|This is NOT the boat that picked Dennis up. Too bad ... These were visitors who anchored in the lee of Great Monkey Cay while some of its passengers went on a tour the Monkey River.|
Dennis had a very busy 10 days between the time Max and I abandoned him in Minnesota before he arrived in Belize on Christmas Eve. He rented a small UHaul trailer to be pulled by our car and filled both the trailer and the car with boxes of our belongings. On the 18th he left Rochester, MN trying to get ahead of a blizzard and drove south all the way to the gulf coast of Alabama, equivalent and sometimes parallel to the full length of the Mississippi River from its state of origin (MN) to its mouth into the Gulf of Mexico. He drove for 2 days and spent the night along the way in Blytheville, Arkansas. He spent another night in Camden, Alabama where he dropped off the car and trailer contents with our shipping agent. Only a small snafu in that the car was supposed to go to Mobile, Alabama. However, the agent arranged to have it driven there for Dennis, so problem resolved. Dennis also had with him his three 70lb checked bags for his flight and had to get those and himself to the Atlanta airport. To do that, he rented a 17 foot truck, nothing else available in little Camden, a town of only 2000 people, and drove. He spent 2 nights in Atlanta, recovering from driving about 1400 miles, prior to departure to Miami on the 23rd.
An entertaining (hmmm…) bit here: We knew we would need a signal booster to get cell phone reception at our place in Belize and had ordered one to bring down with us in our checked bags rather than shipping it to Belize. We had heard that signal boosters are sometimes seized when they arrive in shipments and that we would have an easier time getting one into the country by bringing it in personally. Well, by mistake it was sent to our shipping agent instead of to us in MN, but no matter – Dennis would get it when he went to Camden and put it in his bags. However – you knew there would be a “however”, didn’t you?- when he got to Camden, they told him they had just forwarded it to our Minnesota address. Doh! So, thinking quickly, Dennis got online in Atlanta and ordered another signal booster to be ready for pick up at Best Buy in Miami so he could bring it down. When he got to Miami, he had to take a taxi on December 23 to Best Buy and pay the taxi to wait for him while he braved the last minute shopping crowd to pick up the signal booster. I think the taxi cost more than the signal booster.
He caught the morning flight from Miami to Belize on Christmas Eve. After he went through immigration and customs, he caught a puddle jumper flight to Placencia where Joy, Richard, and I picked him up in our boat. He even managed to get on an earlier flight to Placencia.
Meanwhile, I had been busy at the cabana unpacking all the things we had brought down on earlier trips and stored. Out came the kitchen and dining ware, the clothes, the kitchen, bed, and bath linens, the toiletries and first aid supplies, snorkel gear, and cameras. Everything had to be cleaned and scrubbed to remove 6 years worth of dirt and bugs. It just isn’t the tropics without the bugs. Luckily I am not squeamish, but I might be allergic to roach poop. After lots of bleach and bug spray, things look pretty good and I am not sneezing any more.
So Dennis arrived to a cabana that was clean and somewhat organized. We celebrated by inviting our new neighbors, Kevin and Domini and their 4 children (who are house sitting at Steppingstones for Chris and Sue while they are working hard at White Rock), and Richard and Joy, our caretakers, to join us for a little Christmas Eve celebration. Richard chilled a bottle of spumanti in his freezer and I made flat bread, tostones (from green plantains), a spicy-hot salsa with shrimp, and a mild salsa without shrimp to accommodate diverse pallets and shellfish allergies. Domini brought yummy Christmas cookies. All-in-all a nice welcome for Dennis and a Merry Christmas Eve for all.