The supply of fresh fish varies according to the weather and prices are cheaper than in the U. Embassy personnel enjoy access to the British commissary at the airport, which features imported U. The most important thing to keep in mind when buying clothing to wear in Belize is that the fabric must be suitable for the hot and humid climate.
No garment will be wearable if the fabric is heavy or retains heat. Synthetics and double knits are too hot. Pure cotton is ideal, but always think lightweight and permanent press. There is one dry-cleaner in Belize City. Another consideration is the type of recreational activity most popular here.
Personnel use casual clothing for swimming, fishing, boating and travel to out-of-the-way archeological ruins. It also is a good idea to have a hat for protection from the sun. Remember that clothes wear out quickly, as there is no change of season. Therefore, bring more, rather than less; little is available on the local market and most personnel order clothing from the U. Lightweight hiking boots and outdoor clothing or jungle fatigues are a good idea for hiking in the rainforest.
Dress is cool and casual. Guayaberas embroidered Mexican shirts with evenly hemmed tails worn outside the pants are appropriate on most occasions and are worn in the office and for evening social events. Any open-necked short- or long-sleeved shirts are acceptable for business and most informal social occasions. Lightweight suits are worn for a few special events, especially official functions. Black-tie is almost never worn, but when it is, both black and white jackets are acceptable. Poor drainage in the city, which is one foot below sea level, floods streets and hides ditches during the rainy season, so getting wet is a part of life here.
Sweaters are needed for winter evenings. Dressing is casual, although less so in the office where air-conditioning is efficient. Dresses or slacks are worn. Lightweight slacks and tops, and sleeveless dresses are worn for shopping and marketing. Sundresses are also popular for everyday wear. Stockings are never worn except occasionally in the evening and in the office.
Hats are rarely required. Short cocktail dresses and patio-type clothes are worn at evening parties. Formal parties are rare, so the need for long evening dresses is minimal. In December and January, dresses with sleeves are comfortable. A light stole is useful to have in the evening during the cooler months.
Bring a sweater and heavier clothing for traveling to mountain areas. Completely closed leather or synthetic shoes are a bit warm for Belize. So canvas espadrilles and sandals are common daytime wear. Narrow sizes are not available. Infants and children wear simple clothing. Cotton T-shirts, light pants, shorts, and simple dresses are worn. Sneakers are the usual footwear, so bring a supply.
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Children tend to dress up for birthday parties and religious services. All schools mandate that uniforms be worn. If you wish to purchase fabric in the U. Some British and American toys and baby supplies are sold, but prices are high. Most all necessities can be bought at one of the several department, hardware, and drugstores, but shortages occur.
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Make sure you bring along books, art supplies, CDs, and special needs like cosmetics, medicines and toiletries. There is one drycleaner in Belize City and three or four commercial laundromats. Electricians, plumbers, carpenters, auto mechanics, etc. Barbers and hairdressers are competent, as are upholsterers, drapery makers, dressmakers and jewelers.
Most American households have a maid, though experienced and trained servants are difficult to find. Domestic workers typically do not live in, and work 6—8 hours per day. Overtime is paid for extra hours. Employers pay Social Security tax for all domestics who work over 23 hours per week. Night babysitting and help at parties requires overtime pay. Hours and fringe benefits should be agreed upon at time of employment.
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A small file of domestics is kept by the Personnel Office. Although church attendance is relatively low, the country is very religious; prayers accompany virtually every public ceremony. All conduct services in English. The basics are taught, but creative art, music, and laboratory science are lacking. The school year usually begins the first Monday after September 10, and ends in mid-June. There is a 3-week vacation at Christmas and a 2-week vacation at Easter. Some schools have U.
The educational system is basically British although the textbooks in some schools come from the U. Most students re-entering schools in the U. To enter first grade, a child must be 5 years old by January 1, following the beginning of the school year. Infant I kindergarten enrolls children from ages 3 to 5, and there are morning and afternoon sessions.
Some others attend the new and privately operated Belize Elementary School. At the high school level, girls can attend St. Catherine Academy or Palloti, both of which are run by Roman Catholic nuns. The Anglican Cathedral College is a coeducational high school. These schools are regarded as the best in Belize.
Check the standardized regulations to determine current allowance figures. Several people have learned Spanish through these courses as well as the Mexican Cultural Institute. These night classes are attended by working people who are studying to pass the high school equivalency test or who are upgrading their office skills by taking commercial courses.
The University College of Belize provides higher education. Adequate exercise and outdoor recreation are essential to morale and physical well-being in Belize. Jogging and bicycling are popular. Sailing, canoeing on rivers , sea kayaking, motorboating, SCUBA, snorkeling, fishing, and exploring the barrier reef and the cayes are popular activities. From Belize City, water taxis take you out to the cayes.
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There are plenty of boats for hire, or bring your own. Some U. Outboard motors are in ample supply and cheaper than in the U.