07 November, 2008

Something Good Amidst Country-Wide Flooding

Yesterday Was A Red Letter Day!

Yes, Friends. It was a Red Letter day all right. Amid scenes of flooding in Belize City, It was a good day for four Gringos making the trek to the Department of Immigration and Nationality in Belize City.

Doug and Twyla drove (thankfully, as my shocks on our Isuzu are pretty much non-existent right now) and the four of us were ready to submit our Applications for Permanent Residency.

If we could get into Belize City and to the Government Administration Building downtown, we would be able to present our applications to the folks at Immigration. It only took a year and a half to get to this point. But first, we had to get there and there was some question as to whether that was going to happen or not.

All the way down to Belize City, we passed large areas of water from the various rivers flooding either side of the Northern Highway. We saw quite a few houses flooded along the way, and they had been flooded for the better part of a week or more.

Parts of the highway were little more than gravel paths - all that was left as some flood waters receded. That's a weird part of this whole flooding episode. In some areas water go's down as in other areas water continues to rise.

We had heard that in Belize City, you could get into town, but if you had to go over the Haulover Bridge, everything on the other side was impassible. Of course, we had to cross that bridge. Turns out, at least during the time we went, that things were easily passable on that side of town.

The worst bit was coming into Belize City. Lots of water, some of it moving quite fast and deep, covered many sections of the Northern Highway.
Swimming Into Belize City
Once we got to the Administration Building, we found Kirsten, a lady with Immigration whom Twyla had been told about through her church. At the counter, Kirsten and a couple other Immigration officers went though our applications.
Arriving Safely At Immigration to Present Our Applications
Between ambiguous instructions, confusion even among Immigration staff, and our own desire to include everything that could possibly be wanted in the applications, it was an interesting time. A lot of the material we had brought with us, we didn't need (We all agreed that, had we not brought it, we would have needed all of it).

As it turned out, we had everything we needed with the exception of a letter from our local banks saying we had accounts with them. Silly us. We all had read the instructions to say that we needed to include copies of the statements from the banks. What was meant was a "statement", a letter from them. Luckily, the Immigration folks don't close during lunch, so we were able to go to our banks to get the letters, er, statements.

Dianna went with Twyla to Atlantic Bank for Doug and Twyla's letter, and Doug and I zoomed back up to the outskirts of Belize City to Scotia Bank for my and Dianna's letter. All that probably took 45 minutes. We zoomed back, picked up the girls at the round-about, and got back to Immigration. Those letters became part of our packet and we were done! Whew! What a relief to finally have that done.

Now, we just have to have two interviews - one in Belmopan with the Immigration folks, and then a police interview in Corozal. Then we should get our Residency. This bit of the process, which sounds short, can take anywhere from three to six months to complete!

So, we left Immigration and cruised along the waterfront and stopped at a wine shop (Premium Wines and Spirits), where each couple bought a case of wine. Our case had 4 bottles of Merlot, 4 of Cabernet Sovignon, and 4 of Shiraz, all from various labels. the case cost about $350 BZ, so you have some idea of what imported wines run. The individual bottles ran anywhere from $27.50 to $37.50 BZ. We lead such deprived lives here in paradise.

After that, we headed back up the highway to Brodie's for lunch at their snack bar and then some shopping. Dianna and I bought some new silverware as our other stuff is beginning to get kind of raggedy. We bought a bunch of other stuff too.

On the way out of town, we stopped at Duke Marine, a pretty complete marine chandlery and boat yard, where I bought two flush fitting ring pulls, which I will install on our pool deck, for the hatch.

By this time, it was about 4:00 PM. Time to "get the flock out of Dodge", if we were to get back to Corozal before dark.

Here's some more pictures of the Northern Highway as we headed back toward home.
Trouble Ahead
Trouble Behind
The Transport Department had already gotten some heavy equipment out and was begining to repair the road.
Big Toys Working On the Road
More Big Toys
This part of the highway was actually beginning to look pretty good.
Smooth Sailing Here
Looks Good Now
Of course we had heard during the day that the Rio Hondo, which forms the border between Belize and Mexico was overtopping its banks and had pretty much destroyed the highway near the Freezone and the northern border.

The four of us joined John Harris and his girl friend Ada, at Cactus Plaza, to have supper after our adventure. John said he was worried about his house on Four Mile Lagoon. The water from Rio Hondo was still rising and was steadily creeping down toward his house. The next day or so could continue to be interesting on the flooding front.

We seem to be living (for now) in Shangri-la (as Twyla said this morning while we were walking the dogs) in our part of Corozal. The rest of the country seems at times to be getting ready to float away.

I thought you might be interested to see my help-mates who assist me in writing the blog... First up is Miss Blue - especially during the spate of cold weather we had. She likes to nap behind the laptop as that's where the hot air from the computer is blown by its internal fan.
Miss Blue Thinking of New Things to Write About
Next is my desk gecko - a young, smallish house gecko who delights in scarfing up bugs drawn to the desk t0p by the desk lamp (the purple shade is to the left). He's not quite as articulate as the Geico gecko, but is pretty entertaining all the same.
Desk Gecko Contributing His Two Cents
And finally, here we are this morning...

Wow. What a relief it is and what a feeling of accomplishment to have finally gotten our applications in. Now all we have to do is wait for our interviews and, once we get our passports stamped, we will finally be Residents of Belize. I guess the closest equivalent that I can think of is, for immigrants to be given their "green cards" in the US. Definitely a Red Letter day!

2 comments:

  1. Julian Foster8/11/08 11:27

    Congrats!!!

    Now all I want is for the Northern Highway to completely dry out before the 23rd of December when I have to drive it for the first time!!! *grin*

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dave,
    How long was the trip from Belize City to Corozal?

    ReplyDelete

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