|A palm frond we discovered on the drive to Maya Beach|
It’s rained almost nonstop the past three days. With no screens on the windows, the humidity at 100%, the bugs are literally swarming around me biting every few minutes. Trying not to scratch seems to reduce the longevity of the itching.
Both of us are making a concerted effort to stay cheerful and optimistic. We perceive this period of time as “training.” Training to learn to live with the bites, the humidity, the inclement weather, the lack of hot water, often no water at all, and of course, the bugs.
|Beach at Maya Beach Hotel|
It won’t be like this everywhere we’ve planned to visit, only a few. In a little over 60 days, we’ll be aboard ship again for over a month. That’s an easy life.
We had no delusions that this would be one long vacation. However, we hadn’t imagined we’d have this water issue. Had we known, we would not have rented this small beach house.
|Tom at Maya Beach|
Apparently, the water problem is due to issues with the city trying to repair the lines. They shut off the water frequently, not turning it back on for hours, sometimes days. When they finally do, its a mere trickle, not enough to flush the toilet. There is no hot water from any faucet. We showered, washing off our sweaty and bug spray covered skin under the cold trickle.
We have no options to move. After days of looking, this being the high season, there isn’t a single habitable place for us in any of the decent areas. Hotels are too expensive and have no vacancies as mentioned in a past post. We have nine weeks to go.
The golf cart sits in the driveway unattended. We can’t wait to get out again. It cleared for a little while yesterday early afternoon enabling us to drive the three miles to Maya Beach to check out some restaurants. We’ve decided to eat out three times a week. It helps. The Maya Beach Hotel has the top-rated restaurant in the country of Belize, the Bistro.
Making a reservation for dinner for last night we sat at the bar, ordering a soda while perusing their unique menus, anxious to return in four hours to enjoy not only their epicurean delights but the inviting ambiance as well. There were numerous options befitting our way of eating. Tom cheats when we dine out, but with apparently no repercussions other than weight gain. The next day he eats healthy balancing it all out.
|Me at the Maya Beach Hotel. Pockets filled with stuff as usual.|
We stopped along the return drive exploring the side streets, other restaurants, and the lush unusual vegetation. We stopped at the grocery store, miraculously finding a nonstick pizza pan wrapped in plastic, dusty in the back of a shelf, which will travel the world with us.
When we originally packed, we laughed at the idea of bringing along a pizza pan. But now, with a desire for a decent homemade meal with the limitations at the grocery stores, we’re grateful we found a pan. Our pizza requires parchment paper or Reynold’s No Stick foil. Neither of these exists in this country. Hopefully, the nonstick pan will suffice. They don’t sell mushrooms in Belize.
|The nicest grocery store near us|
There’s little meat in the grocery stores only a few clumps of freezer-burned, frozen packages and literally no fresh meat. The grass-fed meat is all frozen. We made steak. It was thin and tough. We ate it anyway.
Mostly, the people of Belize eat beans, rice, pork, plantains, fried tortillas, a combination of many cultures. I’ve yet to see any seafood, fresh, or frozen in any of the three biggest grocery stores in the area. Yet, the restaurant’s menus are filled with seafood options.
|A house we passed on the road to Maya Beach|
On the ride back to the little house, the clouds rapidly changed from fluffy white to dark barreling cylinders. We barely made it inside the door when the pouring rain returned. If we were to make our 6:30 dinner reservation, we’d need to leave at 6:10.
The rain never stopped. Dressed and ready to go at 6:00 PM we decided that we couldn’t risk it. The roof over the golf cart would provide no protection from the high winds and sideways rain. I contacted the restaurant online and canceled the reservation, promising to try again soon. Today, actually.
Neither of us had eaten all day, not hungry after our huge buffet dinner the night before. There we were, not only hungry but needing to eat. The tiny freezer held two items, Italian sausage for the pizza (quite the find) and two one-pound packages of ground grass-fed steak in funny skinny rolled packages less than 2″ in diameter. Taking out the meat, it took but a few minutes to begin to defrost.
|The Bistro at the Maya Beach Hotel rated Belize’s Top Rated Restaurant of the Year in 2012. We tried to keep our reservation last night at 6:30 driving our golf cart the three miles, but were ‘rained out.” Trying again tonight!|
Tom said as I sliced the meat into well-shaped rounds, “Now we know why they serve so many “sliders” here. They use this same meat!” We laughed.
First, cooking eight slices of bacon in my trusty frying pan, I placed the nine tiny burgers, well seasoned, into the pan carefully cooking them until fully done, more important now than ever. When done, we covered each mini burger with a chunk of sharp cheddar cheese and the cooked bacon. On the side, we had canned green beans made by Goya, a product line familiar in the US.
Travel Nurse Marsha suggested we eat canned brand name vegetables as opposed to fresh to avoid the risk of waterborne disease and parasites. The upscale resort restaurants have reverse osmosis systems to protect their hotel guests and customers. We never fail to ask. If so, we feel comfortable eating their cooked vegetables, although we refuse the raw vegetables which may be subject to mishandling, water parasites, and the like. No salad while here.
The only sickness we’ve experienced since leaving the US was the flu/cough/colds we contracted on the last cruise. Everyone was coughing. Mine still lingers, improving a little each day.
We continue to boil a huge pot of water each day for washing dishes, hands, and faces. We drink only purified bottled water, five-gallon jugs for $3 US. Tom pours them into our smaller used purified water bottles, making them easier to handle. Both of us are feeling our shoulders in this humidity.
We fill empty bottles with tap water, keeping three or four large jugs in the bathroom to use for flushing the toilet, being extra careful never to mix them up since they all look alike.
This morning the water ran long enough to do a load of laundry. A few days ago, it took six hours for one load, today only two. With the rain pelting, we hung the clothes indoors on the surprisingly available indoor clothesline. I wondered why it was there when we first walked in the door almost a week ago. It will take two days for them to dry. Seriously. Did you ever use a bath towel hung in humidity to dry? It hurts to wipe oneself! Guess it’s a good way to exfoliate after a refreshing cold shower.
As I write this the rain has stopped, although the dark clouds hover. Our hope is to leave here at 5:00 PM today to head to The Bistro for a much-anticipated dinner by the sea. Bug spray before we dash out the door. The no-see-ums arrive at 5:00 pm. They have Crystal Lite Martguerita’s. Hum….