Friday, March 28, 2008

A little slice of Paradise...

I have to say that the batch of icing on these is the best I have ever made!
Yum! Yum! Yum!

Not too bad with a spoon, knife, and a Ziploc bag!


On our trip to Glover's Reef we met Nicole and Adam. They are heading to Guatemala soon.

Seconds after mentioning that they were going there, I was already back there in my mind. Guate! Guate! Guate! The sounds of the conductors yelling for you to join them on their exquisite buses back home from Antigua at the end of the weekend.

We had such a great time there. I danced the Salsa- ok, not really, but I did take a free class. But salsa was not all that La Salsa Dance Academy offered. The night we were there the famous Buena Vista Social Club was playing. (I broke down and downloaded one of their albums on my iTunes tonight and am listening to it now.) How did we end up there? We were having dinner at El Cafecito- a restaurante comida Portuguesa- and a gentleman stopped by our table to hand us a flyer. It was one of the most memorable nights I had there.

I checked out another site just to see if I had the right location. Maybe I did, maybe I didn't. However, there is a mention about the Buena Vista Social Club on this website. It has been nearly two years since we were there so they may have moved on. I don't think you can go wrong though. Enjoy.

For those going to Antigua...

La Salsa's website is and the email is I had trouble accessing the page. But then again I have had trouble accessing everything today on the internet. Nicole, you aren't going to believe it, but I had the correct intersection! The following is what is on the flyer...
7 ma. Av. Norte y 2 da. Calle poniente esquina No. 18 Antigua Guatemala (Interior Bar y Restaurante Chimenea) The telephone is 5400-0315

El Cafecito is at 5 ta. Calle Poniente 7/A


Kitty Poo Poo Pants...

So, there was a little kitty who was in a box. The kitty just meowed and meowed (for hours!) So I called Sterling- not his cat. Visited Maritza- not hers, but she had rescued him. Kitty was playing in the middle of the street and nearly got himself killed. Maritza- the animal lover that she is- picked him up and brought him home. This was Sunday. She had planned on taking him to Saga Monday morning. I knew that he was frightened and wouldn't stop crying anytime soon. It seemed as though there would be little hope of me sleeping if he was in the carrier. I asked Maritza if I could take him in until she could take him to the the shelter. He is a scrawny little guy with a fat stomach- worms. He had really bad "dead rear" as Dad would say. Poor thing!

I put him in my bathroom with a box of sand- courtesy of our "yard"- as a litter box, a bowl of food, a bowl of water and a towel. He came to have the towel, not because I initially gave it to him, but because he found his way to my rather large and plush stack of towels. (EEEWWW!!!) The rest got moved. He did really well. He only cried a few minutes after I went in the bathroom and left him. He was really really dehydrated but wouldn't drink the water. He acted a bit off balance, weaving a bit, I think because of it. I soaked his food and he seemed to do better.

Monday was a holiday in Belize so Saga was closed. I knew this, but I think Maritza was a little surprised. No worries. Kitty had earned the name Little Poo Poo Pants because of a certain odor that was on him and he emitted. To take care of part of the odor and some flees he received a bath. He was not too happy about this mind you. But he was quite happy with me holding him and rubbing him down with the towels and removing the fleas afterwards. His smell improved (most of the time). His diarrhea had slowed down and he didn't seem as dehydrated later in the evening. I gave him an aluminum foil ball to play with but he didn't seem to get it.

Tuesday morning he was moving around, playing a bit, and seemed to be in much better condition. Unfortunately I had a few meetings to go to so I had to put him back in the carrier and leave. I felt soooo guilty! It was heart wrenching! Especially since he was crying, sounding confused that he was in the awful box again.

Yesterday I went to check up on him. He is in isolation for 2 weeks because of his condition. :^( poor little guy. So I talked to the lady at the desk and asked if I could walk over to check him out. I told her a little bit more about him. So I talked to LPPP and he quieted down and started rubbing on the door of his home for the next two weeks.

Just now I thought of a new name. Bunny. It seems appropriate since he was found on Easter. I will ask them to call him that from now on.

I want him. I am having a really hard time convincing myself I should not get him. Especially if I get the Volunteer Leader position. I would be here another year. Ugh. Don't need another cat. But I miss my Quilly, Chloe, Mal, and Tess. If he gets adopted quickly then I have nothing to worry about. But if he doesn't then I don't know what I am going to do!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Easter...

Happy Easter Everybunny...

I had a nice but not as expected trip to Glover's Reef last week. Details to come. We met some wonderful people, most of which were from NC. I think I recognized one of the guys from Wilmington. Rather strange. There was a lovely couple that had gotten married the week before in Hopkins. Adam and Nicole were great. They are going to be traveling for about 6 months to celebrate. They are documenting their travels on their own blog. I was so excited when I got the chance to chat with them about places to visit in Guatemala. I can't wait to read about it too.

Trying to recover from the lack of sleep and a possible sinus infection. YEA..

Unfortunately one of our guard dogs disappeared in the last 24 hours. I saw Blue about this time last night. I love the little guy so I hope he is safe and finds his way home soon.

I have also taken in a kitten for the night. Maritza picked him up out of the middle of the street today. He nearly got himself run over. After a few hours of hearing him cry I asked her what was up, then requested to keep him inside. He only cries a few minutes after I leave him in the bathroom. He is scrawny with a wormy belly. Unfortunately he also has the runs. She is going to take him to Saga tomorrow. He is a sweet and loving kitty so he has to belong to someone around here. Maybe she will leave him long enough to get better and he can return to this area.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Off again...

Hi Friends, I am off again. This time I am heading south to Glover's Reef. I am going to be gone from later today until next Saturday. Then I am not sure. I have possible plans to head to Corozal in the north, to Mexico for a few days, or to St. George's Caye for sailing. Right now the sailing sounds the most appealing. Somehow I didn't think to get the contact info for the guys out there. Not sure how I will make it out... But were there is a will there is a way.

Out in Glovers I plan on doing some diving and snorkeling. I am taking plenty of sunscreen and a long sleeve shirt. I am heading out with several other Peace Corps Volunteers so it will be nice. I have my bags packed, but they need to be redone. I ran out of room for some essentials such as soap... Not something that anyone wants me to run out of.

I'll be sure to let you know how it all went. Take care and happy holidays.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

La Ruta Maya- Burrel Boom to Belize and San Pedro

Monday morning was the final morning, thank goodness. I had my blow up camping mat. It looks like a super strong float for the pool. It is kind of appropriate since we had several puddles 2 inches deep in the tent. We got everything packed up and moved to the BATSUB minibus and most of us were off an hour before the start of the race. We first went to the base to catch up with Derek who was driving the other minibus and Link. When we got there I took full advantage of the fact they had flush toilets and running water in a sink. We got ready to leave only to find that the other minibus was not going to start. Jackie got kicked out, Derek got in and we headed off to find jumper cables. She and Link were waiting on us. After getting the minibus started we headed for the city. I was the one that would direct Kelvin to the location we were going if we got separated. The ironic thing was that I actually did know where we needed to go and how to get there! They didn’t need me though which was good.

We enjoyed cheering on the teams and watching them complete the 170 miles long race. It was great that Kim and Anthony came out to join us. I am disappointed that I didn’t get a chance to have dinner with the crew to celebrate Ashli and Todd's 2nd anniversary or watch the ceremony, but I was exhausted and needed to go home.

A funny note here… I was talking to Wids and he said something that I wasn’t necessarily meant to understand but did. While I wasn’t shocked- Thanks Dawn- he was.

I got a ride, yet again with the guys to the Caye Caulker Water Taxi. I went in to find 10 of the British boys that had come over from their posts in Germany for the race and some relaxation for two weeks. Some of the guys from BATSUB made it sound like they would be heading to Afghanistan shortly after they return home. I took a good look at them, most looked younger than the students I had taught at Glenn. I can only hope that they all make it through safely.

I had dropped my stuff in the house last night for a little while to go out for some groceries. When I got back I could barely breathe. Ok, maybe a small exaggeration, but my bag was full of nasty smelling clothes. I had to wash two loads of laundry before going to bed. Today I washed my backpack off and left it in the sun. Two tents from Enes are drying on the line and my shoes and a laundry bag are soaking outside. My house is a disaster from all of the stuff that came from my bags. It will be Friday before everything is straight again.

La Ruta Maya- Bermudian Landing to Burrel Boom

Sunday morning we get up and put our gear on the truck and head down to watch the start of the race. The 4-H kids had been kicking PC butt on the river and having a good time. I didn't realize it until I was told that they were being interviewed that they were the youngest team competing. It was overcast that morning but didn't take long for the rain to set in. We went directly to Burrel Boom.

We had an huge amount of food left over. One of the things was a bag of cookies. I pulled these out of the food bag and offered them to the guys. Wids preceded to eat 9 almost immediately. He said if he had one more he would be in the river swimming from one side to the next. The guys tried to get him to eat it for the rest of the day. At the end of the day he put the last cookie in a shirt that I had loaned to someone so I wouldn't see it. It almost made it into the bag until I felt its plastic bag. I thought you would enjoy the picture of Wids sniffing the cookie that was hung from the tent.

I wished we had put all of our gear in the back of the BATSUB vehicles as Steve had suggested, my raincoat was in the Big H truck and the rain had arrived. Eventually the Big H truck that we had transported our stuff on showed up. This was about the same time that Steve asked if anyone wanted to go to watch the race at Grace’s Bank. Shirley and I joined him, Phil, and Derek. Soon after we arrived Jenny G, Micah, and Jerry arrived. We cheered on practically everyone as they went by. Back at camp the rest of the crew had set up the tents and were waiting the rain out. We returned before the first boat reached Burrel Boom. Matt from Corozal joined us. It was great to have him around. This night I had planned on going over to Belize R U/ the Black Orchid to visit Mr. Doug, Mrs. Karen, and their daughter Armeid. We got invited to eat again and my blistered feet didn’t want to make the trek through the rain. We sat around and talked for hours. It was really great getting to spend time with everyone. This night I loaned the tent from Enes to a guy from Galen University that didn’t have a tent.

La Ruta Maya- Banana Bank to Bermudian Landing

Saturday we woke up with a puddle at our toes. The tent had leaked, but most was contained near our feet. As we were packing up Jenny G showed up with bad news. The 4-H kids had almost all of their food, their shoes, and a PC medical kit stolen during the night. The worst part was that their 4-H flag was outside of the tents so it was obvious who the people stole from. We went to talk to Steve and he set them up with snacks for the day. He also offered us a full breakfast. The race this morning had a false start. This saved the kids because they were late making it to the start. We made it back to the BATSUB camp and asked to do something. Eventually we were able to move some cases of water from the cases to trash bags. This consolidated about 24 or so cases of water into about 8 bags. Until later in the day I thought that this was just an exercise to give us something to do. We were happy to find out that this was a necessary task. They needed as much room as possible to transport everyone back to the base at the end of the day. It was nice to switch up and be able to ride with Steve. We made it to Bermudian Landing and tried to set up camp. We found a great spot but was told we would have to go somewhere else because BATSUB was setting up their camp there that night. We couldn't believe our luck! Trying to explain to Eric the owner that BATSUB was not staying and it was ok to let us stay there was futile. He showed us a different area- next to the music and a massive puddle. I talked to Steve. He told Eric that "the girls would be setting up the tents" and that was that. We had a massive area all to ourselves. Nicole, her mom and two sisters came out for a short visit. Jackie also came out to join our crew. While sitting around Phil came over and told us to come get dinner... Did I mention how lucky we were? We also borrowed a larger, hopefully dryer tent from the 4-H. I forgot to mention that there were only enough poles for one of the tents that I had borrowed from Enes and the only rain fly in the bag was not for the tent we had. The tent I borrowed from Alicia was left in my floor at home.

La Ruta Maya- San Ignacio to Banana Bank

Friday morning we all wake up at an unreasonable hour. Despite the unlikeliness of the situation, I think they were shooting off fireworks this morning. Maybe I am just thinking of the night before. However, we are still concerned with seeing our guys off and finding a ride. We make our way over the Hawksworth Bridge- the tallest suspension bridge in Belize- to the Santa Elena side. I see someone I know Daimo from BATSUB- British Army Training Support Unit Belize- and decide they might be an option... The guys borrowed a boat from Chaa Creek, however, the boat was hard to find. As the time to start drew near the guys anxiously searched. Finally seeing a lone canoe with out any people they had found theirs. 717 was attached to the bow and up stream they headed. I found my friend Steve and asked for a ride. No problem he said and our fate was sealed. At this time there was no way to know how lucky we were to have a friend like Steve. So after the BATSUB guys had finished with making sure the start of the race was taken care of (they were in charge of the time) we headed up the hill and awaited the minibuses. As it turned out, Shirley, Ashley, and I rode with Sunny and Ashli, Catherine, and Nicole (for one stop) rode with Steve. We make it to the first stop feeling really lucky. While we all gathered, a large rectangular bag was dropped at our feet. The top of the cooler was opened. It was jam packed with Snickers, Boost Bars, and another type of chocolate bar by Cadbury. Another cooler was full of water that was iced down. Take what you would like was the theme of the trip. It was fun relaxing at the end of the day with friends in the river at Banana Bank. The line for food that night was long, but this year they didn't run out which was nice. We pitched our tents early and wandered around for a while. When we were ready to go to sleep, unfortunately the BDF- Belize Defense Force- was not. The guys stayed up talking and singing for a while. It was funny because suddenly they seemed to run out of steam and all stopped at about the same time.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

La Ruta Maya- getting there

It seems as though I am constantly saying, "Wow, it has been crazy the last few days..." The last few days are no exception.

On Wednesday both Johnny and I were trying to line up a vehicle for the race. The one he had lined up was in the shop. I hadn't heard from PASMO. And I tried to get ready for La Ruta Maya by packing and talking to some friends. My friend Shirley and I were talking about meeting for ice cream with the ACER (Ambergris Caye Emergency Rescue) team when I mentioned the Ruta Maya. We ended up visiting with Jason who would be working with BDART team for the race. Jason gave us a list of things to take with us. I had thought about all of them except for the socks. My packing didn't go so well. I had to pick up two tents from a friend of mine before I could get all of my stuff in my backpack. Unfortunately I wasn't able to visit Enes and her family that night. I called the rep from PASMO. She had not checked her email to find out that we did not have the truck. She was supposed to call me back to arrange to meet. In the mean time I had a wonderful dinner with Ethel and heard about her crazy day. Exhausted I went to bed shortly before 2 am.

Thursday I was awoken by Sterling's voice. Not what I was hoping for... It was 7:45 and we needed to transport a patient. A guy had possibly broken a hip. I was tired but remembered my Dad's dedication in the cold and rain despite being tired as he worked with Walkertown's Volunteer Fire Department. Besides, if I needed help I would want someone to drag their self out of slumber to come to my rescue as well. So I dragged myself out of bed and into the shower. Dug through a packed bag for my medical supplies. Sterling said to bring them all, I did, all but the neck brace. I made it to the Island Ferry dock by 8:15, the time we were supposed to leave, and jumped in a boat with Sterling and two others. Hours pass. We have gotten him to the Hyperberic Chamber in town for x-rays, arranged for a flight, Tina and I accompany him and his wife to Belize City, we have lunch, and return to San Pedro... I had expected to be back in plenty of time to make the 2:30 boat as planned with Shirley. We arrive at 2:00, I still have to pick up tents at Belize Diving Adventures, and pack. (Leave it to Enes and Everette to come through for me in a pinch!) Veronica who works with Danny and Tina drove me to pick up the tents, we picked up Tina and Kath, then they dropped me at the intersection of Caribena and Pescador (Middle Street). I walked home expecting to see Shirley in my house with my bag, keys, and phone but she was not there. She arrives shortly afterwards with her mom on a golf cart. Hallelujah!!! We make it to the dock as the boat speeds away. Argh! As frustrated as I was, this turned out to be a blessing. I was able to check email- no PASMO did not contact me, pick up a pair of shorts, a long sleeve shirt, and a raincoat, get a scoop of ice cream from DandE's- YUM!, and I was able to pay my electric bill. On the way back I got a phone call that said I was needed at a dock to assist with a possible drowning victim. A boat was at the dock, Shirley got there less than a minute before I did, we jumped on, we moved to the next dock for our gear, then headed to the Island Ferry office (once again). The guys weren't told what we were supposed to do or where to go. So we loaded up the boat with supplies and headed back where we had come from. We called to check the progress- we were no longer needed. We made it back to the Caye Caulker Water Taxi dock but they were already gone, again.... Then we thought about the Triple J. We turned to see their boat quickly heading toward us and Caye Caulker. We insisted that our driver catch up with the boat, we had to make it to the City on this one! We chased the boat down like a bunch of pirates and boarded. We took a taxi to the bus terminal and told our story to the driver. He laughed and said he will tell his next guests that he hauled around two female pirates. Luck was on our side. We only had to wait about 5 minutes for the express bus to Benque to show. We boarded and enjoyed the ride. In San Ignacio we were greeted by live music in the streets and people everywhere. The town was packed. People in the street warned us that there were no rooms to be found- something I would have done. We thanked them for their concern and showed them a restaurant I know, then head down the street to Ashley's. On the way we ran into Johnny, Marcel, and Todd. They were the only crazy PCVs paddling this year. Johnny asked me about the "butt pads". I had completely forgotten the foam cushions from Kate! Johnny was distraught! (ok, maybe not really, but almost) We went shopping and had dinner. I solicited a group doing missionary work for a ride for the Ruta Maya. They were thoughtful and discussed it and came back with an offer to carry part of our crew. Not something we were hoping for, but was still thankful for. Thanks to Catherine, I had a comfy bed and a hot shower one more time before the race.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Away for a while...

Just in case you check by frequently, I will be gone for a while again. This time I am heading out to follow La Ruta Maya. I will be working with other members of the PC Belize's HIV and AIDS committee and educators from PASMO . We will be working to spread correct information about HIV and AIDS to those along the route. There are people from all over the country and the world that come out for the race so we have high hopes!

Who's Who in Ms. Nightingale's Class...

Well, I am proud to know Who's Who in Ms. Nightingale's Class for Social Studies!

Congratulations Grant!!! We love you!

An Interesting post from Madame X

One of the blogs that I read on a nearly daily basis is My Open Wallet from Madame X. Today she had some really interesting clips concerning the prison system, placebo pills, and education from the New York Times.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Corals Completed! almost...

Yea! I just sent out my "just needs revisions" section on corals. Quite the relief. I am going to treat myself with a little live music with friends in a little while. If you didn't get a copy and wouldn't mind looking it over just let me know. I love input! It is less than 4 pages so it wouldn't be to evil to look over. Also, believe it or not, the less you know about corals the more help it would be. You would be able to tell me what made no sense at all. For all of my friends that have their copy in hand, THANKS!!!