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Current Location: Placencia apartment, Day 13

08.04.10

Price of beer in a bar: US$1.50-US$2.12 for the local 10 ounce bottles, depending on location and time of day. You can go up from there.
Song currently stuck in my head: Wrong to Love You (Chris Isaak)

When I hear a Chris Isaak song that I don’t recognize, I know that I must be listening to Roy Orbison. A few friends and I were big fans of his look; we used to go into clothiers and ask for something akin to “Chris Isaak on a casual weekend”. It usually got the point across, namely “I want to look like a Hollywood portrayal of a South American drug lord gone slightly metro”. I had one of those outfits on yesterday, cruising the shoulder of the local road with a fistful of avocado, a bag of groceries and what might pass for an afternoon plan. It felt appropriate; synchronous. Placencia is the kind of town where the right Caribbean daydream can drift into reality.

And then a large, hairy spider runs across your foot. Now not being crush porn enthusiasts, we consider this a bad thing. How bad? Well, somewhere between “wearing tall boots” (that’s fine) and “75 minutes after swallowing that second tab of acid” (that’s bad), The Girlfriend found herself “standing barefoot in our own bathroom” (that’s far from ideal) the other night. She panicked, to be sure, but managed to keep it together long enough to get a sandal and send the spider on to the afterlife. Having seen the remains, I have to concur: not huge, but large enough to intimidate and certainly hairy. It had hairy legs, if that give you an indication of (or at least a lower limit for) size. File it alongside the scorpion that showed up at a party this weekend and the roaches, ants, bees and mosquitoes that we’re occasionally encountering at home. The geckos don’t bother either of us.

By the way, if you’re unfamiliar with crush porn, I DO NOT recommend you look into it. It’s the kind of thing I wish I could unknow. When I go out drinking, those are the neurons that I hope to drown.

News reached me late Sunday that the warring biological factions that have overtaken my digestive track seem to have reached some sort of accord. As I show of support (I consider the gut to be “my man on the interior”) I’d obligated myself to a 3-day bombardment of Levaquin if matters weren’t resolved by Sunday night. Things on the ground remain tense with periodic outbreaks of violence, but nothing akin to the sustained turmoil of the previous week. This is good news.

Cost of living information seems to be on track, with our loose monthly goal of US$1K looking to be fully achievable. We have not been indulging in tours, which our budget can accommodate only occasionally, but beyond that we’re certainly not limiting ourselves. We can get a local take out meal of rice, beans, chicken, salad and sweet plantain, large enough to split for a light lunch, for US$3 and we can usually cook for even less. We hear people mention repeatedly that Placencia is “the most expensive town in Central America”. It’s difficult to imagine that this is true. San Jose (Costa Rica) or Panama City (Panama) have to cost more, but things here certainly aren’t cheap. It’s an excellent sign that even hear we’re able to maintain a relatively high standard of living while remaining on budget.

For the most part groceries are more expensive here than in Chicago; or, rather, we pay more here than we did in Chicago. You should keep in mind that we grocery shopped very cheaply there. We bought
sale items in bulk, always browsed the circular, made comparisons based on unit pricing (even when we were force to make conversions to do so), etc. We seldom paid more than US$1.30/pound for boneless skinless chicken breasts, for example.

Here in Belize there are no sales. The prices across the multiple groceries here in town are all pretty consistent. Local items are usually a little cheaper than they were in Chicago, produce a little more so, and imported items (which is the bulk of the store) are much more expensive.

Were we staying here for a year or more we would greatly benefit from two things: a larger apartment on stilts with a screened porch and a rice cooker. But right now neither of those items pack very well.

Take care.

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3 Responses to “Current Location: Placencia apartment, Day 13”

  1. Brandon Says:

    Thanks…now I’ve got the same song stuck in my head…

  2. Heather Says:

    I’m not so sure that large hairy spiders can be considered part of a ‘relatively high standard of living’.

  3. LoMo Says:

    your man on the interior? Is the weight loss countered by an escalating corny-to-cheesy range of humor?


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