Fresh Donuts, Visa Extension and … Can You Do the Hokey Pokey?

We had heard all about the donut lady from our friends, but we never seemed to be able to catch her at the right time, which would be approximately 7:00 am. She carries lovely donuts in a plastic tub on her head and walks up and down Main Street and sells them. They are usually gone very quickly.

Well, a couple of days ago, I heard the sound of someone expressing their delight, and I looked out of my bedroom window to find out what it was all about … and there she was, her plastic tub placed on the sidewalk with a group of people crowded around her. I ushered Michael out to quickly go and buy some. Two dollah each, she said (Belizean dollars which is US$1.00). Michael chose 2 chocolate-covered ones. An extra 25c each for the chocolate, she said very sternly. He willingly handed over another 50c. They were SO good.

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In order to stay in Belize, immigration requires you to go to their offices once a month and get your visa extended. Yesterday was that day for me. The closest immigration office from Placencia is in the town of Independence and Mango Creek. To get there requires a water taxi – the Hokey Pokey water taxi to be exact. 😂

We arrived early to catch the 7:45 crossing,

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got our tickets and waited about 10 minutes before we could board

I noticed this lovely message at the front

hokey pokey have a bless day

The day was already starting to warm up and I was grateful for the breeze as we pulled out of the dock and slowly weaved our way down the lagoon towards the open water.

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Houses and businesses lined the banks, all with boats moored in front.

I loved the message on this house

one love house

As soon as we hit open water, we sped up

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Weaving our way through the mangroves. I was hoping to catch sight of manatees, but no luck.

In no time, we were docking at Independence/Mango Creek and were met with this sign

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Our taxi driver, Pappy (he’s the man on the right) greeted us and showed us to his van. He apologized for the sliding doors not closing – “this is my farm vehicle.” That explained the dents and rattling noises. He also pointed out that the passenger side window doesn’t roll down and the driver’s side window no longer rolls up. Ookaaay, then. Seatbelts were optional. Michael and I hung on tightly lest we fall out when Pappy went around sharp curves without slowing down.

Independence is a bustling and growing town. Pappy acted as our tour guide, explaining the merits of living here. Being the main hub to other smaller, nearby villages, Independence is the home of the Big Creek Water Port and the Banana Growers Association at the port. The Big Creek Water Port serves as the main point of entry and departure for the fruit and oil industries.

We arrived at the immigration building and the first thing that struck me was this giant banana

immigration

It struck me as an odd thing to have outside the immigration office until I learned that these are also the offices of Fyffes Banana Company. Pappy reached into his glove box and pulled out the form I need to fill out for the immigration office.

There were about 8 other people there, all sitting outside on the benches provided. We all struck up a conversation while we waited. The offices were supposed to open up at 8:00 am but, hey, this is Belize and the window where we hand in our documents, opened up just halfway, at about 8:30. If you’re an impatient person and get irritated at having to wait, then Belize is not the place for you. Fortunately, it was early enough to still be cool-ish and the company was good, so it felt more relaxing than anything else.

We all lined up. There was a very large and serious-looking man sitting by the window. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, he only slid the window open halfway, so if he asked you any questions, you had to bend over and put your ear to the lower half of the window so you could hear him. I handed him my documents – current bank statement to show I have enough funds to support myself for the next month, proof of residence (my lease agreement), and my passport. He gave them the once over and then requested my money and told us all to wait.

More socializing.

About 30 minutes later, he handed us all back our documents and passports, duly stamped giving us another 30 days of paradise.

Our taxi driver, Pappy, couldn’t pick us up as his van had broken down, so he sent William, who took us and 3 other people back to the Hokey Pokey. His van was luxurious – both doors closed AND there was air conditioning – heaven. He gave us a gold-toothed smile as we handed him our money.

Last week we to Chachi’s to watch our friends play again. We went to the upstairs restaurant where we were pleased to find our friendly barman, Sheldon, who has left Buba Wuba’s. Beautiful wooden decor, open sides to take advantage of the breeze, and a great atmosphere. We didn’t have a full meal there, but ordered pizza slices which were huge and delicious. Lovely thin crust and tasty toppings.

The following Sunday we experienced a planned power outage in Placencia so that the electricity company could work on the power lines. That meant no air conditioning or fans. Horrors! We, and everybody else in the village, resolved that issue by going to the beach where we sat under a coconut tree and enjoyed the cool breeze while I read my book. Very relaxing.

That experience made me realize that I need more books. I love to read and we used to have a nice collection of books in our previous life, and I belonged to the library, but when you’re travelling, books are heavy, so they had to stay behind. 🥺

There is a lovely little book store/book exchange here in Placencia and while it does have some lovely books, it doesn’t have an extensive choice. Although it does look like a lovely spot to spend a lazy afternoon. And, of course, I love the name.

So, I bought … a Kindle! Now I’ll always have something to read on lazy afternoons.

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