Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Ray Cokes

Not quite sure if Ray Cokes and Kristiane Backer are back from their travels yet (Ray went to Cape Town, Kristiane went round the world). I emailed them 2 days ago and hope to hear from them soon, hopefully with updates to place on this blog.

In the meantime, for those of you who can read Dutch, an article from 'Het Parool' with Ray Cokes.

I'm currently trying to get hold of Paul King and Pip Dan as well. I'll let you know how it goes....

Monday, January 30, 2006

Moving to Belize Guide, part 4

Don’t start a business with your friends!

Is it unfair of me to say that? Am I being a party-pooper?

Look, I know it sounds like a fun idea: start a business somewhere in the tropics with your best friends. Imagine yourself a few years from now, hanging out with your mates by the side of your own swimming pool, making money as you’re enjoying the ‘tropical dream’ lifestyle. You’ll be far away from home, but never lonely as your friends are all there with you. The whole group supports each other through the trials and tribulations of moving to a foreign country. In time, you will start families, your children will grow up together & live the healthy outdoor lifestyle and everyone will be happily ever after.

It would be great if things worked like that. Sadly enough, the reality is usually more like this:

Everyone starts off excited. A business is decided on & land or property is bought. Not everyone is able to move down at the same time, as loose ends need to be tied up back home. So, one or two people travel ahead to start things off. The others are meant to follow soon.

Then things happen…A couple splits up. They no longer want to emigrate. One person gets an unexpected promotion and decides that the opportunity is too good to miss. One woman gets pregnant and suddenly feels that she wants to stay near her mother. Family members fall ill, fights break out, doubt sets in, etc.

What you end up with is that one or two people carry the whole project by themselves and the others are nothing but silent partners. Or-the more complicated scenario- people want their investments back. This can descend in to utter chaos, with disagreements on whether to sell or not, how much to sell for, how people should be rewarded for the time spent on the project, etc. With the chance that friendships of a lifetime suddenly come crumbling down. All very sad indeed.

So my advice is the following:

Don’t rely on anyone when moving and starting a business abroad. If you are still determined to do it with your friends, consider the following: Are you willing to run this project by yourself in case other peoples’ situations change? And are you willing and able to buy the others out when needed? If you can say ‘yes’ to those two questions, than go right ahead. I hope that it all works out for you. It would be my dream too to have to have my friends and family around me. So I send you my blessings.

Now, if you’re one of those who tried to set up a business abroad with friends, please send me your story (whether it worked out for you or not). I’d be happy to share your experience here on this blog.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Interview on Radio.nl

Just when I feel like the most unglamorous woman on earth (more like a whale, really) I get cheered up by an article on Radio.nl
Especially seeing the old photographs is very comforting at the moment. I hope that one day I can look all groomed like that again.

They interviewed me a few weeks ago and are running the article in 3 parts:

We're all getting ready now to see off my mum. She has to return to Aruba to get back to her job. I can't believe she's going..... Lucas already crawled into her suitcase this morning and said that he was coming with her. It will be hard saying goodbye. And what a shame that she has been here for 10 days without seeing her new grandson. I hope that she can come over again soon.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Life in the adventure travel industry

Belize is slowly drying up after that crazy weather that we've had. It's so nice to have the sun back again. Oh, and guess what? STILL NO BABY!!!!!
I tell you, this boy is playing tricks on me. He keeps pretending to come out and then he decides that it's simply too cozy where he is right now. He's been giving us scares for months, but now that he's getting towards the end of stay in me, he's finally getting settled. That little monkey.

Earlier today I was reading some of our latest guest comments. I just love how the Jungle Dome guests stay in touch with us after their holidays. They send us tons of cool pictures and wonderful comments about their stay at our resort. It is so heartwarming to read how much they enjoyed their time with us and how much they all end up loving our staff.

It really makes our job rewarding. And it makes me realize that even by working in tourism (which was something I had never imagined myself doing), you can have a postive impact on people's lives. Even if it's just for a short period of time.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Flooding in Belize

It's been rather grim here the last few days. It's been raining almost non-stop. This picture is of cars trying to cross the Western Highway. We got stuck there ourselves yesterday. It was unbelievable. I've never seen anything like it in Belize.

In the meantime, the Belize River is creeping up closer and closer to the Dome. We hope that we won't get flooded.

Not quite sure what's causing this freak weather. This rainy season (even the hurricane season) has been pretty dry, so no one expected this really.

Anyway, let's hope that it all clears up soon.

Oh, and no baby yet.....

Monday, January 23, 2006

No baby yet....

Not much to report on as my attention has been on my growing belly and the coming baby. Got a bit of a scare last week when I got some strong contractions, all 5 minutes apart. I really thought that I was going in to labor. My doctor told me that we should try and keep the baby in a little longer, as we can't be sure how strong his lungs are at this stage. He suggested that I should try and stop the contractions for another 2 weeks. He gave me some pills to take if I thought that I was going into labor. Basically, here in Belize it's a little harder to deal with complications if there were to be any, so the doctors try to be on the safe side & avoid delivering babies that are more than 2 weeks immature.

I have to admit, I kind of panicked. I thought that the baby could show up any minute and realized that I didn't have much of a support team. Andy and Karen were meant to be the ones who'd stay with me during delivery, but the Dome was full and one of them would have to keep the business running at all times, so I'd probably only have one support person. Of course, we would need help with Lucas too and the plan was that John would come from San Ignacio to baby-sit him. Still, how long would it take him to get here? Would we be able to get hold of him? Etc.

Also, the doctor had told me to take it very easy for the coming weeks & I had no idea how to do that with Lucas running around me all day. So I basically begged my mum to get down here from Aruba immediatly. I needed some help. And lucky enough, her employers were understanding enough to let her go, even though they are short on staff. So my mum is here now until the end of the month and Miriam (my sister) is coming over on the 8th of February for a week. So now I just have to hope that the baby doesn't arrive between the 29th of Jan and the 8th of Feb.

I'm seeing my doctor again later today and will ask him if it's okay to allow the delivery to take place if it were to happen in the coming week. I would feel much better having my mum here for everything, you see? Wish me luck with it all.....

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Time to blog

Yes I know, it’s about time I blogged again. We are just getting towards the end of a 5-day “break” (having no guests at The Dome). We’ve been using the time to sort out tons of little odd jobs around the house, planning the next phase of the Jungle Dome’s development and of course getting mentally prepared for the birth of our baby. I am due at end of the month or at the beginning of next. So it’s all going to happen pretty soon. I don’t know how ready I actually am. It’s all a bit daunting.

By the way, as lovely as our rental home in Belmopan is, we have decided to not stay in town long-term (our rental agreement runs out in 5 months). It is better to be right by the resort after all. And anyway, the Belize Jungle Dome is a fun place to be these days. There is always something happening and we usually have nice guests to hang around with in the evenings. The only time when it gets a bit much is in the slow season. That’s when we feel like crawling up the walls sometimes. But we’ll just try and travel more in those months.

So anyway, we have started to make plans for building a house on the land. It’s an incredibly fun project, especially as we have the luxury of working with a great architect (John). I mean, how many people ever have the chance to create their dream home with the help of professionals? I feel so blessed to be in this position. Actually, I feel so blessed full-stop. I have a great husband, a wonderful little boy with another on the way, a successful and fun business and lots of great opportunities to look forward to. And now a wonderful home that will be build soon. The only thing that we still need to create is more time with family and friends. But I’m sure we’ll manage to do that too in the future.

Oh by the way, Lucas made another funny comment a few days ago. I’ve decided to note them all on my blog postings, so when I read them back years from now I will remember all those funny moments (it’s the kind of stuff that parents often forget over the years)

Lucas noticed a small hole in one of our floor tiles and said:
“Mum, there’s a hole in this tile.
We don’t like holes, do we mum?”
“That’s right Lucas, we don’t”
“No mum, we don’t like holes….only alcohol”

Where on earth does a 3-year-old get a comment like that from? He always surprises me.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Lucas and friends at the river side (Thank God, the crocodiles were nowhere to be seen)

The beach at Old Belize as seen through Ian's camera phone (very "Leaving Las Vegas", don't you think?)

Silly family picture (where on earth is my pregnant belly??? Strange.....)

Andy and his brother Ian

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy 2006!

Well, that's it. Another year over. Hope 2005 was good for you and that 2006 will be even better.

I missed all celebrations last night. I was in bed by 8.30 as I've been feeling quite rough lately. I keep getting real dizzy, with a pounding head & nausea (next to all my usual pregnancy aches and pains). It's bloody annoying. Still, it's all for a good cause.

By the end of January of the beginning or February, the baby should be here. If it tries to arrive before then (which it may do as it's lying very low and keeps sinking down whenever I do too much), then I need to take these tablets that my doctor gave me to stop the contractions.

Anyway, I shouldn't bore you all with medical stuff in this lovely new year. As soon as I have anything more fun to report I'll let you know.

Oh, what is quite funny is the stuff that Lucas comes out with these days. We were lying in bed chatting the other day when he looked up at the ceiling fan and said
"Mum, the fan is hungry"
I asked him what the fan wanted to eat and he answered
He then jumped up and said
"Mum, we need to get a ladder, so we can feed salad to the fan"

And this morning he was talking about how sad it was that I couldn't fly. He suddenly had a great idea
"We can buy wings for you in the shop"
When I asked him what shop would sell wings, he said
"The bird shop of course!"
So that's where he wants me to take him later.

We also seem to have lots of giants walking around our house these days (according to Lucas). Sometimes, we have to snatch the tail (???) of the giants to make tail soup together. Lucas then goes around the room and shares out the imaginary soup with all the other giants.

Strange child, don't you think? I'm loving it though. I am always looking forward to more strange stories from him. It's so funny. According to my mum, my imagination was just as wild when I was a child. So I know where he's got it from.

Anyway, have a lovely start to the New Year.