Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A day filled with the past and the future

For a while now Tracy has been mentoring a future architect at the local school. He is a great kid of 11 years. Its been interesting watching him absorb what has been shared with him and see his eagerness to learn. One of the ideas that was discussed was the use of alternative building materials. Being in Belize other materials are not only discussed they also are able to be put into use. While listening to them talk I recalled a property that I had seen highlighted a while back and had to share it with them. Earthship Belize is a very unique property with a focal point of an earth rammed base and a combination glass bottle and concrete walled structure.

Of course once it had been discussed we HAD to go on a field trip! The location is roughly 2 hours away from us and a plan was made. Situated within sight of the earthship is strangely enough, Lubaantun on of the many Mayan ruins that are scattered around Belize. Its been on our list of sites to see so why not knock out both on the same day? 



Upon arrival at the earthship we were greeted by the owners Alisa and Richard Atkinson. The last name is a story all to iteslf! We discussed the design and concept along with the history of the property.

Walking through a piece of art is an interesting phenomenon. You feel as though your head is on a swivel with something new to see at every turn.

The structure is 2 stories tall with the third level being the base for water collection. Originally intended to be a house the plans have changed a bit and the current concept is for a restaurant.

Without the use of traditional building materials the ability to make it flow freely became evident. Curves, arches, waves, all which are near impossible with concrete block danced along like flowing water.


So full of color and detail. It was interesting seeing the different types of bottles that were used along the way. The technique is definitely a labor of love as every bottle is cut and joined with another so that the light can shine through. 

If you are ever in the area I would suggest a side trip to one of the most unique buildings you will see.




We were offered to stay for lunch by our gracious hosts but first we had to head next door to the ruins. After using my Belize social security card to prove that we lived here were were in! Lubaantun has some interesting history as it was one of the places in the world where a "crystal skull" had been "found". The story is a little shakey but a fascinating one anyway. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystal_skull 


A stark contrast to the free flowing modern house that we had just seen the ruins had squared edges that seemed to defy the tools that were available at the time of construction. 

Much of many of the ruins had been toppled giving way to the mayan name for the site. Lubaantun means "place of the fallen rocks". I am always in amazement at the thought of how long it must have taken to move and complete such interesting structures. 

Perfectly stacked, curved edges, seemingly mortorless joints created my an ancient civilization.

After spending some time at the ruins we went back to the earthship, had a great lunch with our fantastic hosts and with daylight becoming a concern, made our departure back to Placencia.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

You Can't Always Get What You Want

"You can't always get what you want. 

But if you try sometimes well you might find, 

You get what you need." 


It should be the national slogan of Belize. The Rolling Stones made the saying famous but I really think they are missing the bus with such a marketing slogan here. Constantly I find myself saying and sometimes singing out-loud a verse or two when shopping. But I digress.

The other day I went downstairs to put a comforter that was in the washing machine out on the line. I walked out the door and felt the pang of the spring that holds the screen door closed snap. Looking down I was not surprised to see that the hook holding the spring had broken in two. Having bought it only a few weeks earlier I had little faith in its survival being that it was about the thickness of a paperclip. "Ok, mental note to self, next time you are at the hardware store, pick up a hook."

I proceed down to the laundry room and upon opening the washer I come to a realization. Comforters are much too big for our washer. Pulling the sopping wet comforter out of the washer I hurriedly make my way to the clothesline. Getting myself soaking wet all the while.

Upon reaching the clothesline I haul the dripping comforter over the line. The line being a mighty length of "mule tape" which can withstand 1800 pounds of strength held no problem. The 2x6 that was attached to the concrete post did as well. For 5 seconds. Watching helpless the comforter took much joy in not landing on the concrete pad directly under it but rather in the sand located just within its reach.

Standing in amazement at the clothes and comforter now lying on the ground around me I try to figure a way out of the situation. Staring at the board with several concrete screws barely sticking thru it did not help. Resigned, clothes were moved and rehung along with the comforter.

So, now the hardware store list has 2 items. A hook and longer concrete screws. Wow, maybe I will go to the store soon. It is pretty far away, about 3 blocks. BUT, I do need more of a reason to go than just these few items. Speaking too soon I can hear one of the clotheslines, with recently relocated clothes on it, laugh loudly and decide it was time to break.

With 3 things on the list now and a crowd of onlookers, it is decided that today it the day to go to the hardware store. Of course, it can wait until we are heading for the bar. No need to make a special trip. Reaching the hardware store I set off for the screw area. Not a single concrete screw in sight. Without knowing if finding screws anytime soon it was decided that finding a new clothesline was not nearly as important as it was only a short while ago. Over to the hook area! Upon reaching the magnificent selection of a couple different hooks, only one that even comes close to what is being sought out, it was determined that an exact duplicate of the broken one was to be bought.

Now, one thing that always bothered me and that Belize gets right is that I only want one. I can
actually just buy one. I don't need to get a quantity of five, 4 of which will get thrown into the garage, never to be seen again. Taking note of the price its off to the counter to pay. The total of 5cents. Belize dollars. The kind man behind the counter asks what the precious hook costs and was told with a grin. The look received, if it was properly interpreted, was "seriously?" or maybe even "and you didn't want to just steal it?".  To add to the lunacy of the exchange the lowest value of cash in my pocket is a $2. The cashier begrudgingly begins to make change.



I saw her today at the reception
A glass of wine in her hand
I knew she would meet her connection
At her feet was a footloose man
No, you can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometime you find
You get what you need
I saw her today at the reception
A glass of wine in her hand
I knew she was gonna meet her connection
At her feet was a footloose man
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes well you might find
You get what you need
And I went down to the demonstration
To get my fair share of abuse
Singing, "We're gonna vent our frustration
If we don't we're gonna blow a 50-amp fuse"
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes well you just might find
You get what you need
I went down to the Chelsea drugstore
To get your prescription filled
I was standing in line with Mr. Jimmy
And man, did he look pretty ill
We decided that we would have a soda
My favorite flavor, cherry red
I sung my song to Mr. Jimmy
Yeah, and he said one word to me, and that was "dead"
I said to him
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You get what you need
You get what you need--yeah, oh baby
I saw her today at the reception
In her glass was a bleeding man
She was practiced at the art of deception
Well I could tell by her blood-stained hands
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You just might find
You get what you need
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You just might find
You get what you need