19 September, 2013

Going to Market, Part Two

After finishing the shopping and errands in Indy, our taxi driver took us back to the public dock where we boarded Houdini and set out for Placencia.  Placencia is the name of the village at the tip of an 12-mile-long, narrow peninsula also named Placencia.  The peninsula runs essentially parallel to the mainland from north to south, with the village at the southern tip. 
Starting from the Indy public dock (purple asterisk), we traveled along Mango Creek to the Placencia Lagoon and headed toward the southern tip of the peninsula.  It is about 5 miles by boat.  If you look closely, you can find the blue marker for the Plaencia airstrip almost due east of the Indy public dock.
In the center is the canal that runs along the airstrip.  Small, 12-passenger prop planes land here.  It is serviced by 2 commercial airlines - Maya Island Air and Tropic Air
Partway across the lagoon, we were passed by the Hokey Pokey water taxi making its return trip to Indy from Placencia.  By road that trip would be 42 miles instead of 5 by water.  The road down the peninsula was paved just a few years ago.  Prior to that the 12 miles was a dirt road full of pot holes and ruts.  That was not a trip to make lightly!
The Hokey Pokey Water Taxi in mid-lagoon.  They do a thriving business.
We accessed the lagoon-side of Placencia by navigating into a canal along which numerous houses, vacation properties, and businesses have docks. 
The purple arrowheads mark our route along the canal.  The red asterisks mark the Shell Carver's canal-side outdoor studio and another location of Ming's Store.
 We proceeded slowly down the canal, which is a "no wake" zone.
The entrance to the canal from the lagoon.  Vacation rental properties abound.
We pass small, unprepossessing holiday accommodations, Belizean homes, expat homes, and second homes.
This is a nice Belizean-style home.
Lots of sail boats and motor boats.  The sailboats are pleasure boats, for the most part, either owned by expats or rented to vacationers.
Assorted boats are docked at this small resort.
 We pull up at the MnM Hardware store dock, just behind the Hokey Pokey dock.
The MnM and Hokey Pokey docks are adjacent.
We buy our fuel, both gasoline and diesel, at the MnM dock. 
Richard lines up the fuel carboys for filling.  You can see that Houdini is a very basic fiberglass boat with 2 builtin bench seats with plywood flooring between them.
 From the MnM dock we can walk to various stores, restaurants, and produce stands.
We can walk from the MnM dock (purple asterisk) to Main Street.  Today, we stopped at Wallen's hardware and homestore (yellow asterisk) and a produce stand (red asterisk).
Even though there are some produce stands in Indy, the produce at Placencia is more varied, fresher, and higher quality to cater to tourists.  Placencia is definitely a tourist and expat village, whereas Indy is not.  We go to Indy because the basics are significantly cheaper there.
Our favorite produce stand in Placencia.  Grapes, asparagus, eggplant, yellow and red sweet peppers, fresh mushrooms, leaf lettuce, endive, and spinach are things we can find in Placencia but not in Indy.  Watermelon, cantaloupe, limes, oranges, star fruit (carambola), hot peppers, plantains, bananas, onions, carrots, okra, potatoes, tomatoes, green beans, corn, avocado, mango, celery, root vegetables, and many other things are also available.
In the 10 years we have been spending time in Belize, the variety and quality of produce, and really all goods, has increased to an amazing degree. But we still get excited to find Brie cheese, Italian pasta, real port, triscuit crackers, brussel sprouts, nice apples, bread flour and many other things.
Roadside muffler repair.  Another casualty of the potholes and ruts.  This is in front of Dawn's Grill-n-Go restaurant where we pick up lunches to go.  Her fishballs are excellent!
 On our way to the produce stand, we stopped at the Grill-n-Go to place an order to pick up on our way out.  This time we got the fried chicken and mashed potatoes, which was wonderful, but her fishballs are even better.
The inside of the Grill-n-Go decorated for the upcoming holiday.
The Belize flag with the enigmatic motto "Flourish in the Shade"
September is the slow month for tourists, so many restaurants have closed for the month.  Omar's is open, though. 
Omar's has very attractive decorations and smells great when we walk by.  We need to try it out soon.
 After picking up our to go lunches, we walked back to Houdini. I decided to keep walking north on Main St to another Ming's store.  This one in Placencia has items not carried at the one in Indy.  I got 2 kinds of Brie, goat cheese, and some other treasures. Back in the boat, we went back up the canal and made a stop at the shell carver's studio for some items Joy had commissioned to sell in her gift shop.
The shell carver's open air studio next to the canal.
A boat repair yard is next to the shell carver's studio.
 From the canal we went out to the open sea and soon passed the channel markers for Big Creek. 
Big Creek channel marker.  Maya Mountains are visible in the distance.
Soon enough, we recognize signs of home. 
Great Monkey Cay is flanked by our neighboring SteppingStones and Monkey River Village.  Our place is hidden by the key.
Home at last. We arrived at noon, 4.5 hours after we set out.  We still have to unload the fuel cans and all the groceries and other supplies that we brought back. By 12:30 we are through and can enjoy our take away lunches in the shade on our veranda.  It took the 4 of us 5 hours to get set for another week.  No running back to the store to pick up a forgotten item; that will have to wait until next week.
We don't always go shopping by boat; sometimes we drive.  But when we drive, we can only go too Indy; Placencia is too far by road to make a day trip for shopping.  Our car, a Subaru Outback, is all wheel drive and can handle the mud on Monkey River Road.  But sometimes in the rainy season the ruts and potholes are too deep; only a SUV or truck can make it.  I'll do a future post on making the trip by car.
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  1. What an amazing account Wilma. I guess it must be good in some respects, but don't you feel you have gone back a year or two.{:))
    Which in some respects can't be bad I suppose.

    1. More like a decade or two! We enjoy many aspects of the slower pace and are frustrated by other aspects. Definitely worth the tradeoff to live in the tropical seaside.


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