I wanted to make French bread the other day and it was a total failure. Evidently the yeast had lost all its oomph! I had just bought new yeast about 2 months ago (maybe 3), kept it in the refrigerator and have used it several times. Well, it must have been at the very end of its shelf life (as most things purchased here are) and I did not realize it. So, the bread failed and the pizza dough, although it was OK and not FANTASTIC, and rose very little. We suffered through this and ate the whole thing! Most things here are beyond their shelf life and many times finding that date printed on the packaging is almost impossible. I mean, most of the medicine that is in the clinic (and relatively free) is way past its due date. Drug companies send their past-due stuff to third world countries and even though I have read that you can use a lot of the drugs almost 2 years past date, in this climate I would not trust that rule of thumb.
Then, I went to town yesterday to make a bank deposit. Now, I pay taxes and, yes, I choose to live in a remote area where I have no access to local electricity, water or garbage service. This was my choice. I get nothing in return for this. Even when I need the police I have to pay them, pick them up and cart them around if they need to investigate a crime for me. The ONLY thing I see that gives me any entitlement from the payment of my taxes is I can park at the Municipal dock when I go to town, if I happen to want to park in that area when I have business to deal with on that end of the Cay. The Municipal dock is public property having been built by the Municipal, i.e., ultimately the taxes of the people. Same as the airport, it was built with funds that were contributed but, ultimately, it really belongs to the people as part of our tax structure.
Now it appears I cannot park at the Municipal dock. I can drop off people but what am I to do with my boat on shopping day if there are no more areas to park (and they are becoming less and less)? Taxis, large boats that come from Savannah Bight and Mangrove Bight and now the Conch Festival "Pirate" boat is parked at the dock. Most of these boats are business ventures and make money by transporting people. They are allowed to park there. But we private citizens cannot park there.
When the dock was built no one seemed to think about the fact that this was a public dock and, as such, spaces should have been allowed and built to accommodate the hundreds of boats owned by the local people. These locally owned boats are nor longer then 15-20 feet and of standard height. The dock was built for commercial type boats and no thought was given to the locals who need parking with much smaller boats.Have you ever tried to get up off your boat onto a dock that is at least 5 feet above your head with no way of gaining access to it?
I have heard rumors that our new government is planning on building something to accommodate the vast majority of citizens. But with little funds in their budget I don't know when they will get that done. I mean the dock was suppose to have taken less than 6 months to build and took over a year! Things do not move quickly here and saying something will be built and actually seeing it started or completed can take years. Case in point - our airport. We now have a fine airport "terminal" and were content with that. The dock for that construction was inadequate from the get go and everyone could see that it would not provide sufficient parking for people coming to pick up or drop off. It took several years before they finally woke up, found the funds and built on extra dock area. So, we cannot believe what we are told, especially when it is time sensitive.
Our residency cards must be renewed once a year and in order to do this we must return to La Ceiba (or wherever we applied for the card) and have a new card issued. It took them years just to figure out they needed to create a file folder on each individual so that when one returned, the process could be shortened by referring to the past file. Each year we had to bring copies of the same paperwork, 2 photos, a bank statement and get finger printed (guess our finger prints from the previous year were lost each year). Finally, a really diligent girl at the office started making files! It saved so much time and now we don't need to bring all that paperwork to dump on them any more. They even had a camera to take a new photo for the card! Well, the system ran into a problem last year. My husband and I didn't suffer with the problem as we got our cards renewed in April. Right after that, lo and behold, the camera stopped functioning, the machine to make the cards stopped working and the laminator was out of supplies to finish the job! This went on for over a year! After last April when one went to get a new card you were issued a piece of paper extending your residency for 90 days. This means you have to go back every 90 days and get it re-issued. There is no cost involved except for those that must fly there, stay in a hotel, eat and use taxis. I recently inquired of various people asking if we did not show up to renew the "extension" would we be fined? I have been told no, so I did not see a purpose for spending all that money to return to get an extension but, then, I need my paper to use for discounts and identification.
We all heard the rumors that because last year was a voting year the government in power did not want to spend any of the money in the budget that could be placed elsewhere else (in their pockets?) and so, new supplies were not purchased, machines were not repaired and nothing was updated until the government knew who was in charge for the next 4 years. I don't know if this was true but it sounds reasonable.
Supposedly now, as of this month, new machines have been delivered to La Ceiba and San Pedro but I hear they are still having problems and, for the most part, cards are being sent to be issued in Tegucigalpa. I guess the world over you really can't believe what you are told by the government.
With no newspaper on the island the only way one knows what is going on is word-of-mouth and we know how unreliable that is. But, that is how we survive here with rumors, tales, innuendos and a lot of guessing. One person will tell you what is "really going on" to find out that they heard it from someone who had no facts or, as word-of-mouth goes, unreliable.
I remember one time, many, many, many years ago, I made up a "newspaper" as a joke and the gist of it was just to have some fun. However, at the time I made a serious remark about the construction of a certain necessary piece of work (I will not say what but it was necessary) and noted that the construction did not appear to meet the necessary requirements in order to be fully serviceable and/or last. My husband's life was in construction and I worked by his side for many years so we both had a grasp on what would work and what had the potential for failure. So, it was not a wild guess or supposition on my part that produced my comments. I merely pointed out the fact that it was not of good design. Well, the backlash I got for making that comment and actually having the gumption to criticize was not well taken. Can't repeat what I was told but needless to say one must keep their thoughts to themselves in a foreign country as evidently, at least in the past, they did not want to be given any advice. Oh, the construction ultimately failed and fell down!
It is true of humans that we don't like change and don't take advice well, sometimes even when we ask for it. But, when we ask questions it would be nice to know that whoever we are asking will tell us honestly that this is either their opinion, or they don't know, or they aren't sure or can direct us to someone who CAN help. I have discovered that many times here you are told what the other person THINKS you want to hear even if it is not true. Guess that is why they have the Mañana theory!
Now, you can believe me or not; your choice. A minority of the people I have found who read my blogs read what they "think" I am saying and do not read the actual words. This is why I say "in my opinion" or that "I'm not sure it is true." These people will write and tell me that I should watch my words and get quite upset with what I have published. Yet, it is they inserting their own opinion into my blog and not actually reading my words. So, believe what you want, I'm just writing my opinion!