Building our new home in Belize, the Saga Continues

                               OMG…from up here I can see Cuba !

 

My last post the guys were laying rebar steel, a lot of it, criss crossed on the top floor of the house, in preparation of pouring the concrete floor. They also installed all water, electric and gas PVC tubes thru the floor area before the concrete is poured, so it comes up inside walls.

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         Pumper and cement truck show up this morning !

The arrival of the concrete pumper tower truck is a welcome site because my dreams are being answered to finally have a floor that I can walk around up there, to see what views I will have when the house is completed.

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Watching them pour concrete floor from my neighbors, Pat and Wendy’s pool 😉

These guys work really, really, really hard during the concrete pouring stage. Just hauling that monster hose that the concrete shoots out of is hard work. Add to that the guys raking and smoothing all that concrete, in 80 degree F. hot sun!

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       Pouring and raking/leveling concrete in the hot sun.

That’s a crew of eight guys on this, and every one is a hard worker! That’s for sure gets high marks for my builder / contractor, Kevin Brodsky.

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    Standing on the new poured floor, looking back at the cabana and sunset.

After they completed the pour, the next day the crew started pouring the bases for the front steps, and removing some of the poles supporting the structure. Looking forward to having those gone, so I can see what I can see under the house?

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Starting the structure for the concrete steps up to front deck.

 

End of day, floor done, waiting on wood and tile 😉

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         It’s going to be quite a view, and wait, isn’t that CUBA ???

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For those of you that have not yet been to Placencia, my “in-town” office 😉

 

Not sure exactly what the next phase will be, but rest assured, you’ll all be the first to know. Remember, if you don’t have the answer yet…you have not drunk enough rum!

Gary …the Pirate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The building of our new home in Belize “The Story Continues.”

        It’s been many days since my last confession, and I have sinned!

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My new friend from The Placencia in Maya Beach, bigger than he looks!

OK, I know, I know, I have been away from this desk for a few weeks now, but for good reasons. Everybody needed a break for various reasons, and after all, it takes a while for concrete to really “cure”. That being said, the upright columns are hard as rocks!

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Excellent day aboard (and in the water) on Day Tripper. Can you say RUM 🙂

I have actually gotten to play a bit, enjoying the Easter holiday here in Placencia, which is a really big time here. Then there was the day sail catamaran sail on the “Day Tripper” with my buds Tracy and Ryan. Of course, something new in my life is becoming a member in the newly formed “Parrothead Club” here on the Peninsula, which is just another “drinking game with friends”, along with benefit events for local things.

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The guys were working hard laying reinforced rebar in flooring sections before concrete.

But now the crew are back on the job and have been working days preparing the upper level for pouring the concrete floor. Eight inches of wood frame needed to be perfectly installed all around the perimeter.

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My crew finishing wood borders for concrete pour, and steel reinforcement.

Next, it was time to lay tons of iron rebar criss crossing each other, which needed to be wired together at each intersection. This will be the support for inside the concrete once its poured, and will make the structure strong as bull! Or should I just say, stronger than a hurricane!

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Starting adding plumbing lines inside flooring.

The next step in the process is to run all the water supply, drain lines and air vent tubes up through the flooring and secure them in place before pouring concrete floor. This is very critical because all these must be in perfect placement before pouring, so they will correctly connect to sinks, toilets and showers in the house.

Stay tuned because they are supposed to be here tomorrow to pout the concrete flooring for the house and entire deck. This is oh so exciting on so many levels. After the concrete floor in poured, the next step is walls! OMG, have I been waiting for the day that I actually see walls going up.

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Just about finished securing all the rebar steel, and plumbing lines for pouring floor tomorrow.

And then there is the celebration of actually walking on the edge of my deck at waters edge! I will finally get to see, as will you, what the view will be for the rest of my life, every day from our master bedroom. Already my Architects, Tracy and Ryan are planning to come over and next weekend for a cocktail from on top of the new deck!

But then, any excuse for RUM when the Pirate is around…

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Oliver checking out the two new inhabitants to the Pirates Cabana !

Until the “Big Pour”, Cheers my friends,

 

Gary…The Pirate

 

 

 

 

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As a new Expat living in Belize..how we find stuff !

           The ongoing story of relocating to Belize, Central America, and building our new home.

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More like the “Beach less traveled” 😉

 

The road definitely “less traveled” by me of not only moving to Belize, moving into a small cabana, and being here during the construction of our final home, does have challenges. Trust me when I say it’s not all walking the beautiful beaches, eating fresh seafood, and sipping exotic rum cocktails, or a cold Belikin and sushi every day, but close.

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Although more rarely these days, fresh sushi and a couple Belikins at the Tipsy Tuna in Placencia.

 

The fact many call Belize and most of Central America “3rd world countries”, and not matter how improved the internet service, sewer, electric and phone service becomes, it still is. As I have traveled much of the globe, and experienced first hand what poverty, corruption, crime and war can do to countries, everyone needs to realize how frickin good you have it in the U.S. and Canada.

First of all, if you wake up one morning and have a desire for a Starbuck coffee, or what to shop for specific designer shoes, what do you do? You Google them, right? You not only can find just about anything you might want on your smart phone and Google, and oh boy, there’s probably 100 places nearby to buy them.

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“South of Bistro”?

When our cabana was dropped on the property, my builder had arranged for electricity to be installed and turned on, if you remember that fiasco. But when it came time to receive a bill, I didn’t, for three months! Finally I googled “Placencia Belize Electric Company”, and found nothing. I had to call my builder and ask where it was. Same for the water company, who after four months still has not sent me a bill, and I need to address. And on the term “send”, there is no mail delivery, because there is no physical address for my home! When I paid my electric bill, I noticed the “address” they had for my cabana was “a couple lots south of Maya Beach Bistro:?

There are many other things we take for granted in the U.S. that I continue to realize I will never experience here in Belize, and actually I’m pretty happy about it. Over the past few months I needed to find specific things. Coconut palm and fruit trees, ceramic 5 gallon water base,  picture frames, veterinarian services, plant fertilizer, dog watchers, and so many other things, i couldn’t locate on the internet. So where did I find them?

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Facebook is where Belize lives, with many “groups” set up to help everyone out, with anything. I belong to some specific Facebook Groups for Expats, as well as one of my favorites, Placencia Classified, where I can find stuff for sale, and ask locals where to find something. Not only do I hear immediately suggestions from other Expats, but also locals, and it has become one of the best “friend builders” I could hope for.

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Found this Mexican water cooler bottom on Facebook at Mayan Pride here in Stann Creek.Had the beautiful Belizean hardwood base made by a local artisan I found.

 

One thing I have found out is the fact that on these sites, many people answer questions that fit their own purpose and agendas. Being directed to their own business or partnership, or a friends. Now that may be all well and good, and I try to take good with bad, but sometimes its very obvious something doesn’t pass the “smell test”. More an more when I ask for advice I receive “IM”s” telling me to ignore and stay away from specific people on the site and their “advice”. I have found that this can be very helpful eliminating my “gut feelings”. It’s the answer to what I call “Online Dating “truth dilemmas”.

The bottom line is here in Belize, you may never find everything you think you want, but if its available, your “village” will help you find it.

Refreshingly like going back in time, isn’t it?

Cheers everyone, will talk soon,

 

The Pirate …..Gary

 

 

 

 

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Look Who’s “coming to dinner”?

Source: Look Who’s “coming to dinner”?

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Look Who’s “coming to dinner”?

The continued adventure of living in Belize, and building a new home.

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Start of another beautiful day in Belize

You probably have noticed that we have been taking a “holiday” from the construction phase of our new home the past few weeks. Both the crew and I probably need the break, and as it works out, things really do “happen for a reason”. First of all, my lovely wife Marsha was able to come down for a short visit, only a week, but as good luck would have it, so were a bunch of our good friends.

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How do you like the custom stand I had made for our water jug ? 🙂

 

One of the fun things we did together was plan an entire day together, starting with “brunch” at our good friends Jimbob and Valerie’s lovely bamboo home. Bloody Mary’s and Mimosa’s  do have a way of getting people ready to party all day and night!

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What a motley crew, our little “gathering” at the Slocum’s beautiful house

Next stop was to travel to the town of Hopkins and everyone’s favorite riverfront bar, the Curve Bar. Not only are there awesome food choices and cocktails, but they are home to a almost 12 foot crocodile! I do believe he has gotten this large because they feed him patrons that can’t pay their bar bills?

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We followed a few hours at the “Curve”, to another friends lot and more importantly, pier and screened in room, directly on the Sittee River, for SHOTS! 😉

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Another day the boys (and one lady) headed out to sea for a day deep sea fishing, which I must say was awesome.The Pirate had the pleasure of being the only one aboard that caught a shark and a seagull!?

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Gilligan ! Did you bring that cooler of 1 Barrel Rum ?

Now getting back to the build, and surprises that can and often do happen without notice. Marsha and I over the past year have been lucky enough to meet the owners of the houses on either side of us. That’s lucky because they are owned by Expats that don’t live here full time. That being said, we have a vacant wooded lot to our right, that we were told was purchased by a young couple about 8 years ago. They were supposedly not interested in building foe 20 years?

The other day they showed up at my doorstep, introduced themselves, and told me they were having a construction company clear their treed lot, tomorrow! They also told me their plan is to start building a house in the fall.

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Lot between our house and neighbors

I was actually thrilled to hear this because having a vacant treed lot next to me isn’t the best of situations, for security reasons. Also, locals have been using their lot as a dump!

Things were going good until they brought up the fact that our builder and crew had set up a worksite, along with piles of lumber and stuff, on their side of the lot line. As they are planning on having the entire lot cleared and leveled. they needed this stuff removed, before the next day. Telling them I agreed, and that we had no idea they would be here, I told them I would have everything removed before their crew got here in the AM.

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The boys scurry to get stuff over the line ?

It’s this morning, and finally the crew of guys are here removing all the construction stuff, and luckily, because they just showed up with some monster equipment to start clearing.

One thing I have always believed, make good friends of neighbors, and with that said, invited our new neighbors for beers on my deck to watch the clearing 😉

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Marsha and Little Oliver taking a last walk on the beach before she leaves ;(

And so the adventure continues.

“May the wind always fill your sails, and the matès always keep the rum in yer cup to the rim!”

The Pirate

 

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The adventure continue’s, building our new home in Belize.

 Is that the Amazing Drunken Pirate Pole Maze?

 

polessunrise

 

There are no end to the amazing differences in construction practices I am seeing with the building of our new house here in Belize. I remember the first time years ago that I saw a construction site, and the hundreds of gnarly wood poles underneath the 2nd floor. I had inquired and found that the Belize builders use them to support the upper structures when pouring concrete for floors above. Driving the country I started noticing them everywhere, and got used to seeing them, especially the ones left behind on abandoned construction sites.

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And then I started watching loads of these poles being delivered to my homesite and realized I was about to witness up close and personal, how these are used. With my upright concrete columns already poured, the forms were created cris-crossing all of them in preparation of the concrete being poured into them to support the concrete floor of the house.I watched as floor joists were hammered into concrete between the columns to support the concrete flooring, and where it definitely would need extra support.

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I watched as the crew cut the poles to size, day after day, and pushed them up under the flooring above. It’s just amazing how many there are under there, and it does look like a giant maze.

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The crew has had a few well deserved days off and have again returned to finish up the tying together of all the upper supports before the pouring of concrete above.I’m assuming that this will be accomplished with the massive “pumper truck” that was recently used to pour the horizontal cross pieces.

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This time of year it has been unusually windy and rainy, creating almost hourly races between the crew, trying to get down from the 12 foot floor, seeking shelter under the Cabana. I’m certain my crew appreciated having the cabana here, rather than heading into the woods.

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When we meet again, we should be pouring the main floor and from then, everything goes up to the sky.

From the sandy beaches of PIRATES PARAISO (Pirates Paradise),

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Cheers from the crew,

 

The Pirate…Gary

livelikeapirate

Live lika a Pirate

 

 

 

 

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Did someone say “Seafood Orgy”?

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 Easy to focus on one thing.

 

I have just reminded myself that in fact, the building of our new home here in Belize is not the only purpose for this blog. It is an important aspect of it, but really, opening people’s eyes to what life is in Belize and both good and bad is the purpose. I want my readers to know what day-to-day life is like, what coming down here to vacation is like, and what you must do before making that decision to become an Expat. Once you do that, you need to know how and where to buy an existing home or build a new one and finding an ethical realtor, builder and what hoops you need to get it done.
Even as a new Expat, in the process of having my new home built, I do need a “release” now and then. After all, this is the beginning of my retirement “fun years,” so where’s the fun?
Over time I have watched and seen what many other Expats do in their day to day life, and many fall into the same old-same old, of having their name on their chair at one of the local “Expat Bars.” Yes, I can see how this can happen, especially if you are retired and don’t have some hobby or job. Of course, this often happens back in the states too, but especially living in a Caribbean Resort area, with beach bars makes it a little tougher to resist.

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 Looked all over the Peninsula for one of these bases, got it from Mayan Pride at the Art Festival. Happy wife…Happy Life 😉

Myself, on the other hand, enjoy a different issue, I find myself working more and playing less. As a Freelance Travel Writer, sitting in my Cabana with Oliver, watching the house build, I find I have all this time to allow my digits to dance over the keyboard, that it consumes me.
Yes, my clients are ecstatic, as I have increased my articles, have accepted a new company specializing in Central America articles, and have gone nuts on the two fiction novels I’m writing
So, let me tell you about the fun weekend I just had, and the fun weekend is coming up shortly.
This past weekend was the Placencia Sidewalk Art Festival in the village. I had attended last year with my wife Marsha when we were here for the “Gathering.” This year I attended it all alone, but with a purpose. I intended to meet up with my friends here in Placencia, make new friends, and do a little shopping for the cabana, and my wife.
I accomplished all!

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Meet the fishing boats at the Placencia dock for fresh fish and lobster

Now about the Spiny Lobster! If you have never experienced a delicacy, you are missing el mucho destination for your taste buds. I have always prided myself on being one with my New England Lobsters; even ordering them shipped overnight to the west coast after I moved there. And then I met “Spiny.”

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 This is what 3 lbs.. of delicious fresh caught Spiny Lobster Tails looks like

They are sweet, delicate and satisfying, just like the love of your life should be, without the claws of course. And cook them on an open fire and OMG!

In preparation for the closed season, I visited our local fishermen on the Placencia Docks and “requisitioned” a few pounds for the freezer, to last me a while.

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Cooked on my new drum charcoal barbecue, basted in butter, yummy Spiny Lobster Tail.
As the country prepares its taste buds for the end of the lobster season next week, I already find myself looking forward to the open season later this year, and the Placencia Lobsterfest June 23-25th. This year could be big because, for the first time in years, Caye Caulker has announced that they have canceled their 2017 Lobsterfest this year. So, only San Pedro and Placencia will enjoy a Lobsterfest this year, and lucky me…I live in greater Placencia.
For over 18 years there has been a Lobsterfest here in Placencia, and every year, the crowds grow with hungry, butter -slurping eaters. If you are planning or thinking about planning a visit to Belize this year, this is an excellent event to plan to visit and enjoying a seafood orgy! But I will warn you, start looking for a place to stay now, because you’ll be sleeping in the streets if you don’t.

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 If this isn’t your view every morning, ask yourself..why not?

Hope to see ya at the festival this year. If not, make sure you hit the “Follow button” below, and read all about it.

 

Gary…The Pirate

 

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