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Current Location: New apartment in Placencia, Belize

07.26.10

Price of beer in a bar: US$1.50 to US$3 for a 10 ounce bottle.  Rum costs US$6.25 for 750 ml and is fair to good in quality.
Song current stuck in my head:  Mr. E’s Beautiful Blues (The Eels)

This experiment is under way.

The girlfriend and I have rented a modest apartment on the beach here in Placencia and intend to stick for one month acquiring local experiences and compiling cost of living data.  After dithering for a few days on how best to travel across/circumvent mainland Honduras, we realized that we could probably afford a month here before moving on.  Belize  is more expensive than most (if not all) of our intended destinations and Placencia is more expensive than most of Belize.  We have previously assumed it to be cost prohibitive for a long term stay, but conversations with OMIBH and some local expats caused us to reevaluate.

We’re mostly settled into our new place; a studio about 40 yards from the high tide line with a smattering a cottages between here and there.  Let me put it this way: no streets must be crossed to swim and that Caribbean water is clearly visible from our place.  We’ve spent the last couple of  days trying to bypass local filters to get Skype up and running (Hotspot Shield, a free, ad supported vpn service, seems to work well, if intermittently, under Windows.  Right now I’m tunneling through Austin, TX via SSH with the “-qTfnNC” switches and having mixed results in Linux) Today we’re waging chemical warfare against the mosquitoes and roaches that have taken up residence during this apartment dormancy. I don’t have much experience dealing with roaches so it’s going to be a lot of trial and error. Also, I don’t have much experience dealing with roaches, so they freak me the fuck out. I know them mostly by reputation, which is dubious to say the least, and by casual encounters while traveling which I’ve never had reason to dwell on. Now such dwelling is keeping me up at night.

Our place is, as I said, modest, but also a terrific deal. We have hot water, electricity, cooking gas, a weekly change of linens, internet, filtered water (a must on the coasts with such shallow water tables) and AC in a small studio for US$300 a month, all in.

Being on the beach has given us ample opportunity to swim, lounge and stare, but it’s also allowed us to test some of the gear we brought. Our snorkels and masks live up to my expectations (the major expectation being this: stay dry when I dive below the surface). I’d link to the exact models but the product line is a mess. Suffice it to say we bought a body glove set with dump valves on both pieces and another valve atop the snorkel. My rash-guard is very comfortable in the water, which is all I can really ask for. My 5-fingers, the source of much attention and a fair amount of derision, prove very agile in the water, though I’m still getting the occasional rubbed-raw spot from walking around in them. There’s one spot on one foot that occasionally acts up.

We’re getting used to cooking in our tiny kitchen and trying to figure out if it’s worth it given the high price of staples and the low price of local prepared food. My metabolism has slowed to tropical levels; I’m starting to eat like my parents, which is about 2 small meals a day.

Full moon tonight, which always means an event whenever you’re somewhere backpackers congregate. Tonight it’s “Barefoots”, a bar run by two sisters from Ohio who ran a beachside bar the last time I was through here.

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4 Responses to “Current Location: New apartment in Placencia, Belize”

  1. REX Says:

    Sounds like your first apartment is a really great deal. Now you’re experiencing the life you talked about while in my barberchair. Isn’t it amazing how fast time goes, C ? It seems just like yesterday you were mentioning it for the very first time. And now, you’re living the dream !

  2. Cate Says:

    Hey! I thought of you today while reading an excerpt of an Andrew Zimmern interview. He described his time as a squatter in Manhattan and mentioned:

    “And then go to sleep at night on a pile of dirty clothes in this abandoned building and I sprinkled a bottle of Comet Cleanser around so the rats and roaches wouldn’t cross over at night so I could pass out in some peace and quiet and that’s what I thought was normal.”

    You’re obviously in a much better situation than he was, but maybe you could use that Comet trick and get some sleep, pal.

    xo

  3. Kristen Says:

    Roaches. Having grown up in Florida where they are the state bird (yes, some breeds fly), I can only offer this advice: kill as many as you can. The most effective method is stepping on them, but sometimes the little bastards are fast. However, most varieties tend to be afraid of lights on at night, so I recommend learning to sleep with the lights on. This will only be effective for a short time, so the end of your month stay might coincide with them adjusting to your lights on schedule. However, they may already be used to this method, in which case you are screwed.

    If you can get your hands on some bug bombs (the Raid variety that you push the button before leaving for 6-8 hours) you may get through a whole month without having any crawl on you in your sleep. The one piece of legit advice I will give you is to wear earplugs. You don’t want to know why, but I’ll just say this: my dad ended up in a medical journal for dealing with a situation that could have been prevented by wearing earplugs while sleeping.

    Finally, should you smell something resembling Amaretto, just leave the apartment. The smell usually precedes the entrance of what are commonly referred to as “Palmetto Bugs”. These are giant black Madagascar-style cockroaches. They move slow which will make it tempting to kill them, but UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU CRUSH THEM!!!! You can kill them with sprays, but do not step on them or break their bodies in any way. If you do, the smell grows until it becomes unbearable. I still can’t drink Amaretto or eat Amaretto cookies to this day.

    Good luck.

  4. Jessie Says:

    Hey guys! It’s Jessie, one of the Chicago girls that you met at the Barefoot Bar during the Full Moon party. Just got back to the States but wanted to say hi and that I’m excited to follow your journey! Take care!


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