Thursday, September 29, 2011


Over the past month or so I have started to challenge myself to experience life in Belize more.  Since I love my routines so much I tend to do the same things over and over, and then I get bored.  Then I get frustrated at myself for being bored, because I live in Belize for goodness sakes.  People pay a lot of money to vacation here.   Anyways, the first challenge is to explore more food at the market.  There is a whole row of food vendors at the market, and I had mostly avoided them because I can’t figure out how you are supposed to know how to eat there.  The vendors don’t have signs advertising what they sell or how much it is.  There are no nice lines to wait in till it’s your turn to order.  People sit or mill about,  and somehow yummy food appears in their hands, at least that is how it seems to me.  So I have started stalking vendors.  First I walk around a bit to see if anything looks or smells particularly good.  Then I hover around the edge of the stand, and spy to see what people are eating and how they order.   Ordering usually involves shoving your way through the crowd and yelling what you want to the cook.  (Don’t worry, the little old ladies do it too).  Since often I don’t know what the food is called I mostly just point, ask the price, and order so-many-dollars worth. 
So far I have sampled:
 Papusas, which are corn tortillas with beans, cheese, and chicken baked inside it
Chicken tacos from several different vendors (hey it’s easily identifiable)
Pork tacos, which I was going to get a picture of but inhaled instead.  Ahem.
And yes I am eating these foods at about 8am in the morning.  Somehow I now find myself craving tacos with spicy onions in the morning instead of a donut.  It’s weird. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


The other day I bought 1 single gallon of gas, something I don’t think I’ve ever had to do before.  I only had $12BZ on me, and gas is now $11 per gallon (or about $5.50 US)!  I know gas prices are high in the states too, but when you consider a fairly good wage for the whole day is $25 US, you can understand how paying $5 for a single gallon of gas is exorbitant.   I think it’s only a matter of time before this starts causing problems here.  The cost of gas (and diesel) has risen over 100% in the last 5 years or so, but transportation fares have stayed the same. Yet  historically, whenever buses or taxis have tried to raise fares, riots have broken out… 
Daniel got a nasty case of flu which took him out of commission for the entire of last week.  Hence, I became sole animal feeder.  Only one animal died… I’m pretty sure it wasn’t my fault? I’ve got a pretty good morning and evening routine down now, but I have decided solo farming is not for me.
We got some guinea hens, because they are supposed to be tick-eaters, and I want the birds to eat the ticks before the ticks eat me.  I’m not sure why this didn’t occur to me, but guineas lay eggs every day!  And we have to do something with the eggs!  This weekend I made custard from scratch (5 egg yolks) and a white cake (5 egg whites).  We now have  4 eggs left to deal with as of this morning.  This is after we gave one dozen to my brother in law, and  I made Daniel deal with about 10 more (I think he is going to try and hatch them.  I don’t want to know what happens to them as long as they are not in my kitchen).
Daniel has killed two scorpions in our house in the last 2 weeks.  TWO. SCORPIONS.  As a result, I spend a large amount of time poking suspiciously at my shoes before I put them on.  I’m thinking of sticking to sandals for a while. 

I finished the sequel to Blackout, which is called All Clear.  The book was 645 pages long, and it would have benefited from a lot of editing.  I'm pretty sure the entire plot could have fit into about 45 pages, the rest was characters running about worrying about where the other characters had gotten to.  I only stuck with it because I wanted to know how it ended.... so not worth it.  If anyone happened to read Blackout, and wants to know how the sequel ends without trudging through it, email me and I will summarize it in 3 sentences. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

for book nerds like me...

This kinda made my day.  #4 is my favorite. Which is yours?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

swimming with dolphins

I swam with Dolphins last weekend.
(I have a newly- discovered goal in life to pet various wild animals.
 Jaguar, check.  Dolphin, check.  Next up: SLOTH. )
Originally I was just looking for someplace in Mexico to vacation cheaply for a weekend, since rates tend to drop during hurricane season, but I came across a place in Tulum that has a dolphin program.  And then I discovered Tulum is only a three hour bus ride from my favorite Mexican city, Chetumal.  Done.

tulum beach
Amazingly, with all the tropical storms and depressions swirling about, we had perfect weather.  The dolphin program was located on the beach in a fancy pants resort, and the dolphins were in a large salt water pool.  Everything was really well organized-- Daniel and I were assigned a dolphin trainer, and with one other person in our group we had an hour in the pool with our dolphin, whose name was Mincho, all to ourselves.

The trainer was really professional and knowledgeable, and he answered questions and taught us dolphin training methods.  We were in the water the whole time, petting Mincho who hung out by our legs, and we also got a kiss on the cheek, and got to grab onto his flippers and go for a ride.  Mincho also talked to us and performed tricks.    When he first swam up to us, his gracefulness just took my breath away.   I have seen dolphins in the wild, but standing in a pool when an 8 foot, 350 lb dolphin swims up to you is quite different.  I was pretty sure I was smiling like an idiot the whole time…. which was confirmed afterwards when we saw the pictures taken by the staff.  (Unfortunately they sold the pictures on a cd for $23 US per picture… so no photographic evidence of my silly faces). 

Things I learned about dolphins:
1.        Dolphins have belly buttons
2.       They can live between 50-60 years in captivity
3.       They need to be provided with games and toys or else they will get bored and become destructive.
4.       Our dolphin absolutely loved his chin and belly rubbed.  He was just like a puppy, he would swim up and press up against our legs to get us to pet him
5.       Dolphins don’t drink water, they get all their hydration from the fish they eat.  Their mouth is not connected to their lungs at all, they only breath through their blow hole on the top of their head. 
I’m so glad I had the opportunity to interact with a dolphin, it was an incredible experience.  Now onto plotting how to pet a sloth….

Monday, September 12, 2011

i canned.

These three awesome jars of pickles brought to you by:

6 months of contemplation of canning
3 canning cook books
2 months without refrigeration

Thursday, September 8, 2011


So a few weeks ago our Passion Fruit vine was suddenly absolutely covered with these black, slimy, spiny, nasty caterpillars.  They were gross.  So we cut off the most covered pieces and burned them or fed the bugs to our guinea hens.

Then, over the last couple of days, tons of these began appearing around our vine:

oh.  OOPS.  sorry baby butterflies.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

on driving in Belize

So, I bought a car! (YAY!) I didn’t really drive much before, and the last month has been interesting.  The other day when I was stopped at a checkpoint, the police officer asked for my license, and I handed him my US card.  I’ve never bothered to get a Belize license because it is perfectly legal to drive on a US license.  The officer was kind of in a mood that day, and  told me I had to get a Belizean license.  I didn’t bother arguing, I just said ok and moved on.   I know better than to argue with a police man here, but I just think it is deliciously ironic that he wants me to get a Belize driver’s license.  In Belize, the possession of a license does not guarantee the person knows how to drive.  Not just in the US sense, where we yell about people who don’t know how to drive as they are going slow on a highway. In the US you at least need to take a written exam and drive around with some guy who makes sure you sort of know what you are doing.  Here, some people truly don’t know how to drive—and they buy their license instead of acquiring it legally.   A lady I know has had her driver’s license for 10 years.  She does not know how to drive a car in reverse.  This does not stop her from driving- she just makes sure she can always drive forward.
Interestingly, knowing that some people really and truly do not know how to drive makes me less likely to have a nervous breakdown when driving here. I drive with an attitude of expectation:  whatever is the most illogical and stupid move should be anticipated and expected from fellow drivers.  When I am driving down the highway, will the car in front of me stop and park in the road? Could happen.  When I turn onto a street, will there be a car driving in reverse down the street in my lane? It’s likely.  When I am stuck behind a slow-moving bus, will the guy three cars behind me attempt to pass all of us and the bus on a blind curve? That’s pretty much guaranteed.   All of these things have happened to me in the last month I’ve been driving. I’ve heard that the most dangerous thing to do in Belize is drive on the highway, and I believe it.  Anyways, off to get my license, requirements for which include a doctor’s exam certifying that I am mentally stable enough to drive… wish me luck J
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