Though a straight line appears to be the shortest distance between 2 points, life has a way of confounding geography. Often it is the dalliances and the detours that define us. There are no maps to guide our most important searches; we must rely on hope, chance, intuition and a willingness to be surprised.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Iguana Dance With Somebody (…but I don’t wanna feel the heat)

The quaint US embassy building - one of the last wooden embassy buildings - in the rain-sodden sweltering heat of BC.

I could also have gone for a musicals title this week: Fit Lizard on the Roof (ouch!). The rains here don’t come themselves but instead bring various animals sheltering from the deluge. As well as barking dogs, I now have to contend with Iguanas running around on the roof of the house. These are large (2,3, more… feet long), sharp-clawed creatures that seem to like to hold dance classes and race meetings above my bedroom between 2 and 5am.

Talking of lizards, this is Steve, my roommate. Steve is a juvenile gecko. I could tell he was a juvenile just from his size. That isn’t obvious in the photo, but you were able to tell from the fact that his tail hasn’t grown yet – weren’t you? Like most of the population of Belize, Stevie can trace his ancestry back to a more distant place – China in his case. Geckos aren’t indigenous to Belize but came from Eastern parts, and perhaps as recently as 25 years ago. And their numbers have exploded in the last ten. Competing with intruders is a common problem for Belize’s wildlife and for many species it’s a battle to adapt/evolve fast enough to survive. Anyway, I’m not holding that against Steve-o, as long as he helps me in my battle against the mozzies.

So lizards at home. And the rainy season has created a bit of a ‘wildlife issue' at work too. Four of us share a smallish office at BCVI head office in Belize City. Naomi is my fellow CWW volunteer at BCVI and is working hard on the charity’s patient database, Christa (from the US) has been working as resource and promotions manager for a few months now and Mark from Belize is our long-standing IT manager.

The four of us were joined last week by a small rat. The little fellow somehow got in through the wall and streaked across the floor. After a few interesting moments, Mark and I managed to trap him in the bottom drawer of Mark's desk. I was then able to carefully pull the drawer out and carry it outside. As I 'coaxed' the rat out, Mark tried to flatten it with a broom but missed and it jumped into the drain at the side of our front door and swam away like a good ‘un. The fun didn’t end there though. As I carried the drawer back into the office, another previously unnoticed rat popped out of the drawer and skiddaddled across the office floor. We lost that one too but not before I got his photo.

So Mark and I took two rats out of the office and brought one back in. By any reasonable performance measure, I’d say that was quite a successful project. But alas, as always, the policy people in the office saw things rather differently.

Basil the rat is disappointed to find that the shapely mouse he has been eyeing up will only accept a USB connection.

I didn’t make it to Mexico last weekend because of the torrential rain but the weather is improving rapidly and plans are now in place for a deeper forage into Mexican territory - perhaps as far as Cancun – in a week or so’s time. Meanwhile, the bad weather at the weekend was a good excuse for a sustained bout of partying.

This year’s international Twister invitational is brought to you by our sponsors B E L I Z E. Here we can see a tense moment in the latter stages of the fiercely contested gold-medal bout between Sweden’s “Left-Foot-Blue” Larsson and Scotland’s “Right-Hand-Red” McKay. Columbia, the US and Scotland’s male representative were knocked out – in more ways than one – earlier in the competition.

Finally, it doesn’t really lend itself to pictures but I feel like I’ve been making more great progress with the project. So I’ll finish off with a picture of where I work:

Rat’s where I work