15 August, 2012

He Said He'd Be Here 'Right Now'

A few days ago, on August 10 at 7:17 AM (not to put too fine a point on it, as they say) Tracey wrote a comment on the blog:
I've really been enjoying your blog. I am an American considering doing the move. I am not sure how many years down the road...Could you write about how much new construction you see around the area? How available secure homes with gates are? Please keep up this great blog. It seems that a part of me is already there.
I am very glad Ernesto spared the area.
Well, there's certainly construction going on around Casa Winjama. In our immediate neighborhood there's at least four or five houses going up as we speak. There's several lots that have been filled with marl (necessary if you live right near the water), and we've heard through the grapevine that several lots have been sold as well.

And, building is not happening just in our neighborhood, it really seems to be all over Corozal. In fact, we've been hard-pressed to tell that there's been a slow down in the local economy here with all the building that has been going on pretty much continuously.

I'm not sure what Tracey means by 'secure homes'. Every home, if you want, can be secured with gates and fencing. That's just for starters. Don't be fooled into thinking a gate is going to protect you. Constant vigilance, lighting, burglar bars, not doing stupid things, etc., etc., are all important. Most important is dogs. Big dogs. Here dogs have to be looked at as more than just pets. They are the primary part of your security system. They know how to do their job. Your task is to learn how to work with them so that they can do it and at least, provide you with early warning and in many cases, a good dose of intimidation.

There's some housing, already built that's available, but a lot of folks build new. There's pluses and minuses to both ways. The temptation, of course, is to build your own McMansion - the house of your dreams. As an example, when we first got here, our plans called for a 60-foot fish pond in our main hallway. 60-foot? We each were going to have our own office, workshop, a monster kitchen, etc., etc., etc. Thankfully, we woke up. We lived for a while in the Mennonite house we had purchased with the idea that it was going to be our caretaker's house. After a bit, we realized, it was comfortable and easy to keep, and just what the Hell were we thinking? Consequently, our design became a quaint memento.

Keep in mind, down here maintenance is absolutely on-going. The bigger your house, the more time and money you are going to spend on repairs and keeping it functioning. I'd rather be in my pool. If you're a regular reader of the blog, you know we've done our share of repairs and such. Tropical weather, the heat and humidity kills tools, materials, metals, plastics, batteries, electronics - you name it. So, if your main desire is to relax, then think about building accordingly. You'll find that, rather quickly, you become good for one project a day. and that work day begins early (to avoid the heat and humidity) and generally ends by noon or before. I absolutely am not joking. There's days that I walk the dogs on our usual 4-mile routine, then, that's it. That was my project for the day. And, as we all get older, guess what happens?

As far as realtors, I only know of one that I can recommend and that's because we bought our property through him. That's Gregg Turrentine, Belize North Real Estate. Reach him at 501-422-0284 or czl@belizenorthrealestate.bz. Not to say the others aren't good, but I have only dealt with Gregg. Keep in mind there is no multiple listing service, licensing or mandatory training, etc., for realtors here. Caveat Emptor is the rule of the day.

Just like everywhere else, there's some areas of town that might be more desirable than others. Your best bet is to come down and spend some quality time - as in renting for six months or so before buying. You need this time to learn how things are done here, from the construction materials, methods, skills, quality of workmanship, availability of everything and anything, and how long it takes for even the simplest task to be completed. Plan on becoming your building crews chief gofer. Making six or seven trips into town in a day is not unusual. It will pay dividends. You'll become acquainted with the storekeepers, how to interpret the various dialects, what things are called, what is available, what isn't (and in some cases, why). In short, it will force you to become integrated into the community faster and surer than any other way you could possibly think of. You'll even learn the true meaning of "Right now."

Oh, and I can't say it strongly enough... Be here, onsite daily, as your house is being built! It's an experience to be savored for sure.

We love it here, so do lots of other folks. But, it isn't for everyone.


Tracey said...

Thanks for such a thoughtful reply. I want to visit the next time we are able to travel. Nice to hear about so much construction! Perhaps my home is already started.

These Belize contemplations have really raised my spirits. I turned of the air conditioner (I can't stand them), started eating better, and my art work has a Caribbean flare.

When I look around my home, I now think,"would I take that?" What do you wish you had brought more of into the country?

Please forgive my writing...I'm on a mobile phone.
Thanks again for the reply. Your down to earth presentation of what your experiencing is very helpfull.

Have a great day in paradise!

Dave Rider said...

Hi Tracey,

I'm glad you like the posting and the blog.
What would we have brought more of? Probably books more than anything. It seems the longer we're here, the more precious they become. Not for us to collect, as such, but to be able to share and pass around.
Although, more and more, we're reading ebooks, but thanks to the DRM a**holes, sharing those is next to impossible.
After you've been here a winter, you'll appreciate having saved sweaters, gloves, and other winter items. You do become acclimatized and 57 (f) is cold with no central heating.


Tracey said...

I will be sure to bring lots of books to share when we come for a visit. I do lots of thrift store shopping here, so books are basically free unless it's something very new or specific. Do they charge big duties if I wanted to send books to the library? It would be nice to get some good karma going down there.
Thanks again for your replies. I hope the flooding is getting better. I read your news far more closely than ours.

Dave Rider said...

Hi Tracey,
No duty on books. I'm sure the public library in whatever district you head to would appreciate it.
Books always get people drooling. Almost every happy hour (our weekly ad-hoc get-together at our place) has someone bringing a bag of books they've finished with and want to share.
Flooding is improving greatly. There's still a lot of standing water in strange places that don't normally see a lot of water, but it's all improving.
My news is John Stewart, BBC, and Belize Ch. 7 via email, and of course, local gossip and rumor mill.

Tracey said...

Dear Dave and Dianna,
I think it would be funny if we did make the move and I had donated my favorite books and they were there waiting for me.
I'm so glad to hear that the flooding is better. Our weather has been perfect this summer.
I look forward to keeping in touch and meeting the friendship club when we visit.

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