19 October, 2010
Everything and the kitchen sink!
Wednesday morning we headed to the Rochester airport for the first leg of our trip to Belize. This trip we had 3 big bags and a big Igloo ice chest to check on the plane plus a big box that held, you guessed it, our old stainless steel kitchen sink that we took out of the house this past year when we remodeled the kitchen. Even though it is 23 years old, it is still better than the one we have in Belize. Putting in the “new” kitchen sink is one of the projects we hope to accomplish on this trip.
We flew from Rochester to Chicago then Chicago to Miami on Wednesday and spent the night in Miami. As usual, we stored the big things at the airport so we didn’t have to haul them to the hotel; it was enough work for each of us to haul our 2 carry on bags (4 total). As we rode the shuttle bus to the hotel, we spotted a Cuban diner across the street from the hotel and decided to go there for dinner. We had fried cassava as an appetizer and for dinner we shared a dish that had chicken, shrimp, and calamari cooked with onions and peppers. And we had a side dish of fried green plantains called tostones. Surely the green plantains count as a green veggie. ;-)
Thursday morning we got up early to make it to the airport before 7:00, retrieved our bags, and went through check in and security. Flying is such a pain in the butt these days – take the computer out of the bag, take the little toiletries bag out, take your shoes off, take your jacket off, empty your pockets. And if you are extra lucky like I was, you get patted down and swiped off to see if any explosives are detected. After all that, the rest was easy. We got to our gate with plenty of time to have Cuban coffee and pastries for breakfast right across from our departure gate.
We arrived in Belize City about 10:30 am and went through immigration easily, after a short panic on my part thinking I had left my glasses on the plane. But, no, they were in my little shoulder bag. While waiting for the checked bags to show up, we shopped at the “arrivals duty free shop” to get some wine and other alcoholic beverages at a much cheaper price than you can once you leave the airport. Then came customs. All 9 of our bags were searched. ;-( Dennis had receipts for almost all the things we were intend to leave here, so there was no real problem, just time consuming. We paid duty on various tools and hardware items, printer cartridges. Then we went into the domestic side of the terminal to check in for the flight from Belize City to Placencia on a little 12 seater prop plane. I love flying on these little planes. They fly a little higher than the soaring birds but low enough to get good views of the landscape below.
Fellow blogger Drew Travers of TraversBelize (http://traversbelize.blogspot.com/) met us at the Placencia airstrip and dropped us off at Nautical Inn in the village of Seine Bight. After we checked in, I went for a little swim in the ocean – the water was perfect. Later on, we walked about half a mile to a great restaurant that was an unexpected surprise; it is owned and operated by a young Austrian couple. I had their special of the evening, lobster soup followed by homemade lamb sausages and sauerkraut. Dennis had prawn toast with smooth tomato chutney followed by fish goulash. For dessert we shared chocolate-filled dumplings served with papaya sorbet. It was all fabulous.
The walk back to the Nautical Inn was made interesting by a rasta guy who attached himself to us and would not go away. He kept declaring that he was a good guy and we were good people. He was completely wasted. In fact, when he spotted us the next morning, he started his routine all over again, clearly having forgotten the encounter from the evening before.
Drew picked us up at 9:30 and we went to his place to meet his wife Karen and talk to them about their experiences in moving to Belize from Maine. They have developed a delightful place in the 7 or so years they have been here full time. They shared a lot of very useful information with us. You should check out their website.
Jason picked us up in his boat at the Travers’ lagoon-side dock with Joy and Richard along for the ride. We did our grocery shopping in the little village of Independence, paid up on the tab at the hardware store, bought a new water pump to replace the leaking one at our cabana, bought diesel for the generator, and gas for our boat before heading down to South Englishtown. As we made our way through the mangrove labyrinth I could feel the tension of work and travel melting away. The first glimpse of our cabana from the sea is always such a welcome sight.
Arrival also means unloading all the bags and boxes we brought with us and accumulated along the route to Englishtown. Here is a photo of most of the stuff we brought with is. The sink is in the big blue box …