bougainvillabelize

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Basic House Information

The house consists of one story of living space of 2200 square feet.  It is built on foundation pillars, with two garages and a storage / pump room at ground level.  The main floor contains a main entrance (up the stairs from the driveway and garage) that leads to the foyer of the Great Room consisting of the living room area, a large dining room area with a large dining room table (seats 12), a fully equipped kitchen, a storage room/pantry and laundry room, and half bath.  The rattan couch in the livingroom is a queen hide-a-bed.  There are several doors that  lead to the 2000 square foot deck and pool.  Out on the deck is a mini-lap pool that is 10 ft wide and about 30 feet long with a huge adjoining deck area for outdoor dining, suntanning, and just sitting.  There is also an outdoor kitchen with direct access to the main kitchen and complete with a large gas (butane) barbecue.  The bedrooms all open directly onto the deck.  The three bedrooms closest to the Great Room are equipped with queen-size bunkbeds and lofts allowing each room to accomodate a small family!  The Master Bedroom, with a queen-size 4-poster bed, is at the furthest end of the deck away from the living room and also has a sitting area.  Each bedroom has its own vanity and basin and each pair of bedrooms share a toilet and beautifully-tiled shower. There is also a deck storage room used to store water toys, masks, lifejackets and fins, as well as the pool equipment and life-ring (it can be hung on a hook on the rail next to the pool when you are there). At the end of the deck is a large freshwater shower with a straw roof palapa.  There is a stairway from the deck to the beach.  The stairway and pathway to the dock have landscape lighting which comes on automatically at dusk. At the bottom of the beach stairway there is a shower/foot shower which should be used to wash off your feet when coming in from the beach, or to have a freshwater shower if you wish.   This reduces (but does not eliminate) the amount of sand dragged onto the deck and into the house and pool.  Please do not use the pool as a foot-bath!  There is also a freshwater wash tank to rinse off anything used in the salt water such as lifejackets, snorkeling gear, fins, etc.  We suggest that the tank be filled only once or twice a week and be left full, to conserve water.

Ventilation for the rooms is provided by cross breezes and floor fans to take advantage of the ocean breezes. The breezes can be further enhanced by changing the position of the wooden hurricane doors to act as air scoops.   We have installed air conditioners but have not found that they are often needed, as evenings can be comfortably cool, especially in winter.  If you chose to use the air conditioners, pick a comfortable temperature (ie 24 degrees Celcius or 78 degrees fahrenheit).  If you go much colder, it is actually quite uncomfortable due to the extreme temperature variation.  Please use the air conditioners ONLY when you are in the room.  They are very powerful and will cool the rooms very quickly.  Please turn them off when you leave the room as electricity is EXTREMELY expensive.

The house is designed and built to Florida Hurricane standards, and has hurricane shutters, and wooden hurricane doors over the glass doorways.  When the house is opened up for you by our caretaker, the doors will have been opened, and the hurricane shutters rolled up.  You will notice that there are metal poles attached to the upper part of the windows .  These are for manual operation of the hurricane shutters.  There should be no need for you to use these! They can jam if used improperly.   The hurricane doors can be positioned at different angles to take advantage of the breezes and scoop air into the rooms and are positioned by lowering the bolts into the decking to hold them securely.  Most often, we just leave them fully open and bolted in that position.  There is little likelihood that you will require entry into the garage or pump room on the lower level, though some of the larger beach 'toys' such as the kayaks and lounge chairs and matresses will be stored in the beach-end garage and the bikes are in the main garage. 

The windows in much of the house are the ?jalousie? type.  They can be louvered up or down to open them for airflow, or close them off.  Their operation is pretty obvious. Be sure they are closed before you use the hurricane shutters, if you have need to close them.

In the living room there is an entertainment area consisting of  a 42 inch plasma TV,  and DVD player/stereo/CD player with surround sound.  It also has an IPOD dock for your favorite music (if you have an iphone 5, you need to bring the new adaptor). There are DVDs and CDs on the shelves for you to use.  You will notice that there are all-weather outdoor speakers on the deck as well - they simply hang on the metal screws and plug into the wire sockets.  The speakers are stored above the TV in one of the cupboards, if the caretaker has not already put them out.  The speakers are controlled by the small black box seen mounted on the wall behind the stereo system(A for inside, B for outside, A+B for both). There is also a varied selection of books on the shelves which you are welcome to borrow.  If you are in the middle of reading one of these books when it is time to leave, feel free to take it with you.  You may want to leave another book in its place!  We are in the process of stocking a library, so used books are always welcome if you want to leave them behind!  Electronics are always difficult to figure out so the operation manuals will also be above the stereo in the cupboard.

There are reference guides to the local flora and fauna in the cupboards as well.  Please leave them on site before you leave.

We finally have local internet service.  There is a wireless, encrypted account and the caretaker can give you the current Wifi password, or you can simply plug into the modem with the hardwire.  There is satellite TV through Shaw Cable in Canada so your usual Canadian programming is available and you won't miss any hockey games or other favorite shows! The satellite TV is on Video 1, and the DVD is on HDMI 1, on the TV.  There are also internet cafes to be found in Placencia and there is one behind the Tuti-Frutti gelato shop in one of the gift stores - this might be faster speed if you need to download large amounts of data. 

 The kitchen is pretty well equipped, though we continue to find things that we are missing.  Please let us know if you think there are things we should have that aren?t there.  We have salt and pepper, basic spices, sugar (white and brown), coffee, and tea in the cupboards for your use.  If you use the last of any of these, or if they are running low, please stock up as necessary.  There is a beveridge fridge in the kitchen that usually contains wine, beer, tequila, rum, vodka and margarita mix.  If you use anything from this fridge, please replace it during your stay.  There is a coffee maker (filters are in the top shelf of the pull-out drawer just as you go to the outdoor kitchen) and toaster, a blender,  slow cooker, and coffee grinder etc in the cupboard to the right of the wine-cooler fridge.

The stove / oven is gas (butane). Its use is self-evident and the oven is programmed by using the back panel. The microwave is large and works well.  There is a very uncommon item (for this area) in our home: a dishwasher.  To reduce water and electricity costs we recommend that it only be run when full.  We recommend washing your dishes by hand if there are not too many.  Dishwashing detergent is underneath the sink or from the dispenser beside the sink. Please rinse the dishes before washing - recently someone put in beach toys without rinsing the sand off, causing significant problems!

In most cases, the operation manuals for all appliances will be in a middle drawer to the right of the stove, near the outdoor kitchen door. 

Before you arrive, we will have been in contact with you with regards to any groceries / food items that you would like stocked for your arrival.  Our caretaker will purchase these for you, if you wish.  She charges a minimal fee for this service, and will give you the bill for the groceries and service fee upon your arrival. Not everything that you might want is always available.  See the section on groceries for a list of items that are usually available that you might want, as well as for where to get groceries, etc while you are here.  We highly recommend that you order in basic food items for your arrival.  Since most people arrive at Bougainvilla in the late afternoon or the early evening, we can arrange for the caretaker to cook your dinner that first evening.  The cost will be the price of groceries plus a small service fee which you would pay directly to her. 

Security 

This section of Belize is very safe overall, but basic security measures are important.  There is some poverty in Belize and therefore theft is not unheard of.   We leave the front door locked when we are in the bedroom areas, deck, beach or dock.  Several of the outside lights are either on a motion sensor or kept on permanently for security.  ALL doors need to be locked when you leave the property but  in most cases the shutters and wooden doors will not need to be closed.  It seems a daunting task to lock all the doors when leaving but it soon becomes very easy and quick when part of a routine.  Don't forget the outdoor kitchen door!  Please lock up your car as well.   We also have two dogs onsite. Melvin will look after him.  We have a wireless perimeter/dog collar on the property so the dog should stay on the property itself.  He can be rambunctious but we have had no problems otherwise with respect to his behaviour.

The beach must be cleared of all articles at night.  As well, if you see any strangers walking the beach, please let Melvin know, particularly if they appear to be locals as opposed to other home owners.  There is a local security fan-out that can also be activated through Melvin, if need be - we keep a VHF radio on site for that purpose.  There is also now alarm system in the house as well - Melvin will arm it as needed and give you further instructions in that regard.

Laundry 

We have a storage room off the entry foyer that holds a washing machine and dryer.  Feel free to use them as needed.  Laundry soap, fabric softener, and a fabric softener dispenser are on the shelves opposite the washing machine.  If these are running low, please let the caretaker know, or pick some up next time you are in town. 

Electricity

We are on the main electricity grid.  Although the electrical service has been pretty reliable, there are occasional times when the power goes off for short periods. There are flashlights in the storage room that can be charged and/or 'wound' up.   Electricity is very expensive so please don't leave lights on unnecessarily.

Water and Plumbing 

As is true for much of the Caribbean, we get our water from rainfall collected into our cisterns.  This means that water is plentiful during the wet season and less so during the dry season.  We have a large cistern and we will endeavor to make sure there is plenty of water on your arrival, but water conservation is very important.  This is a hot, humid climate, and most people will want to shower twice a day.  That is fine, but we recommend you keep the shower time down to 3 to 5 minutes.  Don?t run the water continuously while brushing your teeth etc.  Also, avoid flushing the toilet every time?(?if it's yellow let it mellow,  if it's brown flush it down!"). Toilets should of course still be flushed at least once a day.  While our cistern water is filtered, and is safe for drinking now that we have a modern ultraviolet/sand filter installed , you may wish to use bottled water for drinking; currently we fill our bottles from the tap to cool the water.  We have the water cooler in the kitchen next to the fridge.  The replacement bottles are kept in the storage room and water can be purchased at all the grocery stores for only a few dollars, if you return the empty (otherwise you have to pay a deposit on the bottle).  Our plumbing is connected to a septic field system.  Please avoid putting anything aside from toilet paper into the toilets.  Sanitary napkins, tampons and other objects have to be placed in the wastebaskets in the bathrooms rather than into the toilets, please. 

Garbage 

There is a garbage bin in the kitchen, and small garbage containers in each bedroom and bathroom.  When these are full, please deposit them in one of the large plastic garbage containers underneath the house behind the garage.  Melvin will take the containers to the roadside for pickup on Tuesdays and Saturdays.  Of course it is important that "wet" garbage and any food waste be kept in a covered garbage container.  There are garbage bags in the large drawer of the kitchen island.

Our  Caretakers

Our caretakers are Melvin and Loren.  They live on site in the caretakers' cottage at the front (roadside) of the lot.  They will look after most of the house issues and maintenance.  They will provide clean sheets and towels for your arrival and will do the laundry after you leave.  If you desire housekeeping, it can be arranged at an additional cost to be paid directly to them.  We can obtain rates, if you desire.  Loren will also do daily cooking for you, if you wish, for an additional fee plus the cost of groceries.

As with any house rental, you would be responsible for your own cleanup and washing dishes, etc., prior to departure. 

If there are any plumbing or electrical problems, please contact Melvin.

Finally, there is a good selection of tools in the storage room for use, if needed.


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