Thursday, May 24, 2007

Heading home

This is my progress so far: I have built the frames for the decking and the bulkheads, out of thin plywood, and put a layer of fibreglass over the decks. I don't think I can get away with just one layer of FG though, but I have run out of time for this year. The worst thing is that when I return, termites will have eaten the wooden decking and I'll have to start over. C'est la vie. At least the canoe itself will be undamaged.

I have a flight booked from Can Cun on Tuesday, 29 May. I would stay and do more work on the boat, but I want to get my VHF marine radio back. The Customs agent at the Belize Airport seized my radio when I arrived, back in December. Apparently I needed a permit to import it. They gave me a receipt and told me I could pick it up on my way out. Well I didn't fly out, and now I am going to be taking the bus north, to the Yucatan. To take it with me, I have to pay a Customs guard to come with me to the airport, pick up the radio, and then go back to the city to take the bus north to the border. If I do it on a weekend day, it costs double. So my only chance is to do it tomorrow, Friday, 24 May. Happy Victoria Day to all my Canadian friends and family by the way.

I asked if they couldn't just hand it over to me and phone the Customs office at the Northern Border, and warn them I am coming, and ask them to make sure I have the radio on me. But they won't do that, because there is a chance I might use it while in the country. Who am I: Osama Bin Laden? Anyway the law is the law. Fortunately I know someone who has a family member in the Customs Department, so I have been given his number to call him and see if we can't work out some reasonable compromise.

The only other option is for me to get a permit for the damned thing. The Communications Department is in Belmopan, right near the bus station, so I could go over there and see if they will issue me a permit. But knowing the bureaucracy here, it will probably take seven different departments to stamp it, and radio will be outmoded technology before a permit is issued. Oh, and the streets of Belmopan are full of rioters these days, due to a corruption scandal involving the prime Minister. So the gov't offices might not even be open. So wish me luck.

This means of course, that I will be spending the better part of three days in CanCun. That will be nice: some beer to drink other than Belikin! I should get a good, off-season rate too, so I may be able to stay near the beach instead of downtown. I'll keep you posted.


1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:34 p.m.

    Hey Dean,

    Happy May 24 to you! We celebrated by hiking on the Bruce Trail with some visitors from Virginia who we met while hiking in the Copper Canyon. Thanks for the reports from the tropics that helped me get through my first Georgian Bay winter. Hope to see you & Lorena sometime this summer in San Carlos.
    Jane & Gerry