When is a bargain not a bargain?
Probably when it is a low-priced, round-trip, Southwest Airlines ticket from Belize to Houston.
We’ve all seen them since Southwest began flying into Belize a year ago. I was among the cheerleaders since Southwest’s aggressive pricing (initially, at least) often forces the big carriers to drop prices. Win-win!
My wife, Rose, recently snagged a too-good-to-be-true ticket to Houston. She has a son in Oklahoma whom she hadn’t seen since we moved to Belize nearly three years ago. She also has a daughter in Arizona and, not coincidentally, a friend had organized a weeklong yoga retreat in Sedona for early October.
So she jumped on the Southwest sale. And offered to get me one, too. Read the rest of this entry »
After two weeks in the States, we came home to the disturbing news that the Government of Belize has authorized oil exploration within six-tenths of a mile of the MesoAmerican Barrier Reef.
This is startling because the people of Belize spoke by referendum two years ago and rejected off-shore oil exploration. And just last year the government placed a moratorium on off-shore oil exploration and the sale of oil leases.
The barrier reef is a designated World Heritage site, meaning it merits the attention, care and protection of the entire planet. It is the longest continuous barrier reef in the Northern Hemisphere, extending the length of Belize and into Mexico to the north and into Guatemala and Honduras to the south.
Why the government would suddenly spring this on its own people is baffling. Read the rest of this entry »
Last year, the San Pedro Town Council raised the bar on Independence Day with the introduction of the Flying Pinata — a candy drop from a hovering helicopter — and the chalk fling thing.
The chalk fling thing is a variation on the paint thing that marks the Carnival time leading up to Lent. Kids run around Central Park and specific blocks of downtown smearing each other with water soluble paints (hopefully washable). Adults even get a chance to join in because — well, it’s fun. Why leave all the fun stuff up to the kids???
You can see remnants of the paint days all over town in the form of handprints and paint smears on walls.
With chalk, you get the bright colors and frenzied rush that comes with dusting up everyone around you in electric pink and green and yellow clouds. Staffers toss the packets of chalk into the crowd and you basically become the color of the person next to you who opens the packet and flings it into the air. Read the rest of this entry »
One of the stories you hear about often in Belize is the steady advance of civilization into the jungles and forested lands and even the low scrub savannas, and the devastating impact this has on wildlife.
The assault on wildlife habitat comes from many sides: the voracious real estate appetite of big agriculture, the clumsy slash-and-burn of illegal farmers and lumber thieves from Guatemala, the steadily outward encroachment of suburban development or the devastating indifference of poachers. Read the rest of this entry »
Today started out like many another day recently — no breeze and hot, hot, hot.
I know, because I was riding around on my bicycle this afternoon, searching for empty 100-pound flour and rice sacks to use as sandbags. Just a little post-Hurricane Earl recovery project at the Cloisters, where we live. Thank you, Island City. You came through!
I was drenched. And thirsty.
What better time to stop at the newly opened Island Tackle Bar and Grill for a refreshing beer before pedaling home. Island Tackle is the former Tacklebox, an over the water bar of some stature that had been closed down for two years. It was set for a grand opening, the day Earl landed its sucker punch.
It is open now and my longtime pal Rudy was behind the bar,
As I sat on the deck looking out to the reef, a remarkably chilly breeze swept in from behind me. I turned around and saw this. Read the rest of this entry »
Scoop got the Scoop: U.S.gymnast superstar Simone Biles will be coming to Belize after the Olympics, and possibly bringing the rest of her Final Five teammates with her.
Simone’s ties to Belize are gaining notice. In her Olympic biography she notes that Belize is her favorite getaway and she loves the fishing here. Her mother is Belizean and Simone holds a Belize passport.
Simone Biles is no stranger to San Pedro!
As Rebecca reports, the Belize Tourism Board offered to host the Final Five after the Olympics. Simone Tweeted back: “my second home. You betta Belize we’re coming.”
San Mateo was hit harder than we imagined by Hurricane Earl.
The local social activist has set a goal of $20,000 BZD to fund the cost of plywood, zinc roofing, hammers, nails and other building supplies to rebuild the homes. Read the rest of this entry »
Yesterday morning I answered the San Pedro Food Bank’s call for volunteers to help sort donated clothing for distribution to Hurricane Earl victims.
By the time I got to the Lion’s Den in San Pedro, shortly after 9 a.m., the sorting process was well under way.
This is a pretty experienced group. Only a bit more than a month ago, 88 San Pedranos, businesses and property owners were left homeless by a downtown fire and the local Red Cross, Lions Club and Food Bank seemed to click together in bringing relief to fire victims. Including clothing distribution.
Now they were doing it all over again.
Fortunately, the overwhelming response to the fire left the local service groups with plenty of boxes and bags of clothing donations that never got sorted and distributed — and frankly didn’t need to. They were ready and waiting for Hurricane Earl’s victims. Which is why the Food Bank was urging only donations of non-perishable food and bedding this time. (Still needed, by the way.)
The Food Bank’s Brittney O’Daniel is spearheading an effort to raise $20,000 for lumber, zinc (roofing), nails etc. to rebuild homes of 49 families in San Mateo “half-destroyed” by Hurricane Earl. Read about it here.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, as we sorted out clothing for hurricane victims — and the many fire victims who are still trying to recover — a second gathering was taking place in the Lion’s Den.
The funds raised for the Middle Street fire victims were about to be distributed by the Red Cross, Lions Club, National Emergency Management Organization and San Pedro officials.
But not without some drama. Read the rest of this entry »