After another long and sleepless night, we finally got up and had breakfast at the bar.
Cheese omelets with toast and jam. Instant coffee for me and tea for her. Met Jack at the bar, a Scotsman who now lives between Belize and Oklahoma. He is a contractor who is actually having a house built next to the retreat.
Messaged George and let him know we were close to his place. The owner of the Lamanai Riverside Retreat drove us out to Yo Creek to see the house house he rents out.
Yo Creek is so small that the roads don’t have names and houses don’t have numbers. The only way to find your way around is by asking folks where someone lives. Yes. They all know each other.
George LeBard first came down in the early 80’s with the Peace Corps. During his time there, he learned the culture, found a bride (Irma), and opened an agricultural school. We met him through one of the forums, but really connected after I read his book.
The book is called “A School For Others.” It’s his story of living through the changes in Belize between the collapsing sugar industry, to the drug trade, and the government corruption and bureaucracy that can make things very difficult. In the book, he explains the educational system in Belize and how it was excluding good students from high school. He found a solution and started a school just for them. Good book.
Met Kofi and Mimi who have been renting his house since June. They love it. They actually live in Panama, but came to Belize to rest. They told us about the local area, shops and markets. Met Andrea, George’s niece, I think. She lives next door and loves Yo Creek.
We went through the house and it was beautiful. Nice enough for Geri to be seriously interested. We still don’t think Belize is the permanent place for us, but it might be nice for a year or so.
It is very quiet, almost no traffic. The kids play soccer at a field down the road. Buses run in and out of town daily. Kofi and Mimi renew their visas in Orange Walk every month.
Jack told us that hurricanes hit Belize every 20-30 years and we got here just in time for one. The bus lines and stores shut down early. People boarded up their homes. The town was very busy as people stocked up on supplies.
Back to the room, washed out some laundry, hung it to dry and sat outside for a while. It’s still not natural for me to rest, but eventually Belize won. The laid-back attitude and virtual absence of hostility creates a nice lullaby.
Found out our daughter Nicole is pregnant, so we have out second grandchild on the way. Wow. And, to be honest, I really despise Facebook. But, until there’s a better option, it’s how we stay connected. (Might as well add the Airbnb link too, since I have added so many others…)
Went to the bar for lunch and enjoyed a quick afternoon monsoon. Spent an hour or so with Stephan and Simone of Pancho’s Way. They are traveling by modified truck/RV from Alaska to the end of the earth, somewhere below Argentina. Nice folks. We had a few beers and heard their story.
That link will take you to their site where you can read their detailed story of months on the road, across multiple countries, in a really cool truck. Follow their story and see what happens at the end. They are still deciding what to do with the truck when the road runs out.
Met the owners’ son Lance and a few more kids. Spent half an hour with the owner, a very impressive guitarist. The unassuming guitarist pulled out the old Joe Satriani stuff and shredded it. I got to explain a few things to him about working with sound guys. He showed me some licks, I showed him some tricks. Nice afternoon.
Tropical storm Earl is worrying everyone here. The retreat owners spent the afternoon boarding up the restaurant and moving all the furniture. We are watching the weather on a pathetic local channel. Please, I beg you, buy and use compressors in your audio. Seriously.(Sorry. Once a sound man, always a sound man)
At some point in the night it officially became Hurricane Earl. Estimates looked like 45-50 mph winds would hit us. In preparation for this terrifying event, we sat outside and talked with Lance over rum. He left around 11pm and we went back to the news. In another hour or so, the wind came with force. Our little cabana shook a few times. Just one of the many times I believe that my size and weight may have been a benefit. (Maybe I actually helped hold the house down?)
After a while, we were concerned. There was a river full of crocodiles in front of us, a jungle behind us, and a hurricane sweeping in from the coast. We made the decision to pack everything up in case we had to bail out. I went ahead and dug out the flashlight.
The next few hours were the only time either of us was concerned for our safety.
M. Erik Matlock is a self-professed recovering knucklehead with more than 500 articles and four books in print. He shares his hard-earned wisdom at ErikMatlock.com, ProSoundWeb.com and through his books, which are available at Amazon.