and two Fry Tacos ($2bz) and was totally full after I ate.

It was 1:15 or so by the time I left Ponce's and Western Union still wasn't open. (If you don't know this already - almost everything closes for an hour to an hour and a half at lunchtime in Belize) 
I went to the market to get some veggies, and then back to Western Union. The sign said they re-open at 1:30... but it was a lie. It was 2 o'clock by the time they raised the gate.

I waited the whole time because I REALLY wanted to get my money over to San Pedro so I can grab two of the Lobsterfest Koozies! 

Love it

After W.U, I stopped at two different Chinese stores for groceries and dog treats, bought about 20 more postcards to send to my postcard buddies, got my passport stamped at the immigration office, went to the post office to mail postcards, stopped at the Hummingbird Distributer to buy staples and a new gas tank, and then called a taxi to bring me and all of my stuff to the bottom of the hill.

Luckily, I didn't have to carry any of that stuff up the hill with me because Robert and Bolo were waiting for me when I got there. 

I wish someone else would come here and walk up my hill with me so you know what I mean by "hill." I just can't describe it well enough. It's a hill from Hell.... and I've walked down and back up about 5 times this past week. I say it doesn't get any easier - but I can get up in about 45 minutes instead of an hour now, and I can still move my legs the day after I do the climb, so that's good, I guess.

I wanted to go to the Placencia Lobsterfest this weekend, but the arrival of the new furry farm friends changed some plans. 

My ladies with their bones and blankies

I'm so so soooo happy we adopted these dogs. Mama Firefly is happy and well behaved, and the puppies are just the cutest little things with totally different personalities. Penelope is a little bigger in size, but she's shy and she doesn't like to tag along on Mama's runs as much as Clem does. Clem is tinier, but she's feisty.

and they both have Gremlin ears 

Hey, I have a question... where did I get Penelope (Pee-Nah-Lope) from? I know it's in a movie.... some guy reads some girls nametag wrong and calls her Peenahlope.... Help me out, I totally forget what movie it is.
I named Clementine, "Clem," because my friend Chris, a long time ago, wrote "Clem's Den" over some drain pipe behind the school that she went to and I remember telling her I'd name a pet Clem one day. 
Yesterday was 12 years ago that she died... RIP Chris Haws.
Mama Firefly is, of course, named after The Devil's Rejects character. Maybe one day I'll get my Captain Spaulding and Otis Driftwood pets...

Anyway...hmmm.... what else is new here....

We're building a greenhouse - that's new! 
Our soil here isn't really soil, so much, as it is red dirt, so our tomatoes and pepper and onions and things haven't been having the best time growing. We decided that raised beds filled with rich, black soil from inside the jungle will be much better, and the greenhouse should help protect everything from the sun and bugs... hopefully. 

 
 
 
It's totally cute, right?


They're going to line the whole thing with screen and chicken wire, then we can start growing.









Well I guess that's about it for today. Julio and Fernando's mom just sent up some hot tamales for us, so I'm going to have lunch and then go play with the chicken for a while so she doesn't feel too left out.

Don't forget to Like me on Facebook and send me postcards!! Thanks again, Sandy!!!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

What I did today


I took some pictures of this guy

Aaahhhh!!!

I also heard back from Lilly from the Belmopan Humane Society and she asked me if I was ready for puppies today! 
Some heartless jerk dropped off this sweet dog and her two puppies to die somewhere in San Ignacio and a nice Australian dude and two Canadians started taking care of them about two weeks ago. The Australian guy, Leon, took them to the vet today and had them bathed, and then him and Lilly drove them over and hiked up the hill to get them to their new home here on the farm.

Mama Firefly, and babies Clementine and Penelope (Pee-Nah-lope)

Clementine is just a bit smaller than Penelope

Floppy puppy ears!!

I'm so happy that we decided to adopt and not buy from a breeder - these schmups needed a good home.

http://belmopanhumanesociety.com/

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Postcard Exchange!

Update to Postcards, Please!

I found a postcard exchange website called Postcrossing.com!! I've already sent cards to The U.K, Japan, Taiwan, China, Belgium and Russia, and I have a few heading my way!

The same offer applies to you guys - if you want a postcard from Belize, just let me know and we'll swap!

Here's my profile on Postcrossing.com - sign up - people are super nice and excited to send things to you. A guy in the Ukrain is sending me a sticker or magnet or something. I LOVE mail!

Carrie Tripodi
c/o Dangriga Post Office
Dangriga Town, Stann Creek District
Belize, Central America

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Monday, June 18, 2012

The Bus in the Orchard

Update to A terrifying walk through the orchard

No one has been back to the bus to check on things yet - but Robert told me that there is a family living back there - a Guatemalan man with his Salvadorian wife and their 3 kids. They have a little concrete house back there somewhere that I guess I didn't walk far enough to see, but they use the bus, too.

He said I shouldn't go back there anymore because he doesn't know them very well and he thinks that there's another guy living back there, too. (With them or on his own, I'm not sure. All he said was that he thinks it's the brother in law or something.)

He told me some other things about them, but I don't think I should post other people's personal business online... They just sound a little shifty, is all.

I went for another walk with Clive yesterday and a took a few pictures to give you a better feel for where I was. I didn't go all the way back to the bus, and I actually got told by Trip AND Robert that I shouldn't go back there at all anymore. Damnit.

This is the path to the right of the back of my property and the loading dock for the oranges. Those are all orange trees behind it, obviously.

This is where I went left instead of straight. I wonder who planted all those Royal Palm trees.

The path the bus is on.

And this looks like some old car parked back there off of another path I took to get home.

Robert says he goes back there with his slingshot a lot and he'll check in on them sometime soon. (I'd like to point out that I still have not gotten my own slingshot, and I'm a little bummed out about it)

I'm sure everything's fine, now that I know that it's not unusual for people to be back there. I thought it was, like, two totally random people back there for no good reason. Probably just a family argument.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

A terrifying walk through the orchard

Clive

So, this damn dog, Clive ( I think her real name is Sheba) won't go home. She only used to follow  Lobo up here once in a while, and she'd always go home when it got dark out... but now she won't leave. It's been, like, four days.

I wouldn't care that she spends so much time here if she didn't mess with my cats, but she does, and now they're afraid to go outside to do their business. We can't have that.

I decided to take Clive for a walk back through the orange orchards behind the house this morning so Bubby and Muffin could sneak out for a bit.
I put on my big, green rain boots and whistled for her to follow me, and she was totally stoked. She was bouncing around like a rabbit the whole time, running ahead of me and then turning back to make sure I was still following her, jumping in and out of the bush and splashing in mud puddles. I admit, even though she's annoying and I want her to go home, she's pretty cute.

We turned right when we got to the top of the hill at the end of our property and walked down the path, past the loading ramp that the farmers use to get oranges into the back of their wagons, and back downhill, deeper into the orchards. 
Some thunder started grumbling and and the wind started picking up within minutes, and I started wondering why I didn't think to grab my umbrella. Or my camera.

When you get to the bottom of the hill, you can either keep going straight or turn left. The path straight ahead was skinnier, more overgrown, and uphill. To me, that path looked like bugs and effort. I chose the path to the right.

I could tell the storm was getting closer - the thunder shook the ground and sounded like a jet flying right over me and I felt like I was walking through flashes of lightning. I kept expecting to see a bolt knock down a tree or something.

I only walked for another minute or so before I noticed an old school bus parked on the right hand side of the path, under a tree. I could only see the back corner of it from where I was.
I don't know if it was because of the storm or what, but I had an eerie feeling come over me. I just stopped and stood there for a minute.

I've seen the bus before - I went for a ride with the boys a few months ago, the only other time I'd been back there, to collect some water and we drove by it. It looked like some farmers just used it to store some supplies so they don't have to carry everything up and down the hill with them when they come to work.

Today, though.... as I was standing there, I heard voices. People arguing in Spanish, inside the bus.

I snapped my fingers to get Clive's attention and started walking back towards home. As I was leaving, someone started screaming. Like, SCREAMING at the tops of their lungs. No words - just screaming.

I'm not saying anyone was murdered, but that's what it sounded like. I don't know what kind of person the scream sounded like it was coming from, either. It could have been a grown man, scared out of his mind.... but also maybe a woman or a young child having the nastiest temper tantrum ever.

I definitely didn't stick around or go see what was happening, I hauled ass out of there and only calmed down when I could see the house and determined that no one was following me out of the orchard.

Soooooo..... there ya go. That's the crazy story of the day. I'll tell Robert about it when he gets home - maybe he'll be brave (dumb) enough to go check it out and I can get an update.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Experimenting with Alcohol. Attempt 1.

Produce from the Dangriga Market

What better way to spend a Thursday afternoon than attempting to make some homemade apple wine and a pitcher of Bloody Marys made from fresh tomatoes?

We've started emptying out boxes as the house gets closer and closer to being finished and unpacked the Jack LaLanne Power Juicer last week.

 
Power Juicer!

We tested it out yesterday with some pineapples and got a big pitcher full of juice out of it... plus a lot of mashed up pulp that the chickens seemed to enjoy. I made myself a few Panty Rippas (pineapple juice and coconut rum) Yum.

Today we used it to juice apples so we could make an attempt at Apple Wine.

Attempt Status: To be determined

Mmmm... apple juice!

What you need:
  • Empty Bottle
  • Sugar
  • Fruit Juice
  • Water
  • Yeast
We have plenty of empty 2 liter bottles of Caribbean White Rum, so we used one of them, added 2 cups of sugar (way too much for a 2 liter - but hey, this is attempt number1!) all of the apple juice (we only had 8 apples. 12 would have been good. We used cantaloupe to make up for it) and then topped it off with water and a package of yeast.
After you've gotten that all in the bottle, using a ghetto funnel made of card board, you shake it up really well and then stick a balloon on top.
The balloon should inflate pretty quickly, and then over the course of a week it will deflate... and then, Whalla - you have wine!

it inflates really quickly - like within 30 seconds

We gave up on the balloon because it wasn't big enough and just exploded and made a big mess about 30 minutes later

looks gross..... tastes great?

Now it just has the cap on loosely, and we'll see what it tastes like next week. My guess? No good.

We set that aside and made a simple Bloody Mary mix using freshly Jack LaLanne'd tomato juice, salt, pepper, Marie Sharp's Hot Sauce and Lerskaa vodka. (I looked for Worcestershire sauce and horseradish, couldn't find either.)

Attempt Status: Decent, can do better

Healthy!

Ok, it looks really pretty at first, but when you pull it out of the fridge it looks like this:
weird.

For our next attempt, we will use the blender.... and we'll have ice handy so we can just drink it right away, before it starts to separate. I'll also have fancier garnish, for the pleasure of my readers.

Ta-Da!
It was pretty good, considering the lack of ingredients. If anyone knows where to get a SMALL can of olives and not a huge, bar-sized jug, and a jar of horseradish and Worcestershire  sauce in Belmopan, Dangriga, or anywhere in between please let me know. 















..

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Creepy creatures in my backyard

I was recently introduced to the biggest beetle I've ever seen.

Julio and Fernando found it on their way up here on Saturday morning and decided to catch it for me and Trip to check out.

it's, like, the size of my thumb

Again, I don't have a fancy camera so this picture doesn't do the thing justice - it's SO shiny!

Julio and Fernando, trying to find the beetle in the Smithsonian Ultimate Visual Guide of Everything on Earth. (Such false advertising in the name, by the way)

creepy!

While they were working they found another, smaller beetle that didn't look very impressive at first - but they brought it in the house and stuck it in the dark spot behind the trashcan - and these two little white spots on its head started GLOWING!

borrowed pic from Bugguide.net - a glowing tick beetle


I've kind of gotten used to scorpions, even though I still shriek like a little girl and run away when I see them, but tarantulas still freak me right the hell out - so I wasn't happy to find this guy chilling on my front porch

SO creepy!!


I've had enough of bugs and arachnids - when do I get to see the jaguars and panthers and other cute, furry things?
The only cats I see here are the ones I brought with me.

Bubby

Muffin


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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Postcards, Please!

I've decided that I want to start collecting post cards from all over the world - can you help me out?

I have readers from the US, Canada, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Australia, Ireland, Israel, Croatia (hi Marijana!) Russia, Spain, Germany, France, Japan, UK, Norway, Brazil, Panama.....

A boy from the Czech Republic found me somehow and asked me for a post card from Belize, so I sent him one and he emailed me a picture of himself holding it up in front of all of the others ones he has collected, and I think that's a sweet idea.

Maybe I'll feature every one I get in a blog or something... like a lil shout out.

The only thing you'll have to do, if you are awesome enough to send one, is let me know that you sent it so I know to go to the post office to ask for it.

Carrie Tripodi
c/o Dangriga Post Office
Dangriga Town, Stann Creek District
Belize, Central America

You should be able to send it without a zip code, but if you need one just use 00000.

I'm excited, I really hope I get some cards!

That's me - I'm the one who wants post cards!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Another test code

F6DH4XZF64D4

After 6 months, I'm STILL trying to figure out the best way to generate more traffic to my blog.
If you know about this stuff and feel like helpin a girl out.... please do!

Updates - The Chicken and the house

Camilla is just about 9 weeks old now, and yes, she is a female. I'm certain of this because the other chick that hatched the same day as her totally looks like a mini rooster

he already has a tiny comb on his head and a waddle

Camilla is still managing to gimp around even though she looks a little overweight to me and her legs seems to be getting worse

my big, fat, broken hen

She usually hangs outside under the house all day and comes crying at the door when the sun goes down so she can get some lovin before going to sleep in her extra large cat carrier that we keep on the back verandah. (She likes when we open the cat door so she can hop through.)

We now have 15 new baby chickens running around and they all seem to be doing fine.... we would have had 16 but  one disappeared. We think she was picked up my a hawk or a possum, the poor thing.

On to the house!

Today has been an awesome day, mostly because I got to take a shower.... IN MY HOUSE!!!
It. Was. Amazing.
All we need to do in  the bathroom is touch up a few spots with some paint, finish sealing the floor, get some cabinets built, and it's DONE!

bathroom 1

bathroom 2

The next finished room will be the kitchen - we just need to get another water pump so we have better pressure in the sink, and we need to finish the floor.

kitchen 1

kitchen 2

kitchen 3

lunch

We're still waiting for our furniture guy to make the bedroom closets and the bathroom cabinets, and then we'll have him get started on the living room furniture. It's actually starting to feel like a real house in here and not some weird, unfinished shack!

The road and the outhouse are getting a lot of attention this week.

yellow!

you could fit a body in that ditch

Tomorrow we'll take Julio and Fernando, our two little friends from the village who come to work for a couple of hours on Saturday mornings, down to the river to go rock hunting so we can get started on the kitchen floor soon.
We've become obsessed with river rocking everything.

Start planning your visits, my friends - by the time it gets cold in the States, I should have a nice, cozy spot to put you up while you come explore Belize!

And please, if you haven't already - Like my blog on Facebook









Thursday, June 7, 2012

Immigration Interview

Today I finally went for my interview with immigration.

(see Permanent Residence in Belize part 1 and News Breakdown updates, pictures and Permanent Residence part 2 to see how I got to this step.)

Other than my file not being in the interview room when it was my turn to go in and having to go downstairs to ask someone to find it for me, everything went surprisingly smooth.
*** quick change of subject for a sec - was that last sentence supposed to end with "surprisingly smooth," or "surprisingly smoothly." ? It's bothering me.***

So, anyway, it was super simple and the Immigration Officer was really nice.

He just copied down some information from my passport and asked me a few questions - he already had most of the information on my application, but whatevs. I told him my phone number and address, I just guessed a number for my "amount of total assets," told him my education level (he perked up when I mentioned that I'm a trained massage therapist, and was clearly bummed when I told him I'm not working anywhere right now,) showed him my work permit stamp, named my caretaker when he asked if I know anyone in Belize, and when he asked, "Why do you want to live in Belize?" I answered honestly - "Because I love it here - the people are nice, the weather is nice... I just really want to stay."

That was pretty much it. Totally easy.

As I was leaving the interview office, another guy, who I had earlier mistaken for a file clerk, was coming in to make sure I had been taken care of, and introduced himself as the last guy I have to meet with during the permanent residency process - the guy who stamps my passport.

I asked if he could speed up the process at all and he just laughed and said he'd look for my name on his desk in a few weeks.

From what I understand, I have two more things to do now - Have another interview with the police (they should call me in about 2 weeks to give me an appointment) and then just wait until someone from immigration calls to tell me that I've been approved and to come get my stamp!
It should take about 2-3 months, after the police interview, to get my call from immigration... unless my new buddy pulls some strings for me.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

6 hours of travel time to get to San Pedro for the weekend

I went to San Pedro for the weekend to see some friends and try to make a few work contacts for when my residency goes through and I'm allowed to get a job again. (My interview is tomorrow!)
Ahhh, San Pedro

I headed out of my house at 9:25am on Friday morning and got to the end of the driveway at 10:05, just seconds before the bus showed up. I paid $9bz to get from my stop in Alta Vista all the way to Belize City - about a 2 1/2 hour ride. From there, I took a $7bz cab to the water taxi terminal and bought a round trip ticket to San Pedro for $49.50bz.

I had about 20 minutes to kill before the boat left, so I walked around the terminal area, where they have a few small restaurants and stores that sell sun block and snacks and stuff like that, and let some guy talk me into buying a beer and chatted with him about the crime in the city while I drank up.

The water taxi left at 1:15 and we go to San Pedro around 2:45.... so it took me just over 6 hours to get from home to San Pedro.

My cute peek-a-boo buddy on the water taxi

I could have napped as soon as I got there - buses and boats make me SO sleepy - but instead, I headed to BC's on the beach to have a few drinks with some friends before going to the house I was staying at to get cleaned up for dinner.

the pool where I crashed for the weekend

We had dinner on the rooftop deck at Hurricane's and had an awesome lightning show the whole time. If I had a better camera, maybe I could have gotten some really nice shots... but I don't, and I didn't. (You know that I accept gifts, right?)

Yes, please.

After dinner we stopped at Pedro's for a hot minute to say hello and Happy Birthday to Peter, and then for one more drink at AJ's on our way back to the house. I slept like a champ.

On Saturday morning I had breakfast at Ms Sarah's and then went sailing with friends - just from the sea side of the island, down around South, and then to dock on the lagoon side. The weather was dreary and there wasn't much wind, so we didn't "sail" so much as "motor," but I just love being on a boat, so it was still fun.

Scootin along through the drizzling rain

We docked and drank at a bar I'd never been to before, the Barrel Bar.

Ignore the man body in this shot - thats the Barrel Bar

I LOVE this bar! It's just a small, basic bar over the water - but they have a jukebox (a lot of good Spanish songs and some Pink Floyd, from what I heard) and they have these huge iguanas that come up to the fence behind their liquor shelves and grub food. Plus - and I'm purposely not being specific about this - it smelled really good in there.
you can kind of see an iguana back there...

roadside signs for Barrel Bar

After the Barrel Bar, it was back to the house for a little dinner party. Everyone got there around 5 and we made fish tacos with fresh tortillas from Leonel's Corn Tortilla Factory.
Around 7 o'clock I decided to sneak away for a 10 minute nap on one of the couches.... but when I went inside, both of the couches were already occupied by people who had the same nap plan as me, so I went to my bedroom.... and I woke up at midnight.
Everyone else was either gone or sleeping somewhere else in the house, so I just watched a couple of episodes of Seconds Before Disaster and went back to bed... until about 10am.

What can I say - I love to sleep.

it's true.

It was rainy on Sunday morning, but the sun was out by noon and I really wanted to go up North to Jolly Rodgers while I was in town. The owners are so nice and laid back, and they always have some kind of food cooking and chocolate chip cookies for dessert.

I love their dogs, too

Shadow

and Stinky!

The next stop was at Wayo's for a few drinks, and then to Coconuts for a few more before going back to the house to crash out early once again, but that night I was noticing all the noises that used to drive me crazy when I lived in San Pedro and I didn't sleep as beautifully as the night before. There was a dog crying across the street all night, golf carts and trucks slamming through the pot holes, people laughing and yelling out on the streets - and the house isn't even on a main road. It made me kind of homesick for the chirping of the crickets and the whirring of the windmill back on the farm.

When I finally headed back to the mainland I took the 8:30am San Pedro Belize Express water taxi. I love when the boat is this empty

perfect amount of people

Once back in Belize City, I took a cab to the bus terminal and within 5 minutes was on a bus heading to the Belmopan terminal (for $3bz) so I could get off there and go have lunch at my favorite spot, Formosa.


I had my usual there - a chocolate milkshake and a chicken salad sandwich, then went back to the terminal and hopped on another bus heading to Punta Gorda. I told the conductor I was getting off at Alta Vista and he charged me $4.... which means someone Gringo'd me on my way to Belize City on Friday morning and got an extra $2bz. Just an observation.

I was walking up my driveway by 4:20, and after stopping twice - once to hide in the shade for a few minutes and once to take a drink from the water spigot on my neighbors property, I was home by 5:30.

6 hours to get to San Pedro, and 9 hours to get back.

It was good to be back and to see so many familiar faces, but I think maybe I'll just stick to Tobacco Caye and the more Southern islands the next time I want a beach get away - I'm still tired and my butt hurts from the busses, golf carts, and water taxis!