Updated: Seeing Belize anew through the eyes of a child

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Updated: Seeing Belize anew through the eyes of a child.

Brody, 4, sifts through the tiny shells in an endless search for the most beautiful one on the beach. Until this moment, they were merely something that was painful to walk on barefooted.
Brody, 4, sifts through the tiny shells in an endless search for the most beautiful one on the beach. Until this moment, they were merely something that was painful to walk on barefooted.

(Editor’s note: I added a significant piece from 1980 to this story at the very bottom, on 8-25-15. Hope you enjoy it.)

If you want to really see Ambergris Caye through fresh eyes, try walking around with a four-year-old.

Recently, my grandson, Brody, and I took a walk up to Ak’Bol, the yoga resort, a 15-minute stroll along the shore. With Brody the walk stretches to an hour-plus. We play a game called “Does it float or sink?” for which the rules are quite simple: Every few feet we stop to inspect a palm tree frond, a small coconut, a piece of plastic flotsam or jetsam, a toy race car missing three wheels, a shell, or whatever.

Brody then asks, “Will this float?’

“Let’s see,” I say. “Toss it in.” Read the rest of this entry »

An updated list: Low Season closings and openings in San Pedro

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Taking a short break -- oh, my meat pie fix!
Taking a short break — oh, my meat pie fix!

Ah, low season on Ambergris Caye.

Do restaurants, resorts and hotels close down because the visitors aren’t coming to Belize? Or do the visitors stop coming to Belize because so many restaurants, resorts and hotels are closed?

Some other reasons: Read the rest of this entry »

For Rose’s Birthday Season, the gifts that keep on giving

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Just call me an old-fashioned romantic when it comes to birthday presents. Last year I took Rose's bike down to Manusch's Hardware and had them upgrade her bumpers. How many husbands upgrade their wive's bumpers, I ask you?
Just call me an old-fashioned romantic when it comes to birthday presents. Last year I took Rose’s bike down to Manusch’s Hardware and had them upgrade her bumpers. How many husbands upgrade their wive’s bumpers for their birthday, I ask you?

I think I outdid myself this year.

In 2014 during that special monthlong holiday known as Rose’s Birthday Season (it ends Sept. 7, more or less … ) I gave my wife an especially thoughtful gift  — new fenders for her bicycle!

What?

I hear you snickering. But let me tell you something, diamonds are not a girl’s best friend when you are pedaling a bicycle through water-filled, truck-eating potholes during the rainy season in Belize. Read the rest of this entry »

In Low Season, some of our favorite bistros close down, but some surprise openings too

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Nikolai Hebert of Casa Picasso lights up the bar with his traditional end-of-the-season flaming aperitif.
Nikolai Hebert of Casa Picasso lights up the bar with his traditional end-of-the-season flaming aperitif.

 

(Editor’s note: You can find an updated version of this list here.)

Welcome to Low Season. Or Slow Season.

It is that time of the year when hurricanes are possible and tourists are harder to find.

If you are on Ambergris Caye for the first time, you would not be faulted for assuming that Low Seasons means the time of year when the weather is absolutely fabulous and the crowds have thinned out. 

It is true. We are having fabulous weather. (Trying very hard not to think about the tropical hurricane named Danny that is edging toward us right now.) Read the rest of this entry »

In praise of sitting still in Belize

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Frigate birds gather as Jose the fisherman cleans his catch on our dock. You can tell how Jose's day went by the number of birds he attracts.
Frigate birds gather as Jose the fisherman cleans his catch on our dock. You can tell how Jose’s day went by the number of birds he attracts.

I sit in the red Adirondack chair, the only one with a cushion, albeit a thin cushion,  and marvel at the well-practiced thievery of the frigate birds.

I used to think that they were like a natural GPS tracking system for schools of sardines. Where ever five or more were gathered, soaring so gracefully on the breeze, dipping, swooping, gliding sideways — surely there were fish below.

But while the frigates are doing their narcissistic act of effortlessly artful skywriting up above, it seems that kamikaze pelicans, low-cruising cormorants and the brisk business-like white terns are doing all the heavy lifting. Read the rest of this entry »

GoPro lessons: Let sleeping crocs lie and don’t mess with a hungry sea turtle

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This feisty little chap came up to my GoPro, decided that it wasn't food and gave it a hard slap with a fin as it spun away. The turtle is a well-known resident of Mexico Rocks, a popular dive and snorkel site along the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef in Belize.
This feisty little chap came up to my GoPro, decided that it wasn’t food and gave it a hard slap with a fin as it spun away. The turtle is a well-known resident of Mexico Rocks, a popular dive and snorkel site along the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef in Belize. Yes, those are sharks below. Gives you an idea of the clarity of the water on this day.

I’ve added a GoPro to my arsenal of photographic tools which, up to this point, consisted of an iPod.

At the moment I’m just learning what a GoPro can do (eg. nice underwater video of turtles) and can not do (eg. night photos of a gorgeous full moon).

A week ago, I tried to take photos of our neighborhood crocodile, Sophie, as she sunned herself in her private lagoon just north of the bridge from San Pedro. This was my first glimpse of Sophie. And Rose’s too. She spotted Sophie while cycling home from downtown and excitedly called me on the phone. Read the rest of this entry »

Updated: Seeing Belize anew through the eyes of a child

Posted on Updated on

Brody, 4, sifts through the tiny shells in an endless search for the most beautiful one on the beach. Until this moment, they were merely something that was painful to walk on barefooted.
Brody, 4, sifts through the tiny shells in an endless search for the most beautiful one on the beach. Until this moment, they were merely something that was painful to walk on barefooted.

(Editor’s note: I added a significant piece from 1980 to this story at the very bottom, on 8-25-15. Hope you enjoy it.)

If you want to really see Ambergris Caye through fresh eyes, try walking around with a four-year-old.

Recently, my grandson, Brody, and I took a walk up to Ak’Bol, the yoga resort, a 15-minute stroll along the shore. With Brody the walk stretches to an hour-plus. We play a game called “Does it float or sink?” for which the rules are quite simple: Every few feet we stop to inspect a palm tree frond, a small coconut, a piece of plastic flotsam or jetsam, a toy race car missing three wheels, a shell, or whatever.

Brody then asks, “Will this float?’

“Let’s see,” I say. “Toss it in.” Read the rest of this entry »

Tropic Air streamlines its look

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Cleaner lines mark the new look for Tropic Air's planes, which was unveiled today.
Cleaner lines mark the new look for Tropic Air’s planes, which was unveiled today.

Tropic Air unveiled a new look for its planes today, with an eye toward aesthetics and economy.

“We’ve tried hard to retain the essential elements of Tropic’s almost forty years of service and refine them for the future,” said CEO Steve Schulte in a press release. “We’ve adapted the ‘tail fin’ to make it bolder and to reflect a simpler and more elegant shape.”

The look will also save time and expense when repainting the planes, according to the press release: “The painting process has been simplified, using fewer maskings and less paint for a drastic reduction in materials used. The new paint is also more durable so aircraft will require re-painting less often. The iconic, Tropic logo, that appears on all aircraft, has been rejuvenated with a subtle makeover and detailing.”

The "old" Tropic Air look. Gone are the sweeping swirls of purple that gave a bit of a race car look to the Belize airline's planes.
The “old” Tropic Air look. Gone are the sweeping swirls of purple that gave a bit of a race car look to the Belize airline’s planes.

 

Tropic Air also announced that the $10 million maintenance and administration structure under construction in San Pedro will officially open in August.

San Pedro blogger, Taco Girl, has published the airline’s press release in full here.

From Bound for Belize to Bound for Brookville

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The Clarion River in front of Pine Run at dusk, when the mist rises too meet the rain.
The Clarion River in front of our 22-acre family camp, Pine Run, at dusk, when the mist rises too meet the rain.

I just finished a yoga class in Brookville, Pennsylvania, “the town that time forgot and age can not improve.”

Thank you, Garrison Keillor for the tag line.

Brookville was my Lake Wobegon when growing up. Read the rest of this entry »

It is just a high-end resort on an uninhabited island, Leo. You aren’t saving the world.

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An aerial of a part of the 104-acre Blackadore Caye which actor Leonardo DiCaprio and his partners plan on turning into a high-end resort. And save the world. They also want to save the world.
An aerial of a part of the 104-acre Blackadore Caye which actor Leonardo DiCaprio and his partners plan on turning into a high-end resort. And save the world. They also want to save the world.

Just west of Ambergris Caye in Belize is a long and narrow, 104 acre island called Blackadore Caye. If I had to guess, I would say that it has existed well protected on the leeward side of Ambergris at least since the days when buccaneers and privateers and pirates sought shelter inside the barrier reef.

It has existed unchanged for the decade or so since actor Leonardo DiCaprio bought it for a pittance.

But now, DiCaprio and his investors have decided the time has come to “rescue” this helpless piece of sand and mangroves from itself.

They will do so by building a super high-end resort that will require development of 55 percent of the land. Read the rest of this entry »