10 November, 2007

It's The Weekend

Well, it actually started Friday. Isidoro and his crew were not here, as my original fence project had just been finished.

That left Franz and his crew. A few of them worked Friday afternoon, getting the utility room walls up and ready for the final column pours to complete the room corners.

Oh, I should mention that Eugene, who has been working with Isidoro on this project, was still about, working as my watchman, at nights and during the day when none of the other workers are there. Which was the case all day today, Saturday, and will be the case for Sunday as well.

That's ok, as progress has been very good on pouring columns and getting the utility room walls up. We just hope they get at least the bathroom and a bedroom usable on the new house so we can move in and not have to move into another rental for 2-weeks or a month.

So, with it being the weekend and all, here's a few photos to bring you up to speed on whats' going on. The first, is a shot I took from across the canal of our house. This shot makes it look like our house is out in the wilds of the jungle. Kinda cool.
Jungle Livin' At Its Finest
These next shots show some of the progress on getting the foundation together.

This first one shows a good-sized pile of blocks, which, by the way, have already been mortared into position.

But, it shows the view of the well house. BTW, the town garbage collectors finally came on Friday (was supposed to have been Thursday, but you can't be too particular about some things. It also shows that things have dried out enough that I can comfortably ride my scooter again.
Things Have Dried Enough To Ride the Scooter Again
Let's see, what else?... Oh, yes. You'll love this. I've gone up to BEL (Belize Electricity, Ltd.) to see about getting a street light installed. It seems that here, that's a political decision that must be made by the proper government minister. BEL told me that I needed to see Minister Vildo Marin at the Peoples United Party (PUP) office on College Street. I went there only to find a huge crowd of folks in the waiting room. I left and took care of some other business for a couple of hours, then returned. The crowd had gone down slightly. I waited politely and patiently (well, for a Gringo, anyway), until I caught the eye of one of the staff folks. I explained what I wanted. They told me to come back at 4:30PM, and I could meet with the minister.

I came back at the appointed time and let the staffer know I had returned. He informed me this was the wrong place, that I needed to see Minister Florencio Marin (no idea if they're related) who works at the Lands Department building down on the waterfront.

I jumped on my scooter and went down there. The receptionist/cashier told me he would be in at 7:30AM Thursday morning, so I left for the day.

Thursday morning at 7:15AM, I was there and was joined by 15 or so other local folk waiting to see him or conduct other Lands Department business. Two hours later... That's with a "2", I finally got to talk to his secretary, who was in a back office doing a cross-word puzzle.

"Oh, he isn't in today, and probably won't be in till late next week". Biting my tongue, I asked for her phone number so I could call before coming down and spinning my wheels again.

Any way, back at the work site, my crew told me Florencio is the wrong minister - he takes care of Ranchito, you now live in Corozal and that's handled by Vildo. So, Monday, it's back to Vildo's office and explain to the staff again that I live in Corozal, not Ranchito.

All the minister does, apparently, is say yes, you can fill out an application. His staff is supposed to have that form. Once he signs it, it's sent to BEL, which instructs them to install the street light. The electric bill for it is paid by government, but the cost of the light itself may or may not be directed to me.

Anyway, that's the theory of getting a street light so far. Subject to Change.

These two shots show Franz'es crew prepping the foundation for the utility room. Which is up and the walls almost finished. I'll try to get some newer photos to show you. The problem has been that lately, the Internet connection has been so spotty, that it's almost impossible to get this done with any reasonable speed.
Prepping the Foundation
Looks Like a Jumble
These shots show the walls beginning to go up. The first course of blocks are in place and they're tamping fill in to build up the floor to pour the floor and move the walls on up.
That Tamper Is Good Exercise!
Forty Pounds, Up and Down
I've taken a design for the front gate and the back (canalside) fence down to Vasco Doors and Windows. I should get an estimate from them on Monday. They're the same guys that built my well house door and trash door.

Checking around for who sells the controls for electric gates, I was eventually directed to Capital Metals, up on the highway to Chetumal. Sure enough, they do. Complete with two remote controls for the vehicles. The price is reasonable too (about $1,400B Z, complete)

I need to check back with them as to who they recommend to actually install the gate motor, etc.
Gate Motor, Bits and Bobs
Somewhere along the line, about Friday of last week, my right arm puffed up and the skin was tight as a drum. I don't know what bit or stung me. I never felt anything at all. But the way it was going, I could see my arm skin splitting wide open.

Naturally, I made this decision after everything had closed in town. So Dianna and I hot-footed it up to the Corozal Hospital on Santa Rita Hill (by Bowen and Bowen, the beer distributor).

Finding the hospital was a bit tricky. No street signs, that we saw. Finally asked a couple walking along where it was. They pointed us in the right direction.

Once we got to the hospital, just finding the right door to go in was a challenge, as it was once we got inside the place. Eventually, I found a nurse, who looked at my are and promptly wrote out a prescription and directed my around to another nurse's station. This nurse read the prescription and started preparing an injection with a huge (2 to 3") needle.

I thought it was a large need to use for a shot in the arm... until she tapped my on the butt and said "drop 'em".

What?!?! A shot in my ass? I haven't had a shot there since my Navy days and getting either the plague or some other exotic shot back there. Anyway, I dropped em, and she shot me. The shot didn't hurt too bad, but my ass was sore for three days. I have no idea what they gave me. But it did knock the swelling down. I also got prescriptions for ibuprofen and some other allergy medication.

All this, no waiting, and NO CHARGE! I was impressed. National health at work folks. I love it.

To be honest, when I went there the other day to shoot a couple of pictures of the hospital in daylight, they do have a snazzy emergency entrance under construction, so it will, in short order seem mo-betta soon.

Here's the entrance to the hospital. No extra charge for the horse grazing on the grounds. Present emergency entrance is sort of behind that little building in the center foreground.
Corozal Hospital / Not Sure if the Horse is a Patient
Here's a nice one. I just took this shot from our back porch into the canal. I saw this "dolphin-fish" as the locals call it (not a dolphin as we know them). He's about 3-feet long and was lasily swimming and letting me takes lots of photos of him.

I took this one just as he began to turn. To get him to stand out in the algae water of the canal, I manipulated the shot a bit. He isn't brilliant blue like that, more of a dark gray. But, the way it turned out, and with a bit of cropping to get rid of extraneous stuff, I ended up with a very nice photo.
He Really Is About 3-Feet Long - Gorgeous Shot

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