Dooley Bear drops in on Holy Cross Anglican School students and a pizza party breaks out

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Lisa Cyrier reads from one of the Dooley Bear books to students at Holy Cross Anglican School on Wednesday during a holiday party for literacy program students and volunteers.
Lisa Cyrier reads from one of the Dooley Bear books to students at Holy Cross Anglican School on Wednesday during a holiday party for literacy program students and volunteers. That’s the big Dooley, unfazed by celebrity,  sacked out on the floor behind Lisa! 

Dooley Bear, a gregarious chocolate Labrador with a penchant for travel and the subject of more than a few books, dropped into Holy Cross Anglican School in the San Mateo neighborhood on Wednesday for some petting and pizza.

Dooley brought along his literary partners, Ronnie and Lisa Cyrier, so that they could read some of the books about his adventures to a special gathering of students.

The occasion was the first Christmas Party of the newly resurrected volunteer literacy program which is designed to help students of all grade levels to enhance their reading, pronunciation and comprehension skills. The program is operated by a dedicated group of volunteers from the San Pedro community under the leadership of Susan Barkhouse and Brittney O’Daniel. 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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This is Belize: Walk a mile or two in their shoes

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This is my favorite photo of Moppit so far.I may have already used it in a blog but what the hell. Who ever grows tired of looking at a beautiful face?
This is my favorite photo of Moppit so far.I may have already used it in a blog but what the hell. Who ever grows tired of looking at a beautiful face?

Moppit and I were sitting in the golf cart near Izzy’s smoothie shop at the north end of Middle Street yesterday afternoon. We were talking about life, love, this, that and the price of bread. For a dog, she’s a very quick study. As I droned on, Moppit gave me the occasional nod  and tolerant expressions before returning to her own business of observing golf cart traffic.

I have no idea where she picked up such habits so quickly.

Rose had popped into Barbara Brown’s boutique & coffee shop for some flowers, a corsage for Moppit to wear to Sandy Rigby’s memorial service at Caribbean Villas. Sandy and Moppit had been inseparable companions for nearly three years, until she passed away in late November.

Read the rest of this entry »

Blackadore Caye hosts the ultimate Christmas office party

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A visiting couple from Corozal tied up on the back of Blackadore, making for a setting out of a Joseph Conrad novel.
A visiting couple from Corozal tied up on the back of Blackadore, making for a setting out of a Joseph Conrad novel. Bonus points if this image makes you think of Gardner McKay and Adam Troy in “Adventures in Paradise.”

There are office parties and then there are OFFICE PARTIES.

Yesterday, the good folks who have been preparing Leonardo DiCaprio’s 104-acre Blackadore Caye for development into what will likely be Belize’s most prestigious and eco-friendly resort island ever held a party for staff and friends. Around 150 people came to the island on four boats organized by Marcos and Karen Zul’s  Creative Tours Belize to shuttle back and forth from Ambergris Caye.

It was a celebration and a bittersweet farewell at the same time. Read the rest of this entry »

A very Truck Stop Christmas ……

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Santa Claus came to town on Saturday night, at the Truck Stop and was handing out candy canes to the kids and jell-o shots to the adults.
Santa Claus came to town on Saturday night at the Truck Stop and was handing out candy canes to the kids and jell-o shots to the adults.

A craft fair, a Christmas tree lighting, some complimentary pizza pies and Santa Claus kept the Truck Stop packed to capacity with happy people on Saturday.

The Truck Stop has tried hard to be more than a collection of restaurants, a bar and an ice cream shop since opening more than one year ago, north of the bridge on Ambergris Caye. Read the rest of this entry »

Ak’Bol’s yoga temple of tranquility is back . . . and so is Moppit!

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The gateway to Ak'Bol's palapa studio out on the water. You could not ask for a more beautiful setting in which to practice yoga. The palapa looks bigger and more open than the original, and maybe a little farther off-shore. Beautifully done!
The gateway to Ak’Bol’s palapa studio out on the water. You could not ask for a more beautiful setting in which to practice yoga. The palapa looks bigger and more open than the original, and maybe a little farther off-shore. Beautifully done!

I took Moppit for a walk — sprint, actually — up the beach to Ak’Bol Yoga Retreat and Eco Resort this morning. And wow! The over-the-water studio looks magnificent! A temple of tranquility.
Two of my favorite places on the water were decimated by Hurricane Earl — the Palapa Bar and Ak’Bol.
Now both are back! Kirsten Miglio and her husband Dale have been patiently rebuilding and now Kirsten will teach her first yoga session under the new palapa on Sunday!

Here are some photos of our walk toward Ak’Bol on a glorious Saturday morning: Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Screw you, Earl, the Palapa Bar is back and better than ever

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Panorama of the new Palapa Bar from the west side, facing east.
Panorama of the new Palapa Bar from the west side, facing east.

Hurricane Earl destroyed a lot of livelihoods when it ran down the coast of Ambergris Caye, here in Belize, tearing out piers like stubble on the end of a razor.

At least temporarily.

So many docks have been rebuilt, so many businesses were quickly up and running again within days of the terrible storm.

But none has been more anticipated and welcomed back from its watery grave than the Palapa Bar & Grill on Boca del Rio.

That happened on Sunday. Read the rest of this entry »

Game day TV blackout got real on Ambergris Caye during Game 7 of the World Series

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Me "watching" the end of Game 7 of the World Series during a total island power outage.
Me “watching” the end of Game 7 of the World Series during a total island power outage.

The national baseball team of the country of Belize is the Chicago Cubs.

This is no bandwagon country. Belize has been Cubs Country since the 1980’s when cable television was first introduced here.

The story, which is solidly embraced by everyone, is that the first channel to be re-broadcast here was WGN, home of the Cubs and I believe, the Chicago Bulls, also a local fan favorite.

For years, these were the only professional sports teams available to the country, which gained its independence from Britain in 1981 and still carries the image of the queen on its paper money. The Cubs gained a real foothold in the imagination of Belizeans. It was underdogs rooting for underdogs. 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 »