Belize Blog Post 5 - Tropical Welding

Day 29 - 7th Wednesday
Chuck and Carol took Dad into the airport today, he's going home today. We did some money laundering... er... money changing before he left. No sense him taking Belize money back to the US, when I can spend it here.

After doing the concrete work on the gate, we started doing wood work on the porch. The lumber is all pressure treated, and apparently it was treated just prior to delivery. Its wet, heavy, and litterally dripping as we were putting it up.

After work today, Dan and I went on the bus into town today. The buses here are all old school buses, and rather than paying when you get on, there is a guy who rides along who collects the money before you get off. The bus fare for us into town is $1.50 Belize, or $0.75 US.

We went to the home, and got to talk to some of the kids, pushed swings etc. Quality bonding time.

Then we went to the Bull Frog restaurant and hotel, to use the Wifi.

Day 30 - 8th Thursday
Today we poured the last of the posts for the gate. We will take the last form off tomorrow.

After cleaning up from doing the concrete and taking a lunch break, we continued on the porch project. There are 6 concrete pillars that come up about waist high, we put the wood posts on top of those, which will be the supports for the beams that will hold up the rafters for the porch. I'll post some pictures, its nothing complicated, but I know so little about the names of what we're doing, I'll just try not to make it more confusing! We are making good progress though, and will be putting up rafters tomorrow.

Day 31 - 9th Friday
Today I took the last form off of the last post for the gate. Then since I was out there anyway, I filled in the holes where the footings were, and then started finding places to hide the extra dirt. Each post had 2 piles of dirt, and once we put the footings and posts in, it took less dirt to fill the holes. Fortunately there are holes in the driveway, and pretty much everywhere, so there is lots of place to hide the bodies... er... extra dirt!

I worked on that till about lunch time, then I put my shovel away and took a shower. Much needed, I might say.

Quick bite to eat, and by 1:30 I was on my way to town on the bus. Once in town, I jumped off near the Shell station, which would be about the last stop before the main bus terminal. From there it was a short walk to the one of the many Government buildings in Belmopan, this one being the place of passports and visas. I`ve been in country 30 days already, and my visa was about to expire... Today! No sense renewing it early, that would be wasted money!

Only took a few minutes, the line was fairly short, and the total cost is $50 Belize for a 30 day visitor visa, not for working or other business adventures.

A slightly longer walk, and I was enjoying chicken fried rice, a couple ice cold Cokes, and some much needed WiFi. In addition to reading and sending a little bit of email, I was also able to get a good start on the coding for my new picture gallery database upgrade for my blog. After spending a while fighting with Wordpress last year, I realized I had enough technical tidbits in my brain to write my own blog software from scratch. Well, not entirely from scratch, of course. Its based on HTML, CSS, MySQL, and PHP. Just like Wordpress. But this one isn`t constantly being updated and breaking. Mine is stupid and fast, just the way I like it!

But with such stupid fastness, there is a slight lacking of features. Like, no features at all when I started :)

Now there are a few features. More to come. You`ll never notice them, you`ll just see pretty pictures appearing.

So, after enjoying a couple hours freedom, I realized I was running my laptop in high performance mode (more speed and stupidity there!) so my battery was about dead. Ok, load up, walk out to the corner, and grab another bus, which dropped me right off at my gate. Yes, my gate, the gate I unwarped.

Home sweet home, just before dark. Perfect, I can still see where I`m walking and what I`m stepping on!

Day 32 - 10th Saturday
Another church day. Normally that would mean no work today, but then again, nothing here is normal.

After church, and when we were done eating lunch, we went over to the kids home where there were 2 water leaks. One was apparently a simple pipe coming loose, so that didn`t take Dan very long. The other one turned out to be a case of someone at one time drilling into a wall to mount something, and hitting the water line. With the concrete block walls, it took a while for the water to seep out to where it was noticed.

Other than that, just another boring Saturday!

Day 33 - 11th Sunday
Happy Veterans Day.
My Dad called me for a few minutes today to wish me a Happy Veterans Day. I`d almost forgotten it was today! It wasn`t till after I hung up that I realized he`d called at 11am my time. Thanks Dad!

I fixed a couple extension cords and rolled up some hoses we`re not using at the moment. Sunday is a day I`m trying to use for little catch up projects. I`m finding if I don`t make use of my time, something else usually happens.

Like today, for example. We heard that both of the dryers at the kids home were not using. When you figure about 80 kids, and doing laundry every day, for things like diapers and school uniforms, laundry is a big deal. Since no one seemed to know what the actual problem was, we took a pile of tools with us, for the eventual trouble shooting. John was already at the home, he had taken his bicycle, as his truck wasn`t running.

So Chuck and Carol took Dan and I in their rental car. That put us at the home at about noon, basically all of us were there. As we were talking about the various reasons a dryer won`t work, and walking into the laundry room, we quickly discovered one possible problem. They are gas dryers. I can see gas lines hanging in plain view. And no gas tanks anywhere near the dryers. Oh, and one isn`t even plugged into the socket. Seriously, I mean. We mucked around with that a while, just to be sure there was no other reason they`d be disconnected. Finally, hooked up a tank (I forget if they were butane or propane, both are common here, but I don`t even care anymore) plugged in the first dryer, ran it a few minutes, yup, lots of heat, good to go. Unhooked that one, checked the other one, both work just fine. We got a second pressure regulator, as one was missing, and the hoses don`t look so good, so we had planned to replace both hoses, but there are no good hardware places open on a Sunday here. Back to the home, move some stuff around and in about 4 minutes both dryers are working.

Oh, yeah, that reminds me. They claimed the dryers worked until recently. But no one really knew when they last worked. The kicker was, that where the gas tanks were supposed to be, there was a old broken down metal desk. No one knew how long that had been there, either. But anyway, that was some how a very important emergency repair for our Sunday, that had most likely been like that for 6 months.

I`ve decided I`m done wasting time out at the home. If I spend a whole day stuck there, I`m not working on the new place. And very likely I`ll end up choking someone there. Its hard enough being at the new place some days.

Anyway, after about 15 minutes, total, we had the dryers fixed. So I walked outside for some fresh air. Then we sat there waiting for about another 45 minutes, still not sure what we were waiting for. Chuch got bored and drove away for a while. I didn`t feel like riding in circles any more, so after a while I just picked up my tools and walked for a taco. 3 tacos and a coke later, I still wasn`t in the mood to go back to the home, so I walked past the bus station. No buses there, so I started walking home, figured I`d catch a bus on the way eventually. The next 3 or 4 buses I saw were full, so I stopped at a grocery store and bought some Snickers bar, and started my Nature Hike.

Not a mile out of town, I had four Tucan`s fly over me. They landed maybe 30 feet away, and I just stopped walking and looked at them for a few minutes. Tucan`s are like the bird on the Froot Loops box, very colorful, big beak. Very awesome, especially to see them in the wild. Of course, no camera this time, since I was going to fix things. Still, very cool. Later on I got rained on. Twice. Then I saw a dead armadillo on the side of the road. Then I got rained on again, and saw an awesome sun set as I was getting close to home.

So not a bad way to end the day.

I`m realizing I`m not really doing anyone any good by going along on these fools missions. I`ll just stick to what I`m here to do, and not worry so much about what everyone else is mucking with. And in the mean time, I`ll just be me. These people are stressing me out, and I`ll never be able to make a dent in their problems.

There might be a place for me, but this isn`t it.

Day 34 - 12th Monday
I do not believe there is a sense of time in the tropics. No real seasons, no hurry to beat the snow. Life moves at its own pace.

We have been waiting for an hour for a delivery, its 6:45pm now, its not here, it was exected at 4pm. Like most things, if someone says something will be here on Monday, I don`t expect it before Wednesday. But this is important, its a bus load of tools we have been waiting for, first expected it almost a month ago. We have ladders, a welder, and scaffolds coming from Texas. The steel roofing trusses will be here ... well, eventually, and when they get here, we have to be ready with the welder. that means we need a few days to figure out the welder. Can`t just expect something to work right out of the box, right?

In other news, I moved the last pile of dirt today. Of course, it rained last night and some more today, so the mud was slow digging. These are the dirt piles left over from the gate posts we poured last week. I figured might as well move the dirt and clean the area up, looks a bit more professional.

Not much else for today. At least until that bus full of toys gets here.

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Ok, the bus got here about 7:30pm, and was unloaded and off property by about 8:30pm. John brought 6 or 7 of the bigger boys from the home to do the unloading, and it went pretty well. Will be fun to look at the pile in the morning of all the scaffolding. The 2 ladders and the mig welder are here, so first thing in the morning we'll be playing around with that.

Day 35 - 13th Tuesday
Well, we got to try out the new MIG welder, and wonder of wonders, I am now a jungle certified welder. Wonder what else I could do if I ever tried?

Anyway, gotta post this while I have interent. More Later :)

By Carlin Comm posted on 2012-11-13