This is Belize
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.
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 »
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 »
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 »
The e-mail said, we have a few questions about living an expat life that we would like you to answer. And it shouldn’t take more than five minutes . . . that’s when I knew the e-mail was from an editor. No writing should take anyone more than five minutes to complete, according to every editor for which I’ve ever worked. That’s how editors think. That’s their job.
So, three hours later, this is what I came up with.
I’ve said it before, I like these questionnaires. They are lazy work for the person who sends them out, but they can prove enlightening for the person who must reach down inside and come up with some answers — about 24 of them in this case.
So, here’s the deal. I’ve been living on a tropical island for nearly four years now. It is probably about time I ask myself “Why?” Will I be here for the rest of my life? Am I slowly going insane from all the rampant beauty that surrounds me? Where can I find a cheap meal? Am I getting enough exercise? Am I drinking too much local rum? Does anyone out there know or care where I am? Hello? Hello? Knock, knock . . Read the rest of this entry »
“Our determination to keep things stable and our country free must never falter. And it is in that context that I endorse this September’s thematic call for us to ceaselessly renew our nation-building resolve. But let our patriotism be year-round, and not just a seasonal thing. Let it be a wellspring for inexhaustible optimism, for never seeing through a glass, darkly. And let it ensure that the inevitable disagreements within a democracy on the move, never become so dissonant as to upset our ultimate oneness and indivisibility. As it is on this day, on this venerated hill, so let it be always: that red and white and blue and white in the end merge to become red, blue and white.”
— Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize, Independence Day 2017
As expected, this morning’s 10 a.m. Independence Day jump-up parade in San Pedro, Belize, began right on time: about 12:30 p.m.
This is an absolutely nothing story and if you want to move on with your life, that’s OK by me.
It is just that I need to put it down on paper to see if it all really happened the way I think it did.
It started on Sunday with a pool party down the road, next to Coco Loco’s Beach Bar. The party was actually a continuation of a birthday party from the day before which included a glorious day aboard the No Rush catamaran with snorkeling and good food, plenty of rum punch, great friendship and a brilliant sun over head.
I’m pretty sure it was the last one that did me in. Rookie mistake, going the whole day without sunscreen. My face looked like a two-tone bowling ball: Pale white where the bandana sat and an awful shade of burgundy from my forehead south. (Right now it looks like a badly peeling bowling ball … .) Read the rest of this entry »
The breeze, steady as ever through the night, picked up urgency around 5:30 this morning. The time is a guess. The first water taxi hadn’t yet sped up the coast. The bell-curve thump-and-rumble of that boat is like a morning cock’s crow to mainlanders. Only more pleasant.
It was still too black out to see, but my wind gauge was beginning to go off the charts.
I use the rustle of the coconuts and palms posted outside my bedroom window as a reliable source of wind information. Slightly breezy and they sound like waves lapping against the beach.
In fact, I’ve learned to distinguish the lapping of waves against the rustle of fronds. It is an art that takes time to train a keen ear. It often requires lying very still in bed, listening closely to the sounds and then opening one eye, ever so slightly, to observe the weather outside and measure it against the assumptions. Read the rest of this entry »
We spent all day Saturday playing “tourist” on a boat, a local favorite called the “No Rush.”
It is an older catamaran that holds about 24 people, plus crew. It is the crew that makes it a favorite, they are long-time friends to many aboard. That, and the fact that the No Rush lives up to its name. This catamaran raises sails when ever it can. Most of the newer and larger touring cats tend to motor out to the reef and back. When you sign on to No Rush you have to plan on letting the rest of life rush past you and put your faith in the winds. Read the rest of this entry »