Our new life at Casa Chacalaca

So, the good news is that we found our way to Tea’s property without any wrong turns. That meant 12.5 miles of meandering dirt track road in varying condition: From straight, flat, easy-to-navigate stretches where you could drive fast (three wide if necessary) to torn-up, pot-holed stretches where you’d be lucky to get a single car through, doing 5 miles an hour – and including the New River ferry crossing and a quick navigation through Copper Bank village. gate photo

We high-fived each other at the gate, and it wasn’t until after we had generally inspected the houses and lot, feeling pretty giddy, that we realized we didn’t stop to pick up any groceries. Oh, that. Hmm. (“Epic fail” as Survivor contestants, anyone?)

We’d had breakfast that morning in Orlando, then shared a bag of peanut mix and an orange on the plane, but that had been hours ago. Now it was close to sundown and we didn’t really want to be attempting that road in the dark (at least not yet).

I went over to Cerros Beach Resort next door, to let Bill and Jenny know that we’d arrived and also to see if they had any guests staying over, so we’d feel like less of an imposition if we asked them to make us something in the restaurant. They were happy to see us and would have accommodated our request, even though they had no guests and in fact had just come back from a day’s excursion themselves, clearly tired. So I was glad to learn when I returned to the house that Ray had found a stash of snacks we’d forgotten about, and we could call off the cavalry (but thanks anyway for being so gracious, Bill and Jenny!).

I unpacked and stowed our clothes while Ray dealt with the two big suitcases full of other gear, most of which had been packed pretty hurriedly just before we left so it was a jumble, which was driving him crazy.

After we’d established a certain amount of order, we walked down to the blue house to watch the first of what will probably be many beautiful sunsets, then made an early night of it ourselves.

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The following morning we headed into Corozal and had a wonderful breakfast at Tony’s Inn and Beach Resort – maybe the best French Toast I’ve ever had! The breakfast space reminded us of cafes we’ve been to in Naples (Italy, not Florida), with the tile floor and balcony overlook.

tony'sFortified, we headed into the main part of town armed with a map Les and Michelle had left on the refrigerator. Corozal is actually gridded out pretty well, with the town square in its center and numbered roads designated as South or North – well, at least on the map, not so much in reality. Or maybe it was that we were too busy trying to drive as crazy as everyone else to notice the street signs as they passed in a blur. Corozal seems part movie-set Western with the dust and ramshackle buildings (with modern new construction thrown in here and there for good measure) and part Naples again with the driving  (though no cars were driving on the sidewalks, since there pretty  much weren’t any). Pics to come on a different day when we go exploring in more leisurely fashion.

We were intent on two projects – finding some fishing gear for Ray, since he’d decided against shipping his rod and reels down (too expensive), and getting some basic groceries and household supplies. We accomplished the first by entering the Corozal Free Zone near the Mexican border and finding the one and only fishing gear store we’d heard about so far (though we’ve heard about a few others since). Ray haggled with the owner and got a decent set-up for a good price. Since we’d paid to enter the CFZ, we also checked out the BelMex store with its eclectic combination of goods (kind of like a CVS or Walgreens) and bought a few things, then stopped at a dress shop or two to pick up some breezy cotton dresses for me at $6.50 each.  Mission 1 accomplished.

In Corozal, we went to two places that were noted on the map: Caribbean Chicken, which actually had more than chicken (other meat and eggs too) and New World Grocery where we exchanged Les and Michelle’s empty water jugs and Coke and Belikin beer bottles for new sets, plus other foodstuffs.

The only thing we hadn’t been able to find was lettuce – we arrived too late for the general market in the park and didn’t yet know that other stalls stayed open nearby. So we stopped at the Chinese store in Copper Bank and asked and they said no, then wait a minute, we do have one. The clerk proceeded to step out into the side yard and pull a head out of the garden – see if that ever happens to you at Publix, huh?

All in all,  a successful first full day in Belize, and another beautiful sunset to end it.

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