Belikin

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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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 »

This is Belize: Bad boy, bad boy, whatcha gonna do?

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Singer-songwriter Kelly McGuire  sits in with a gang of rowdy fans at the Dive Bar on Saturday afternoon, shortly before all the "excitement" broke out.
Singer-songwriter Kelly McGuire sits in with a gang of rowdy fans at the Dive Bar on Saturday afternoon, shortly before all the “excitement” broke out.

Saturday afternoon, the Texas-based singer Kelly McGuire was commanding the stage at the Dive Bar singing about island life, broken dreams, healing hearts, fresh hopes, sailing away and the joy of a good guitar.

We were sitting at the back of the crowd, next to the dock, where the cool breezes were floating in on the rippling blue Caribbean. Read the rest of this entry »

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.” Read the rest of this entry »

Ambergris Caye: This rolled in this afternoon

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This cloud formation suddenly arose from the east, over downtown San Pedro this afternoon, Tuesday Aug. 30, 2016.
This cloud formation suddenly arose from the east, over downtown San Pedro this afternoon, Tuesday Aug. 30, 2016. There was a crazy splurge of color at the top of this cloud, reds, yellows and ambers, spurting out like lava from the top of the cone. Sadly, it didn’t show up in this picture…..

Today started out like many another day recently — no breeze and hot, hot, hot.

I know, because I was riding around on my bicycle this afternoon, searching for empty 100-pound flour and rice sacks to use as sandbags. Just a little post-Hurricane Earl recovery project at the Cloisters, where we live. Thank you, Island City. You came through!

I was drenched. And thirsty.

What better time to stop at the newly opened Island Tackle Bar and Grill for a refreshing beer before pedaling home. Island Tackle is the former Tacklebox, an over the water bar of some stature that had been closed down for two years. It was set for a grand opening, the day Earl landed its sucker punch.

It is open now and my longtime pal Rudy was behind the bar,

As I sat on the deck looking out to the reef, a remarkably chilly breeze swept in from behind me. I turned around and saw this. Read the rest of this entry »

Hanging out with the Liberace of Lobster on Caye Caulker, among other pursuits

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Main stage area at the Caye Caulker LobsterFest on a brilliant Sunday morning, July 3, 2016.
Main stage area at the Caye Caulker LobsterFest on a brilliant Sunday afternoon, July 3, 2016.

After an especially eventful week on Ambergris Caye, with the San Pedro LobsterFest, the weeklong feast of Saint Peter, a huge downtown fire, and a firetruck getting stuck in sand responding to another fire, what’s a bunch of blokes to do but grab a boat and cruise on over to the Caye Caulker LobsterFest on Sunday morning.

When you’ve got to get away, Caye Caulker is the place.

Yes, that does sound odd, when you live on a tropical island that thousands of people have marked on their calendars as their dream get-away spot. Even Paradise gets to be too much after a while.

So, Caye Caulker. A smaller, quieter, less-dirty version of Paradise. Read the rest of this entry »

‘Criminal Minds’ in Belize? After screening, even worse than we imagined

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Here's the proof! FBI agents on Ambergris Caye are dwarfed by the barren hillsides of the island in a scene from the "Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders" episode "Love Interrupted."
Here’s the proof! FBI agents on Ambergris Caye are dwarfed by the barren hillsides of the island in a scene from the “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders” episode “Love Interrupted.”

On a balmy Friday night a couple dozen expats gathered beside the lagoon here on Ambergris Caye for an outdoors screening of this week’s episode of the spin-off CBS show “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders.”

Since its original TV airing on Wednesday, expats and Belizeans all over this tiny country have been convulsed in paroxysms of laughter. To be honest, some have been convulsed in paroxysms of rage.

This week, the elite FBI team lead by a heavily botoxed Gary Sinese drops into Belize to find a young American honeymoon couple who have gone two days without posting anything on social media, thus raising suspicions of foul play.

Let me say this: We all know Hollywood makes stuff up. That is what they do. That is their job and we mostly appreciate it.

But, seriously? Read the rest of this entry »

Trashing Halloween in San Pedro is a barrel of laughs

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Sue, Rachel (aka Dorothy) Rose, Wayne and Linda strike a pose at the Holiday Hotel entrance after walking the Black Carpet. Let the party begin!
Sue, Rachel (aka Dorothy) Rose, Wayne and Linda strike a pose at the Holiday Hotel entrance after walking the Black Carpet. Let the party begin!

We totally trashed Halloween this year.

No, I didn’t say we got trashed. I said we trashed Halloween.

As in garbage.

It is a big topic on the island these days because it is a big problem. As one guy would say, “Trash is huuuge!” Read the rest of this entry »

Island is abuzz with a Bowen Family wedding and a special brew

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Set-up for a Thursday night Bowen-Tully pre-wedding party? These tables were on the waterfront of Ramon's Village, a local institution and a conch shell-toss from the Bowen home and Island Academy.
Set-up for a Thursday night Bowen-Tully pre-wedding party? These tables were on the waterfront of Ramon’s Village Resort, a local landmark institution,  and a conch shell-toss from the Bowen island home and Island Academy.

Just so you know, we have a royal wedding planned this Saturday on Ambergris Caye, Belize.

And when I say “we” I mean the grand, island-wide “we.” I  don’t mean to imply that either I or Rose are in any way a part of it.

Nope. Not even an invite to the post-wedding party on the grounds of the Island Academy which, gosh, it looks like it is going to be fun. I mean, we’re one rung above tourist here. Wouldn’t expect an invite. Nope … Read the rest of this entry »