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10/14/13

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I knew that after the Hurricane that I would have a tough time getting a hotel in Houston.  I tried on line Thursday night, and couldn't find anything available.  When I flew into Houston's airport, I found the advertising sign in arrivals with a list of hotels and called the Best Western.  They had a room - one room - smoking, queen size bed - would I like it? 

While I was checking in the other desk clerk took five phone calls with people looking for rooms.  I could tell some of them were getting quite irate, and the desk clerk could be overheard saying "If I had a room, I would rent it to you, but I don't have any rooms."

I spoke with a couple of contractors last evening, and they were happy to be staying here.  One tree faller said that the place they had stayed in last night was so horrible that he would have rather have slept in his truck. 

Woke up at about 5:30 local time in Houston (3:30 BC time - go figure).  Got up and went for a short walk. As I was walking around this morning I could see a large number of 1 ton and 3/4 ton trucks, as well as flat bed trailers, and other heavy equipment.  It would seen that after the Hurricane, a huge number of contractors, security people, and emergency relief resources have taken just about every available room in town.

I talked to one individual this a.m. at breakfast who was working in Galveston, cleaning up after Hurricane Ike.  He said it wasn't as bad as after Katrina, but it had sustained substantial damage.

Some honking, huge 'Dryer' and portable power generation.

One of probably fifty trucks in a couple of block radius.

I can't remember if there are any "Drive-in's" left in Canada, but this one seemed to be quite busy when I went by it last night.  At six a.m. it was pretty quiet.  There was a small incident on the other side of the drive in, where there was a drive through window.  A contractor, towing a huge trailer, was about a foot taller than the overhand on the building.

And some people just parked where they could find quiet spot.

You can see one sign, and the shaded area where the other sign used to be - this is up about 50 or 60 feet.

And the sign where it had fallen in the Hurricane.  I didn't see a lot of damage, just bent and broken trees, and a lot of piled up leaves, branches and trees.  Houston appears to have gotten away with relatively little damage, according to some of the locals that I talked to.

At the Houston Airport - E Concourse - I thought this was interesting.  Daniel (My son) - commoditization of a product, cut out the middle man, sell direct to the consumer - satisfy immediate urge to buy - beautiful.  Daniel is going to the University of British Columbia - and his economics Prof would love this concept - a stand alone vending machine that serves up Ipods.

We took off from Houston and flew south, across what I am sure was part of Galveston and then over the Gulf.  We then flew over Mexico on the way to Belize.  This is about 10 minutes out of Belize City - the next couple of pictures - if you didn't know better, you would think you were in Manitoba.  Water, water everywhere.

Harrier - donated to the Belizian government by the British in 1994.

The terminal - non-event getting into the country.

Cellular rental place just behind the cars - $5 US a day, and you buy minutes - .65 cents a minute to call North America - .25 cents for a text message - incoming calls are free (at least that is what I thought I heard him say). 

Jet's Bar - past security (if you can call it that) at the airport.  .75 cents Belize (Airport security tax - $2 Belize = $1 US).  Behind us is a wall of, mostly US LEO (Law Enforcement Office) and Fire / Rescue badges.  Drinks were $5 US each - nobody seemed to want to tip at those prices!

Leaving Belize City - Not sure what they are, but they are in neat rows.

More neat rows - need to get on the Internet and figure out what they are - person next to me on the plan thought they might be Orange trees.

Again - lots of water.

We had one stop before our landing in Placencia.  Holy cow batman - short runway, hot, humid air.... I learned to fly in London, Ontario and a 5000 foot runway in a small airplane wasn't too long on a similar day.  Pilot (single - plane, if I remember correctly, seated about 17.  Five rows of 1 and 2, and then the back seat that seated two or three) - I believe in Canada, anything over 11 passengers requires two pilots.  This pilot was competent.  Runways were narrow and short - aced the landings, stopped with lots of room to spare.  Hot turn-arounds - dump the baggage, unload the passengers - say good bye - we're gone.

The Peninsula where I am staying - Placencia.

Itty bitty little runway down there - the plane lands across the peninsula - the road cuts across the top of the runway.  There is a sign that says planes have the right of way.  I'll go back out there and get a picture or two before I leave.

 

 

 

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