Escape from Belize (Nov 2005)
In July 2003, US Social Security erroneously cut us off! They believed that I owed them money, and began to get it back by withholding my payments. I was unsuccessful in trying to explain the situation over the phone, so I came back to the US to straighten it out. It took almost an hour, talking to three clerks, to convince them that they owed me money. (They later paid me over $3000.)
Charlotte was glad to see me go. Our marriage had turned sour. Later that fall, she took in a younger male "lodger" and began asking me for a divorce. I had intended to return in November on the Yucatan Express but it didn't run and so I decided to wait until the following November, use the time to work, buy a truck and some musical instruments to bring back to Belize.
While I was working, some of Charlotte's friends (my former friends) were writing me and advising me not to come back to Belize! But my tools, my clothes, some musical gear, and -- most importantly -- my dog, Brutus -- were in Belize, along with hundreds of Belizean friends. I felt that Belize was my home, and I wanted to come home. I returned in November of 2004, and the return is recounted in the Belizean Chronicles.
Now, if you haven't seen them yet, you might like to scan thru my accomplishments while I was in Belize this last year. Rix Place, Wood Solutions and A Musical Chronicle are good places to visit.
As I mentioned in the musical chronicle, some of my plans were not working out. Rix Place was so hot that I would have to air condition it to turn it into a road house, and the Gringos were shunning me, so that part of my plans had 'gang a-gley'. My plans to take Caye West out to San Pedro and make some big bux were thwarted by Heidi's folks. So, in mid-September, I was making plans to leave in late October when my last month's rent ran out.
As I have recounted in the musical chronicle, three of us went to mourn the death of our friend Dickie Lyall at his wake up on the edge of San Antonio. When Brad brought me home, unbeknownst to us, a couple of riders hitched a ride in the back of his pickup. (which has no tailgate.) They jumped off (and were seen by 'Mr B' across the street) and hid. I was really tired (and tight) and as soon as I hit the bed, I was out like a light. People told me later that I even left the lights on! The riders called out to me so see if I was asleep, let Brutus out by unchaining the gate, came into the back of the car port, pried out the corner of a window screen, removed some louvers from the window and came in.
They stole my laptop -- cutting all the cables so that it was unusable; a 14" TV; a DVD recorder (they forgot the remote, which is essential); my digital camera, my watch & $100 cash, a welding outfit (hoses, valves and torches) and a bunch of DVDs. A Digitech effects unit, two microphones, and Brad Moore's Fostek 4-track digital recorder.
When I woke up at 5 and discovered the loss, I called the police. They said to come in later and make a report. I made the report, and then about 3 that afternoon, a cop came over and took fingerprints. Sunday, while I was talking to my friend Hugo about the theft, a neighbor from Skeleton Town came up and offered to tell me who the perpetrators were -- for $10 dollah. I paid him and he did. Monday, I went in and told the police about some additional items I had discovered missing. I told them about the perpetrators and discovered that a cop had apprehended one of them with my TV on Friday night. He let the perp go, and I never did find out what happened to the TV.
In fact, altho the neighborhood was alive with gossip about the crime, I was getting no feedback at all from the Police. I complained about this on the Internet. The official police spokesman, who is on some of my lists, sent a note to David Henderson, the district superintendent in Corozal. Friday, still having heard nothing, I went back to the police station to find that I was in big trouble. The super looked at me like I had dog-poop on my shoes and accused me of saying "The police are doing nothing" and called me a liar. Three of his men took me upstairs where they again called me a liar, and one of them pointed out (in Kriol) that "liars could get shot."
I had been doing some long range planning for a sale to get rid of most of my stuff. This turned into a right-now "BLOWOUT SALE AT RIX PLACE", and I sold everything in less than a week for about 20 cents on the dollar. What a heartbreaker that is. Build a home with your own two hands, and then sell it at a loss as quickly as possible.
I still had a truckload of stuff, and I had to get it out of Belize. That requires an Export Permit (even tho I already paid duty and did paperwork to get it IN to Belize.) A customs broker did the paperwork for $50US, and there was no charge for export!
I was ready to leave by Independence Day (Sep 21) but nobody was working at the border. The next morning, after waiting an hour for a customs agent to look at my papers, I escaped to Mexico, with three cats and a dog and a truckload of stuff. After leaving Belize, I had absolutely no problems with customs, papers, military checkpoints. .
Perhaps I'll tell you more about the trip thru Mexico later. It took a week and the pets made it especially challenging. (I took some pix with a little disposable camera and I have to get them developed!)
Why I was in such a hurry to leave Belize?? Check my reasoning here.
Rick Z. November 2005
Newer. I have included the police response here.
Newest: The Police now (Oct 2006) have instituted an excellent new website which accounts for crimes and investigations in progress. A wonderful improvement!
PS: "You got to know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away...
Know when to run!"
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