We arrived in San Pedro on December 18th after a visit to Bellingham, Washington to visit our kids AND WATCH OUR DAUGHTER GRADUATE!!!! I know, I mentioned this before, and I’ll probably mention it again many, many times!
We celebrated Christmas without our son, Joe for the first time – things just didn’t time out for him to be able to join us. It was different all around for other reasons, too – sun, heat, sand and water! THAT part of different was GREAT! But missing our son changed the season for us. We did New Years Eve at Fido’s and rang in the New Year with a few adult beverages and 50 minutes of fireworks off a barge!!! It was spectacular to say the least.
Rob Colon was showing us properties up and down the island. Some way North and several South. We really started figuring out that we wanted to be close to San Pedro Town, but not IN the town. Close enough to enjoy the nightlife, restaurants and shopping, but far enough away to escape all that, too. There were some great deals on land on the southern part of the island, but it had some short comings. The road may not be paved for a while, the land is lower (yes, even a few feet matters at sea level) and the drive down after leaving the cobblestone, can be pretty bumpy (but ocean views are beautiful everywhere).
Shortly after the new year, Rob called and said there was a lot for sale in our desired area – Tres Cocos which is just north of the bridge (also called the split or cut). We went and looked, walked onto the lot and saw the potential immediately. Rob had said we’d fall in love with it, and he was right.
After a few steps onto the lot, we saw a very cool, twisted, beautifully shaped palm tree right near the beach, “Twisted Palm, Laura, what do you think?”. We had been brainstorming names for months, so we both knew that we liked it and it would stick!
The lot was at the top (over) our range, but if we could buy it right, we could make it work. We negotiated back and forth and settled on what we thought was a GREAT deal. The first curve-ball came when we had the lot surveyed. It became known that it was not 70’ as advertised, but 65’ – a huge difference on beachfront property. We knew there’d be challenges and this was just another one, so we stayed patient and let the realtors earn their commission.
Rob went to bat for us and they worked out a deal with the seller that made us all feel good. I credit Rob with a suggestion that we offer a super-fast closing date and I’m sure it sealed the deal. If he hadn’t already established our trust in him, this could have been a break point. Instead, we decided to move ahead.
We closed on the property on February 11th. A very uneventful closing to the extent that we got a call from Rob who said, “OK, we’re closed and good”. I was expecting him to call with the time we were to meet – then planning on going to the property and maybe having a toast. (OK, clinking our beer bottles is a toast, right!). It didn’t matter, since, “OK, we’re closed” happened instead.
After visiting a few architects offices and interviewing one, a friend recommended a local draftsman, Marvin Duarte, who does great drawings. He knows the island and how things work. He seemed to know every square inch and every single person! I gave Marvin some basic drawings I had made using a free subscription to SmartDraw (highly recommend this!!!). These were just simple floorplan layouts that we had dreamed up – no exterior or elevations. Marvin went to work and a week later we met again with a first draft. We made some changes and 2 weeks after that meeting, he came back with the final draft.
I showed that draft to a friend here who is a construction engineer from Virginia and he was amazed at the work. Later, Rob Colon noticed something that I hadn’t. The plans – all 19 pages – were hand drawn. No computer AT ALL.
Here’s a picture of Marvin at Carnaval with a “Barbie”. Here in Belize, Fiesta de Carnaval is like Mardi Gras – days of crazy parties leading up to “Fat Tuesday” and Ash Wednesday. Among other normal things, the parades feature groups of men dressed up as women, dancing a routine to a current hit song, with the words re-written by a local “virtuoso”. Teams of “ladies” compete and a winner is announced at Midnight. Pride is about the only thing at stake, though. This has been going on for generations with some of the more prominent families of San Pedro having fathers and grandfathers who proudly danced as “Barbies” in their younger days. Click here for a video I found on Youtube that depicts this year’s Comparsas winners.
That’s all for now. If I touched on something you liked or you have a question, please let me know. Also, feel free to share this blog to friends who you think might be interested in learning more about Belize. Thanks again for your support and comments. I read every comment and love hearing from you!