The Truck Stop

This is Belize: Last sunrise of 2016, first sunset of 2017 and stuff in between — some fake, some real

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Last sunrise of 2016 on Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Last sunrise of 2016 on Ambergris Caye, Belize.

The last sunrise on Ambergris Caye for 2016 was a real beauty. A diaphanous gold, like spun cotton candy, filled the air out to the reef as an early morning sun shower cleansed us, washed away this most unusual year.

Happy New Year to you all! May your every dream find its path to fulfillment in 2017.

Thanks to the recent addition of Moppit to the household, sunrises are becoming a daily thing. In pre-Moppit days, I would awaken at a civilized hour and think, “Wow. That must have been a nice sunrise. Maybe tomorrow.” Read the rest of this entry »

If Andy Warhol were watching an Ambergris Caye sunset . . . .

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Four versions of the same sunset, each shot with a different filter within seconds of each other. Just playing with my new toy, an Olympus camera.
Four versions of the same sunset, each shot with a different filter, within seconds of each other. Just playing with my new toy, an Olympus point-and-shoot camera.

Can you tell I have a new camera to play with?

Rose brought me back a waterproof Olympus TG-870 “Tough” from her recent visit to the States for daughter Caira’s graduation from Arizona State. The camera has all sorts of artsy filter options on it (Kind of like an iPhone camera) plus a bunch of options for different shooting conditions.

Can you tell which image is the “natural/normal” setting? (I can’t remember.)

Watching the Belize sunset, you travel easily and gently through the wide range of emotions each of these photos might elicit, as the colors across the sunset canvas shift from blues to grays to burnt-and-brilliant oranges to an array of reds — and the water changes from blue-green to a burnished metallic blue. And eventually all falls to black with a stunning pattern of stars above.

Sunset is my favorite meditation.

As soon as the currently brewing storm passes — come on rain!! — I plan to take the camera out to the reef. It even has a couple of settings specifically for taking underwater photos. I always wanted to take underwater photos with a “fisheye” lens. It just seems like a natural thing to do.

I also like the idea of a camera that is waterproof, dust proof and shock proof. Living here on a salty wind-kissed island is hard on things like computers, coffee makers, toasters and especially cameras. This little point-and-shoot seems made for the island. All those “protections” may give it a fighting chance of lasting more than a year.

These photos were taken at sunset on what we call the Lagoon Side of the island. That’s where the water is calmest and shallowest. Excellent for fly fishing, crocodile watching, kite/sail boarding and plopping down into four inches of soothing Caribbean Sea with a drink in your hand. And, of course, sunset watching.

On this night (Wednesday) we were up at The Truck Stop for the weekly dinner and a movie (“The Big Labowski”).

Not a bad night — great food, funny movie, good friends and a beautiful sunset.

 

‘Criminal Minds’ in Belize? After screening, even worse than we imagined

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Here's the proof! FBI agents on Ambergris Caye are dwarfed by the barren hillsides of the island in a scene from the "Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders" episode "Love Interrupted."
Here’s the proof! FBI agents on Ambergris Caye are dwarfed by the barren hillsides of the island in a scene from the “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders” episode “Love Interrupted.”

On a balmy Friday night a couple dozen expats gathered beside the lagoon here on Ambergris Caye for an outdoors screening of this week’s episode of the spin-off CBS show “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders.”

Since its original TV airing on Wednesday, expats and Belizeans all over this tiny country have been convulsed in paroxysms of laughter. To be honest, some have been convulsed in paroxysms of rage.

This week, the elite FBI team lead by a heavily botoxed Gary Sinese drops into Belize to find a young American honeymoon couple who have gone two days without posting anything on social media, thus raising suspicions of foul play.

Let me say this: We all know Hollywood makes stuff up. That is what they do. That is their job and we mostly appreciate it.

But, seriously? Read the rest of this entry »

This is Belize: Watching the newest ‘Star Wars’ beneath the stars — and beside the lagoon

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Lights, camera, roll 'em! The sun sets and "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" begins at the Truck Stop, San Pedro, Belize.
Lights, camera, roll ’em! The sun sets and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” begins at the Truck Stop, San Pedro, Belize. That’s the fire pit in the foreground, used on Sundays to roast a pig or two and sometimes to toast marshmallows. The decking around it makes a great platform for viewing the Wednesday night movies.

There is something just so incalculably joyful about watching the Millennium Falcon speed through the universe in “Star Wars The Force Awakens” then tilting your head ever so slightly upward to count the real stars in the heavens.

Yes, the stars — and “Star Wars” — really were out last night on Ambergris Caye in Belize.

Outside, that is. Read the rest of this entry »

Lights! Cameras! Eatery! The Truck Stop in San Pedro, Belize, is ready for its closeup

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My friend Dion from the San Pedro Sun models a Truckstop cap. In the background is the Rasa restaurant and the ice cream shop.
My friend Dion Vansen from the San Pedro Sun models a Truck Stop cap. In the background is the Rasa restaurant and the ice cream shop.In the background is Chef Jeff Spiegel, formerly of Rojo, and in the black T-shirt is Nicolai Hebert, manager of Rasa and Arepa.

Adam and Jackie Feldman were talking hopefully about a “soft opening” this Saturday for their two newest restaurants — the Malaysian/Southeast Asian bistro Rasa and the Latin American cuisine Arepa — in The Truck Stop, the new freight container dining complex north of the Sir Barry Bowen Bridge.

Soft opening. Good luck with that. Read the rest of this entry »

In Low Season, some of our favorite bistros close down, but some surprise openings too

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Nikolai Hebert of Casa Picasso lights up the bar with his traditional end-of-the-season flaming aperitif.
Nikolai Hebert of Casa Picasso lights up the bar with his traditional end-of-the-season flaming aperitif.

 

(Editor’s note: You can find an updated version of this list here.)

Welcome to Low Season. Or Slow Season.

It is that time of the year when hurricanes are possible and tourists are harder to find.

If you are on Ambergris Caye for the first time, you would not be faulted for assuming that Low Seasons means the time of year when the weather is absolutely fabulous and the crowds have thinned out. 

It is true. We are having fabulous weather. (Trying very hard not to think about the tropical hurricane named Danny that is edging toward us right now.) Read the rest of this entry »