Belize’s beautiful bookends: Sunset, and then, sunrise.
The calm is with us, the uncharacteristic coolness adds depth to our shadows.
The soft breezes from the north and west carry fresh artisanal air — richly scrubbed by mainland jungle and infused with savanna magic and minerals from salty bay waters.
Breathe in with your lungs and eyes, simultaneously.
The moment feels like one you can live inside forever.
But it is only a moment, a brief story arc dependent wholly on the sun breaking the horizon.
Dusk and Dawn are two characters in a tropical romance novel, only they are real and now and ours to embrace.
Every night, every morning, it is a short story written anew.
Not to be missed, toes dug deep in the sand.
Yesterday, I half-seriously compiled a tropical island survival kit — OK, maybe less than half-serious — and made a very obvious omission that was brought to my attention this morning while I was walking Moppit, our dog.
“A dog,” said our friend Cheryl Taylor Bowen. “You should include a dog in your survival kit.”
I looked down at Moppit.
I looked up at Cheryl. Read the rest of this entry »
It isn’t every morning that I get up early to walk the little Moppit, but when I do, I am always rewarded with stunning sunrises, a blissful calm, a symphony of bird calls rising to a cacophony on occasion, the occasional pod of dolphins just offshore, the blustery hustle of storm clouds moving into position, the egrets and herons vigilant in the shallows.
There is always something.
If I weren’t so lazy, I suppose, there would be even more. Read the rest of this entry »
The early morning stillness crumbled beneath the blatting, wheezing, rumbling, cries of frustration from diesel engines as the tug helplessly shouldered the sand-banked barge laden with building supplies.
It wouldn’t budge, not one inch toward the Tabony lot landing.
Shallow waters and low tide conspired to thwart the mission. This was no storybook “I think I can” tale. This big muscular engine couldn’t. Let’s face it, rail traction is so much better than water. Read the rest of this entry »
Progress has a speed all its own on Ambergris Caye. Sometimes you can watch for years as projects go up around you. Slowly. Very slowly.
Resorts and condo projects for example.
Some have been in the building stage since long before we got here and look like they will still be in the building stage long after we are gone. In between, they may experience a bankruptcy or two, experience a resurrection by the hand of a financial angel, all sorts of curious financial intrigues. And hardly a wall gets poured as rebar returns to rust.
Then there are things that actually look like they are getting done. Small things, in the current scale of island projects. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »