A Belize day-in-the-life: Sapotes, yoga, good food and friends

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Mayem Sapotes share the bowl with a couple of limes, bananas, tomatoes .... just another shopping day, with lots of yoga.
Mamey Sapotes share the bowl with a couple of limes, bananas, ginger, tomatoes …. just another shopping day, with lots of yoga.

So much for that laid-back island vibe.

Rose took three yoga classes  yesterday –and a hyper-energy dance class at Zen Arcade.

So, what’s a guy to do if he wants to see his wife? I took two of the yoga classes, too.

And that, my friends, constitutes a busy day here on Ambergris Caye. Well, with a bunch of other stuff thrown in between the classes.  It kind of feels like this video, (which was posted by Rebecca of San Pedro Scoop)  — a jittery GoPro bicycle tour up and down the same streets we cycle, filmed by Nicolai Hebert.

For example, as Rose was taking her first class at 8:30 a.m., I bicycled down to Atlantic Bank on Pescador Drive to pay some utility bills. Other than using the wrong deposit slip, that went pretty well. I didn’t mind the long line because the TV was tuned to CNN and I could gaze upon Ashley Banfield and her super-intelligent glasses while catching the latest non-news on the disappearance of the Malaysian airliner.

Our new pal Wilbert waves from behind the counter at Coconut Cafe in San Pedro Town.
Our new pal Wilbert waves from behind the counter at Coconut Cafe in San Pedro Town.

I met up with Rose after her class and we cycled around the corner to a fairly new place, Coconut Café, for coffee and a cinnamon bun. Oh, and a really refreshing watermelon blended drink, almost like a milkshake.

I’ve been meaning to stop in at Coconut Café for several weeks.  I didn’t know a thing about its menu but with its high-walled courtyard setting and lush tropical vegetation, I imagined an oasis from din and clamor of the beach.

And it is. Pretty much. It is not hard to tune out the traffic on Coconut Drive as you sip coffee and relax.

With a yoga class coming up at 11 a.m., neither Rose nor I was about to chow down. But we will, someday soon.  The menu is really cool, especially for the DIY types: Build your own pizza, Panini, burrito or breakfast sandwich.  Kind of fun: Pick your “content delivery vehicle,” say, a breakfast burrito, then check off the ingredients you want inside it.

The manager, Wilbert, said that the customization option appeals to meat lovers and vegetarians alike.  He has a few vegetarians who make the Coconut a regular stop. And if the place isn’t busy, the kitchen will build a meal of your own devising, like a custom egg scramble. “If we have the time and the ingredients already here,” said Wilbert, “why not?”

The downside of Coconut Café, I guess,  is finding it. Seems easy enough, just west of Ramon’s  Resort on Coconut Drive, but that stretch of road is straight and paved and everyone, even bicyclists blitz through it.

I suggested a big string a helium balloons across the road, From the Ramon’s high wall to the café entrance. I don’t know who shot it down quicker, Rose or Wilbert.  Immediately after which a very tall dump truck blitzed by, emphasizing their point.

That's me, thinking deep thoughts and grand marketing promotions. Just kidding. Rose took this at sunset on St. Patrick's Day. Can you guess the beach bar location?
That’s me, thinking deep thoughts and grand marketing promotions. Just kidding. Rose took this at sunset on St. Patrick’s Day. Can you guess the beach bar location?

I could almost see the line of pink balloons trailing behind the truck … Ah, well.

The 11 a.m. yoga is called “rejuvenate” which is a Sanskrit word for novice, I think. Anyhow, just what I needed. A tender and swollen left Achilles tendon has been keeping me off the road for the past week.

After class we chatted briefly with another couple, Jackie and Adam, who, it turns out, own the popular Casa Picasso restaurant, also on our Local-Mini-Bucket-List. They have a Thursday night chef’s choice tasting menu about which we’ve heard raves.

A night at Picasso’s just moved up a few notches on the Local-Mini-Bucket-List.

Then it was off for some produce shopping at Maria’s.

Over the weekend, when Maria heard about my ailing tendon, she gave Rose a packet of herbs to boil into a soak. And after an hour or so immersed in the brew, the swelling went down and the pain began to recede. I’m playing it cautious but plan to resume light running on Friday.

Maria wasn’t at her stand, farther south on Coconut, on Wednesday but her husband, Jose, was.  Jose is our informal tutor. He patiently corrects our Spanish and introduces us to new words all the time. Yesterday, when I picked up an unfamiliar looking fruit, a small rough-skinned football, and asked about it, Jose said “Mamey.” Several times, in response to my quizzical look.

Jose then took a pad and wrote it out, then wrote out the phonetic  spelling. Then added the larger fruit category, “sapote.”  He kept repeating it until I pronounced Mamey correctly. Then he cut one open and served us up a slice of the orange-reddish fruit. It was creamy and sweet, almost like a slice of candied sweet potato.

Part of my continuing series: Favorite Piers of Ambergris Caye. In book stores soon as a 50-pound coffee table book, or maybe just as a coffee table. Love the zig and the zag to this one, in Boca del Rio.
Part of my continuing series: Favorite Piers of Ambergris Caye. In book stores soon as a 50-pound coffee table book, or maybe just as a coffee table. Love the zig and the zag to this one, in Boca del Rio.

Jose said the Mamey is sometimes served to children first thing in the morning to fight worms. It also has other gastro-intestinal benefits.  “God provides for everything,” said Jose, adding that, for whatever ails you, there is a plant, a seed, a root, a tree with the cure.  I love his outlook.

Before we left, Jose slipped a couple of huge limes – something of a scarcity on the island at the moment  — into Rose’s shopping bag.

Mamey also makes a great blended fruit shake and ice cream, I’ve since learned.

It was a slow, lazy cycle home for a very late — more like mid-afternoon — breakfast of eggs, bacon, red beans and toast – and some reading time and a bit of the ManU-Bayern Munich 1-1 draw on TV.

As Rose left for the 4:30 p.m. dance class, I grabbed our empty five-gallon water jug and started to walk over to the nearby market. Behind me I heard “Scripps Ranch?”  Which is startling, as that is the San Diego neighborhood in which my three sons were mostly raised. It dawned on me that I was wearing an old soccer t-shirt from the days when I played in an adult league in Scripps Ranch. (Yeah, probably the oldest T that I own …)

Behind me was a couple from the next building, Ed and Shirley. “We’re from Mira Mesa,” said Shirley. “Or, were.” That is the community adjacent to Scripps Ranch, divided only by a freeway, as most everything is in California.

They have been living here about a month, in the same complex. They, too, get around on bicycles, same model as ours bought at the same hardware store. And they are also on the one-year exploratory plan. Lots of intriguing parallels.

It was a brief but cheerful conversation that ended all too abruptly as I headed into the market for water and they headed down the driveway to the Coco Loco beach bar for a happy hour drink.

As it was, I barely had enough time to switch into yoga clothes and get down to Zen Arcade for the 6 p.m. Candelight Yoga session with Rose.

She looked like it was her first session of the day, not her fourth. I don’t know how she does it. It is one of our favorite classes because at the end we rest in Shavasana, holding hands in the dark as stars glimmer above and sweet island breezes wrap us in peace.

Of course, there is nothing like a sip of the first post-yoga beer at Carlos & Ernie’s Runway Bar, just a couple of blocks north of the Zen Arcade. Especially when we run into our good friends John and Rose East who were just returning from five days in Merida, Mexico. Tropic Airlines recently added stops in Merida and had a great introductory offer, $99 one-way. Lots of people snapped up tickets for that one before it expired March 31.

John and Rose had literally just returned. Their suitcases were still packed in the back of their golf cart. They had a grand time, and John tells about it on his own blog today.

On the way home, we stopped at Lee’s Fast Food on Laguna Drive in the Boca del Rio neighborhood, for a couple of fried chicken dinners, mine with white rice, Roses with noodles.  Cost for both meals, delicious chicken by the way, was a total of $8.25US. A real deal —  especially when you are way too tired to cook. I am not yet ready to go Belizean and pour ketchup all over the chicken, however.

All in all a pretty nice day, met a few nice people and saw old friends, got in some good reading and writing, learned a few things, enjoyed some yoga and some good food and lots of time with my Rose.

Didn’t even stay awake, though, to the start of the Mexico-USA football match in Phoenix.  We were both fast asleep long before that game broadcast started.


11 thoughts on “A Belize day-in-the-life: Sapotes, yoga, good food and friends

    Rebecca Coutant said:
    April 3, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Mmmmm…mamey. I’d better get one in my refrige for tonight. Thanks for the heads up.


    Julia said:
    April 3, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    Your blogs take me away every day, even just for a few minutes. Thanks for sharing everyday.


      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      April 3, 2014 at 1:55 pm

      Thanks so much for following, Julia. Your sailing photos (and even golf!) have the same effect!


    johnhenryeast said:
    April 3, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Thanks for the mention Robert. A small point though.The introductory price is (or should I say, was) US$99 one way (plus taxes) and even though our return was in April the same price applied . Well worth the money.


      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      April 3, 2014 at 2:48 pm

      Yikes. Thanks, John. I have now corrected it. Still a good deal, eh!


    johnhenryeast said:
    April 4, 2014 at 6:31 am

    It is Robert. Obviously the taxes push the price up as does the cost of getting to the international airport to connect with the flight to Mérida.


    Emily said:
    April 14, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    Three yoga classes plus a dance class? I’m envious! My budget allowed for two yoga classes a week at Ak’Bol. I would have loved to have taken more. Sounds like a wonderful day you had. Maria and Jose are the best, aren’t they? Limes are expensive everywhere right now (2 for $1 in the US, small ones). There’s a shortage, apparently. Not supposed to last forever. Good thing, that! Margarita/guacamole season is fast approaching. 🙂


      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      April 14, 2014 at 9:18 pm

      Zen Arcade has a flat monthly fee. Kind of “all you can eat” — only yoga and dance. If I keep going this much — 4-6 classes a week, I’ll need a monthly pass too!


        Emily said:
        April 15, 2014 at 6:16 am

        Ah, that’s perfect! I would have taken advantage of that. Good on you for going — so many men won’t. It’s a wonderful adjunct to other fitness activities like running and bicycling.


        robertjhawkins1 responded:
        April 15, 2014 at 6:57 am

        Of course, for me, it helps to be married to a first-rate yoga-Pilates-fitness instructor who provides guidance and motivation!


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