Sunday, May 29, 2011

Photo of the Week - Belizean Ride

Our new Belizean Ride.  It looks like the pups are already loving it. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

"Belizean Betty" Friday - Body Paint

Betty started a new school two weeks ago.  It appears that she has learned a new art, BODY PAINTING.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Mississippi River Flood of 2011 Sets Record

Sunday Bill and I drove over to Vicksburg, Mississippi to see all the water.  The Mississippi River crested May 19th in Vicksburg, MS. at 57.06' exceeding the previous record of 56.2' set during the great flood of 1927.  Bill's mother lived through the flood of 1927 but her family lost everything. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Photo of the Week - The Iguana

You will find the Iguana everywhere in Belize. The two kinds of iguanas found in Belize are the Green Iguana and the Wish-willy. The iguanas in Belize eat mostly plants like berries, fruits and leaves. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Crime and Personal Safety in Belize

It is easy to talk about all the wonderful things I love about Belize, what’s not to love about the beautiful turquoise blue green waters, the lush green jungles or the ancient Maya ruins. But like any place, there is crime and Belize is no different. 

It would be difficult to compare crime statistics from one country to another because of different record keeping and recording systems. The murder rate in Belize for 2008 was reported to be 34.2; which means for every one hundred thousand citizens, 34 were victims of murder in 2008. Compare this to the United States in 2008 where there were 5.4 murders per 100,000 people.

Most serious crimes in Belize are primarily connected to drugs. While there are gangs in Belize City, it is nothing like those compared to other Central American countries.

Although Americans are not specifically targets of crime, you should always exercise caution where ever you travel throughout the country. The majority of reported incidents are in Belize City, but crimes may occur anywhere including tourist destinations. Statistics suggest that the crimes are concentrated among the native lower classes, not aimed at travelers. 

The last time I was in Belize, I spoke to a woman that has lived in Belize for over 6 years. She told me that she had been robbed several times and had her purse stolen.  My first thought was to be very scared. She then told me that all of the incidents were her own fault. She said she had been out late, by herself and had been drinking. She was never harmed, but these types of situation you should always avoid, especially females.

Travel Safety Tips
Travel in groups during daylight hours and do not walk in unlit areas at night.
Avoid wearing flashy jewelry.
Do not carry expensive items.
Do not leave valuables unatteneded.
Woman should not carry large purses and keep purses zipped.
Men should carry their wallets in their front pockets.
Do not carry large sums of cash.
Carry cash in different places.
Do not pick up strangers in your car.

Most crimes that I have heard of in Belize are petty theft crimes. Someone left something unattended.  Shoes were left outside on the porch or they parked their bike and did not lock it up only to come back later to find them missing.

Burglar bars on homes in Belize are not always meant to keep out burglars. Many homes do not use air conditioning and therefore keep their windows open.  Burglar bars are used to keep animals out when the windows are open.

Tips for avoiding home theft and burglaries
I am told the best thing you can do is to get a dog. I think this is true no matter where you live.
Have a fence or wall around your property.
Install an alarm system or burglar bars.
Install exterior lighting around your home.
Get involved with your neighborhood watch program. Yes they have these in Belize.

Someone emailed me a few weeks ago and asked me "if I felt safe in Belize and if there were areas in Belize where I would not go"? I told him "I probably would not be in Belize City after dark". But I also told him where I live, drive 20 minutes and there are certain areas "I would not go day or night either, because I know they carry guns there". I have never felt anything but safe when in Belize and in talking to most expats and retirees living in Belize they expressed little concern about their safety and were happy with their decision to move to Belize.

Photo: Oracio Alvarado, Flickr

Friday, May 13, 2011

"Belizean Betty" Friday - A Betty Dog

We thought Betty looked a little like her dog Piper.

I went to Texas for Mother's Day to spend the weekend with my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter Betty.  We went to Pioneer Farms for the Austin Family Music Festival.  It was a bit windy but we had a really great day. 

Betty is checking out her new face.

Getting to sit upfront in the fire truck.

Our hayride tractor driver.

Betty loves getting to ride the real ponies.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Belize has the Second Largest Barrier Reef in the World

One of the main reasons we chose to retire to Belize was the great Barrier Reef. We love being near the water and being able to snorkel. Belize has the second largest Barrier Reef in the world, making it a sanctuary to a wide variety of marine wildlife and plants.

The reef is home to over 70 hard coral species, 36 soft coral species and 500 species of fish. Today only about 10 percent of the species have been discovered in the reef, while the other 90 percent is still being researched.

The Belize Barrier Reef is a series of coral reefs straddling the coast of Belize. The reef is an approximately 186 mile long section of the 560 mile long Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. It is Belize's top tourist destination popular for scuba diving and snorkeling.

Reef Etiquette
  • Never take anything living or dead out of the water.
  • Do not touch or handle marine life unless you are with a knowledgeable guide.
  • Never feed marine life.
  • Never touch corals. 
  • Do not chase or try to ride any marine life.
  • Look, enjoy, but don't touch.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Hanging Out in San Pedro

The movement and beautiful colors of laundry decorate every street corner in San Pedro. Laundry is something we all take for granted in the United States, a place where almost everyone has a washer and dryer. 

Here are some pictures I took of laundry hanging out in San Pedro. I just love the smell of fresh line dried laundry. 

On bright sunny days it doesn't take long at all for the laundry to dry.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Moving With Your Pets Abroad

Alina, our Nervous Nellie

Last year I blogged that we would be moving with our furbabies to Belize. You don’t want to wait until the last minute to make plans for moving your pets abroad with you. It takes time and careful planning. First, find out whether your dog or cat will be subject to quarantine. Belize falls under live animal importation rules and these rules are regulated by the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA). Dogs and cats can be brought into Belize without quarantine. Pet owners must have a valid import permit, and an international vet certificate within 48 hours before shipment. The vet certificate should state that the animal is free from infectious diseases and has been vaccinated for rabies not less than one month and no more than six months prior to departure.

Restrictrions or Acceptance Exceptions
You will also want to check with your airlines to make sure that they will carry your breed of cat or dog. I found that American Airlines will no longer accept brachycephalic, snub-nosed or mixed breeds of snub-nosed animals of certain dogs and cats. Also, check for any other restrictions or acceptance exceptions the airline may have.

Kennel Guidelines
Kennels must meet the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Live Animal Regulations. We have some really large doggies. Two of our dogs are between 75 and 100 pounds. The kennel must be specific to the height and weight of your pet. I told my husband this morning that we were putting our pets on a diet. NO more treats. Make sure you follow international guidelines when purchasing your kennels. 

Helpful Tips
1. Bring your leash and collar so that your pet can be walked if necessary.
2. Make sure you have attached ID tags with your name and phone number.
3. Never transport an animal with a choke collar or muzzle.
4. You may need to sedate your pet for travel. Our dog Alina we call a "Nervous Nellie", she gets very upset with change. So we plan on asking our vet for something to give her during the flight
5. Purchase the kennel in advance to allow your pet to become familiar with it. Hopefully this will ease some of the stress of travel.

You may also want to check out this Live Warm-Blooded Animal Acceptance Checklist.