The darkness draws us close: Merry Christmas

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Seriously, nothing to do with Christmas. But don't you love the festive color?
Seriously, nothing to do with Christmas. But don’t you love the festive color?

Some people say it is a holiday tradition, but for whatever reason, the power went out all over Ambergris Caye on Christmas Eve, around 6:30 p.m. I say it was that one last set of lights added to that one last house somewhere on the island that blew the circuits.

Anyhow, the island was blacked out.


Generators are very popular accessories. Even San Pedro Town has two giant trailer generators that kick in and keep the downtown lit.

Rose and I were up at Marbucks Coffee House which has its own generator. It kicked in quickly and the holiday cheer and goodwill went on undiminished.

I broke away from our gathering of friends and took a walk down to the old Palapa Bar, now dark and forlorn even when there is electricity. A walk out to the end of the pier confirmed that we were living on one dark island for the moment, save for that gloriously bright and round moon.

Maybe not such a terrible thing, I thought.

What’s the phrase? “Darkness draws us close.”

It strips away the shiny objects, the twinkling lights, the loud noise, the TV specials, the video games, the social media and for a couple of hours we are left with one thing only — those who are closest to us, the ones who mean the most … and that bright shiny moon.

In the darkness we reach out to each other, we hold tight and laugh and light some candles and realize there is nothing more to fear from the dark than a delayed dinner.

I understand that blinding snowstorms often achieve the same thing.

Well, for some Christmas — or other holiday — in the near future, I wish for you a region-wide two-hour power outage when the ones you love most are closest to you.

Merry Christmas from San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize.


17 thoughts on “The darkness draws us close: Merry Christmas

    sanpedroscoop said:
    December 25, 2015 at 11:42 am

    Beautifully put…Merry Christmas Bob. Enjoy.


    Tim said:
    December 25, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    The time has come to stop the toll charges on San Pedro. I made three trips into town on Weds and to be charged $15.00 is ridiculous! Ok, so I did not plan well, regardless! I also understand San Mateo residents are not charged, OK I can understand to some extent but why pay at all? Foot traffic/bikes/golf carts do little if any damage. Trucks, that’s another thing, they do the stressing on the structure and should pay! Easy enough to charge the end user.


      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      December 25, 2015 at 9:05 pm

      Tim, are you here year-round? You can get a bridge pass from Town Council which will save you a considerable amount if you cross the bridge a lot. The town has so few sources of revenue, I don’t begrudge them the bridge fees. A very good point about the heavy trucks and cars — they should be charged a higher fee.


        johnhenryeast said:
        December 27, 2015 at 4:24 am

        Taxis and lorries/trucks (not too sure about cars) do pay a higher bridge toll fee. In the case of lorries/trucks it is substantially higher. For example for a container delivery it can be as much as BZ$100.


        robertjhawkins1 responded:
        December 29, 2015 at 5:40 am

        Thanks John. Didn’t realize that!


      SPmQQse said:
      December 30, 2015 at 8:00 pm

      you are so correct. that bridge toll…is highway robbery.
      it is totally against the deal that was made with barry…”no toll after paid off”..
      this udp sptc are thieves.


    Susan said:
    December 25, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    Sounds like fun! Merry Christmas!!


    Wayne McCrae said:
    December 25, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    Linda’s traditional German Christmas eve meal of Schnitzel and Spaetzla was looking like it wouldn’t happen. But alas…we have a BBQ and our first annual Schnitzel BBQ was underway. The veggies were left for another day (no more room on the grill) but the salad, Schnitzel with bacon/mushroom gravy and Spaetzla turned out excellent and the ambiance of the candles and flashlights was extraordinary. Successful evening was had by all. Merry Christmas to you and Rose. See you soon.


      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      December 25, 2015 at 8:57 pm

      I love it! Schnitzel by candlelight sounds like a delicious tradition.Is Spaetzla like little dumplings? Merry Christmas, Wayne and Linda!


    Dennis O'Kane said:
    December 25, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    Holiday Greetings to you and your’s Robert.

    One of the real pleasures in life for us down here north of Monkey River, after years of emergency vehicle sirens at all hours, is when the New Moon arrives and there are no wave noises. You see the fire flies and Jamaican Click Beetles lighting up the night. You can hear the glissando of the sand grains rubbing against each other in the near motionless sea- singing sands. A very special experience.

    Unfortunately, that was not last night! Although the fireflies were out in the back, the East winds kicked up many knots and decibels, and more Sargassum seaweed came in onto the beach – Merry Christmas for us. It actually started Christmas Eve morning. Did you have any seaweed incursion at San Pedro? Fortunately, there was not a great deal of trash in it, unlike previous experiences.

    Wishing you the best for the New Year,


    P.S. we are off-grid, have soiar power and two backup generators which we have needed in the past.


      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      December 25, 2015 at 8:53 pm

      Beautifully put, Dennis. The winds have been really something lately! And they have brought seaweed in with them but nothing like we’ve experienced previously this year.


    Tyonia and Andy said:
    December 28, 2015 at 11:42 am

    Robert as always I enjoy reading your blog so much. My husband and I met you and your wife back in September and picked your brain about San Pedro. We are here now since December 9. Waiting for our container to be delivered to the island. We have learned alot the past couple of weeks and I’m sure more to come. Just wanted to say Hello! hope we run into you and your wife soon. We would like to participate in trash pick up if you can forward me the details. Thanks


      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      December 29, 2015 at 5:39 am

      Hi Tyonia, welcome. I’m sure we’ll run into each other. Field notes tip: I shaved my beard off and my own friends sometimes fail to recognize me. At least I think it is because of the beard!

      New Years Eve is a fun time downtown. There is a lot going on in Central Park and the traditional dropping of the coconut from the Belize Bank building at midnight is a goofy fun thing. Like Lobster Festival, everybody seems to make their way downtown.

      As for the First Friday Tres Cocos Trash Pickup, it has been moved to Jan. 8 this coming month and boy do we need it. The holiday trash has accumulated on the sides of the road! We meet in front of the Paradise Theater at 9 a.m. and work our way north from the bridge for about two hours. Ending up at Marbucks coffeeshop.
      Here are the details:
      See you and Andy soon!


    Jack said:
    December 28, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    I was in San Pedro in all that black out glory it was quite a experience it’s like you said it seem to bring people closer walking the streets downtown listening to people laugh and make jokes about the outage! Sat back at Carumbas tipping a few Belikens until lights came back on, you thought it was New Years the way everyone cheered shouted and clapped!

    Sorry we did not get to meet up, everyday was another adventure did get to meet Ben from the truck stop nice guy we got to talk for a while making plans to visit again in May!

    BTY the wind was kickin all 4 days no Mosquitos made sitting out under the moon so very pleasant!

    Cheers and Happy New Year to you and Rose!
    Good Health to you both!

    Had a great Macchiato at Marbucks on Christmas Day!


      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      December 29, 2015 at 5:28 am

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Jack. Let’s meet up in May!


    Joan Pedrotti said:
    December 30, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    We just made our reservations for Lobsterfest 2016. We will track yall down and buy you a drink!!!


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