23 May, 2022

Home Again!

And I can see!  The surgery was easy, with dramatic results.  I stayed in Dallas a week and returned home Saturday.  More about the stay in Dallas in the next post(s); today I am focusing (get it?) on the last leg of the journey home.  I left DFW at 11:04am Central Daylight Time and arrived at PGIA in Belize at 12:30pm Central Time - a flight time of just under 2.5 hours.  Belize stays on standard time year 'round since we are so close to the equator.  PGIA, Belize's only international airport,  is pretty small with only one runway and one taxiway.  It was about maxed out on how many international fights it can accommodate when we landed, so the airport with its extra covid screening process was a zoo.  I just did make my connecting flight to Placencia at 1:30pm.  I was able to sit in the co-pilot seat, my favorite spot on these small planes.

Posted placard just in case I get a hankering to try to fly the plane!  
Big planes lined up at the terminal.  My American Airlines plane is second from left with the striped tail.  
The day was perfect for flying.  Once we were airborne, the pilot  switched on autopilot and was hands off until we neared our first stop at airstrip in Dangriga.
The beautiful Belize River adjacent to PGIA.  Several times I have been lucky enough to spot manatees swimming in the river as we flew over, but not this time.

Belize City, the capital until it was levelled by Hurricane Hattie in 1961.  You can see the municipal airstrip jutting out into the sea at the upper left of the city.

A view of the Northern Lagoon with the sea to the left.  The strip of land between the lagoon and sea is very low and marshy during the rainy season.

Just south of the Northern Lagoon is the equally creatively named Southern Lagoon.  We are over the sea here, and the water is so clear you can see the sandy bottom.

Sea, shrimp farms, mountains in the distance.

Flying low over former shrimp farm ponds on the right as we make the approach to the Dangriga airstrip.

Jungle below and then the airstrip up ahead.  Dangriga is to the right.
We made a 10 minute stop in Dangriga to let a couple of passengers off and then continued flying south to Placencia, total flight time of 40 minutes.
Placencia airstrip, spans nearly the entire width of the narrow peninsula.
Until 4 or so years ago, when we landed in Placencia, once we got off the plane and collected out bags, we would walk back down the runway to the canal you see on the right of the runway.  Someone would be waiting for us in a boat to bring us straight home.  After a little oopsie at the airstrip in which a plane clipped the top of a car on the road at the far end of the runway and fell into the sea (minor injuries, car and plane totalled), national aviation safety had a review of procedures at the airstrip and changed things up.  Now there are barricades that come down to block the road when a plane is landing and no one is allowed to walk down the runway.  Now we must take a taxi to the dock in the village.  Probably safer, but not as much fun.

I got home around 3:30 on Saturday and was ecstatically greeted by Dennis, Clove, and Barnie - it was a grand welcome.  The only bad thing is that I caught a vicious cold somewhere along the way and have been taking it easy except for walking the dogs.  I haven't even completely unpacked.  Today is rainy with lots of thunder this morning.  Scaredy-cat Clove decided she was a lap dog so I could properly comfort her.



She is on the foot of the bed now that most of the storm has passed, but she still insists that my foot must be touching her.  What a wuss.

08 May, 2022

A Few Photos

It's hot down here; highs in the mid-80s F (>29C) with "feels like" topping 100F due to the high relative humidity.  We venture out in the morning and again in the evening with a quick noontime walk in the shade for the dogs.  The weather pattern will break in another 3 days or so.  Whew!!!

Barnie in a sploot.  Or is that a semi-sploot?
It was so miserable even at dawn this morning that Barnie refused to walk more that the bare minimum.
The air is thick with moisture, but no rain in sight.
Lots of bird nesting activity, though.  I have been watching a pair of Social Flycatchers tending the nest they built at eye level just off the veranda where I sit every morning with my coffee and computer.  I think they may have a helper, too.  Good thing since they have to fend off big, marauding Brown Jays who want to eat their young!  And they also have to chase off the Kiskadees who want to steal the nest for their own use.  The parents are doing a fine job and it won't be long until the nestlings fledge out into the world.  The Kiskadees finally settled on another nest site.
Kiskadee nest in the crotch of a gumbo limbo tree.  Their favorite place to nest used to be the rain gutters until we put an end to that with gutter guards.  Don't want nest debris and bird poop in our water supply!
A little farther afield I came across these sizable owl pellets.  Fur was visible upon a closer look.  Not sure what kind of owl it might be.

Life and death go on in our backwater world.  We watch as the world at large goes to hell, with the trampling human rights and real freedoms - not bullshit freedom to not wear a mask, but actual freedom to live and speak and to procreate or not procreate without the will of others being forcefully imposed upon you.  We continue to send financial support (ACLU, Planned Parenthood, subscriptions to various news outlets to support journalism) and try not to feel helpless to change things.