Well, I finally had time to sit and write in my blog. The last few weeks have been so busy, what with arranging the final details for the trip, to moving my husband from one household to another and to making sure that the trip clothes are kept separate from the regular everyday clothes. Some things got lost in the shuffle, such as some of the paperwork I need to set up shop here in Punta Gorda, known to the locals as P.G. But I can reproduce whatever I need so it isn’t a bad thing, just a minor inconvenience.
Let me tell you about the trip so far.
We got into Belize City on Wednesday, January 11. The plane trip itself was uneventful. We had to get up before the crack of stupid to make it to the airport on time but we made it – thanks mom and dad for getting us up earlier than we planned. It was a bit foggy on the drive to the airport but we weren’t really slowed by it.
At the airport, it’s easy to locate a rental car company. The key is figuring out which one to use – a locally owned company or a big chain company. Well, we decided to go with a locally owned company. Other than a bit of additional aggravation (which we can’t say wouldn’t have happened anyway), we finally got a vehicle we believed we could trust. We rented a Kia something, a small to mid-sized suv, which sounded pretty rough, but Hubby dear decided we would try it out. We paid our $4 bz to exit the parking lot and we were on our way – barely. We didn’t make it even a mile before the vehicle started losing power and became a gutless wonder. We turned around and headed back to the airport. Hubby had to take a running start to get the vehicle over a 3″ road bump at the security gate. We were losing power quickly. By the time we drove a few more feet back to the rental shop the car was pretty much done. Hubby turned off the engine and went in to talk with the owner. When both came out and Hubby went to turn on the engine again, the vehicle was dead. Good thing we turned around and went back.
The owner was more than happy to help us out and got us on our way in a second vehicle, a 2005 Chevy Trailblazer. But not before a few hands were out for more tips for “helping” us move our luggage from one vehicle to the next. So, now we are in vehicle #2 and we were initially okay with it. We had to pay to get out of the lot again, but the auto dealer gave us the money to exit. However, as we started to drive away from the airport the check engine light, the check 4-wheel drive light and the change oil soon light came on. When Hubby called back to the auto rental company he was told that this was normal. Now, fyi – Hubby spent the first 20 years of his adult working life as an auto mechanic. He knows this is not normal. We had a few errands to run on day 2, and while driving the suv began to really stink of raw gas. And the stink just hung around.
So back to the car rental shop we went. This time we upgraded to a newer vehicle, a 2008 Jeep Patriot with 140,000 miles. The auto dealer split the difference with us with regards to the price – which was fairly decent of him. This time Hubby took it on a bit of a test run around the parking lot and since all seemed good to him, we took it. A little while later we noticed that the check engine light was on and the low tire pressure light was on. And so, now we are 250 miles away from the auto rental dealer at the airport with a vehicle that has the check engine light on. Engine seems to be running fine and tires are okay so maybe one of these lights is just a sensor problem….
Anyway, this was our experience on the first and second day of being in Belize. Small trials and tribulations and through it all, the auto dealer was very customer service oriented. He gave us the money to get out of the parking lot each time we went back to change vehicles. He also didn’t try to talk us out of changing vehicles. His motto, as he stated to us, is that he isn’t happy until we, as the customers, are happy. Overall, great customer service.