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It’s a Pirate’s life for me . . . that’s Pirates FC, our Premier League team

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View of the south goal of the new Ambergris Stadium in San Pedro. as the home-team San Pedro Pirates gave the Premiere League toppers, Belmopan Bandits, a decent workout on Sept. 30.

 

It sort of follows that once you build a first-class football field you should expect it to attract a classier level of football.

Well, that’s happening at Ambergris Stadium in San Pedro, Belize. The town-built field opened earlier this year and has been host to some fine games, none of which I’ve been able to get to until last week.

Ambergris Caye has its own Premier League team this year and as the new kid on the block, they’re doing alright. Until last Saturday, the San Pedro Pirates F.C. had gone undefeated in three home games. Playing on the road has shown the Pirates to be a more-vulnerable team. No wins away. Read the rest of this entry »

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Two dozen questions on living in Belize — and not one is answered just ‘yes’ or ‘no’

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Old-fashioned manpower is pulling fiber optic cable through the streets of San Pedro, Belize, during a very hot summer day recently.

 

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 »

Great Race: The one time of year in Reno when hot air is really a good thing

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The Reno Great Balloon Race 2017.

Words that only a rookie would say before attending the Reno Great Balloon Race: “So, we’ll see you down there.”

This annual hot air balloon event is so big and sprawling, your chances of actually bumping into somebody are mighty slim.

Trust me on this.

My son Brendan said he and Cami and grandson Brody were going to the balloon launch site before the sun rose for the popular Sunday morning “Dawn Patrol” — scores of hot air balloons glowing fiercely and colorfully as they rise gently into the sky.

My response was, “So, we’ll see you down there.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Mountain biking at nearly 6,000 feet: And a child shall lead us

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On a break from mountain bike riding on the Sawtooth Trail in Truckee, California. From left, youngest son, Chris, grandson Brody and his dad and my oldest, Brendan. The French-looking guy with the jaunty helmet on declined to be identified.

 

The day that we arrived in Truckee, California from Belize, my sons Brendan and Chris and six-year-old grandson, Brody, decided what I needed most was a mountain bike ride.

Me, at 67 years old. After flying up through the Yucatan to Mexico City, to Los Angeles and, finally, Reno. From sea level to nearly 6,000 feet….

 

A mountain bike ride.

 

Well. OK.

Read the rest of this entry »

A Scoop exclusive! My favorite San Pedro blogger peeks inside island’s hottest homes

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Our friends’ house is the first to be highlighted on a new feature on the popular San Pedro Scoop blog! (Photo by Mark Schafer)

What a delightful surprise this morning to open the latest post on San Pedro Scoop and find out it is all about my friends Mark and Deb Schaffer. Well, specifically, about the beautiful home they have built on the shore of North Ambergris Caye.

Rebecca “Scoop” Coutant is launching a new feature on her ever-expanding blog: a peek inside Ambergris Caye homes that are for sale by owner. Not quite “Househunters International” — how about “House Peekers San Pedro”? Something for the voyeur in all of us!

I’m going to jump right in and say that Scoop picked a cool one for her debut. Read the rest of this entry »

On Ambergris Caye, no ‘I survived Franklin’ t-shirts today — and that’s OK

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On Monday the dark gray and eerie stillness that preceded Hurricane Earl a year ago, settled on us once again. Looking north, I see the Dive Bar pier and a couple more that ended up on our waterfront beach after Earl. And I prayed it wouldn’t happen again.

 

Upon waking up almost exactly one year ago to shredded and twisted bits of around a half-dozen piers littering what was left of our beachfront, this morning’s sight was a joy to behold.

As they say in boxing, Franklin was a contender but he didn’t lay a glove on us. A change in wind here and a rise in barometric pressure there and this could be a whole other kind of story. A lot was learned last year from the abrupt changes in Hurricane Earl that spelled disaster for Ambergris Caye and The Cloisters/Tres Cocos Resort, where we live.

Read the rest of this entry »

“Make Someone Happy” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

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My friend John East writes one of my favorite blogs about life in San Pedro. This one is a well-deserved plug for an old friend who has opened up a deli in South Ambergris Caye.

Belize- building a new life . A Belize blog.

I’m not going to try to fool you. I’m sure that I could if I really wanted to. But I don’t. Want to fool you, that is. So I’m laying out upfront that I’ve written this edition to try and help a friend. Yes, this is an unadulterated plug to promote the new business that he opened just one week ago today.

But let’s back up a bit and start at the beginning.

Rose and I first met the guy in question on our very first visit to Ambergris Caye just over 18 years ago. We stayed at Lily’s Hoteland the bar closest to us was Cholo’s Sports Bar and well it would have been rude not to use it and we’re not rude. So we did. Use it I mean.

Now it’s not that long ago but when we first went there it wasn’t the Cholo’s it is…

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Wild Mango’s chef-owner is back in Victoria House kitchen

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Victoria House, one of the most beautiful resorts on Ambergris Caye.
Victoria House, one of the most beautiful resorts on Ambergris Caye.

Why is Amy Knox of the popular San Pedro restaurant  Wild Mango’s walking around in a Victoria House T-shirt you ask?

It is more than sentimentality.

Amy first made her mark on Ambergris Caye as chef at Victoria House with a celebrated cuisine that drew fans to what then seemed like the southern extreme of civilization. And like any inventive chef she eventually struck out on her own with the downtown San Pedro bistro, Wild Mango’s. Read the rest of this entry »

Cheap flights? Southwest proves to be no bargain once you land in Houston

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Airline inconveniences fade away when you are with the most important thing in your life -- family. Clockwise from upper left: Ryand and fiance Larisa; grandson Brody with his helicopter; Brody and me, mugging for the camera; bottom, from left: Brendan & Cami, Chris & Katie, Brody & Grizzly.
Airline inconveniences fade away when you are with the most important thing in your life — family. Clockwise from upper left: Ryan and his fiance, Larisa; grandson Brody with his helicopter; Brody and me, mugging for the camera; bottom, from left: Brendan & Cami, Chris & Katie, Brody & Grizzly in Truckee.

When is a bargain not a bargain?

Probably when it is a low-priced, round-trip, Southwest Airlines ticket from Belize to Houston.

We’ve all seen them since Southwest began flying into Belize a year ago. I was among the cheerleaders since Southwest’s aggressive pricing (initially, at least) often forces the big carriers to drop prices. Win-win!

My wife, Rose, recently snagged a too-good-to-be-true ticket to Houston. She has a son in Oklahoma whom she hadn’t seen since we moved to Belize nearly three years ago. She also has a daughter in Arizona and, not coincidentally, a friend had organized a weeklong yoga retreat in Sedona for early October.

So she jumped on the Southwest sale. And offered to get me one, too. Read the rest of this entry »

This is Belize: Earl is beginning to make some waves

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The view from our dock. We're on the second floor and feel relatively comfortable even if we are only about 40 feet west of the action ....
The view from our dock. We’re on the second floor and feel relatively comfortable even if we are only about 40 feet west of the action ….

Still a few hours before the serious side of Earl begins to show himself but already he’s making himself known.

Already some planks on our dock are showing an independent streak. There will be some gaps before this night is done.

Mostly it has been intermittent drenchings and bigger than normal waves. Already our little retaining wall is proving no match for the waves, and fairly modest waves at that. The sky is a somber gray but the light still projects an eerie brightness, as if the air itself is burning phosphorescence. That, and the constant rumbling as the Caribbean’s massive waves trip over the barrier reef. Read the rest of this entry »