Paget’s Belize Journal #11

September 28: More Weather; Sensations; Housing

Today Dangriga is back to being a refreshingly breezy coastal
community, but when I first arrived here, it was very still.
The staff at Pelican Beach (the resort where I’m staying temporarily)
say it’s because the two hurricanes that ran up the coast in
the last two weeks were “sucking up all the breeze.”
Probably a more scientific way of putting it, having to do with
lows and tropical troughs and all, but I suspect they’re correct.

Anyway, that meant that the sand fleas were out. Now anyone
who has been to Belize will warn you about the sand fleas if
they’ve experienced them. And they’re worse. Tiny little black
bugs that can jump and fly and bite as many bits as they can
find. Not at all a respectable bug that you have a chance to
squash once in a while. We white folk do have one advantage,
though. I was talking to a staff member and she said they were
terrible, because “you can’t evah see dem, but dey bite,
den dey gone.” How strange, I thought. I can see them.
And then figured out, of course, that she could see them on my
skin, too.

This place is going to be just grand for making me recognize
realities of the world that I haven’t been thinking about, especially
from lily-white Oregon. Tony and Therese’s children have just
started at a new school because they will be moving as soon as
their house is ready. The new school is much less racially diverse
than their old school, it’s mostly Garifuna. Luke, the middle child
(8 years old) is dealing with being teased and called Pinnochio
because he has a sharp little nose, not a lovely rounded one
like virtually all of the other children. He’s a trooper though.
He was feeling so bad, I let him take apart my wonderful battery-operated
hand fan (here they’re known as “church fans”) to see
how it worked. Lost one of the pieces in the sand, convinced
me to give it to him so he could fix it. Then had his Dad fix
it with a piece of tinfoil. Tony immediately claimed the fan
and I’m not sure I’ll ever get it back.

Sounds are also hard to get used to. The beach is just about
20 yards outside my window, so when the tide is turning and it’s
pretty quiet, it sounds just like a person breathing just outside
the window, especially when you wake up in the middle of the
night. But I am learning to sleep through the nearly-nightly
thunder storms and the early flight from Belize City.

Oh, I promised an update on house-hunting. I have looked at
two houses and have begun to get the range of what’s possible
and not possible. There will be no hot water and probably no
screens. Unfurnished is just that. No stove or refrigerator,
nothing except bathroom fixtures and maybe a kitchen sink/counter
unit. I’ll have to buy whatever I want. So I’ve started pricing
a bit. A floor fan will be about $16 US, a two-burner cook top
about $40 US (if the house electricity can take it). I’ll buy
a piece of foam for a bed (US $35) and have a handyman “knock
up” a frame, and probably a table and chair too. And also
do the screens and maybe burglar bars. So now I am concentrating
on finding a small place, not too expensive, in a safe neighborhood.

One of the security men (Ernest) has an aunt and uncle who
have two places. One is a very small house with no kitchen sink,
but new bathroom fixtures (very appealing). BUT you have to crawl
into the bedroom because it’s under the eave. It’s $175 BZE/month
(half that in US $). The other one is the ground floor of a two-story
house (not desirable, you get no ocean breezes). I didn’t ask
how much it was because it was hot and sooooo GREEEEEN on the
inside. I mean bright. I mean four different colors of bright green.
Including the ceiling. But these places I looked at on Friday
and no one has come up with anything else since then. And the
only way to find a place is word of mouth, there is no such thing
as classified ads that I have found. So maybe I’ll have green.
or no sink.

Gotta go, let me know if anything needs more explanation.
Tony and Therese are the people who own Naturalight Productions and
for whom I’m doing some project work.