Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Spanish Lesson #2

I feel lazy to do nothing. Even the dogs are sleeping in the middle of the street in the heat of the day under the shade of the palms. Its funny to see, they don't even lift their head sometimes as golf carts and bicycles swerve to avoid them.

To break up the monotony of magga season we took a little trip to civilization (Chetumal Mexico) to go to the Mall Las Americanas, eat McDonalds, see a movie dubbed in Spanish (Nacho Libre) and shop in Chedraui which is the Mexican equivalent of Kmart, Target or Walmart. After shopping (marveling over this and that, that is totally unavailable in Belize) and walking around in air conditioned comfort we head off to the little hotel right across from the Nuevo Mercado which is the open air market complete with a chicharrone stand. For $25 U.S. we get a double room, with cable TV, private bath, hot & cold water and air conditioning. We rest up and then head out for dinner at El Buen Gusto.

Bigness: Order for me, I have to use the bathroom.

We've been to this family run restaurant in Chetumal Mexico before, so I know what to order. If you want to order the soup you have to ask for calderon and not sopa. If you ask for sopa they will misunderstand my Spanglish and bring me some very nice thick corn tortillas with shredded chicken, cheese, tomato and cream poured on top, when what you wanted was chicken broth with a plate of chopped onion, cilantro, peppers and tortilla chips on the side to add to the broth.

Supergirl and UNBaby were with us. Supergirl makes a lame attempt at reading the Spanish menu and when the sweet little Spanish girl came to the table, I decided to be mean.

Me: Order what you want.

Supergirl: uhh... (mouth opens and closes, eyes squint then open real wide like if she did this it would all of the sudden appear in English)

Me: Stop acting like you don't speak Spanish (this is what I hear from Bigness every time we go to Mexico)

Supergirl: MOTHER... I DON'T speak Spanish. (I know when she addresses me as MOTHER, she's irritated)

All this time the sweet Spanish girl is just watching the exchange, waiting patiently for Spanish words that she can understand, and UNBaby is hiding under the table untying her mother's shoes.

Me: What's the Spanish word for tacos?

Supergirl: Tacos?

Me: Right!

The little girl starts to write.

Me: Now how many do you want?

Supergirl: Four?

Me: And what is the word for four in Spanish?

Supergirl: Quatro?

The little girl writes again, then looks at me.

Quisiera Dos tortas con el jamón y el queso (I would like 2 ham and cheese sandwiches on a bun heated on the grill)

Me: ...Y Quatro Salbutes (and four little corn tortillas that are fried and puffy, then they put shredded chicken, cheese, and tomatoes on top)

Me: ...Y Tres pollo calderones (and 3 bowls of chicken soup)

The little girl reads back the order and quantities and at the end of the sentence it ends with an upside down question mark.

Me: Está para mi esposa (I just told her the food was for my wife)

The little girl's eyebrows go WAY up and she tries to not laugh

(IT GETS WORSE) Then realizing my mistake I try to correct myself
Me: Soy embarazado está para mi esposo (I just told her I am pregnant and its for my husband)

The waitress cracks up out loud and goes off to the kitchen to put in the order for this massive quantity of food.

Me: I'm glad someone thinks I'm funny... (I'm wondering if its something I said...)

I know I've made some sort of word mistake, but have no clue and am not going to dig myself in deeper. I should have said "me desconciertan" which means I am embarrassed, but I didn't realize my mistake until days later. See... this is my punishment for being mean.

Bigness came back to the table just as the first round of plates is arriving and prepares himself for the feast. Reviewing the order with me he comments "Gial you order too much food."

Me: I know how you like to eat too much (and he DID eat it all)

The bill for the whole dinner including fresh juice to drink came out to $15 U.S.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Illustration Friday - October 13 - Smitten

Acrylic on masonite board.
"Love is an Empress and not a Begggar"
I painted this quite a few years ago after breaking up with a boyfriend that I thought was the love of my life. Hmph!
Check out more Illustration Friday entries.

Photo Friday - September 13 - Destruction

Bigness to Me: Gial... your coco done bite up the seat.

I call this photo "Bad Planning". I shot this in Livingston Guatemala. I have no idea if it was a hurricane or earthquake or mudslide from too much rain that caused this house to tip and slip down the hill. What's strange is that it looked like people were still trying to live in it. Imagine what your diningroom table would look like. This reminds me of one of those crazy funhouses where the floors are tilting as you walk through.

This October is the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Iris that hit Placencia and the awesome forces of nature that tipped this giant concrete cistern on its side balancing it like a sculpture on the edge. Its hard to tell the scale of it in the photo, but its a BIG cistern, taller than me. There it sits right beside the sidewalk main street in Placencia these 5 years. I wondered as I passed it why they would leave it right there all these years, andother than the obvious (being a ginormeous hunk of concrete) it could be a reminder to never forget what a hurricane can do.

Check out more Photo Friday entries.

Interview with a Vampexpat

By the time they edited out my vacuous crap Expat Interviews made me sound pretty good.

Now if I could just figure out this YouTube stuff, I have a wicked video clip of a drunk Bigness slow dancing with himself in his tighty whiteys. Complete with sound track.

Can we start the bidding at a dollar?

Disappearing Act

This is the time of the year that I try and turn limon into limonaide. I EXPLOIT the fact that there is no one here. I REVEL in the idea that I could shoot a cannon from one end of the island to the other and not hit a single soul, except for maybe a sleeping dog laying in the middle of the sandy street. I BEGRUDGE anyone bothering me (well that's kinda true throughout the year though).

September and October are our slowest months for tourism, following close on the heels of May. Every year we say, September is gonna catch you with no money in the bank, so we save and save and PUNISH ourselves throughout the year so that we can GLIDE through these months, and mostly we do, but always there are a few BUMPITY BUMP BUMPS. This year our bumps were the water system and well pumps that went out in late August, and major car repairs at the last minute. Plus, major construction can only happen when we're not busy, but its a catch 22 situation, we noh bizzeee, we noh mek moanee.

So, the past 2 weeks I've taken ADVANTAGE of the fact that things are slow, we've reduced our open hours to 7-11 a.m. and 4-8 p.m. - your prime coffee drinking hours, Supergirl is handling it on her own quite-well-thank-you-very-much get-out-of-my-face-please-mom.

Supergirl: Please go somewhere
Me: Where?
Supergirl: Don't you have a home somewhere?
Me: Yes.
Supergirl: Well go there then.
Me: Why?
Supergirl: Aren't you supposed to be doing something else besides nagging me?
Me: What?
Supergirl: Ummm.... PAINTING? Getting ready for the new season? Filling orders for San Pedro? Doing inventory of backstock? (blah blah blah she went on and on and on)
Me: Oh yeah...

I left the island for a few days and decided to paint in oil, I guess I lost myself in oil paint, the smell of mineral spirits and varnish. A few days turned into a few weeks incommunicado with the exception of the occasional call to/from Supergirl that should have been recorded the first time and then just played back for me every other day.

Me: so what's goin on?
Supergirl: nothing
Me: How's business?
Supergirl: slow
Me: how slow?
Supergirl: very
Me: that slow huh
Supergirl: yea
Me: Do you need any produce? Bigness is going to the city to pick up food for us. He can send it on the boat.
Supergirl: No
Me: Need anything from Brodies?
Supergirl: Nope
Me: Sav-U?
Supergirl: no No NO NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO (click)

Bigness: Who was that?
Me: Supergirl, sez everything's cool

This is the first time that I have painted in oil effortlessly. I had almost given up and given them away but gave it one more try. I'm glad I did.

Bigness finished my verandah office to the point where I could move my stuff into it and out of the bedroom/hallway where I've been stuffed for 2 years. Its so nice. I have screened windows that open and close, doors that shut and lock and a sign that says DO NOT DISTURB.

House Swap Proposition

We would like to swap houses for a couple of weeks next year in May, September or October. And we're talking about the Alamina Beach House, the posh apartment, not our half renovated side of the house. No joke here, we really want to do it. Europe, America, Canada, Central America, South America, Caribbean, you name it... I'm up for the adventure.
Any takers?
I'm new at this... any suggestions?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

What I've been doing in my spare time...

It started out as just a sideline, relaxing, fun almost like a board game and its turned into what I do in the store when I have spare time. Bigness made a cabinet for me to work on and I'm cranking out strands of beads and pearls and semi precious stones, neclaces, bracelets, earrings galore. The great thing about making jewelry is that when its finished, if you don't like it you just cut it apart!

Freshwater pearl, silver, semi-precious stones, hand made glass

Amber, freshwater pearl, silver, glass beads

Amber, freshwater pearl, silver, glass beads

Silver tube, silver bead, freshwater pearl and magnet clasp

Silver wire, freshwater pearl, glass bead and bali bead.

Silver wire, freshwater pearl, Swarovski crystal and pewter.

Last man standing…

There’s an old Kriole saying, “Maaga dog gawn turn round and bite ya.”

Loose Translation: when you try and help and skinny starving dog, you better watch your fingers because it will turn around and bite you.

What to write about, what to write about…

Caye Caulker is like a deserted island right now. We are in Mauger (pronounced Maaga) season, where everyone is out in the street fighting tooth and nail for the meager tourist dollars trickling in. Most of the restaurants have shut down for vacation, (they are the smart ones) we have continued to stay open mornings and evenings because of our loyal local coffee clientele and will continue to do so until we can’t stand it any longer and finally shut our doors for a few weeks for vacation from our vacation.

Tour guides are fighting over customers, getting the police involved. A slightly drunk guide raises his voice to a police officer and is thrown in the slammer, he decides to try and bust the 4” thick cell door by kicking it and the thumping reverberates through the sand up into our house and shakes the bed.

Supergirl says I should blog about the “Canadian Professor of Weights and Measures” that came into the café this week and loudly (in front of customers) accused me of serving a 14 ounce coffee in a 12 ounce cup. Accused me of cheating him out of 2 ounces of coffee, because we charge 1 bzd (50 cents) for refills and he wanted his for free. I think she wants me to get to the part where SHE had to ask his rudeness to leave, he was disturbing the other satisfied customers, who were just grateful that we were open serving as usual our awesome coffee, bagels and cakes, WITH. A. SMILE. She wants me to also get to the part where she politely gave him the directions to another restaurant where she informed him that he will be eating THERE tomorrow morning and drinking pisswater.

Something like this happened last year in September with a Starbucks Generation customer complaining about our prices. I guess because it’s a 3rd World Country, she thought everything should be free. I should be grateful, this seemingly only happens once a year.

But I think better to blog about the positive.

In the category of weights and measures UNBaby has her own opinion…


Me: so who has a bigger belly, me or Grandpa?

UNBaby: ohhhh… Crampa.. he hev wan beeeg belly! (she opens her arms wide to show the width)

Me: so who has bigger chi-chi’s me or Grandpa?

UNBaby: (screws up her face and little shiny eyes dart from me to Grandpa and back again) Whale Cronma, your bras is big but your chi-chi’s are LEETLE!

Grandpa: CHO!

On a happy note also, this year we’ve had NO hurricane threats come even close. Another 2 weeks and we’ll be past the danger zone.