Palapa Bar

When the power goes out on Ambergris Caye, the feet start walking

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Walking north through Tres Cocos, this property (a couple of residences, actually) is a real success story -- albeit an expensive one. A year ago, the water extended to the dock ramp and where you see sand now, there was a thick layer of stinky sargassum seaweed.  Tons of the stuff were pulled off the beach but keeping up with it was impossible. Now a stone wall and tons of fresh sand hold back the seaweed and keep it moving south with the current.
Walking north through Tres Cocos, this property (a couple of residences, actually) is a real success story — albeit an expensive one. A year ago, the water extended to the dock ramp and where you see sand now, there was a thick layer of stinky sargassum seaweed. Tons of the stuff were pulled off the beach but keeping up with it was impossible. Now a stone wall and tons of fresh sand hold back the seaweed and keep it moving south with the current.

True to its word, Belize Electric Ltd. (BEL) shut down the entire island’s electricity at 6 a.m. Saturday morning for some maintenance projects.

I suppose that sounds a little strange to you, my First World family and friends, but that is how things are done here. When something is taken off-line for repairs, the whole island goes black. I guess we just don’t have the redundancy systems that would allow them to bypass a transformer, feeder, substation or whatever.

By BEL does have a Facebook alert system and the utility posted warnings as early as Friday about the shutdown.

So, you adjust, roll with it and move on. Read the rest of this entry »

Once more to Caye Caulker and a bunch of other stuff, like Reef Week

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Kids who live on Caye Caulker just always seem to be having a good time. Met up with this bunch on a visit to the island on Sunday.
Kids who live on Caye Caulker just always seem to be having a good time. Met up with this bunch on a visit to the island on Sunday.

As small an island as Caye Caulker is, there is always something — or someone — new to be discovered.

Like the kids in the picture above. I have never seen kids have more fun in four inches of water. I’d take a picture and then the kids would all run over to see themselves on the screen. Then I’d take another picture and they’d all run behind the camera to see themselves. Then I’d take another picture . . . . you get the idea.

We could have kept this up all day. Read the rest of this entry »

On Caye Caulker, “Go slow” is beginning to sound like a plea rather than a way of life

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Leaving San Pedro for Caye Caulker. I can't help it but there is an emotional tug every time I leave the shore of Ambergris Caye -- even if I am heading off on a fun adventure, like Monday's.
Leaving San Pedro for Caye Caulker. I can’t help it but there is an emotional tug every time I leave the shore of Ambergris Caye — even if I am heading off on a fun adventure, like Monday’s.  It is not just that I’m leaving home.

 

So Monday was a national holiday — Labor Day. Lots of our favorite places are closed for the day, and some, like The Truck Stop and Casa Picasso for the entire week. And there is family in town.

So, naturally that calls for a water taxi ride to Caye Caulker.

Shockingly, neither Rose nor I have been to that island since last year’s Lobster Festival. And “shockingly” doesn’t begin to sum up the changes that have taken place. The island mantra — Go slow — now feels more like an admonition. Read the rest of this entry »

This is how you end up sleeping through New Years Eve in Belize

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Katie and Rose hold up their barracuda, the last two caught for the day aboard the Lucky Devil in San Pedro, Belize.
Katie and Rose hold up their barracuda, the last two caught for the day aboard the Lucky Devil in San Pedro, Belize.

With the departure on New Years Eve day of my youngest son Chris and his wife, Katie, all three of my sons have now visited us on Ambergris Caye in Belize. Ryan was the first, back around Thanksgiving 2014. Brendan, Cami and Brody were here for two wonderful weeks this summer.

My work is done here.

Now all I need do is sit back and wait for each to reach the obvious conclusion: “Man that was fun. Let’s go to Belize again!”

It will happen. Read the rest of this entry »

Palapa Bar’s landlord adds nasty signage, has neighbor arrested — hell of a morning

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This is thw sign that is facing the Palapa Bar. What do you think? A little over the top about not renewing their lease?
This is thw sign that is facing the Palapa Bar. What do you think? A little over the top about not renewing their lease?

I pulled up to Marbucks coffeehouse here on Ambergris Caye this morning to see one of the owners, Rob Eykelbeysh, being escorted down to the police station.

I asked him what was happening and he smiled and said it is all good.

But it isn’t. Read the rest of this entry »

The winds of change are in the air on Ambergris Caye

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All is calm on Ambergris Caye, hardly a breeze stirring.
All is calm on Ambergris Caye, hardly a breeze stirring.

We have been enjoying some interesting days lately.

A storm passed through dumping 5 inches of rain (badly needed) in less than 24 hours and since then it has been on-and-off rain storms, mostly at night. That makes for cooler nights and brilliant light shows off the coast, some fully tricked out with long rumbling choruses of thunder. And glorious cloud formations around sunset.
Our condo, like the homes of everyone else we have talked with, had rain coming in through the roofs, windows and walls. Fortunately for us, no leaks over our beds! Mainly the water pours down one wall in the living room and my main job is to run in and remove the batik wall hanging before it gets soaked.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sometimes, ‘Belize’ isn’t the answer to all of life’s questions

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Rain is as much a part of life in Belize as sunshine, and just as critical for survival. Some folks might not like that.
Rain is as much a part of life in Belize as sunshine, and just as critical for survival. Some folks might not be able to cope with weeks and weeks of gray sky and drizzle.

If the answer to all of life’s difficult questions is “Belize,” then why don’t some expats succeed here, while others do?

It is not unusual to say goodbye to someone on whom we were about to bestow with Belize-friend-for-life status. More and more, it becomes clear that if you want to be here for the long-haul you have to behave more like a Rolling Stone than a Beatle. Read the rest of this entry »

Walking along the Ambergris shore: This gets me every time

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A crocolog! A logodile! What ever you want to call it, this thing gets me every time.
A crocolog! A logodile! What ever you want to call it, this thing gets me every time.

Lately I’ve been spending the early morning hours walking north along the Ambergris Caye beach trai?.

Well, early mornings? Most days that might be 8 or 9 a.m. but recently after not sleeping at all, I headed up the coast at 5:30 a.m. And yes, in full sunrise. Sun rises pretty early here, although I’ve succeeded in ignoring it most days.

Anyway, about a mile up from my place, in the Tres Cocos neighborhood, there is a log.

And not just any log.

A crocolog.

You might not notice it as you walk north, just past the Palapa Bar and before Ak’Bol Yoga Retreat. In this direction, it is just another log in the water. They float in from time to time and eventually run aground in the shallows, forming a nice roosting spot for the aquatic birds.

I know it is there. I’ve seen it for many months.

But it almost never fails that, as I return home, deep in my meditations, I come upon this thing and it gives me a jolt.

“Mother of Spinach! That is one freaking big crocodile!” my mind says, in so many words. “Run, you fool!”

I quickly suppress the impulse to flee — the one all animals count on to survive as a species — and realize it is my old friend the log.

Just a log.

A log with two piercing eyes that probably glow red in the night, and scaly leather-like bark, and a snout. Who ever heard of a log with a snout?

Gets me every time.

Oh, what a night: Test-driving a cabana at Daydreamin’ Bed & Breakfast

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Panoramic image of Daydreamin' boutique B&B and the island's newest coffee shop, Marbuck's, about one mile north of the town bridge.
Panoramic view of Daydreamin’ boutique B&B and (at left) the island’s newest coffee stop, Marbucks Coffee House, about one mile north of the Sir Barry Bowen bridge.

Having lived on Ambergris Caye for only a year, there are few building projects that we can say we were there at the birth. Building things here — even houses — takes a very long time — unless you are Ramon’s Village and you want our fire-ravaged resort to reopen by Christmas. In which case, yes, miracles do happen.

We can say with pride that we knew Daydreamin’ Bed & Breakfast when it was just a little hole in the ground. Read the rest of this entry »

At the Palapa Bar, mind the gap

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The new landlord of the Palapa Bar decided to settle a rent dispute gangster-style, by ripping up the boards on the pier leading to the bar. The dispute turned out to be all in his head and the boards were quickly restored. The guy's reputation took a major hit from which he may never recover.
The new landlord of the Palapa Bar decided to settle a rent dispute Texas gangster-style, by ripping up the boards on the pier leading to the bar. The dispute turned out to be all in his head and the boards were quickly restored. The guy’s reputation took a major hit from which he may never recover.

Here on Ambergris Caye in Belize, “Mind the gap” gained special relevance over the past weekend when the landlord of the Palapa Bar & Grill removed 10 planks in the pier used to reach the iconic bar.

The man, who recently bought the property — a diminutive and abrasive Texan, kind of a very bald Yosemite Sam — claims the longtime leaseholders, Scott and Jodi Harnish, were behind in their rent.

Not so. Read the rest of this entry »