Dusk and Dawn in Belize: Characters in a tropical romance novel of our own

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Belize’s beautiful bookends: Sunset, and then, sunrise.

The calm is with us, the uncharacteristic coolness adds depth to our shadows.

The soft breezes from the north and west carry fresh artisanal air — richly scrubbed by mainland jungle and infused with savanna magic and minerals from salty bay waters.

Breathe in with your lungs and eyes, simultaneously.

The moment feels like one you can live inside forever.

But it is only a moment, a brief story arc dependent wholly on the sun breaking the horizon.

Dusk and Dawn are two characters in a tropical romance novel, only they are real and now and ours to embrace.

Every night, every morning, it is a short story written anew.

Not to be missed, toes dug deep in the sand.

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Yes, we had no tsunami, we had no tsunami last night

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I updated a t-shirt from previous near-miss disasters. It still isn’t selling.

Well, Ambergris Caye dodged another disaster.

In 2017, two major hurricanes bypassed us for richer pickings in the rest of the Caribbean, coastal US, and Houston.

Last night, it was the threat of a tsunami, following an offshore 7.6 earthquake.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tropic island survival kit essentials, part 2: a dog, of course

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Moppit, the philosopher wonder dog, out for a romp this morning in the Tres Cocos neighborhood on Ambergris Caye. Moppit has the uncanny ability to remember every spot where she has received a free handout, a found chicken bone or remains of bait fish, or bacon and with laser-like determination returns to each on our walk. Naturally, a walk requires much zig-zagging and sniffing and depositing of pee-mail on coconuts and tree trunks.

 

Yesterday,  I half-seriously compiled a tropical island survival kit — OK, maybe less than half-serious — and made a very obvious omission that was brought to my attention this morning while I was walking Moppit, our dog.

“A dog,” said our friend Cheryl Taylor Bowen. “You should include a dog in your survival kit.”

I looked down at Moppit.

I looked up at Cheryl. Read the rest of this entry »

Island life: Essentials for your tropical island survival kit to get over your days of malaise

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A lovely view on one of my daily walks with Moppit. But in truth, to the left or right of the frame, you would see trash. Not a lot. Just enough to mar the scene. Finding beauty in the midst of island trash is a gift, an essential talent to continue enjoying the tropical island experience.

Nothing is going to help you survive life on a tropical island if you don’t go into the whole thing with the right attitude.

No amount of local rum or chocolate will get you over the days of malaise brought on by the lack of a national holiday to celebrate with a parade, the end of lobster season,  the start of rainy season, the deja vu feeling you get hanging out at the same drinking spots day after day after day after …

Well, no need to belabor the point. Life on a tropical island has ups and downs, just like living in other strange foreign countries, like the United States since January 2017. Read the rest of this entry »

Island life: A curated exhibition of nature’s early-morning artistry in Belize

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Pearls from the nightly rain still linger in the loving crevasses and folds of satiated leaves. No sun will rise to vaporize these crystalline gems on this early morn. All around us, clouds struggle to organize as shifting breezes thwart their mission — but the rain is inevitable and due in abundance.

It isn’t every morning that I get up early to walk the little Moppit, but when I do, I am always rewarded with stunning sunrises, a blissful calm, a symphony of bird calls rising to a cacophony on occasion, the occasional pod of dolphins just offshore, the blustery hustle of storm clouds moving into position, the egrets and herons vigilant in the shallows.

There is always something.

If I weren’t so lazy, I suppose, there would be even more.  Read the rest of this entry »

Ramming speed: One way to barge in on Ambergris Caye, Belize

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Backing up for a full-throttle run through the shallows and s bludgeoning impact with the landing site. That’s just how you get things done.

The early morning stillness crumbled beneath the blatting, wheezing, rumbling, cries of frustration from diesel engines as the tug helplessly shouldered the sand-banked barge laden with building supplies.

It wouldn’t budge, not one inch toward the Tabony lot landing.

Shallow waters and low tide conspired to thwart the mission. This was no storybook “I think I can” tale. This big muscular engine couldn’t. Let’s face it, rail traction is so much better than water. Read the rest of this entry »

On the 15th anniversary, Flor puts the divine in Wine de Vine

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The newly expanded Wine de Vine interior, the day before the 15th anniversary party.

If you only think of Wine de Vine as just this very nice place to pick up a really good bottle of wine for dinner, well, you’re really missing the big picture.

It is so much more than that.

Although, if it is only wine you want, you would be well-served. Read the rest of this entry »

Sometimes words fail when trying to describe Paradise in Belize but a picture will do

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Lately, I’ve been trying to figure out how Paradise and Belize fit together. I have pages and pages of failed writing attempts. Sometimes, words aren’t what is called for. This morning, it took only one photograph with my humble iPod to make all those words moot. I will say, Paradise lasted but a moment and it felt eternal. Taken from the beach at Tres Cocos Resort in North Ambergris Caye, Belize. I’ll just step out of the picture now. Have a wonderful day.

Stuff that is almost ready and stuff that isn’t in San Pedro, Belize

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In a way, this is a project nearing completion. The sailboat has been moored out in front of our place for months and the owner, who works nearby, spends hours lovingly restoring the interior and doing all the things that boat owners do on their time off. It never gets sailed, but it looks really really good.

Progress has a speed all its own on Ambergris Caye. Sometimes you can watch for years as projects go up around you. Slowly. Very slowly.

Resorts and condo projects for example.

Some have been in the building stage since long before we got here and look like they will still be in the building stage long after we are gone. In between, they may experience a bankruptcy or two, experience a resurrection by the hand of a financial angel, all sorts of curious financial intrigues. And hardly a wall gets poured as rebar returns to rust.

Then there are things that actually look like they are getting done. Small things, in the current scale of island projects. Read the rest of this entry »

Belize Q and A: And now, a few words with Moppit, the island wonderdog

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Three images of Moppit, all of them pretty weak. Two things at work here: 1. I’ve yet to take a good picture of Moppit. 2. She hardly cooperates. Moppit is the most camera-shy dog I have ever met. I will keep trying! Plus, she needs a little grooming, and that is scheduled for Thursday at Pampered Paws.

Quite a few people have asked me recently about Moppit.

For example, when a crazy-ass San Pedro taxi driver with a “Pretty chicks only” decal on the back window of his dust-encrusted van knocked me off my bike and I was laid flat out in the street, a number of friends rushed up to me.

“How’s Moppit been?” one asked.

“Is Moppit adjusting to you OK? If not, I’d be glad to have her,” said another.

“Any time you want to go somewhere, I’ll babysit Moppit for you,” offered a third.

And so it goes. Read the rest of this entry »