Let me begin by apologizing for the delay in blog posts over the past two weeks. Let me tell you that the rumors about the internet services in Belize are very true. Kind of like sex, you don’t always know how much you will get or how long it will last. Let’s say that I have jumped through hoops, been promised much, and still don’t have my internet service in the cabana to this date.
In my last blog post, our new Cabana arrived and was installed upon 7-foot posts. That was all well with the slight exception of the 6-foot stairs not being high enough to connect to the deck. That was my choice when the guys delivered the cabana when they asked if I wanted it a bit higher, without thinking of the assembled stairs. For now, we decided to make some adjustments, and modify later. More on that in a later post.
I had arranged with my builder Kevin to put in the septic system, run in electric to the breaker box, connect the house water to street public water, install an “instant” hot water system, and an air conditioner system. This blog will be about the adventures in utilities, and in some cases futilities.
My contractor tells me that the guys should start installing the septic system a couple days after cabana arrival. As I arrived two days later to the building site, I see a head poking out of a hole in the sand. After a brief conversation, I realize the Belizean worker is all by himself, digging the hole for the placement of the septic tank, in 80+ degree sunshine. This guy was just smiling away, all day as he dug until he hit the water! You see, depending on the tides, the water levels under the sandy beaches change higher and lower. When he was down 5 feet and standing in 2 feet of saltwater, he quit for the day, after about 7 hours of digging.
As I drove to the site the next day, I expected to see the arrival of a septic tank to be hoisted into the hole. To my surprise, I instead found about six workers, and a rebar cage measuring about 5 x 8 feet and 5 feet high. A load of gravel rock was delivered along with bags of cement. To my amazement, I realized that they were going to build my septic tank from scratch, on-site. I watched over the next few days as they mixed bucket after bucket of cement, and poured the floor and sides of the tank until they reached the top.
When they reached the needed height, they proceeded to hand dig the drainage field and prepare it for pipes from the tank after it was installed. Finally, the day arrived at the end of the week, and a backhoe arrived to lift and lower the tank into the hole. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well, it wasn’t, because they soon realized that the bobcat couldn’t do the job so they brought in a larger piece of equipment and lowered it into the hole. After much adjustment, digging by hand and leveling under the tank, they were finally happy with the tank placement.
But wait! This septic tank needs a top, right? For the next two workdays, they proceeded to again use a rebar flat 5 x 8 rectangle to build the cement top. About the same time, the crew finished digging out the drain fields, installing pipe, gravel, sand and connecting it to the tank.
The next step was to dig a trench between the tank and under the cabana and attaching the septic pipe to the cabana drain pipe. And then there was a completed septic field, and working house drains and toilet.
Wait one….that would be a working toilet if there was water connected to the cabana, and electric and lights to see where you were sitting :).
My next blog post will bring you through the adventures of getting hooked up to a “public “water meter system in Belize, and also the bad experience of being at the mercy of a Belize electric company, and many “install promise dates”.
Until then, the sun is shining, the beach is beautiful, the water is warm and refreshing, and of course, the rum is flowing.
The Pirate (Gary)