Ambergris Caye

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.”

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Belize, 36 years old and still partying like a youngster

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Belize Independence Day Parade in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. Celebrating 36 years of freedom.

“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

Here’s some more about the prime minister’s speech.

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.

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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.

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You can skip the story and go for the moral: Wear sunscreen and use your noodle

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A visual aid for my little story. The yellow and green things in this picture are called “noodles,” for obvious reasons. They are not the only kind of noodles, apparently. Always ask when someone asks you to fetch noodles.

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 »

This is Belize: Nature serves up a spectacle this morning and gratitude runs amuck

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Sunrise this morning on Ambergris Caye , Belize was so worth getting up for this morning. Well, nearly every morning.

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 »

This is Belize: There’s just no bad day aboard the No Rush

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Yo, ho, ho! A pirate’s life for me! And my friends. On board the No Rush on Saturday morning, Aug. 26, 2017, headed for the barrier reef and a day of snorkeling, hanging out and saying things like, “This life does not suck.” San Pedro is in the background. (Photo by Gerry Neumann, who dropped alongside us on his Hobie cat as we were under way.)

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 »

The diversion factory called Truck Stop has come up with a corker

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Amy Knox of Wild Mango’s bites into her finisher medal at last Saturday’s “Amazing Race: San Pedro Edition.”

If you can imagine this, lots of people who live on tropical islands complain about the lack of diversion in their lives.

You hear things like:

“There are only so many spectacular sunsets that I’m going to sit through.” and “Sunrises? Do you really think I’m going to get up that early?”

“Oh look. Another flock of gloriously pink and retro roseate spoonbills feeding in the marsh. Which reminds me, what are we doing for lunch?” 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.

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That didn’t take long . . .

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PC Nestor Campos of the North Ambergris Cay police substation. (Photo courtesy of San Pedro Sun)

The placement of a full-time police officer in the newly opened North Ambergris Caye substation is already paying dividends.

According to Rob Eykelbeysh, president of the North AC Neighborhood Watch program, the officer stationed here since the grand opening May 2 already has a drug bust under his belt.

PC Nestor Campos confirmed the bust today.  PC Campos was patrolling up near the Rojo Lounge on Saturday, May 6, when he spotted a young Hispanic male who was told to stop. When the man started to bolt, PC Campos jumped off his motorcycle and grabbed him by the shirt.

The man was found with two bags of marijuana, totalling 126 grams (4.4 ounces). According to Campos, the man said he was selling to workers at various construction sites up north. Campos is watching out for a second man, possibly Creole, wearing a white muscle shirt, sometimes seen in the area of Paco Tiki lounge. That man ran down the road toward Paco Tiki’s the other day when approached and hasn’t been seen since. Read the rest of this entry »