Rose Alcantara

Tasting the good life at Mayan Islands Resort grand opening

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Mayan Islands Resort has several of these pods around its pool and lounging area. The perfect setting for a group of friends.
Mayan Islands Resort has several of these pods around its pool and lounging area. The perfect setting for a group of friends, including Hasni and Sue enjoying a relaxing moment.

Word spread quickly among our friends that the Mayan Islands Resort was holding its grand opening this past Sunday and an invite quickly became the hottest ticket on Ambergris Caye.

To say the opening has been highly anticipated is a bit of a reach — it has been years in the making, after all — but it has been the subject of a great deal of curiosity and speculation.

For example, every time we set off  by boat for the back side of the island and pass close by the resort on the tip of the island’s western prong, it is the subject of much resort envy.  Read the rest of this entry »

Trash talkin’ on Ambergris Caye in Belize

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Our First Friday crew, gathering for the traditional group shot just before we hit the street and beach in the Tres Cocos neighborhood of Ambergris Caye.
Our First Friday crew waves our new trash pick-up sticks as we gather for the traditional group shot around one of the new trash barrels, just before we hit the street and beach in the Tres Cocos neighborhood of Ambergris Caye on November 6, 2015.

Mary Wells, a Houston real estate agent, and her family came to San Pedro recently in search of a second home. They brought a dozen trash sticks with them to donate to our First Friday Tres Cocos Trash Pickup group.

Ironically — and sadly — they chose to take a pass on Belize as their second home. It was, in Mary’s words, just too dirty. Trash everywhere. Read the rest of this entry »

Trashing Halloween in San Pedro is a barrel of laughs

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Sue, Rachel (aka Dorothy) Rose, Wayne and Linda strike a pose at the Holiday Hotel entrance after walking the Black Carpet. Let the party begin!
Sue, Rachel (aka Dorothy) Rose, Wayne and Linda strike a pose at the Holiday Hotel entrance after walking the Black Carpet. Let the party begin!

We totally trashed Halloween this year.

No, I didn’t say we got trashed. I said we trashed Halloween.

As in garbage.

It is a big topic on the island these days because it is a big problem. As one guy would say, “Trash is huuuge!” Read the rest of this entry »

U.S. dental team marks 23rd year putting smiles on the faces of Belizeans

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The Lion's Club building has been a hive of activity these past two weeks as dentistry professionals have descended on Belize from the United States to volunteer their skills to the community. This is the 23rd year for Belize Mission Project, which started as an innocent fishing trip to San Pedro. Volunteers pay their own way, taking vacation time and puttng smiles on local faces while leaving very much changed themselves.
The Lion’s Club building has been a hive of activity these past two weeks as dentistry professionals have descended on Belize from the United States to volunteer their skills to the community. This is the 23rd year for Belize Mission Project, which started as an innocent fishing trip to San Pedro. Volunteers pay their own way, taking vacation time and puttng smiles on local faces while leaving very much changed themselves.

I can’t help but think that if the big-game hunting dentist Walter Palmer had met his colleague Frank Whipps years ago, Cecil the lion might be alive today, as well as a whole ark full of rare, endangered, docile and beautiful trophy creatures.

Dr. Whipps has that sort of positive influence on the dental community. He’s a guy who gives dentistry a good name, especially here in Belize.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ten images to make you fall in love with Ambergris Caye all over again

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Everything looks better when framed between two palm trees. That is my photo tip for the day. Notice how glass-like the water is today, as if you could walk on it.
Everything looks better when framed between two palm trees. That is my photo tip for the day. Notice how glass-like the water is today, as if you could walk on it. I should be on it — of beneath it — instead of talking about it. Darn you, “Moncho’s 59.”

I spent this morning walking home from San Pedro. And it took hours. I meandered. I poked. I explored. I dawdled. It felt like walking home from grade school all over again, and that is a good feeling.

I walked because I wanted to but the main reason is that a misbehaving “Moncho’s 59” is scaring the bejesus out of people. Our golf cart has taken to backfiring — and not those cute little “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” burps and belches.

When “Moncho’s 59” backfires it sounds like a Crips and Bloods cross-fire. More than one person has headed for the ground with their head covered. Plus it is stalling at the most inopportune times, like when I’ve backed out into traffic and have three seconds to hit forward before the next cart rams me from behind. 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 »

Sundown in San Pedro

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rose-sunset

Last night at dusk, Rose and I sat on the edge of our dock with glasses of wine and watched these guys deliver a load of lumber to a neighbor who is rebuilding his pier and restaurant.

The sailboat brought in the lumber and off-loaded it to the skiff, which was then poled into shore across the shallows. Man, that was hard labor.

The water was uncommonly still, as was the air. Even the constant murmur of waves tumbling over the barrier reef was muted.

Meanwhile, pelicans were diving into the water around us, like kamikaze bombers in pursuit of the sardines so thick that, for a brief moment, the sea looked like it was coming to a boil.

These birds are the most graceless hunters I have ever seen.

It is a barely controlled plunge which almost sends them ass over teakettle, were it not for their wings breaking momentum on the water surface. Sometimes they come up with a fish, more often they do not.

Just thought I’d share some of the life on the end of the pier.

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 »

Closing out Rose’s birthday season searching for manatees and hanging out at the sand bar

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Welcome to the sand bar.
Welcome to the sand bar.

It is a good day when you can say you spent some time on a boat searching for a herd of manatees.

And we did. On Saturday. En route to the sand bar.

Our captain Eddy had seen about 14 manatees around the south end of Ambergris Caye only the day before so we slowed to a halt at the same spot. Everybody  put on their best sea squints and searched the horizons. Read the rest of this entry »

First Friday of the month means time for some island love in Tres Cocos

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After two hours picking up trash in the broiling sun, why is this group smiling? Island love, for sure as well as iced coffee and cookies from Marbucks and chilled and scented washcloths from Pilates by Rose sure help.
After two hours picking up trash in the broiling sun, why is this group smiling? Island love, for sure as well as iced coffee and cookies from Marbucks and chilled and scented washcloths from Pilates by Rose sure help.

It is a new month and a first Friday has come and gone and if you live north of the bridge on Ambergris Caye, you know what that means: There is less trash on the side of the road.

Our monthly project, First Friday Tres Cocos Trash Pickup, is yielding some real dividends. Read the rest of this entry »