10 steps to muffler repair in Belize

I was tooling along Princess Margaret Drive in Belize City recently when I heard a repeated scraping sound as my little Nissan surmounted speed bump after speed bump.

Following the policy of “ignore it and it will stop,” I kept driving. Just as I passed the entrance to Marion Jones Stadium I heard a clanging, and glimpsed my muffler rolling to a stop on the road side.

Allow me to explain how you can handle this situation if it happens to you:

1. Get out of your car and retrieve said muffler when there is a break in traffic. Stow it in the trunk.

2. Drive to your mechanic George who, with a good-natured chuckle says, “You need a new muffler.”

3. Get referred by George to a “bally ‘pon Cran Street,” who does mufflers.

RELATED: Vroom, Vroom: 5 automotive tips for Belize

4. Crawl along Cran Street around 9 a.m. looking for signs of a mechanic. Because you have no muffler, the bally and his colleagues hear you coming and wave you down. (See photos of premises below).

5. Show William and Jerome your muffler, which William measures.

6. Learn you will need an 18-inch muffler from Westrac. Call ahead to find out if they have it and how much it costs: $58

7. Drive (loudly) to Westrac on your lunch break and buy the muffler.

8. Return to William’s place the next morning for the procedure.

9. Sit in waiting area to watch (see photo below). There are a lot of sparks involved.

10. Pay William $35 (and a $5 tip).

The waiting area (above)

 

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On home, hometowns and place

Can a person claim a place, or does place always trump the person?

When one lives in the middle a very large country, in a fairly large city, it’s easy to exist in a relatively passive and insulated sort of way. Privacy is pretty much guaranteed; people don’t just drop by unannounced. Running errands is not likely to put one in contact with anyone one knows. Co-workers may become friends, but they just as easily may not.

This kind of existence means you can opt into community life or not. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found this less appealing than I once did. The effort required for a single professional woman with no local ties to make friends is daunting. Endeavors–at least for me–often ended in a sort of disappointing neutrality. The outing or activity was fine, the people were perfectly fine, but no real connection was made.

“It’s like the people who believe they’ll be happy if they go and live somewhere else, but who learn it doesn’t work that way. Wherever you go, you take yourself with you. If you see what I mean.” ― Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book

I have no idea how this will turn out, but I recently made the decision to move back to Belize, finding the pull of my native land suddenly extremely strong.Over the years, I have made a point to visit at least once a year–sometimes I’ve managed more than once a year. Although I didn’t grow up in Belize in terms of actual years, Belize is the place where many of my formative experiences took place. It’s where I have a large circle of extended family, friends and acquaintances. For better or worse, people know a great deal about me–warts and all. There is both comfort and trepidation in this!

Having moved around my entire life, Belize City is the closest thing I have to a hometown. So here I am: Day Four. Here we go….

Did I choose Belize or did Belize choose me?

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Imagining a Belize hurricane: “Sea Change” is my third short story to see publication

It’s fitting that my five copies of The Caribbean Writer arrived in September. In it (pages 139-141) appears “Sea Change,” a short story based on the horrific hurricane that struck Belize Sept. 10, 1931.

A hurricane is bad enough today. Imagine a ferocious storm arriving with little warning, striking a small town where nothing of its kind had hit in living memory. Add the fact that most of the town’s residents were out and about celebrating a national holiday.

  • The hurricane struck Belize City and the north coast of British Honduras with winds up to 125 miles per hour
  • The storm surge swamped the sea-level town
  • An estimated 2,500 people died

Did the colonial authorities fail to warn the populace of the impending danger? Did people simply ignore the warnings, unable to conceive of the the potential devastation?

  • READ: A news report about the facts and myths surrounding what happened on Sept. 10, 1931

“Sea Change” is my imagining of that day, based on a story told in my family. As I understand the tale, my grandfather Clive Tucker and his younger brother Arthur Tucker–both children–were part of a celebratory seaside crowd when the first signs of the storm appeared. Granddad did not know exactly what was about to happen, but he had a sense of foreboding and headed home, Uncle Arthur in tow.

The story is not online, but you can order copies through journal’s websiteThe Caribbean Writer is refereed literary journal founded in 1986 and published by the University of the Virgin Islands.

Support Caribbean scribes!

Belize it! Customized journalism, blogging, social media, and content seminars offered in Belize, May 2012

As you know, I started conducting journalism and media training in Belize in 2010 under the banner, Dateline: BelizeTo date, I have collaborated with both the University of the West Indies, Open Campus, Belize and UNICEF in Belize. 

Now, I am offering customized training seminars for media outlets, NGOs, non-profits, and businesses in Belize.

How can I help?

  • Based on this menu (also see below), you tell me what skills and topics you’d like me to bring to your organization, and I will prepare a proposed outline for training.
  • Seminars can last from two hours to multiple days.
  • Seminars take place at your organization or at a location you select.
  • Fees vary depending on number of hours and students
  • Partnership between two or more organizations is possible, where appropriate (two or more organizations joining up for the same training session)

When can I help?

I will be in Belize May 3 through May 17, 2012.  I will also travel to Belize later in the year, on dates to be determined. I will be based in Belize City, but can travel to other towns.

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