The big issue in Belmopan this month has been the lack of rain and the smoke. Like many third world countries, Belize clears land by burning. With no rain for over three weeks, it was really dry and people were burning a lot. When this happens, Belmopan gets a LOT of smoke that settles on the city. During the main part of the day, it is not bad, but each morning and evening there was a fog of smoke covering the town. Every morning, when I'd go into my living room, I could smell the smoke in the house. It would sting the eyes and people with asthma would have serious problems with it. Yesterday, it finally rained and I actually got excited about the rain. I felt like a dust-bowl era farmer with how excited I got. Although it didn't rain all that much, it was enough to knock the smoke out of the air and to wet the dirt roads enough so that you weren't constantly kicking up dust. Apparently, this happens every year around this time, but it is worse this year because there is so much dead foliage from Hurricane Richard last fall.
I've also been duty officer for the last ten days or so. I had originally hoped to spend Easter in Antigua with my friend Chris in Guatemala, but that would have left no consular officers in Belize. Since that wouldn't be good, I switched duty weeks with another officer. I took this week, covering the four day Easter weekend holiday (since I couldn't travel anyway) and he is taking a week for me next month on a three-day weekend. Since I left work yesterday, I have had an American arrested for attempted murder and a death case (these are not related cases). It has already been a busy duty weekend, and it is only Friday.
One more story from the past few weeks. I told a friend this last night and he ordered me to put it on the blog. One night after the Pig and Parrot on a Wednesday, one of our interns went over to my friend Kevin's house for a beer and some food. As Kevin was reheating a pizza or something, the intern was petting Kevin's small dog, Pretzel. The intern wasn't really paying attention, but had his hand by the dog when Pretzel lifted a leg and peed all over the intern's hand. Kevin responded by giving the dog a treat.