Spring in Belize
A princess arrives
As I mentioned in my last report, Mike and I had intended to go to the Fair early in the day on Saturday, but he decided we needed to go to Spanish Lookout to get spark plugs, a fuel filter and some other stuff for his car. It's an OLD car, 1975 maybe, a small Ford of some kind and rusting here and there, but it runs and it doesn't gobble gas. So it's a good hauling vehicle.
Mike grows vegetables, fruits and flowers and sells them in the produce market and to various resorts and hotels -- Tuesday is Hopkins resorts day, Saturday is San Ignacio market day. And now, he is working with the Republic of China Agricultural Research center drying pineapple and trying to develop a market for it, so Thursday is pineapple-drying day. That makes Monday, Wednesday and Friday harvest, water, weed, plant etc days. Saturday and Sunday are do all your other chores and errands. I'm glad I don't have to live this life, but he seems to like it fine.
Mike came to pick me up about 8:00 and we went back to Georgeville
to pick up
Picking up Mike B. involved a stop for coffee; a change of clothes; crawling under a bus (purple, for sale, with multiple "Jesus Saves" and multiple baby handprints and footprints in yellow) to look at Marvel and Puppy's new puppies; negotiations about which pup was going to be the best watchdog and what a fair price might be. Dog prices range from BZ $ 50 for a half-breed, large dog (e.g., a rottweiler mix), to $25 for a good healthy pup where you know the parents, but not what they are, to $5 for a Heinz-57 dog, that you know has been taken care of but little else. Mike B. was asking $35 for the pups because the mother is such a good watchdog. Not sure this is a characteristic you inherit. She's not real bright, though, poor thing.
Eventually we got to Spanish Lookout, which is one of the largest Mennonite communities in the country. When the Mennonites first started settling in Belize in the late 50's, the government allowed them this community and several others that they were allowed to govern and police themselves, but there is in fact a policeman stationed in Spanish Lookout now. I don't know whether or not they have an elected town council like other communities. There are two distinct groups of Mennonites -- those who use technology and those who rely on horses and oxen instead of tractors and cars. The latter never even ride a bus. This community is a mechanized one and has a large auto parts store which also has the best prices by quite a bit apparently, because people come from all over Belize and even from Guatemala to shop there. It took an hour to sort everything out here. This is after we stopped at what might be the only health food store in the country to buy wheat flour, honey and vitamins. This "store" is a little building on a Mennonite farm. The dogs announce you and then someone comes from the house and opens up.
Spanish Lookout is also the home of Western Farms -- which may be the only commercial dairy here. They sell milk, heavenly yogurt (coconut is my favorite) and excellent cheese in town, but you can only get ice cream at the dairy itself. Wonderful! I had soursop and mango. All of these stops take a long time because the two Mikes are also trying to convince people at each stop to trade for fertilizer and/or dried pineapple instead of money. We were also going to go to the hardware store but it was closed for lunch.
Back across to Georgeville via a cable ferry (just like the Buena Vista ferry for you Oregonians) and when we got to Mike B.'s discovered we had lost the key somehow. So then we had to help him break in, which confused the heck out of the dogs. They *knew* no one was supposed to climb up the back of the house, but it was their friend Mike. What to do? Bark like mad and wag your tail. Run at him snarling and wagging, but don't bite. It was really pretty funny.
So that's why we didn't get to the fair until after noon and I nearly fainted from heat. But it was fun anyway.
p.s. Oh, there are two Spanish Lookouts here -- one on the
cayes that probably actually was a lookout for the Spanish when
they were trying to invade in the late 1700's. Don't know where
this one, which is 80 miles inland, got its name.