Today’s (normal) edition strays quite a bit off subject ie it is not almost exclusively about our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize..
Why? Well on Tuesday Rose and I took a trip to the mainland to spend a bit of time with our friend Dave who is a serving member of BATSUB (British Army Training and Support Unit Belize) before his posting comes to an end and he returns to the UK.
Knowing that we wanted to get there around 12.30 hours (this twenty-four hour clock seems more appropriate for a visit to a military base doesn’t it) we chose the 11.00 hours service of the Caulker Water Taxi (we had the other options, of course, of Belize Express Water Taxi or San Pedro Water Jets Express). Before you make a booking do take the time to find out what the prices are because from time to time the different companies offer discounts off normal rates. So far we have found that San Pedro Water Jets Express tend to be the more expensive. As they say, “it can pay to shop around”.
We set off just after 10.00 hours so that I could drop Rose off at the terminal and then take the golf cart to Carlo and Ernie’s Runway Bar & Grill for safe parking (they have a security guard there during the night). So a big thank you to Carlo and Ernie for this favour.
By the time (within ten minutes of leaving her because Ernie gave me a lift) I got back to the terminal Rose had bought the two BZ$ 45 return tickets.
Caye Caulker Water Taxi terminal, San Pedro.
We had an uneventful journey (pleased about this because Rose sometimes is not ‘good’ on boats (or planes for that matter)) with lots of room (the boats can sometimes be very crowded) and arrived in Belize City around 12.30 hours.
Caye Caulker Water Taxi terminal, Belize City (near the swing bridge).
We hadn’t been there long when Dave , dressed in uniform (didn’t we feel special), arrived to pick us up and after a short journey of around ten miles we arrived at the BATSUB base in Ladyville for the start of our magical mystery tour.
After passing through the entry gate barrier manned by BDF (Belize Defence Force) personnel we were immediately struck by just how big the camp is. And how orderly (should we have expected anything else?).
Past security and we are in!
No-one we spoke to could say how many buildings are on the camp but I reckon there must be a couple of hundred. Some in use (classified as GREEN), some that can be made ready for use (AMBER) and some that need substantial work (and money) to make them fit for use (RED).
This place really must have been something in its heyday (pre 1994) when the permanent number of serving personal exceeded two hundred and the soldiers were accompanied by their wives and children. And when troops visited for training the number could swell by between six to seven hundred. A little town in itself. And on our visit we were able to imagine how it must have been.
Nice three/four bedroom family home (this one is a “GREEN”).
Tree lined roads.
There are though (not unexpectedly) constant reminders of where you are.
Satellite dish (for communications) in front of the Officer in Command’s quarters.
Containers transported in with equipment for the training manoeuvres.
Old fashioned British telephone boxes.
One of the seventeen four tonne trucks given to the BDF by BATSUB last month.
Old tennis court. Now a five a-side football (soccer for non UK readers) pitch.
Map of the base.
I will provide more photos and some narrative in the next edition and will give an insight in to our visit to Mirab’s Furniture Gallery on the Western Highway but will now jump forward a day to Wednesday afternoon after Rose and I had returned from Belize City and went to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize..
We got there around 16.00 hours (a bit later than normal but understandable really given that we had travelled back from Belize City) and took a quick walk around.
Floor tiles laid in the bedroom (Rose’s handicraft room) on the First Floor.
Tiles nearly laid in the closet in the hallway on the First Floor.
Angel (top photo) and Alfredo applying the second (and final) coat of masonry sealant (this also ‘doubles up’ as primer/undercoat).
Doors delivered. Now just need to be fitted.
Floor tiles for the Powder Room (on the First Floor) starting to be laid.
Work continuing in my bathroom. Walls nearly tiled in the shower cubicle.
The headline is based on the album released in 1967 by The Beatles which reached number one in the US Billboard Hot 200 chart.