Last night out to dinner in Belize…Packing…Photos…

Hopefully, our new camera takes better night photos Tom standing outside Mango’s last night.
Last night we went to Mango’s a popular local bar and restaurant with our friend Bill from Minnesota. We headed to Maya Beach, a five-minute drive north of us. Bill has wheels. Tom, Bill, and I headed out around 6:00 PM.
Mango’s menu had several good options.

On the way, we stopped at a nearby grocery store to look for contact lens solutions. No such luck. With only five more nights until we board the Carnival Liberty in Belize City, I’ve decided that if I run out of solution, I’ll sleep in my contacts, using eye drops in the mornings.

 The backside of Mango’s menu.

Once aboard the ship, it should be easy to find the solution.  Most certainly, the tiny drugstore in Placencia village has the solution. As I mentioned earlier, paying the $25 round trip cab fare doesn’t make sense. If each time we run out of an item incurring additional expenses to procure it, the budget can get out of control. That’s a situation we’d like to avoid.

Over the two-plus months we’ve lived in Belize, we heard many comments about Mango’s reputation as a fun spot for locals to hang out at the bar and dine on delicious fresh food cooked to order by their locally famous chef, Rachel Welch

Look at the size of Tom’s Margarita.  Add that smile for a winning combo.  He had two of these monstrosities.

Yes, her name is Rachel Welch, as in the US actress.  Apparently, when people starting talking about her name, she had no clue who Rachel Welch was. By now, she is familiar with her namesake.  It has become a local point of humor. She’s a native of Belize with long dreadlocks and looks nothing like Rachel Welch. Regardless of whose name she similarly bears, Rachel is a great cook. 

Me and my club soda and lime.  Cocktails would be more fun!

I had one of the best meals I’d had while dining out while in Belize. Ordering the special of the day, an 8-ounce grass-fed burger the waitress looked at me in amazement. She looked inquisitively at me asking, “Do you know that’s a full half-pound of meat?”

I chuckled, “Yes, I do!  Bring it on!” She shook her head, surprised by my answer, wondering if, in fact, I’d eat the entire thing. I did.

The quaint restaurant was hopping.

The burger was stuffed and topped with grilled onions, mushrooms, and blue cheese (minus the bun) along with a generous portion of the most amazing sautéed vegetables. Bill and Tom had the same. The total bill for the night was Belize $132 with tip, which is US $66.

The place was hopping with lively conversation with a seemingly constant flow of customers. Looking around while sitting at our three-person table, Tom and I acknowledge that we would have enjoyed coming here on a regular basis. 

However, based on the prices, although reasonable, we could easily have spent US $70 a week with cab fare if we’d stopped in once a week, resulting in an added expense of approximately $800 for our time in Belize. With the added expense we incurred for rent when moving to LaruBeya on February 5, 2013, the money we’d lost on the last property, we had to forego unplanned expenses. 

Mango’s bar, a favorite haunt for locals.

It’s all part of the process. We never want to be in a position whereby we’re overrunning our budget having to “dip into” other resources. At that point, we’d be forced to “settle down” a decision we’d prefer not to make under duress if at all possible. 

Yesterday afternoon, we began the process of printing our boarding passes and cruise documents with the support of LaruBeya’s customer service desk who gladly agreed to print all of our documents on their printer.  Tom felt uncomfortable using our thermal paper portable printer for these documents, me less so. 

With the five sets of cruise documents printed and placed into our “Cruise Documents” manila envelope, kept in one of our two computer bags, we’re good to go. The documents for our upcoming 6th cruise in this time period, scheduled to sail on June 4th, are yet to be available online for printing with 63 days until the sailing. 

If we can’t get them printed prior to leaving here next Tuesday, we’ll print them in the computer center on one of the other cruises. Hopefully, in time the cruise lines will use electronic documents only. The unnecessary page after page of printed material is wasteful and pointless.  Surprisingly, Carnival only required a one-page boarding pass, in itself, progress. 

Now, back to packing.  Instead of packing all at once, we’re doing it in bite-sized pieces each day. This time it’s more complicated than it will be in the future.  After all, we’re packing three large suitcases with belongings we’re saying goodbye to for what may prove to be a very long time. 

As we’ve discovered how difficult it is to find contact lens solution, perhaps I wasn’t so nuts after all, packing a two year’s supply of products we frequently use. At the time, I thought the solution could easily be replaced. Not so the case.

We continue on in five more days.