Yesterday was, yes you got it, the day we go to Dangriga to update our passports/visas. Now as we all know, this must be done once a month and like the Postal Services, "neither rain, nor sleet, nor hail, nor floods, heat prostration...." you get the picture, it has to be done.
And as everyone here knows, it is rainy season. We knew the river at Kendal was rising and it rained (poured) all Tuesday night. We didn't get any sleep, we watched the light show as there was lots of lightning all night long. At 5:30 we were up and ready to get on the bus.... and we started thinking.... if we go to Dangriga, we might get there, but would we get back with the river rising and all? The first bus went by.... Hey, we could go to Independence because they have opened the new Immigration Office there and there is someone there five days a week. The second bus went by... and it was decided. We would take the shuttle into Placencia, catch the Hokey Pokey, check out Independence and get home early.
Things started out according to plan. At 7:00 a.m. we were on the road, in the pouring rain (yes, we had an umbrella) thinking... in the pouring rain, at least the bugs won't get us.... WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. They were worse than usual, because we were the only shelter for the sand fleas.
It was about 7:30 when the shuttle came along, so we were already damp. We were exactly on time for the Hokey Pokey and bought round-trip, return tickets. Now those that have taken the Hokey Pokey will know what I am talking about.
Here is a picture of the Hokey Pokey that I took March 9th, 2009. Now, on a nice sunny day with gentle breezes, it is fun to take the water taxi between Placencia and Independence. On a nice sunny day with gentle breezes.... okay, the wind was not really bad, but it was raining. Anyways, we got on the boat, and started out slow. I was wondering why there was a piece of plastic the length of the boat. It didn't take long to find out.... we were still in the canal when we throttled to full speed ahead.... everyone pulled the plastic over them, (yes it was full of water) and my first thought was "if we go over, we won't drown, we will smother". I suddenly realized what it would be like to be in one of those airtight packages where the air is all sucked out to keep things fresh. Like everyone else, I kept my head down and held on to the edge of the plastic to keep it from getting away from us. That was a ride, but on the good side, it was short and I didn't have to see what was happening. Shhh... my eyes were closed.
Back on terra firma, we got a taxi to take us to the Immigration Office. We pulled in and it looked empty, and the taxi driver decided that it was not a good place to leave us so he took us to the Police Station where he said they could do the stamp for us too. Nelson (taxi driver) waited while I ran inside to make sure there was Immigration there. The three officers looked up when I asked the question. "Oh yes mum, he will be here shortly." Great, we send Nelson off and go across the street where you can get the very best tamales and burritos that I have found anywhere and the prices are great. After breakfast, we head back to the police station. I am told "yes, the Immigration man is in, just go next door." "Hello" I said, "Can you help me, I need my passport updated?"..... "Sure" was the answer, "Are you coming or going?" "Neither" I replied, "We live here." "Are you coming into the country or going out of the country" he very patiently asked me. "We just want our visas updated, we are not going anywhere." He asked to see our passports. After a quick look, "You want to go to the other Immigration Office for this," and he gave us instructions on how to get back to the other office.
Nothing is really very far away in Independence so we walked. Even the rain let up a bit. We got to the office, (this is the same office that Nelson didn't want to leave us at) and wandered around. Finally, we went into the only office that was open, the Electoral Office. "Can you please tell me where the Immigration Office is?" The response is.... are you ready? "Come back tomorrow." "Tomorrow? Why tomorrow?" Apparently the office opened and the girl working there went on vacation. Go figure......
Okay... not a big deal, we just have to rearrange the plans once more. There was a bus leaving Independence at ten o'clock and if we ended up staying in Dangriga, so be it. When we got to the bridge there was still a good foot of clearance and if it wasn't raining in the hills, we had a good chance of getting back. We got all our business done in Dangriga including hair appointment and pedicure which I had cancelled and then was able to get back..... thank you Geri. Charlotte at Immigration said she was following the blog and found it 'informative'.
On the four thirty bus where I got off in Maya Beach for ladies night and Bob continued on home with our shopping. As usual, it all worked out, just not necessarily as we had originally planned it.