This is Belize: Last sunrise of 2016, first sunset of 2017 and stuff in between — some fake, some real

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Last sunrise of 2016 on Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Last sunrise of 2016 on Ambergris Caye, Belize.

The last sunrise on Ambergris Caye for 2016 was a real beauty. A diaphanous gold, like spun cotton candy, filled the air out to the reef as an early morning sun shower cleansed us, washed away this most unusual year.

Happy New Year to you all! May your every dream find its path to fulfillment in 2017.

Thanks to the recent addition of Moppit to the household, sunrises are becoming a daily thing. In pre-Moppit days, I would awaken at a civilized hour and think, “Wow. That must have been a nice sunrise. Maybe tomorrow.”

My specialty is the sweet spot between mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Either side of that you most likely will find me napping, thinking terribly deep thoughts, meditating or, uh, napping — sometimes all at once.

Now we discover that Moppit has a penchant for early morning walks. Early morning.

I am also discovering that Rose is already up at that hour, getting ready for her day at Island Pilates by Rose, planning out routines, selecting music, drinking coffee, reviewing her schedule, making lists, responding to e-mails.

And the sun still isn’t up.

As it begins to arise, Moppit’s interest in the front door reaches a level of urgency that requires notice. I know this because Rose tells me so.

So the two girls go off for a walk and I, excited by all their preparation, sit up in bed and take notice of this thing called a sunrise.

Have you seen them? They can be quite spectacular.

Here’s another image taken moments before the one above, from a slightly different angle:

img_1527

Sunsets, on the other hand, I have some working knowledge of. This one, the very first sunset of 2017, was taken from the lagoon dock behind our favorite hangout, The Truck Stop.

Good night, Moon. Good night, Stars. Good night, 2016. First sunset of 2017 from the Truck Stop dock was an understated, contemplative and peaceful affair. Just the way we needed to end the first day of the new year.
Good night, Moon. Good night, Stars. Good night, 2016. First sunset of 2017 from the Truck Stop dock was an understated, contemplative and peaceful affair. Just the way we needed to end the first day of the new year.

I would say a half-dozen of us sat there with smartphones poised, snapping off copies of the exact same thing. There’s a word for that, vemodalen. I may have used this word before — I love it so much. (It should have an umlaut  over the “o” but I haven’t the slightest idea how to do that. Use your imagination.)

From the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows:

n. the frustration of photographing something amazing when thousands of identical photos already exist—the same sunset, the same waterfall, the same curve of a hip, the same closeup of an eye—which can turn a unique subject into something hollow and pulpy and cheap, like a mass-produced piece of furniture you happen to have assembled yourself.

OK, it is a fake word, but plausible. Yes?

Like fake news, only better and less-harmful.

By the way, as we sat patiently waiting for the sun to set over the lagoon, this happened:

OK. See what I did there? I juxtaposed two very real events to create fake news! Isn't that fun? The jumping orca did happen in Belize, but farther south and on the other side of the Barrier Reef. We haven't seen leaping orcas in the lagoon in ... oh.....hey look! A shiny object!
OK. See what I did there? I juxtaposed two very real events to create fake news! Isn’t that fun? The jumping orca did happen in Belize, but farther south and on the other side of the Barrier Reef. We haven’t seen leaping orcas in the lagoon in … oh…..hey look! A shiny object! You can see more orcas in Belize pics here.

There were suddenly nearly as many orcas-in-Belize photos on Facebook as selfies taken with Olympic superstar Simone Biles on her much-heralded vacation to Belize. I am waiting for a picture of Simone Biles leaping over the Barrier Reef on the back of a killer whale. It is out there just waiting to be released by some Russian fake news agency (otherwise known as the Republican Party).

Speaking of fake news, I tried to post a piece of fake news on Facebook recently to see what kind of reaction it would get. I pretty much had all the impact of a wet firecracker, or an old dog turd sitting on our beach — speaking of which, my neighbors, clean up after your dog. For shit’s sake, man, we even put plastic bags out there for you!

But I was talking about fake news, of which we saw a lot in 2016. Just do a keyword search for Donald Trump, you’ll see what I mean.

The problem may be that I labeled my fake news as “fake news.” I think that may go against the spirit of fakery. If you are going to deceive people into thinking something — or someone — is entirely credible, you should wait until the very end, Friday, January 20, to say “the joke’s on you.”

Meanwhile, let me try it again without a label. (Pretend you haven’t been paying attention to a word I said. What? You were already? But, but, wait! There’s more…..)

With two -- count them -- two skydive operations on Ambergris Caye, one entrepreneur had taken tropic adventure to the next level -- virtual reality 3-D skydiving and fly boarding. You don't have to go up to get down. Just stretch out on the beach chairs and let an attendant lather you down with coconut oil. Then don the 3-D glasses. Your trip awaits, while you tan and perhaps sip an ice cold Belikin. The only neck you risk breaking is on the beer bottle. A third of the price of the real thing with almost all the thrill and half the risk.
REAL BREAKING ISLAND NEWS: With two — count them — two skydive operations on Ambergris Caye, one entrepreneur had taken tropic adventure to the next level — virtual reality 3-D skydiving and fly boarding.
You don’t have to go up to get down.
Just stretch out on the beach chairs and let an attendant lather you down with coconut oil. Then don the 3-D glasses. Your trip awaits, while you tan and perhaps sip an ice cold Belikin. The only neck you risk breaking is on the beer bottle.
A third of the price of the real thing with almost all the thrill and half the risk.

Four of my most loyal readers were divided evenly on this piece of news, two with “thumbs-up” emoticons and two with “Ha! Ha!” emoticons. I was hoping for more “Ha! Ha!” but true art must find its own place in history, so patience is most necessary here.

There really are two skydiving operations in San Pedro now — just as there are two regional airlines, two water taxi services, two palapa bars over the water, two freight-container-based dining/entertainment complexes (one still under construction), two political parties, etc. I would have added two sushi and two ice cream outlets but both have those have proliferated in recent weeks.

Anyway, I call this the Beatles/Rolling Stones Syndrome. You’ll have to decide on your own which most closely aligns with the Beatles and which with the Stones.

There are also 200 golf cart rental agencies, 200 supermarkets, 200 hardware stores and 200 used clothing apparel shops on Ambergris Caye. I have yet to find a word to describe this phenomenon.

But enough about fake news.

Here’s the real deal, from New Years Eve:

This photo was taken by our staff photographer Ruthie "phone on a stick" Rinehart. From right are Clive Barrows, Janet Huey Bateman, Rose Alcantara and one party crasher. More of Ruth's paparazzi-style photogs of the bold, balding and beautiful can be found here!
This photo was NOT taken by our staff photographer Ruthie “phone on a stick” Rinehart at Casa Picasso. It was taken by our glamorous photobird Sue Blair. However, I have it on good information that Ruthie CROPPED HERSELF OUT OF THIS PHOTO before redistributing it for reasons which shall forever remain under the cone of silence (although you can find them on my Facebook page under this photo….) . That said, I haven’t a clue who took all these photos — but thank Sue and Ruth for snapping away! From right are Clive Brewster, Janet Huey Bateman, Rose Alcantara and one party crasher. More of Ruth’s (and Sue’s) paparazzi-style photogs of the bold, balding and beautiful can be found here!

New Year’s was a blast. A lot of folks, many with charming accents, got an early start at Caribbean Villas, where midnight in England was soundly celebrated. We met up with the celebrants at Casa Picasso where I picked off several appetizers from the menu and a healthy plate of banana-creme filled beignets, drizzled with chocolate — the beignets were drizzled, not me.

With less than an hour to spare to midnight we all landed at Lola’s Pub on Front Street to NOT watch the illuminated plastic pineapple drop from the top of the Belize Bank building, across the street. Many people were heartbroken that this long-standing tradition of two years was not to be repeated for a groundbreaking and unprecedented third year — much like many of the businesses that gringos open on the island … but that is another story for another day. The story that starts “How do you make a million dollars in Belize? Spend two million.”

Ta-dump.

So, the absence of our beloved plastic pineapple left only one thing to do.

Drink.

Well, yes, there is always that but . . . fireworks! As San Pedranos are fond of saying, “Boy, if the government could fix our streets and pick up garbage with the same enthusiasm with which they put on parades and light fireworks, we’d be living in Paradise….”

Here is a tiny sampling of the New Years Eve fireworks from Central Park — they are tiny to obscure the terrible quality of photography on my iPod….

Can't you just feel the energy of the new year?
Can’t you just feel the energy of the new year?

And finally, I am proud to say that at no point during the night was my beloved golf cart, Monch 59, ever lost, misplaced or stolen. This makes nine consecutive Ambergris Caye/Caye Caulker events involving celebratory libations (drinking) during which the cart has remained where I left it.

Which did not stop about a half-dozen people from asking me if I knew were Moncho 59 was parked.

This is me after the 7th person asked me if I knew where my golf cart was parked. No. Just kidding. This me after realizing that Donal Trump will son be president of the United States and the only weapon of mass distraction that I have on hand is a deep sense of "Meh." which I hurl at everyone who voted for him. Wait. Just kidding again. No, no. I guess I'm not kidding. If you voted for Trump, this is indeed my best look for you. I am working on another look, one that goes with the words "I told you so."
This is me on New Years Eve after the 7th person asked me if I knew where my golf cart was parked. No…… Just kidding. ….This me after realizing that Donald Trump will soon be president of the United States and the only weapon of mass distraction that I have on hand is a deep sense of “Meh” which I hurl at everyone who voted for him. Wait. Just kidding again. No . . . no. I guess I’m not kidding. If you voted for Trump, this is indeed my best look for you. I am working on another look, one that goes with the words “I told you so.” Look for that one in less than three months.
"Hey, Moppit, 2016 is almost over! I'll bet you are ready for a new year, eh?" Moppit: "Pffffft."
Me: “Hey, Moppit, 2016 is over! I’ll bet you are ready for a new year, eh?”
Moppit: “Pffffft.”

And finally — yet again with the “finally” —  a word from our sponsor.

Please read the following message.

Without our valuable sponsors this kind of ridiculous writing could no longer be undertaken, given the vast resources needed to create fake news, not to mention the real stuff.

We don’t need your contribution — well, maybe — what we need is your body out there on Friday morning to pick up trash. As you can see from these non-fake images, the problem is very real. Join us at the ironically named Paradise Theater (see picture No. 2) north of the bridge at 9 a.m. Won’t you?

The side of Ambergris Caye that the Tourism folks don't show you and that we try to clean up! You can help us this Friday if you are on the island. Here are the details. Thank you and happy 2017.
The side of Ambergris Caye that the Tourism folks don’t show you and that we try to clean up! You can help us this Friday if you are on the island. Here are the details. Thank you and happy 2017.

 

 

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One thought on “This is Belize: Last sunrise of 2016, first sunset of 2017 and stuff in between — some fake, some real

    Donald Quigley said:
    January 3, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    Hey Bob, great seeing you again sorry we did not get to say good bye.

    Like

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