Sunday, June 27, 2010

The wrath of Alex

A little over a week ago, I bought a ticker for my mom to come visit me here in Belize for a week and a half.  I wanted her to come down and visit before she had to work this fall when school resumes (she is a substitute).  I bought an actual plane ticket with a guaranteed seat.  Since my sister is a flight attendant and we often fly standby, this is a big deal for us.  It was nice knowing that she would make it here at 220 without problem.

On Thursday, I realized my first problem.  The airport is about 20 minutes outside Belize City, about an hour from Belmopan (where I live).  The US-Ghana World Cup knockout match was scheduled to start at 1230.  I came up with the idea of watching the game in Belize City and then being able to make my way out to the airport to meet the plane.  Unfortunately, I didn't know my way around Belize City, so I had to enlist the help of some friends.  I invited my friends Aaron, Brianne, Samantha and Nancy to join me (and more importantly show me how to get around).

When we first got to Belize City, we stopped at Premium Wines to buy duty-free wine and liquor (one of the several advantages of being a diplomat).  Then we made our way to the Riverside Cafe, which is the closest equivalent to a sports bar in Belize.  The food was fabulous, the crowd was pro-American, the game was exciting.  Unfortunately, the game went into extra-time.  I was already cutting it close, banking on a few minutes in customs to not be late picking up my Mom.  There was no way to stay for extra time.  Brianne knew her way around Belize City and cared slightly less about the game than Aaron, so she agreed to go with me to the airport.

There was one other small issue.  A low pressure system known last week as Invest 93, then renamed Friday to Tropical Depression One, was renamed again to Tropical Storm Alex.  It was headed for the northern coast of Belize and the Yucatan.  Unfortunately, it turned west and started making its way directly for Belize City.  My mom's flight from Dallas was diverted to Cancun, where they sat on the ground for 5 hours and then decided to return to Dallas.  She spent about 9 hours on the plane and didn't even make it here.  (She got a hotel in Dallas and then was flying to Miami in the morning to take the Miami flight here today.  Hopefully, she makes it).

As for Alex himself, I saw lots of rain, but not much wind.  There was already some street flooding in Belize City when we were there in the afternoon.  They also got hit with the force of the winds, but I have no idea if there was any or much damage because I can't find any news sources.  The main worry is that the rain will all drain down towards the city.  They were predicting 4-8 inches throughout the country with pockets of up to 15 inches.  So flooding will be a concern.

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