Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Morning Global Thinkers! I'm here! I made it! I have so many things to blog about from just yesterday alone...Cat Transit, Magic Jack, even the washing machine deserves it's own story to be told. I will never be able to get to everything today, so if anyone has any questions about what I'm experiencing, feel free to comment on any post and ask me. I'll blog on command for a while because I know everyone has interesting questions!

I have picked Cat Transit for today's blog. I know a lot of people would like to bring their pets when they come to Belize and (having done it yesterday), I may be of some help to someone setting out with their pet. I had researched the laws and regulations for pet entry and MOST of what I found was accurate. I flew in on Delta. For and extra $200 USD I was allowed to bring my cat as a carry on. Delta's web site gave me dimensions for the size carrier that could be carried on and at the Walmart I found that the small size carrier or the EXTRA small sized carrier would have done it. If your pet is larger than the small sized carriers, you can still bring him or her, you will need to check your pet as baggage. Delta says that the area the pet travels with the luggage IS pressurized, and your pet should be fine. I had a layover in Atlanta, and was afraid that Chief would get put on the wrong transfer, so I carried him on in the small sized carrier. My first flight from Pittsburgh to Atlanta went smoothly. I was seated in the last row of the plane, and Chief was at my feet. He did NOT fit under the seat as the web site had said...I would buy the extra small carrier in hindsight. The flight attendant on that flight overlooked the fact that he didn't fit as he was supposed to and I flew with my feet squished in the little floor space with his (too large) small sized carrier. When we got on our second plane in Atlanta, the same situation occurred. His SMALL carrier did not fit under the seat as it needed to and these flight attendants were NOT overlooking it. (The fact that I had a Wendy Whiner in the row in front of me whining about being allergic to cats didn't help matters much. Don't stick your face in his carrier lady...Leave me alone.) Anyway...they were going to take him and put him under the plane before we left Atlanta. I would have accepted it, because I had already gotten him to the right transfer. One of the flight attendants must have either realized that I PAID for this privilege, or was a cat person herself, because she went and asked the pilot if she could stash him under her jump seat and keep an eye on him. He agreed and it was settled. Chief got an upgrade to the front of First Class! I try to give credit where it is due...and I must say that I was pleased with Delta's pet transfer as a whole.

OH! I almost forgot.... I was unable to believe, but under the impression anyway, that I would not need an International Health Certificate to board the plane. In that, I was correct. Delta didn't ask for his paperwork at all. (Weird...I could have brought a rabid cat for all they knew.) They looked at him through the cage, and there was some debate as to weather the carrier would fit. (See above. lol) Then they put a little rinky dink, handwritten green tag on his carrier and sent me on to security. TSA was pretty cool about the GIANT cat in a box I brought through. I had to remove him from his carrier at the x-ray point. But they allowed me to keep him in my arms while they x-rayed his carrier and while I walked through the metal detector. I was also offered an option to be in a small room alone with the TSA agents while we removed the cat if I thought it would be impossible to walk him through the checkpoint. Chief is my buddy. I KNEW that with all the people, and machines, and activity...he would cling to me. I predicted right. he let me hold him through the whole process. When we got back to his carrier on the other side, I wished I had thought to put a couple more zip ties in my purse. My cat is 17lbs! The door on the carrier, and heck, the carrier itself, was not strong enough to keep him inside if he decided to push his way out. I had zip tied the carrier all around it, and then had zip tied his door shut. When we removed him for screening, I didn't have anything but the latch on the door to secure him. I was nervous. Chief had been a patient and kind Good Boy so far, and I was not sure he would freak out and try to escape, but I wanted to be sure that he couldn't even if he tried. The TSA agent brought me some West Virginia Chrome (duct tape) and I used it to Hillbilly his door shut well.

When we landed in Belize, I was directed to a small room beside the customs counters. There were 3 guys inside. One was making sure the chair didn't float away, another was some sort of trainee, and the third addressed Chief. FINALLY I was asked for his health certificate and immunization records. Chief was again removed from his carrier, and this time he was looked over... The gentleman and the trainee both felt his little ears and head and looked at his teeth. By this time, Chief had been on an hour car ride, run through TSA security, taken his first plane ride ever, hauled through Atlanta airport, put back on a plane, met a new Flight Attendant Friend, and had his second plane ride. The little minor examination he was given, seemed like they were petting him to him. He enjoyed the little ear snuggles! The gentleman then asked me for his permit number. ( comes trouble!) I had read everything I was able to find online, and I had never been able to find ANY type of permit or permit application. I thought all along that this was incredible and I guess I was right. I explained this to the gentleman, and he said for the low low fee of just $200BZ, I could circumvent all this trouble, and he would just give me my permit on the spot. I broke out my American Cold Hard Cash. I know that some people would say this was some type of "bribe" or that I greased his palm...but I don't feel that way about it. I feel like this. The guy knew that I was now here. I was in a foreign country with my Huge Cat in a Box. WHY I had no permit was irrelevant. The fact is, there is a permit office somewhere, and I had missed it. He was offering me a solution, not a perfect solution, but certainly not an unreasonable one. I gave him my cash, he gave me a paper that gives Chief the right to do as he pleases here in Belize. Fair trade.

If any of my readers are in a similar situation please feel free to contact me by commenting on this post or via email. I would be happy to walk you through the process I went through to make your time a little easier.

More later...I have a country to explore!


  1. yeah, you greased the guy's palm for sure.
    Oh well, you probably won't do it again! LOL!

  2. Lol...Payola or not, I felt like it was a steal!