The day began with a simple plan: I would go for a run, Rose would go to morning yoga and we would meet at 10 a.m. at the Belize Immigration office to get our visas renewed, for the first time.
Seriously. It has been one month already!
But you know what they say about making plans.
Well, here on Ambergris Caye you might say: “Sure, make plans. But stay flexible.”
Here’s why. Shortly after rising, the toilet began to sound like it was about to explode. I pulled off the back lid and bubbles were erupting into the tank. No worries. This guy knows his way around the shutoff valve for a toilet.
Then the sink made death-throe noises. And went dry.
And yet, I could hear the water pump grinding madly in the laundry closet.
Amazing. Somehow, the PVC water line had disconnected from the pump and it was sucking in air like a drowning man on the beach. So I did what any compassionate person would do: I pulled the plug.
An e-mail to our pal Tom Cotton at B-Lease Management got a quick response: John Harvy, his plumber, was on his way and would be there in 20-minutes.
So Rose pedaled off to yoga and renew her visa while I waited for John.
As for visa renewal, well, we have until Monday.
John arrived as promised, made a thorough inspection of the water system, wrote down a lengthy list of parts, then sped off on his bike.
While John hunted down parts on the island, Rose and I played tag-team again. It is a game we perfected while waiting for BTL to install Internet. One of us has to be here. There’s some kind of Law of Nature that states: “The moment you both leave is the moment, plus two minutes, when the person you have been waiting for will show up.
So I pedaled down to renew my visa after Rose got home. “Very easy. Very quick. But nobody talks,” was her assessment.
Works for me. Unfortunately the silence I encountered had more to do with everyone out to lunch until 1 p.m.
Commercial break: A man and his bike on the beach, beneath the cooling shade of a thick palm tree. Zoom in on a bottle of Coca Cola as man sips from a straw, smacks his lips and says: “Not open til 1 p.m.? Yeah, I can live with that. Go slow, mon. Have a Coke”
Immigration is on the second floor of the pink Nova Scotia Bank building, right across from the airstrip on Coconut Drive. Also across the street is Mail Box Etc. where we have an account with a Miami address for all our forwarded mail.
Yesterday was a blue letter day for us. Really, a blue letter, from Rose’s daughter Caira, Our very first piece of mail to arrive. And that was sent from Spain. Presumably all the bills from California aren’t far behind. Eh, USPS?
I apparentlywas the only person interested in renewing a visa on Friday afternoon.
The woman behind the desk was quite pleasant, with a nice smile, and even offered helpfully that my visa wasn’t up for renewal until Monday.
“I know, thanks. But stuff happens,” I said, thinking of the pump. “I just wanted to make sure the first time went smoothly.”
I took the short walk three doors down to the Treasury Department where I forked over the BZ $50 renewal fee then trotted back to Immigration with my receipt for the visa stamp.
Pretty simple. Very smooth. Elapsed time: 20 minutes (a line in Treasury), at most.
Best thing about it: Gave me an excuse to wear my favorite button-down, blue pinstripe, long-sleeved oxford shirt. God, how I miss wearing that shirt to work. It was a sort of school uniform for journalists in San Diego – pinstripe or blue oxford shirt, sleeves rolled up, top button open and conservative tie casually loosened. This went appropriately with khakis or blue jeans and loafers.
I’ll probably wear it again next month.
John Harvy returned late in the afternoon, not more than two minutes after I left for a public ceremony down on the lagoon side of San Pedro Town. I wasn’t invited, exactly. But, what the hell, I already had the shirt on.
Fortunately Rose had decided to stay home and work on constructing her beanbag pillow – first you sort the “good” beans from the “bad” beans …
John had the pump back up and running before I even reached the new San Pedro Sunset Boardwalk and Water Taxi Terminal. More on that later.