“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” in San Pedro, Ambergris Cate, Belize.

Up and out on the veranda with my mug of black coffee and the iPad (of course) yesterday morning before 04.30 hours and straight in to my In Box to see if there was any word from Excess International Movers (the company we used to ship the stuff we had in storage in the UK to Belize) as to the whereabouts of our consignment.

There was! The ship that our stuff was loaded on to in Miami had arrived in Belize City on 11 September. Only three days later than we had initially been informed that it would arrive by. But a time lag of fourteen days before we were told of its arrival. Crazy! And infuriating.

Shipping arrangements from Miami through to Belize City were via Eurocaribe Shipping Services Limited which is a company that I have now struck off the list of potential shipping agents for the stuff we are going to purchase and ship from Miami.

We now wait to be told when our stuff will be inspected by Customs and barged over to Ambergris Caye. We know that it is very close now though. But, as far as I am concerned, I still haven’t found what I’m looking for until I can get my hands on it!

I felt like waking Rose up to let her know the good news but common sense (and my strong preservation instinct) prevailed and I elected (wisely) to wait until she got up. So, instead, I turned my attention to writing yesterday’s edition. Because a number of you (OK, two of you) have said that you like to read it before going to work I am going to try to publish it a little earlier with a target time of 06.30 hours local time (MY local time).

After showering, shaving, getting dressed and having breakfast (not long to go before Estel’s re-opens) I went out to take care of some bits and pieces (filling the ‘cart with gas, getting a five gallon bottle of water and withdrawing some money from the bank) . On getting home I telephoned the ‘mirror man’ who told me that he had been to our house to look at my mirror and he would collect it the next day and take it back to his workshop to carry out the necessary work.

Rose and I then had lunch and headed off to visit our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize delaying our journey only slightly (because it was on the route we take) to pick up on the latest ‘that was then, this is now’ photos.

Derek, another long time reader of my blog, had sent me some photos that he had taken of Maria’s fruit, vegetable and juices stand when he holidayed on Ambergris Caye in September 2011. Maria’s, so Derek informed me, became a twice daily shopping experience.



‘That was then’.

And ‘this is now’.


The sign hasn’t changed.


And nor has the stand.


And neither has the service. You still get great fruit, vegetables and juices from Maria’s! And very often she ‘throws in’ an item or two for free.

Continuing with our journey Rose and I got to our lot just after 15.30 hours and as we parked the ‘cart could see that Lloyd and his guys hadn’t quite managed to finish the low, rock wall.


Red arrows indicate what remains to be done.

Noticing Mose’s bike ( this must mean more carpentry work had been delivered) we headed straight in to the Ground Floor self-contained apartment where we found our suspicions to be correct.



The kitchen island cum table had been delivered.

Pleased with this we went straight up the stairs to the First Floor and in the hallway saw that the louvred doors for the hall closet (our mini mud room) had been finished.


Just need to be hung now!

Around the corner and in to the kitchen where we saw that the island was in position.


Moses in the background taking a break from fitting the breakfast bar.

In the living/dining room area was more evidence of how busy Moses had been (he even worked on Independence Day!).


The inside (equipped with racks) of one of the doors for the pantry (larder).


Drawers for the kitchen cabinets.

In the kitchen the work top area around the sink was taking shape and the washing-up liquid dispenser had been fitted.


I am really starting to like the look of my new ‘office’!

And in my other work area , the laundry room, Rolando had fitted the taps (faucet) for the sink.


OK so it needs to be plumbed in. But it’s a start.

What I failed to mention earlier is that when we pulled in to the lot we saw that the railing for the north-east corner of the Second Floor was up there so I (by now very expertly) climbed the scaffolding to take a closer look.



Positioned ready for bolting in to place.

Looking down I could see Victor , the welder, ably assisted by his two sons, working on the remainder of the railings.


They were taking advantage of the shade on the northern side of the house and making good use of what’s left of the scaffolding as a platform for spraying.


Looking to the east I saw Lloyd at the roadside talking to someone who I later found out was from the San Pedro Town Council. He had come to make certain that we had not erected a fence without applying for and being granted approval. We haven’t and we won’t. I know the score. It’s on my list of things to do!


‘Town Council official in the golf cart.

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1987 by U2 which reached number one in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number six in the UK Singles Chart.


  1. kristina nadreau says:

    We used Hyde Shipping out of Miami/Ft Lauderdale. very professional and reasonably priced. a 20 ft container was $12000 as I recall. Could you plz post the name of the Guatemalin dentist who does implants? ty for this blog enjoying it.

    1. Hi Kristina. I will probably end up using Hyde Shipping. Have had emailed them a couple of times and they appear very proficient . Did it really cost you US $ 12,000 to ship a container from Miami? I didn’t ship a container from the UK (probably around half) but it cost circa US$ 4,500 . And thats all he way from England to our home in Ambergris Caye.

      The Dentist is Doctor Hernandez. He is very good.

      1. kristina nadreau says:

        $1200 usd, the 12000 was a typo

  2. footballbat says:

    Hi John,

    Thanks for the update on Maria’s! That is so nice of you. Glad to know she is still there and making her wonderful jiuce.

    Thanks again,

  3. Harry the Hornet says:

    Right then I am really confident this time. You said that Maria’s sign hasn’t changed. It has! The difference on the sign is that on the ‘now’ photo there is a phone number and on the ‘then’ one there wasn’t. Great observational skills by me but I assume still no prize (you tight ****)?

    1. Well done. I knew that someone would spot my deliberate (sic) mistake! And it was eagle-eyed you. Don’t phone the number though, Maria doesn’t deliver that far!

      Oh, and you are correct again, no prize.

      1. Harry the Hornet says:

        Three more things: 1. I think the Town Council official could do with a bit more exercise rather than using a golf cart. 2. Why don’t you apply to be a Septic Tank collector? I think it would suit your skills/personality and I would be more than happy to provide a reference. 3. As you are accommodating publication requests I would like to mention that I prefer to read your blog when I get up at 7am UK time. Please ensure it is ready on time. Thanks in advance.

      2. As much as I would like to comment upon your suggestion in respect of the Town Council official I will refrain – I want (need) to keep on the ‘good’ side of the Council.

        As to your suggestion of a career for me you could well be right. I spent a long time working with a sh@#head like you!

        The suggestion I have in respect of your favoured time for reading the blog is that you show restraint when it ‘pops’ in to you In Box and that you activate it until 7am the next day. You have always been a bit behind the game anyway!

  4. Sharyn says:

    John, the one question (well, there were several, but this was the main one) that comes to mind about your missing container(s) is who is paying for the storage in the meantime? Storage isn’t cheap!

    1. Hi Sharyn

      The stuff we have had shipped from the UK is contained within 2 crates so it came as a part container load. No storage costs. The fee was based on UK through to our home on Ambergris Caye. The shipper’s problem (as far as I am concerned) if they leave it in Belize City for 11 days.

      Kind regards


  5. Sharyn says:

    Julian, you can’t miss Maria’s stand. It’s on the main road south of town across from the Belize Yacht Club. LOVELOVELOVE Maria’s! Besides all the lovely fruits and vegetables she has, she always makes sure I have fresh watermelon juice…for my breakfast and for my watermelon martini in the afternoon!

    1. Agree with everything you say Sharyn apart from the watermelon martini. I don’t drink those!

    2. Julian Foster says:

      Thanks Sharyn! We’ll be at Paradise Villas but my golf cart can take me there pretty quick!

  6. Dee and Kevin Fuller says:

    we are building in hopkins in about 3 years from now. just started reading your blog and enjoying it very much – makes me feel connected to Belize and show actually how an actual build might go time wise. one of my concerns about building is who I should contact and in what order… water, electric, etc and things like custom cabinets, tile, paint, a/c selection. I know you live quite a difference from us but have you ever considered listing who you used for what job and how they did in your opinion? I’m sure a ton of people would appreciate this knowledge and referrals so they too would know where to start as well.

    I would also be interested in the costs of these things as well even if they don’t “match up” to our circumstance, they would give me an idea of what to expect. Things like your shipping costs, your duty of what you brought, how long it took to get your household goods, how the BZ officials were to work with – who gave you trouble and who didn’t. Things like what you would do different this time around. Are the shiny tiles you have very slippery or did you even notice a difference? What type of hardwood did you use in your home and why? Who was your contractor and how did he break up your payments on construction? Our contractor does it in 3 phases and we pay him 50% of that phase when he starts and the other 50% when he finishes. How do you pay your contractor… cash, personal check, wire the money in? Our bank will not wire unless I do it in person which is impossible since we will be there in BZ for the entire build so just trying to figure out all the details. How deep were your pilings? Did you use solar? So so many questions. Don’t feel like you have to answer all of these… just giving you some thoughts rambling in my head. I am a huge pre-planner so I don’t know how I will handle the building process in BZ… I already know it’s going to drive me crazy but being that we will be retired and not under any time restraints will help. I spent my entire summer painting fences on our horse ranch (5.3 acres) of fence and cross fence and cross fence… 180 gallons of paint put on with a 3 inch brush and 2-3 coats. The ranch will be up for sale this March/April.

    Thanks so much for your blog… I really enjoy reading it!

    1. Wow Kevin that is some list of questions. Some I will answer now and others I will, as you suggest, provide information for/about in future editions of the blog.

      If you are going to use a building contractor he is like,y to look after the electricity and water connections for you. If he doesn’t then I suggest that you get him to agree to at least assist you in achieving this.

      As to provide detail as to who made the cabinets, laid the tiles, wired the house for electricity, etc this has all been covered by the building contractor we appointed. So, I didn’t have To grout and find a tiler, etc. Now if you want to project manage your build and employ labour directly that is a completely different approach to the one we took.

      We have only shipped from the UK so far and this is two crates worth. The price from the UK to our new house on Ambergris Caye is £2,830 (or around US$ 4,400). When we ship from Miami I will include the cost in the blog and this I feel will be of more help to you.

      I gained entry in to the Qualified Retirement Programme and , as such, pay no taxes or duties on goods (as long as the comply with the programme – so no building materials for example) .

      The contract we have with our building contractor included a 7 phase payment schedule for milestones within the build. I have paid the payments via wire transfer whilst living on Ambergris Caye and have used a currency exchange business based in the UK for this. Taking this approach also gave me a certainty on the exchange rate ie I bought US dollars.

      Hopefully the above helps with some of your questions. I’ll do my best to pick up on the remainder in future editions .

      Good luck for when your time to build arrives.

  7. Julian Foster says:

    Looking good as always… your guys are doing fine work!

    One possible suggestion: the fridge in the ground floor kitchen is hinged on the right making (to me) an awkward way of opening. We found out on our fridge that it was able to have the hinge swapped so the door opened the other way and it worked much better for us. May work for you — I noticed a plug down where the door pull would be if swapped so it looks like it would work on this one too… if you like the idea.

    Oh, by the way, where is Maria’s stand? We might want to visit her to stock our place this winter.



    1. Hi Julian,
      As you quite rightly spotted (as did another reader who I think was Tom), the refrigerator doors can be ‘switched’ to open from the other side and this is a change that we may make.

      The location of Maria’s has been very accurately described by Sharyn.

      Kind regards


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