Caribbean

Belize Q and A: And now, a few words with Moppit, the island wonderdog

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Three images of Moppit, all of them pretty weak. Two things at work here: 1. I’ve yet to take a good picture of Moppit. 2. She hardly cooperates. Moppit is the most camera-shy dog I have ever met. I will keep trying! Plus, she needs a little grooming, and that is scheduled for Thursday at Pampered Paws.

Quite a few people have asked me recently about Moppit.

For example, when a crazy-ass San Pedro taxi driver with a “Pretty chicks only” decal on the back window of his dust-encrusted van knocked me off my bike and I was laid flat out in the street, a number of friends rushed up to me.

“How’s Moppit been?” one asked.

“Is Moppit adjusting to you OK? If not, I’d be glad to have her,” said another.

“Any time you want to go somewhere, I’ll babysit Moppit for you,” offered a third.

And so it goes. Read the rest of this entry »

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Belize is all about the colors. So, why shoot it in black and white?

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This was the view from the deck of Island Tackle Bar & Grill in San Pedro on Sept. 23, 2016. I felt a cold chill on my neck and turned around to see this “monster” moving across the island toward the reef. Even in color, it is the dark aspects to which your eye is drawn. Is this the end of time. All else below is fragility. I tried another version of black and white that seems even more menacing. I will post it at the bottom of this blog post.

If God wanted Belize to be a black and white photo, he would have called it Lower Manhattan.

If ever a country was born to serve up every smudge in the global color palette, it is Belize. Even during an overcast day, Belize pops with colors unlike any you will encounter elsewhere in the world. Clearly, a special light is cast over the country.

Especially here on Ambergris Caye.

So, what’s with all the black and white photography? Read the rest of this entry »

The season for sun worshiping on Ambergris Caye is near and a professional statue offers some tips

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Professional human statues strike various poses while preparing for international competition. I kid, but there is such a thing. This photo taken this morning in front of Sandy Toes on Boca del Rio.

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 »

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 »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »