Plates and Passports

Our passports will be expiring in 6 months and if we want to travel for the holidays next month we need to get new ones since many times you can be denied travel if there is not at least 6 months left on your passport so we headed to the capitol: Belmopan, more specifically, the United States Embassy.

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Naturally we couldn’t take photos inside but we did a drive-by for the one above. The process was super simple and painless. Google US Embassy in Belize, click passports and follow the directions…absolutely complete the application online, and print the pdf, make an appointment online and print the confirmation, bring confirmation, one 2″x 2″ photo, and the passport fee of $110 usd, they do accept US dollars and local currency. After about 30 minutes the process was done, we kept our passports and will return in 7-10 days to pick up the new ones…yes, I said 7 to 10 DAYS! You can’t even pay to get an expedited passport in the US that fast. They will email us once they are ready and we’ll go pick them up, there is anther option, they could send it via DHL but that would entail us giving our passports to the driver to take to the embassy to have them cancelled and both the old and new returned – I’m not comfortable with handing over my passport to a stranger….plus it’s a pretty drive, anyway.

I get a kick out of some of the names of streets, towns and villages here in Belize, for instance:

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Or how about some of these towns/villages:

  • Baking Pot
  • Cool Shade
  • Cowboy Camp
  • Good Living Camp
  • Happy Home
  • Boom
  • Double Head Cabbage
  • Retaliation
  • Revenge
  • Bound to Shine
  • Gallon Jug (coffee)
  • Go to Hell Camp
  • The Dump
  • Valley of Peace

We also completed the final step on the vehicle importation – license plates. The car is now a full fledged Belizean with plates and a Belize title. By the way, if you need these things and live in the town proper go to Town Hall, if you are in the outer villages (rural) go to the bus terminal…yes, really, I thought they were leading me on a wild goose chase but they really DO have a transit authority office in there and you get your drivers license there too (one of our next projects).

I’ve decided that I’ve go a new favorite color. Papaya. Just beautiful and I’m so glad that they are plentiful and inexpensive here so I can see it often (and they are delicious!):

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Be well. Be kind. xxoo

Andrea

First Week in Corozal

We’ve finally gotten the car across the border and got insurance, the only thing left regarding the vehicle are license plates…crossing our fingers that at least that part is uneventful when it comes to this car! First stop after her 3,500 mile roadtrip, Scotty’s for a beer/s and friendly faces.

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Lots to do before our household container shows up here in Corozal, which rumor has it, could be any day. I sure hope there are no surprises in that department, I think we deserve a break. We shall see….for the moment we are just laying low.

The night watchman that’s been keeping an eye on the house while we’ve been in the USA has been growing flowers, plants and veggies on the property and everything thrives unbelievably well, pretty exciting, can’t wait to start digging in the dirt myself…I want at least minimum of one of everything. Here are a few photos of the pumpkin patch, the large habanero knocking at the front door, a hot pink hibiscus, okra growing an easy 6ft tall, baby banana tree and a mystery plant (the opened pod) – if anyone knows what it is please leave me a comment letting me know!

That’s it for now…a slow news day 😉

Be well. Be kind. xxoo

Andrea

Hostage Vehicle

We’ve been here in Belize nearly a week now and have yet to get our car over the Belize border. Advice to anyone importing a vehicle (getting it out of Mexico and getting our $400 deposit back was a breeze, way to go Mexico!):

  1. Choose your broker wisely. Take some time to pick one that knows what they are doing.
  2. Know that you will be leaving you ride there for 2 days (at least), apparently a good broker would tell you this – don’t sit there for hours thinking it’ll magically happen if you do…Tom did and it didn’t…and sadly they will LET you. Why? I sure don’t know.

I’ve been itching to visit with friends since arriving but there’s been a series of fires that have been in need of extinguishing. Will add firefighter to my resume’.

Been feeling a little wonky to boot – it’s been since Oct. 13 that all my art supplies and bookbinding goodies were packed into boxes, not easy for someone who is always making something. I’ve got some pencils squirreled away (in the car referenced above) I am hoping to at least get my hands on them soon. The following are the two last pieces I did before leaving Ohio.

This was for my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary. It’s of my mother’s hometown in Germany, where they met and married half a century ago (it’s not a great photo but if you’ve followed this blog at all you don’t expect good ones from me!):

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This next one I did for my best friend, Sunshine, it is NOT my design but is done from a piece that she loves very much so I thought I’d remake it for her as a gift. The original was created by Mario Sanchez.

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I’ll leave you with the sunrise I was treated to this morning:

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Be well. Be kind.

xox

Andrea

Villahermosa to Chetumal

A semi long drive from Villahermosa to Chetumal and no less beautiful than the days prior. I found a nice pet friendly place to stay in Villahermosa, Hotel Baez Carrizal, the lobby was just gorgeous and we paid $30 usd plus $10 for Murphy, I think:

Everyone was so nice, there was zero English speaking but we made do nicely.

We were then off to Chetumal which is the giant city just across the Belize/Mexico border near our house. We couldn’t get the car across the border (damn car…again) because Tom had to get some paperwork done to import it through the retirement program so we don’t pay duty on it which could be VERY high (25%+) depending on the border agent you get and their mood. We found another Murphy friendly hotel, Villas Bambu, since it was late and crossing into Belize was not an option, it claims to be an eco-friendly hotel, what makes a hotel eco-friendly, I wonder? It had pretty much everything every other hotel we stayed at had, a/c, tv etc., we got it for $20 usd and had to pay for an extra person for the chubby dog we are dragging across the continents:

The cabanas were duplexes, no frills but nice. One bit of advice I will offer to those traveling with pets: Expedia. Yep, it was invaluable in finding pet friendly places to stay

I love that the Mexicans have Frida Kahlo on their 500 peso note and that waiting for piggies to cross the road is normal:

Well, we made it but this isn’t just about getting here, it’s about being here. Hope you’ll pop in often to see what we’re up to.
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xxoo

Andrea

The Road to Veracruz

The drive was short the first day in Mexico so we made up for it yesterday, 10+ hours to Veracruz, we’d like to meander a little bit along the way but the Belize paperwork for Murphy is only good for 14 days and it’s getting close. I do want to take a minute to set some minds at ease, those that fret for our safety on the road in Mexico – let it go, things are lovely, there has been zero trouble, the only nuisance is the occasional person trying to wash our windshield with too much soap and dirty rags!

It is a beautiful drive with mountains on the right and the Gulf of Mexico on the left we lost at least an hour due to some serious potholes and the many topes (aka sleeping policeman or speedbumps). Here are a few photos of the drive:

They rock n roll and carpool (we counted 12 in the pickup bed) in Altamira:

I was fascinated by the many flocks of birds that appeared to be making artsy sketches in the sky – I hope that you can see them:

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We are on the way to Villahermosa – should be knocking at the Belize border on Wednesday…if all goes well.

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xxoo

Andrea

Finally!!

We had a nice lazy Saturday on South Padre Island, burgers and beer at Burgerfi  then went to a wedding next door….ok, we gawked at a wedding next door:

Then patio on the beach time, Murphy was so well behaved, dogs and people passed by and he just watched. I think he is beginning to feel that we have completely turned his life upside down and he wishes he knew how to drive or at the very least make a plane reservation to get the heck away from the nut jobs who did it.

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After a few beers I am now the proud owner of a 32oz. Beach Club plastic tumbler service for 6.

We hit the border this morning, 30 day visas and car title in hand. Pretty much breezed through the vehicle permit thing in spite of our visas being dated 21 Oct 2019…yes, 2019 – our passports are stamped that too, will be adding time traveler to our resume’s.

Entering and leaving Matamoros:

And this is pretty much what it looked like the whole way to Ciudad Victoria:

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There is a lane and a half going each way, if you’re the slow one you can move over to give better room for others to pass or you can scooch over if you see oncoming cars passing to give them more room.

I’d highly recommend those traveling with pets to skip Ciudad Victoria, they just don’t have pet friendly places and the one I thought did is now under a new name and ownership and no pets allowed…we must have looked sad because the front desk person placed a call to the hotel god which granted permission. I’d post the name but I don’t think that they want this to become a trend.

We didn’t get far since the border thing sort of took up travel time and driving at night is not an option and the speed limit is 60km half the time then 100km the other half, slow going.

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On to Veracruz tomorrow or wherever there is a place that takes Murph.

xxoo

Andrea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beach and Border

We’ve been spending a couple of extra days on South Padre Island, it reminds me a lot of Panama City Beach on the other side of the gulf. We took Murphy to the beach again he doesn’t much like the waves but loves to play in the tidepools:

I think the beach bar next door had a sandcastle competition last weekend, these things are beautiful and held up remarkably well over the week:

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We couldn’t cross the border Friday morning, we did get our 30 day visas but the glitch came with getting the car in, since it’s a new car with temp tags they insisted on the original title which of course we didn’t have, as a matter of fact the dealership was sending it to Belize once it came in. We contacted the super nice guy that we bought the car from in Ohio, he sent someone to the title office, got a title and is having it FedEx’d to us here, we should get it today and since it won’t be until later in the day we won’t be crossing the border until Sunday morning…who knew that this trip was going to include an extended vacation on South Padre Island?? Hey, it’s better than a sharp stick in the eye!

Some random shots around town:

xxoo

Andrea

 

 

Day 5

We made up for a short drive on day 4 – we are on South Padre Island for a couple of days, I’ve got to deal with a pet import permit for Belize…the first application was sent on Sept. 23, nothing, I sent another on Oct. 7 and I’ve still got nothing grrrr. I am headed to the business center to scan and send them AGAIN. I read for months that it was such an easy process and takes about a week….yeah, right a week.

On a better note, I have to say that much of Texas has been the best part of our drive –  the prairies are wide and dotted with cattle and horses, the skies are huge ,amazingly blue and with clouds like I’ve never seen.

Austin & San Antonio:

We had lunch at this out of the way place in Three Rivers:

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We drove through San Benito, the hometown of Freddy Fender which of course led to us howling out the few lines of songs of his that we knew for the next 25 miles.

We saw the most enormous wind farm EVER, I was in the passenger seat and the farm was on the other side of the highway but figured I’d try for a shot anyway, they went on forever:

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I took Murphy for his first visit to the Gulf…he didn’t really know what to think and was good until the waves came crashing in – he’s not a fan and decided to poop on the beach as payback…I guess he showed me!

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Gonna go sit with my butt in the sand today if you need me

xox

AZR

 

 

 

Day 4

We were total slackers yesterday, didn’t even get as far as Waco…I suppose there will be days like that.

Some fun morphing sounding town names:

We went thru Mesquite and around Dallas:

When they take you around Dallas, they take you AROUND Dallas…this is the closest we ever got!:

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Of course when in Texas BBQ is in order:

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I did get the “Welcome to Texas’ sign but too ashamed to post it…it was a little…uhhhh…blurry. *sigh*

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We are heading to Brownsville today, that is where we will be crossing into Mexico and the real adventure begins. For now enjoy a beautiful Texas sunset-

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xxoo

AZR

Day 3

Trekked through Tennessee yesterday

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I have been pretty good with getting the “Welcome to(insert state name here)” signs until we hit Arkansas and I was too busy ogling the mighty Mississippi:

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Only to look up to see the sign right above the car!
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Dangit! Hahahaa oh well….

We stopped in Bryant, Arkansas for the night, we decided it was best to get out of Little Rock before finding a bed for the night. . . will one that allows 88 pound white hairy kids be difficult to find? Nope. La Quinta apparently allows practically any critter that you may have in tow stay at no additional charge – it was pretty nice, too!

Spent this morning (day 4) getting Mexican auto insurance for when we cross the border in a couple of days. Hoping for a incident free border crossing.

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I must say, these new vehicles are pretty neat – we have a Wi-Fi hotspot right here in the car, cool huh?

Heading to Texarkana and beyond….

Oh, one more thing : if you are traveling Arkansas and you need a restroom, don’t wait for a rest area, apparently that’s not something they are too awfully concerned with. You’re welcome.

xxoo

AZR