Central America

Dusk and Dawn in Belize: Characters in a tropical romance novel of our own

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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.

Game day TV blackout got real on Ambergris Caye during Game 7 of the World Series

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Me "watching" the end of Game 7 of the World Series during a total island power outage.
Me “watching” the end of Game 7 of the World Series during a total island power outage.

The national baseball team of the country of Belize is the Chicago Cubs.

This is no bandwagon country. Belize has been Cubs Country since the 1980’s when cable television was first introduced here.

The story, which is solidly embraced by everyone, is that the first channel to be re-broadcast here was WGN, home of the Cubs and I believe, the Chicago Bulls, also a local fan favorite.

For years, these were the only professional sports teams available to the country, which gained its independence from Britain in 1981 and still carries the image of the queen on its paper money. The Cubs gained a real foothold in the imagination of Belizeans. It was underdogs rooting for underdogs. Read the rest of this entry »

Video of flooding on Macal and Mopan rivers in San Ignacio

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Drone catches aerial view of flooding in San Ignacio Town, Bullet Tree and surrounding areas in the Cayo District from Hurricane Earl, posted by Victor Castillo.

 

Amid the palms and cool sea breezes, a rare ‘cri de coeur’ is spotted

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A man in his element -- on the deck with a cup of coffee and a fresh copy of The Sunday New York Times. Life is good.
A man in his element — on the deck with a cup of coffee and a fresh copy of The Sunday New York Times. Life is good.

I was sitting on the deck this morning, cup of coffee in hand, bright sun on my face, a steady breeze rustling the palm trees and the waves lapping against the dock when I encountered a cri de coeur.

I hadn’t encountered one of those, face to face, in years.

Although, with election season in high dudgeon back in the States, cri de coeurs are flying back and forth like bullets on a battlefield.

No, I wasn’t bird watching. Read the rest of this entry »

You are wrong, Jeffrey. Travel makes you a better person.

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Believe it or not, moving out of your Mom's basement and following the road less-traveled around the world will make you a better person. And that is worth something.
Believe it or not, moving out of your Mom’s basement and following the road less-traveled around the world will make you a better person. And that is worth something.

Let us pause for a moment and allow a wave of compassion wash over us for Jeffrey Grey.

The self-defined millennial recently wrote a piece for the blog “Thought Catalog” titled, “Why Your Obsession with Travel Means You’re Living a Mediocre Life.”

I’m sure we can all deduce what we need to know about Jeffrey from the title, and it is puzzling and sad, but let’s hear some more from the author: Read the rest of this entry »

Belize: We have a departure date and four suitcases to fill

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We have a date. It is February 7. On that day, with two suitcases apiece, and probably a backpack each, we shall be leaving for Belize.

Picking a departure day wasn’t too arduous.  Rose and I have been talking about leaving in March but the speed with which our belongings are being bought up, distributed and discarded makes us think that sooner, rather than later, makes more sense.

So, we were driving through San Francisco recently … and started talking about “sooner.” Read the rest of this entry »

Help us crowdsource info for our move to Belize!

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Help me to my place in the sun!
Help me find my place in the sun!

It is beginning to look like we will be moving up our departure date for Belize! At the current rate that we are disposing of possessions we’ll be sleeping and sitting on bare floors by the end of December.

Lately I’ve been getting an interesting question from friends: “Are you getting nervous?”

Hell, yes. I’m getting nervous. Read the rest of this entry »

Speed bumps on the road of life got nothing on the roads of Belize

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A rare sight in Belize: an actual stop light. This intersection is in the town of Orange Walk, in northern Belize.
A rare sight in Belize: an actual stop light. This intersection is in the town of Orange Walk, in northern Belize.

Is there a difference between a “speed bump” and a “speed hump”?

Apparently there is. I just answered my own question here.

I got to thinking about speed bumps (for brevity’s we’ll just call them all “bumps”) because I nailed one the other day and it knocked me right back to Belize.

There are thousands of speed bumps in Belize.

Thousands. Read the rest of this entry »

How dangerous is Belize? Let’s not ask John McAfee

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Welcome to Belize. Now, relax.
Welcome to Belize. Now, relax.

We’ve been back in California for a week now and while we’re no closer to deciding exactly where we will make our home in Belize — either San Pedro or San Ignacio — there is one thing to which Rose and I are firmly committed: We will be living in Belize by the end of February 2014.

Rose has been quietly explaining our plans to each of her Pilates clients this week and the reaction falls somewhere between enthusiasm for our new adventure and tears.

I’ve been hearing other reactions, too, like, “Seriously? Belize Why not Panama? You should check out Panama.” Or “Didn’t you consider Costa Rica? You should really check out Costa Rica before you make the move.”  Feel free to plug in the name of other Latin American countries. I think I’ve heard them all. Read the rest of this entry »

Nick, The Belize Fish Whisperer, leads the way

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Hol Chan Marine Reserve from the air ... taken as we left Ambergris Cay this morning for Belize International Airport on the mainland. You can just see the channel through the surf that gives the reserve its name.
Hol Chan Marine Reserve from the air … taken as we left Ambergris Cay this morning for Belize International Airport on the mainland. You can just see the channel through the surf that gives the reserve its name.

It is uncanny. Hol Chan Marine Reserve is vast and, well, under the sea. But Nick moved through it like it was his personal playground.

He knew in which crevices the Moray eels hung out — he’d swim down and clap and they would come out like cobras to a flute. He knew where to find conch and sea cucumber. He spotted sea turtles and sting rays and sharks long before any of us.

Nick even caught a three-foot-long shark with his hands and held it so Rose could pet it. “It felt coarse, super coarse, said Rose, “Like starched jeans. I thought it would feel like a portobella mushrooms.”

Nick was our guide on an overcast, windy and choppy day off the lower tip of Ambergris Caye.

I started calling him “the fish whisperer.”

He’s been at this for five years now, taking tourists like us into the national preserve and the nearby Shark-Ray Alley to take in the vast and varied life below the sea.

Nick delivers a lecture on respecting the reserve’s environment and cautions about touching the coral or picking up shells. He points out one sandy area and says “this is the only place in the reserve where you can stand on the bottom. OK? No where else.”

You get the feeling Nick and the other snorkeling and scuba guides are pretty protective of this, Belize’s greatest natural resource. Hol Chan Marine Reserve runs right up against the Barrier Reef and is marked by one of the few deep water channels, through which come fish, turtles and more.

I went a little crazy with the iPhone camera with its waterproof cover but for what it is worth here are many of the photos that I took.  They are in chronological order, from the moment I dropped into the water until I reluctantly, got out.

The aquamarine coloring is exactly right. This is what the water looks like off of most of Belize.

I hope you enjoy them.

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