Somehow, this past fall, Rex’s feet must have grown very quickly and I found myself in immediate need of some new sneakers. Obviously, after living in Belize for over a year, I knew a next day delivery from Zappos was not gonna happen. I would probably have to drive 2 hours to Belmopan or 1.5 hours to Placencia to find a shoe store. But I didn’t want to make that drive, at least not anytime soon. So I thought, maybe I can buy them at our closest big town — Dangriga. That is where our closest banks are and our closest airport is. But Dangriga is not known for having clothing or shoe stores. I asked Oz, our head of tours, if I could buy kid’s shoes in Dangriga. He said “sure you can” and told me where to get them. This is how it typically goes — there is not a Yellow Pages or a business FB page or website for all of the things you can find in Dangriga. Usually you can get what you need but you have to know, by word of mouth, where to find it. You can get zippers at Kai San (Chinese owned store by the Police Station). You can get new bike chains across the street from that. If you want a notary (Justice of the Peace, here), you need to go the insurance place that is just over the bridge from Belize Bank. Photos for a work permit? No problem, there is a little photo shop just as you enter town, across from the medical office. Sometimes you have a name of a business, sometimes its just a general direction. The next time Oz went to Dangriga, he picked me up a pair of size 2 boy’s sneakers. We tend to make a list of Dangriga errands for the next person who is making the trip there (usually for a hotel arrival or departure). So Rex’s shoes were on the errand list.
I was so happy with shoes, there were cute blue high top shoes that looks stylish to me. They cost $40 BZD which is $20 USD. Rex liked them too. BUT, after only a month or so, they started to break. The front sole of one of his shoes came unattached to the top fabric, so Rex has a large gaping hole in the front of his shoe. I thought it looked like a duck bill with some toes sticking out where the tongue might be.
I asked Oz if I can only buy terrible shoes that last a month in Dangriga and he said, “OH! no yo have to bring them to the guy that sews them up”. Oh, ok, lets do that. I asked Oz to pick me up a second pair of shoes and bring them to the guy who sews them. Apparently, these shoes are only attached by glue, but if I get the top sewed to the sole, they will last much longer. Amazing.
All went well after this except that after spending another $40 BZD and dropping with the shoe sewing guy, he disappeared with the shoes. He said to come back in an hour, but when we went back to get them, he was gone for the day. And, since it was a Friday, gone for the weekend. When we returned on Monday…Wednesday….following Tuesday…his little shop was never open. A friend of mine suggested that he might have just taken the shoes and I’d never see him again. But, c’mon! kids’ shoes?!
Finally, our schedule met with his and we found him and the shoes, well sewn. Now I know, how to properly buy shoes. But, with the breaking of the first shoes, the buying and sewing and the shop closing delay of the second shoes….perhaps easier to driver to Belmopan after all.