It's Spring in Belize
Date: 3 March 2003
Greetings, family and friends, from Belize. While North America was being bashed with blizzards and record low temperatures, February in Belize has been fabulous. Cold fronts kept us comfortably cool, and warm fronts brought balmy Caribbean breezes. With little rain (and no snow), we have enjoyed February very much. If you ever get a chance to visit, February is the month to come -- it's like Spring.
The Direcway internet satellite dish has made a big difference since I installed it in January. Occasionally, due to weather conditions, it has lost its connection, but for the most part, we have been online nonstop -- which may be common in the States, but very, very uncommon down here. There is still some more tweaking to do, though, and we hope to be up on NetMeeting soon so that we can talk with some of you online without any long distance charges. Our telephone bill can get pretty big -- long distance fees are $1US per minute to the US and $1.25US per minute to Canada. But with 'callback' services like www.callback4u.com, folks down here can make calls to the States for about 35 cents per minute.
Lila planted some sunflowers in December, and they have been blooming for the last couple weeks. Over 6 feet tall, our sunflowers have caught the eye of local Belizeans who pass by. We have also been growing orchids of all shapes and colors -- white, black, blue, purple, red, yellow. The orchids can be tied to branches in trees where their roots will grab hold. They don't like too much sun and don't appear to need much water either. We have put many in coconut husks which absorb a good amount of water. The idea is to get the orchids to root in the coconut husks so that the orchids can be easily moved -- their roots tend to wrap around whatever they can and make it difficult to move them once they are entrenched.
Our band, the Paradise Wranglers, has been playing at various venues. It looks like we may have found a place in Consejo where we can play regularly. Although our gatherings often resemble dance night at the local retirement home, everyone has a great time. ;-) I play harmonica in the band, and I have been practicing the guitar and banjo about an hour a day. I'll be posting songs and tablature on the web in the near future. Blues, folk, and bluegrass are my favorites.
Lila has been taking self-defense courses with some other ladies. Now all the gringo women in town are learning how to yell "NO!", pop assailant eye balls, break arms, crush voice boxes, and the time-honored favorite kick in the testicles. This should make trips to the fish market more interesting...
There's no real news on the car. In typical Belizean fashion, the car has been stuck at the Customs border compound. I am trying to get my importation deposit back (by exporting the vehicle) so that I can reimport it at its current value (which is significantly lower than previously) and use the money to fix it up. We are actually proud owners of 2 wrecked Pathfinders -- and if I ever manage to get one of them out of Customs, I might be able to combine them into one that is drivable. We'll keep you posted.
The tooth fairy has been busy down here. Both Cheyenne and Lakota each lost a tooth -- Lakota's first. Both children are doing very well. Cheyenne tried her first 'bush medicine'. For the last couple years, Cheyenne has had a few moles near her armpit which have been growing. I just assumed that one day they would be sliced off by a physician. Our Belizean housekeeper, Sebi, noticed the moles and told us that eating a scorpion would get rid of them. Several other Belizeans backed up the story. One day Sebi brought a freshly killed scorpion -- big and black minus the stinger. She cooked it in the toaster oven a little, then mashed it, then put it into a cheese quesadilla -- Cheyenne loved it and wanted more. Within a week the moles started drying up -- they are almost all gone now! The next concoction we'd like to try out is a Belizean tea that reportedly cures asthma.
Lakota turned 5 on February 6th. He helped make his own cake and even got his hair cut with hardly a peep. He's been swimming up a storm.
Next week, Belizeans will go to the polls to vote in national elections. The campaigns over the last few months consisted primarily of the opposition saying, 'Let's get it right this time.' and the ruling party saying 'No turning back'. Stories of blatant corruption abound from both sides. Political rallies consist of throwing big parties with various bands and free beer. In the last 3 months, bunches of roads got paved (that had been unpaved for the 5 years of the current party's term) in hopes that the current band of politicians will keep their seats. Either way, it doesn't look like Belize will be in any better condition after the elections than before.
That's all for now. We miss you all,
Eric, Lila, Cheyenne and Lakota