So long Belize! It seems that after 4 months of living here in Belize we will be heading back the good ole US of A. I have to say, I love my native country, but I am really going to miss Belize. After all the prayer and confirmation we had, I thought this was going to be a permanent move, but I guess God has other plans. So why are we moving back? Well because, although we researched heavily, and not only did we have a plan, but we also had a back-up plan before coming to Belize. Yet we just couldn’t foresee everything. There are certain fees for starting the business and getting our residency that are more than we thought, and we simply don’t have enough. I know that God can provide no matter how bleak the situation looks, but we prayed long and hard about this one too. I trust God to lead my husband Cassidy in the right way, so that he can lead this family in the right way. God has never let me down, and I know He never will. Though I don’t always understand His ways, I trust that He knows best, and I have peace in knowing that He will bring us back. This is only temporary! In the meantime, I will try my best to make the best of the time I have left here, and I will continue to post pictures and videos.
I’m Back! We didn’t have internet the first week we moved down here to Maya Beach, so it was a little difficult to stay in touch. We’ve only been here a couple of weeks, but already we’ve met some really great people! We are one block south of Jaguar Lanes, a bowling alley, and we met this very nice couple there (Bob and Pam). They too are expats from the states and have been so patient and kind with us; answering all our questions and giving us advise. They’ve been here about 5 years and are now residents. The day I met them I saw Pam wearing a shirt for the Placencia Humane Society and I asked her if she volunteers there. She said she did and started telling us about it. I was thinking of volunteering and she told us they were having a meeting on Thursday, and that if we wanted to go she would take us. We took her up on her offer and she told us all kinds of stories about this area and about her and Bob’s experiences here. We met a few more very nice expats there at the meeting. We even met the pastor of the church we now go to. The chairman of the Placencia Humane Society had mentioned how Jim, the pastor, and Anna, his wife, have been very busy with the church. I thought they were based out of Placencia Village which is about 7 miles south of where we are staying in Maya Beach. So I asked them, knowing we don’t have transportation, if they know of a church near Maya Beach that we could go to. They asked what our background was, and I said I come from a non-denominational church. Pastor Jim said their church is named Calvary Chapel and it is non-denominational. It’s the next village down from us in Seign Bight (pronounced as Sane Bite). He then volunteered Pam and Bob to pick us up because apparently they go to church there too! They mentioned it to Pam when she got back to the table and she kindly agreed to picking us up. We swapped numbers and sure enough, come Sunday they took us to church and gave us a little of the church history.
During this time my husband had stayed home hoping the guys would show up to fix our internet. When we (my brother Daniel and I) got back from the meeting I called the cable company in Independence to ask them about our internet. They informed me that there was a problem with the account but they can’t give me more information because my name isn’t on the account. It’s in our landlord’s name because they’ve paid for it for the next year and half. So I call the caretaker and told him what the cable/internet people said, and he was baffled. He said he went down there and took care of the problem the day before. Okay, so we know the cable guys won’t be stopping by that same day, and the next day we were supposed to go to Independence to renew our passports for another month. We decide to go a day early in case the cable guys come the next day. So we call a taxi, which we got the number from another expat at the Placencia Humane Society meeting. He took us to the Hokey Pokey Water Taxi station, and we were charged $40 Belize to take us there. Then we were charged another $12, round trip, for the water taxi to Independence. Then we had to take another taxi to immigration, which was about $24 round trip. The guy actually waited for us at the immigration office. Luckily, one of the ladies that we met at the Placencia Humane Society meeting, the one who gave me the number for the taxi, had to go get her passport stamped also. We shared the taxi to and from immigration, and she dropped us off back home when we got to Placencia. So we saved a little bit of money by not having to take the taxi back to Maya Beach. This is what we can look forward to every month.
Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. We’ve been planning our move to Placencia, Maya Beach actually, and we decided to do some shopping in Mexico before we go. The thing is Belize charges an exit fee, and then we have to pay duty on whatever we bring back, so we decided to make the trip to Mexico worth it by staying and playing there for a few days. We stayed four nights at the Occidental Grand Xcaret. The grounds were absolutely beautiful and it was all inclusive, but they charged for a lot for the internet (internet not included in the all-inclusive), also they didn’t offer room service. That among a few other things made this place a turn off. We will never stay there again, and I suggest you don’t go there either. The taxi driver on the way to the Occidental was telling us about the guy who owns that place. He owns the Xcaret Park, as well as Xel-Ha and Xplore. The taxi driver told us the guy pays his employees of the park a mere 80 pesos a day. That’s about $6 US a day! Plus he charges the locals the same amount that he charges everyone else. This guy owns a chain of resorts and Eco parks, and we saw a lot of people at Xcaret and Xel-Ha, so I know he’s not hurting for money. Yet he can’t offer free Wi-Fi, or pay his people a decent amount of money. He can’t do like the Monterey Bay Aquarium and offer free admission to the locals twice a year? Anyway, the parks were beautiful, but I won’t be staying at the resort again. I would go to Xel-Ha again. The snorkeling there was fantastic! Oh, and when coming back from Mexico, we got charged an exit fee there too! I had no idea they did that. I don’t recall paying an exit fee last time, but I did fly out, so I wonder if it’s only for people exiting by land. Well at least we didn’t have to pay duty on anything we bought when we got back into Belize. The lady at customs just took a quick look in our bags and let us go. All in all it was a worthwhile trip.
Today we had to go renew our passports for the 3rd time. I can’t believe we’ve been in Belize for 3 months already! The guy at the immigration office asked us how we like it here. I said “It’s beautiful. I love it!” He asked me what makes it so beautiful. I said “I love the weather and the water.” I explained that where I’m from back in the states I was cold all the time and I hate being cold, but here it’s constantly warm and beautiful. He asked, “Don’t you have heaters and things like that?” I said “yeah, but…” and he said “It’s not the same huh?” I replied, “No, it’s not. I like doing things outdoors and being able to enjoy it without it taking an hour to warm up.” He sort of laughed and reminded us that after 6 months the fee to renew goes up $100 BZE instead of the $50 we’ve been paying. He handed us our papers and we walked down to the Treasury Office to go pay. After we paid the fee, we were given a receipt that we then had to show them back at the immigration office before they would stamp our passports for another month. The two offices are not part of the same building. In fact, they aren’t even close to each other. It was a really warm day today too, so we counted that walk back and forth across town as the cardio part of our workout for today. While walking to the Treasury office I was thinking about everything I read before coming to Belize, in regards to how business runs here, and those things were true. I then compared it to how it is back in the states. Although the U.S. has a lot of conveniences like certain services that work together are placed in the same building; I also realized I didn’t care for that convenience, because back in the states there are usually long lines. Even though they have several people open to help, the lines still usually move pretty slow. I read things are slow going here in Belize, but the lines are so much shorter. You usually only have one, maybe two people in front of you; if any at all. I also don’t think they go any slower here than they do back in the states. Not in the government sector anyway.
Stray dogs are a problem here Corozal. Many of the dogs have mange and are very emaciated. Apparently the health department and the police department teamed up to do something about this, because it is a health issue. So yesterday we heard an announcement come from a bull horn on a truck, and it was a warning for people to keep their pets inside to avoid accidental eradication. I wondered how they would go about getting rid of these dogs; hoping they would humanely euthanize them, but realizing we are not in the states. I’m sure they don’t do things like that here. Then this morning, as we were leaving to go work out, we noticed a trail of blood crossing our gate and leading around the corner. My first thought was the eradication of stray dogs. I asked some of the ladies from church today if they knew what they do to get rid of the dogs. They said the dogs are poisoned. I can’t help but feel so bad for these dogs. I feel bad for them starving and full of mange, and I understand it’s not much of a life; but to have such a horrible end to an already miserable life! It’s so sad.
Quest for Placencia
I haven’t posted in a while because we’ve been busy with Easter and making plans to go down to the Placencia area next month. We’re hoping to live there for at least a month to have time to check everything out. We also want to take a trip out to snorkel with the Whale Sharks. They are in the area right now and I would absolutely love to swim with the Whale Sharks! The place we found to live, is in Maya Beach. It’s a few miles north of Placencia and it looks like a nice place, but the lease agreement they want us to sign is ridiculous! They are actually asking us to sign away certain rights; which is illegal for them to do…and yes I looked it up in the Belize laws. I’m not going by what I’m used to back in the states. We emailed them with our concerns, and God willing they will rectify the situation and we will move in next month. If God chooses to close this door, then we must keep looking, ‘cause we already put in our 30 day notice here. I know it will all work out for the best though! Oh, and I’ve been wanting so badly to start working out again. There happens to be a gym across the street from us, on the opposite end of the block. How convenient is that! So we signed up and started working out a couple of days ago. It feels so good to do something positive and healthy for yourself!
Lightening storm: These photos are from the lightening storm we had here in Corozal Town last night. The first two were taken on our DSLR, and the others are still shots that I got from the video we took with a GoPro. The lines through a couple of the pictures are there because the GoPro doesn’t do night-time video very well, and the lightening seemed to lite up the sky incrementally. Well that’s the way the video interpreted in slow-mo.