Part Three // Chickens and Crocodiles
Nothing much is happening as we await completion of paperwork. Everything takes triple the time. Dredging of the sea bed continues and it’s sad to see eight large coconut trees removed from the beach that Marni and Jim own now. The area looks bare and gone is home to many birds and other flying critters. The weather has been hot and humid with still winds and makes for languid days. It becomes an exciting moment when big puffy clouds drift by and gives us an afternoon downpour. A common event nearly each afternoon. We walk out to the pier which is considered public use even though a homeowner with the house behind the pier has paid to have it built, and we enjoy a refreshing swim. The water has become murky and sand is swirled within it and makes for gritty swim wear removal. Lately our pier has become occupied with the six male workers of the dredging machine. They’ve taken to hanging out and leave food container trash when they return to work and it becomes up to us if we want to carry it home or let the ocean take it. I bring large trash bags with me now and clean up their messes. Most are not from here as they are very dark skinned, nearly black, and do not speak English, more of a pigeon English so perhaps they are from southern Belize where the Garifuna are from. They are nice enough but are loud and rough and I feel uncomfortable being around them. Eventually we stop going. We have arranged for a local furniture maker to construct for us eight wooden crates to be filled with household goods we want to take back with us. The wood of choice is heavy Mahogany and it pains me to realize this hardwood is being depleted quickly in Belize’s rainforest. There are no other choices he indicates. Each crate will have a hinged lid with a locking hasp and the sides are screwed together. They will weigh a ton I complain. He says it will take 3 weeks to construct. The crates will be filled and transported by water on the Caribbean Queen, a workhorse of a transport diesel boat. They get taken to Belize City and then transported by Sterling Freight Company over land to Houston where we will pick them up later. We have sold the vehicle we drove here, a Dodge mini-van, that has been housed in Belize City with a friend. We paid $100 BZ a month to him to park it in his back yard. Cheap enough and now he has a buyer for us. One less thing to tic off our list of things to do.
There is a lagoon not far from our apartment and early evenings several teenage Belizean boys can be found at this area teasing a salt water crocodile with live bait of chickens. This sad show is frowned upon by the local constable but because it’s a mile from the towns center, it’s rarely enforced. There is always a crowd of site se’ers along the swampy shoreline who are willing to pay the boys a few bucks to watch. We seldom stop if going by because neither one of us wish to see a mangled human body if Mr. Croc ever gets tired of the teasing of the chicken in front of him. They somehow secure the live chicken to a pole and encourage the crocodile to “jump” for his dinner. I think this has been going on so long that the crocodile knows the drill. He’s always floating a distance out on the water watching, and he knows the flapping sounds is the dinner bell. He’s an old croc the locals say; they think he’s about twenty years old. It’s perhaps all that good white meat that’s kept him healthy.
We have an aray of land critters at our apartment. Lots and lots of lizards and I’ve yet to learn what variety they are. It’s fun although a bit startling at times to see them. The males wrestle for domeninece and turf holdings but quickly flee if you advance on them. Lots of variety of color and patterns. Some sport a few missing tails. But perhaps the scariest of all critters was when one evening we returned after dark to our apartment. The outdoor light barely shed a glow to the area and certainly not to the ground. We pulled the golf cart into the yard and while Jerry went to secure the gates I approached and stepped up on the steps….and right onto a curled snake. He was black and he was big. With no doubt I scared him as much as he scared me. He was gone in a flash, much quicker than what it took my heart rate to return to normal! A lesson was learned that night, always use a flashlight in the dark of the night.