This past week was really productive…the patio is about done, the bamboo is up in the casita, and we are down to only a couple more cabinet doors that need done. I am dying to get to a point of not living in a construction zone again. Dave and I say this EVERY time we finish a house we are living in (ok that was hard/hell/something I never want to live through again) and then within 2 years we are starting it all over again. 🙂 We have had literally NO space from each other this week 🙂 and are learning to sit quietly at the end of the day, enjoying this view….
On Friday, we had to get our passport stamped again. I feel like we just did this with Shannon-this month has flown! We learned a valuable Belizean lesson in doing our stamping this time 🙂
We got up early, got Victor all settled in to work for the day, and took the earliest Hokey Pokey water taxi to Independence Village, where the Immigration office is. The tickets are $12 bz (if you are not a local–there is an unspoken discount given to locals)–then there is a $20 bz cab ride to the immigration office once you get off the water taxi. Once at Immigration, you have to wait in line and also wait for them to open. So, after having done all this (in the rain), you can imagine our surprise to hear that due to not having the receipt book in the office that day, we would be unable to get our passports stamped. And, our passport stamps expire tomorrow. And, the next water taxi ferry isn’t for 2 more hours so we can sit and stew on that while we wait. And, we could come back Tuesday but yes we would be out of compliance of sorts…..but abstractly this should be ok. (So, while living in another country
, it has been very important for me to be VERY CONCRETE with the rules….so this abstract concept of it will probably be ok shoots off my alarms).
To break up the anxious momentum building here, let’s take a look at the experience of taking the Hokey Pokey….it really is fun, if Epcot at Disney World had Belize as a country in it, this could be the featured ride:
Pulling up to Independence/Mango Creek….
Nice sentiment on the boat. (sic)
Some of the scenery you will experience on the way from Placencia to Mango Creek…
OK so now back to our mood yesterday. So we are sitting at the water taxi station, rained on and kind of angry. Our options are, go back and get in the car and drive 2.5 hours round trip to Dangriga, where there is another Immigration Office. But, windows are being delivered today and there is no telling when they will get there and we need to be there. We could also trust the Immigration Office that he would honor our attempt to get the stamp within the time period, and stamp us Tuesday. We also heard that you have a 3 day window around your stamp (not trusting that yet!!!) and we could head to Dangriga on Monday. None of these are palatable choices. And, we have another 2 hours to sit there waiting!! We both felt like it was a big waste of the day and money to get there.
Then, as often happens in Belize….so often that it is becoming normal…..something good happened right after a worst case scenario occurrence. A lovely man with a boat asked if we wanted to go back to Placencia, avoiding the 2 hour wait, AND he only charged us the LOCALS price to get over to Placencia! it allowed us to have time to drive to Dangriga AND get the windows! Yay!!
So, we grabbed the dog and went for a road trip to Dangriga. I have had good experiences in this town every time I have gone. No lines at Immigration, it was quick and easy, and friendly people. We were home before noon!! And Sticks got to have a road trip out of it. Several hitchhikers got a ride into Placencia as well. The Belizean lesson learned today was, CALL government/business offices before you put out time, money, and effort into travel to get there, to be sure that whatever task you hoped to get done, can actually be done where you are going 🙂
Thank you Dangriga!
The rest of the day we felt like we were stealing time based on the low expectations we started with, so we got more done, and decided to relax and we were completely worn out from the week. Sticks appreciated our choice to stay in last night 🙂
You have probably explained this in earlier posts, but I was just wondering: How is it that you are able to work in Belize, but still use a visitor visa?
Also, I’m considering going to the Dangriga Immigration Office to get my visitor visa renewed, so I appreciate you mentioning that you had a good experience there.
Did they ask to see your return ticket (flight) or Bank statements?
Hi Amie, thanks for your comment! Yes I recommend Dangriga 🙂 Not crowded, friendly, easy! As for work permits, here is a document that we found helpful: