San Pedro Sun

San Pedro town ‘fathers’ deliver stern lectures to fire victims before disbursing relief funds

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Einer Salazar lectures fire victims on the importance of keeping their mouths shut before dispensing fire relief funds. Ouch.
Eiden Salazar lectures fire victims on the importance of keeping their mouths shut before dispensing fire relief funds. Ouch.

Yesterday morning I answered the San Pedro Food Bank’s call for volunteers to help sort donated clothing for distribution to Hurricane Earl victims.

By the time I got to the Lion’s Den in San Pedro, shortly after 9 a.m., the sorting process was well under way.

This is a pretty experienced group. Only a bit more than a month ago, 88 San Pedranos, businesses and property owners were left homeless by a downtown fire and the local Red Cross, Lions Club and Food Bank seemed to click together in bringing relief to fire victims. Including clothing distribution.

Now they were doing it all over again.

Fortunately, the overwhelming response to the fire left the local service groups with plenty of boxes and bags of clothing donations that never got sorted and distributed — and frankly didn’t need to. They were ready and waiting for Hurricane Earl’s victims. Which is why the Food Bank was urging only donations of non-perishable food and bedding this time. (Still needed, by the way.)

The Food Bank’s Brittney O’Daniel is spearheading an effort to raise $20,000 for lumber, zinc (roofing), nails etc. to rebuild homes of 49 families in San Mateo “half-destroyed” by Hurricane Earl. Read about it here.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, as we sorted out clothing for hurricane victims — and the many fire victims who are still trying to recover — a second gathering was taking place in the Lion’s Den.

The funds raised for the Middle Street fire victims were about to be distributed by the Red Cross, Lions Club, National Emergency Management Organization and San Pedro officials.

But not without some drama. Read the rest of this entry »

After Earl: This was the Palapa Bar

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Our friend Ben Popik took this drone shot of the Palapa Bar, or what remains of it in the Boca del Rio section of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Our friend Ben Popik took this drone shot of the Palapa Bar, or what remains of it in the Boca del Rio section of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Ben Popik, owner of the popular Truck Stop and Island Films, took a number of drone shots on Thursday of what remains of the once-thriving San Pedro coast line. You can see more of his images here.

This coast was, until, Wednesday night, jammed with piers and boats and businesses. Not a single dock, commercial or private, on the 24-miles island escaped Hurricane Earl unscathed.

Photos from various numerous island sources and residents:

Hey Paradise, you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone

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Hail, hail, the gang's all here -- at Lobsterfest 2015 Block Party of course. This is what we were doing while our gold cart was getting stolen. I'd post pictures of the cart but I have none. Hey, it was kind of ugly. So I'll just keep posting Lobster fest images here.
Hail, hail, the gang’s all here — at Lobsterfest 2015 Block Party of course. This is what we were doing while our gold cart was getting stolen. I’d post pictures of the cart but I have none. Hey, it was kind of ugly. So I’ll just keep posting Lobster fest images here.

In answer to your first question — hey, it is everybody’s first question: Yes, I did lock the golf cart.

I always lock the golf cart.

Because I don’t want it to get stolen.

It was stolen Saturday night.

And, yes, it was locked. Read the rest of this entry »

Eco-Challenge kayakers finish 42-mile, 2-day feat of endurance

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Eco-Challenge winners Cesar Salazar and Irvin Humes of Team Coco Beach cross the finish line in front of Central Park, San Pedro Town, Belize. The finish of the 42-mile, two-day kayak race around Ambergris Caye drew a big crowd to the beach.
Eco-Challenge winners Cesar Salazar and Irvin Humes of Team Coco Beach cross the finish line in front of Central Park, San Pedro Town, Belize. The finish of the 42-mile, two-day kayak race around Ambergris Caye drew a big crowd to the beach.

Given its advantage point as the restaurant closest to the finish line for the 10th annual Lagoon Reef Eco-Challenge kayak race, it was no surprise that business on Sunday morning was booming in Estel’s Dine by the Sea.

Yet, somehow, Rose and I ended up with the front corner table, closest to Central Park and the finish line. From this vantage point we could look far down the beach, and catch glimpses of the sea between piers and palapas.

Sooner or later — later, as it turned out — the brightly colored kayaks of the lead boats would appear. Read the rest of this entry »

Among a slew of perfect days in Belize, the most perfect of all

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Could there be a better way to spend a birthday?
Could there be a better way to spend a birthday than snorkeling the Belize barrier reef? That’s Rose, above. Ask her!

On Thursday everything in the universe was was aligned. It was a calendar palindrome 4-10-2014 (4102014). And apparently the sun, mars, the moon and the earth were all perfectly aligned on the same axis.

Powerful, inexplicable, mystical forces at work.

A good day to celebrate a birthday.

Oh, yeah: Mine! Read the rest of this entry »

Belize as Paradise? It is a complicated place

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Shock and awe: Military and law enforcement types converged on San Pedro Town for two days of "public display of enforcement." This, after four gang-type shootings in less than four weeks on the little island of Ambergris Caye.
Shock and awe: Military and law enforcement types converged on San Pedro Town for two days of “public display of enforcement.” This, after four gang-type shootings in less than four weeks on the little island of Ambergris Caye.

On a recent Friday evening, a podium-full of Belize movers and shakers waxed eloquently on the bold and beautiful future of San Pedro Town (“Voted No. 1 island in the world for the second straight year!”) to an enthusiastic and well-heeled crowd.

Hardly an hour later and only a handful of blocks away, three black-clad gunmen on a busy Neptune Street corner saw their target bicycle past and unleashed a volley of 9mm gunshots.  Their target was hit by two bullets. Fortunately none of the many bystanders were.

At any other time, such juxtaposing of civic boosterism and street realism would scream “Ironic!”

Except that this was the fourth shooting, one fatal, this month in San Pedro Town. Read the rest of this entry »