Our costs for 2 1/2 months in Belize....plus photos...plus a new mission...

The beach outside our door.
Renting a golf cart is the best thing we could have done!  After the rain stopped yesterday, we decided to go check out some local restaurants for our date night.  Although, it only goes about 10 miles an hour, we can explore this general area quite easily.  There's not another town for about 53 miles so we're best to stay within the approximate eight mile distance of the peninsula of Placencia.
Around noon, we took off for Robert's Grove Resort to check out their health club and three restaurants.  Not a golfer, the golf cart reminded me of the motorized cars at Disneyland that I so much loved to drive as a kid maneuvering between the high rubber bumper curbs.  The putt putt sound made the ride all the more entertaining.

Wandering into Robert's Grove, for a moment I wished we were staying there for the entire 2 1/2 months.  Almost a year ago, I checked their prices to discover that they were already entirely booked.  Also, at $200 a night plus meals at another $150 a day (we checked their menus), the cost would have been $24,150 plus tips, plus laundry, plus transportation. 

The total to stay at Robert's Grove would have been around $30,000.  Our total cost for the 2 1/2 months in Belize including rent, golf cart rental, groceries and dining out will be approximately $6800 total! 

After the inspection visit at Robert's Grove Resort we made reservations for dinner for their Saturday night buffet.  Much to our surprise they offered to pick us up at our little beach house at 6:45 and bring us back at no charge.  We described how to find us as best as we could and planned to be standing on the road at 6:45 promptly. 

In order to drive to Robert's Grove we must go through a very poor rough looking town, not unlike North Minneapolis, 10 minutes from downtown Minneapolis.  The thought of a ride in the dark unlit street in a van as opposed to a golf cart was very appealing making the prospect of dinner all the more exciting.  We had new found hope that soon we'd start enjoying ourselves. 

Determined to find more restaurants, we decided to eat out most days while we had either a ride or transportation during the times we'd have the golf cart. At over $900 a month for the cart, we thought we might get it every other week, grocery shopping for the long week stranded in between. Maybe, if dinner at Robert's Grove was good, we'd have them pick us up a few times on the weeks we were without wheels.  This was a plan we could live with.

Deciding against the $39 a month for workout facility at Robert's Grove due to it not having the equipment I use we were on our way, tootling down the road to see what else we could find.

Suddenly, a sign appeared, "Luxury Condos for Sale, Coco Plum Villas" as we looked at each other, nodding yes at each other at exactly the same moment. "Let's check it out." Of course, we had no intention of buying a home in Belize but thought it would be fun as vacationers often do, in order to get a better feel for an area, to do a bit of house hunting.  We wanted to see the more luxurious side of Placencia as well.

Below are photos of the exquisite grounds at Coco Plum Villas.
A manmade lake was the central focus of the development.
A friendly guard waved us through at the gate pointing us to the model, a short distance down the road.  We were in another world.  At considerable cost and design they utilized the Placencia peninsula on the lagoon side, to build a massive amount of waterways surrounding by nature's bounty of the area, a variety of palm trees, flowering plants and trees of unknown origin.  Birds were singing and although a cloudy humid day, it was beautiful.
Another view of the lake.

To see a photo gallery of the area, click this link:
http://www.cocoplumbelize.net/placencia-photo-gallery.aspx

Another friendly young man, welcomed us inside the model home. It was interesting seeing the model condo, designed and decorated to utilize the space and views of the sea.  Priced at $369,000, not unlike a price one we find in any ocean town so close to the water.  Fantasizing for a moment, we asked each other, "Could we live here?" as we walked out the breathtaking grounds, the cabana bars, the long dock with a built in bar at the end, overlooking expansive views of the Caribbean Sea.
Much of the land around the lake was undeveloped.
Tom answered, "The condo, yes, its great. The general location, no." 

I agreed, "There isn't a grocery store anywhere in the area that would fulfill our needs with the way we eat."  One would have to have food products flown in and the cost would be prohibitive.  Eating out every meal would become tiresome and costly. For vacationers, for a week or two, it would be ideal.  But not for us down the road.

It then dawned on us that we needed to "re frame our thinking" a phrase used by Tony Robbins, a renowned life coach and motivational speaker whom my eldest son Richard and I made a point of seeing as often as we could, many years ago.  His teachings had a profound effect on both of our careers in real estate, me retiring over three years ago after a 25 years and Richard still active in Las Vegas/Henderson, Nevada with an illustrious career, still booming in this distressed market. 
A dock to the ocean.
Re-frame our thinking?  How did we do that?  We talked.

As we drove away from the condo villas, smiles on our faces, we now realized a greater mission than we previously had dreamed by traveling the world.  At some point we'll need to settle down, due to health or tiring from being on the move. 

Where we will live is totally up in the air.  In our year's long journey, somehow, somewhere, we will find a place that spells "home" deciding to spend whatever time we have left on this world in a beautiful setting (with a good grocery store) whereby our family can visit and feel they are on vacation.  We may do this someday.

With a new mission naturally falling into place, we are rejuvenated, our enthusiasm has been given a burst and we can be at peace wherever we may be.  Thus, as we choose, we can explore real estate at the numerous upcoming ports of call, arranging for a real estate agent to pick us up the pier and show us a few properties for sale.  As a former agent/broker for many years, I often showed homes to prospective buyers, knowing full well that they hadn't yet locked in an area.  That is what agents do.

Last night at 6:45, we both outside on the dark road as directed waiting for the Robert's Grove marked van to appear to pick us up.  We figured they'd find us since the Little Cottage was located on their map for Placencia and we gave them the mile post numbers.

Standing in the dark was scary.  Lots of pickup trucks drove by with the bed filled with people sitting on the edges, honking and making noise.  Each time we saw a vehicle go by we had to stand close to the road enabling the driver to see us.  By 7:00 pm and no driver, we had to make a decision. 

Do we go back inside the humid little house and call it a night with nothing defrosted for dinner.  Or, do we take a chance and drive the golf cart in the pitch dark the three miles through the scary town?

As we sat in the driveway in the golf cart contemplating our move, we noticed a golf cart go by with what looked like tourists. We opted to follow them.  There's strength in numbers.  Driving as fast as he could, Tom reassured me we'd be safe.  My heart was racing.

Along the road there were about six speed bumps that were raised pedestrian crossings.  To cross them, one had to slow down to a snails pace.  Its during that time that a potential attacker could have easy access to golf cart occupants.  As we sped up after crossing each of the speed bumps we sighed a sigh of relief to again be on our way.

Finally we arrived at Robert's Grove Habener Restaurant, the smell of unfamiliar spices filling the air while live reggae music pulsated through the restaurant.  Immediately, we alerted the restaurant staff that the driver never arrived by 7:00 pm resulting in our driving on our own.  We were pleased to know we hadn't missed him since she explained he was running late, as much as 1/2 hour.  We'd only waited 15 minutes.  She called him to tell him we were there since he had yet to arrive to pick us up.

Seated at our cozy white linen covered table and chairs, we finally relaxed ordering a drink.  Tom was anxious to get to the buffet.  We'd hardly eaten in days with the problematic tiny stove, the running water issues, the tiny refrigerator with little room to stock fresh foods befitting our diet. 

After a few sips of our drinks, we sauntered to the buffet delighted with what we found:  huge lobster tails, Belizean roast chicken, fried conch (which I couldn't eat due to the breading), piles of fresh large unpeeled shrimp on a bed of ice, and a whole roasted pig cooked to perfection. Various rice concoctions, salads, fresh fruit, bread and rolls, completed the buffet along with a full table of what appeared to be delectable desserts. 

I asked the waiter if the water was purified and he assured us it was which is typical for hotels not wanting sick, angry guests stuck in their rooms with the "revenge" unable to spend more money and, in this day and age, writing derogatory reviews.  We felt safe to finally enjoy some ice in our water.

There were numerous items of which I couldn't partake but more that I could and I piled my plate twice as high as Tom's.  The lobster was sweet and tender, the chicken, seasoned the Belizean way was falling off the bone, the sausage was spicy and moist and the pig...well I "pigged out."  It was a feast.  Tom went back for another lobster tail.  I had taken two to start and didn't go back for seconds after eating my entire plate of food. 

The music was so loud we could barely speak instead preoccupying ourselves with our food, the ambiance and the good feeling of enjoying "being out."  The bill for everything including our drinks and generous tip for the attentive waiter, was $78 US, a deal by our standards.  We'll definitely go back again soon. 

The drive back was less scary and uneventful.  We now felt comfortable driving the golf cart at night and of course, we'd be as mindful as possible.  We can't spend our world travels being suspicious of every corner but, we can and will be as cautious as is practical and possible.

This morning, I swept the piles of sand off the tile floor in the little house and on the patio, boiled more water, washed off the tabletops and kitchen counters with rags dipped in cold soapy (there's literally NO HOT WATER in the little house!) hoping the soap would somehow sanitize everything.

At noon, an hour from now, we'll hop into our golf cart driving in the opposite direction as yesterday, find a restaurant for tonight and hopefully discover more interesting areas to explore.  We'll take more photos. 

Today, I received a comment from a reader kindly requesting me post photos of the distressed areas as well.  Next time we go to Placencia Village, in the next few days , we will definitely take photos and post them.  Thanks, Anonymous.  We're happy to comply.

We recovered from the virus/cold we got on the ship, we're getting used to the heat, my 25 bites are becoming less itchy, the sun is shining, its 80 degrees and we're good.  Yep, for the moment, we're good.

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