A “60 Minutes” piece from 1985 in which Morley Safer travels to Belize is cruising around the Internet. Like any 15-minute television essay on an entire country, it packs a little truth around a basket of cliches and misses more than half the story.
Tootling up and down the Belize River in a panga, Safer looks rather rakish in his rumpled white linen suit and black shirt — in a faded “Miami Vice” sort of way. He pronounces the country corruption-free, poor but not direly poor, filled with cheerful people from many backgrounds, a country comfortable with itself, a country ripe for exploitation, and on the cusp of great change.
Great change, from television.
He got that one right. Read the rest of this entry »
You know how you can be in a certain situation and all of a sudden, boom, a solution appears right at your fingertips? And sometimes, you are in a situation — and not even aware of it until the solution appears?
I’m talking, of course, about the recent New York Times Magazine “Tip” article, “How to Stand Still.”
The article interview John Eicke, a German whose resume lists his major skill as “living statue.”
I’m sure the NYT had no idea how relevant such an article would be to a guy who lives on a tropical island off the coast of Belize, especially now that the rainy season is almost over.
I too have been mistaken for a statue. 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.
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 »
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 »
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
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »