“Come Fly with Me” to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Yesterday started much the same way for me as any other day. Up at 06.15 hours. OK a little later than normal but I needed the extra sleep given the ‘exertions’ (or was it the Belikins I had drunk?) the previous night on the Poker Run.

I chose the western veranda on the first floor (I think this is likely to be my usual ‘venue’ of choice) to savour my first mug of black coffee of the day and catch up on the news via The Sunday Times online.

I moved inside just before 07.30 hours (having unlocked the store room/garage at 07.00 hours for Rubio and Mike so that they could get their tools)to watch Newcastle United play Arsenal. Not the most exciting of games. In fact it wouldn’t be unkind to describe it as dour. But I didn’t care. Why? Because Arsenal secured a win, courtesy of a headed goal by Oliver Giroud.

That’s three games undefeated since we got our TV. I think The Arsenal may have found a new, lucky charm. The power of TV! I hope the unbeaten run lasts as long as the TV although out here that might not be too long!

I’ll bring you up-to-date on the progress of our fence later in this edition (please be patient and don’t skip to the next bit!) but first want to ‘introduce’ a few more photos kindly provided to me by Melissa and Ken Fellure. This time focusing on what air travel to Ambergris Caye was like twenty to thirty years ago.


The old Maya Air (forerunner to Maya Island Air) Arrivals and Departure building .

How it has changed (and grown).




A Cargo office too.

And what about Tropic Air?


From this to





These CUTE little buildings just cried out “Come fly with me”.

WOW. Stop. What’s happening to me? I’ve used CUTE, AWESOME and WOW in one edition. Is someone putting ‘blogger-speak’ capsules in my coffee?

Anyway, let’s get back to the fence.

The day started with Rubio and Mike focusing on placing the posts for the roadside part of the fence/entrance gates.



Mike digging the hole for one of the gate posts.


And it’s in.

So on to the next one.


With the posts in for the roadside section they then moved to the sea wall to start work on that section.


Post for the south-west corner.

On to the second post.



And the third.

The headline for today’s edition is based on the track of the album of the same name released by Frank Sinatra in 1958 which reached number one in the US Billboard Hot 200.

“Friends in Low Places” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Out on the first floor western (lagoon side) veranda by around 05.30 hours yesterday with – yes, you’ve guessed- a mug of black coffee and my iPad. I spent around an hour out there -just enough time for me to catch up on the news via The Times online and have a second mug of coffee.

I then decided that I deserved a breakfast – an Estel’s breakfast – so I showered, shaved and got dressed (adding a sweat top to my usual attire of ‘T’ shirt and shorts because it was a little breezy and there was a chill in the air – don’t know that I am now equipped to handle the weather in the UK at the moment) and took the drive to ‘Town. A less bumpy ride than it has been of late because they have carried out some more repair work on the road to the bridge.

I was ready to go when Rubio and Mike arrived to recommence work on the fence so I unlocked the store room/garage so that they could get their tools and left for a very enjoyable breakfast. They always are at Estel’s though.

By the time I got back home Rubio and Mike had made really good progress on the fence for the southern side of our lot and had completed fitting the horizontal posts that they started the day before


Fence on the southern side running from the road (eastern side) to the lagoon (western side).

and had started work on the northern side.


Rubio, although measuring everything twice, works quickly and with Mike fetching and carrying the posts


the horizontal posts were fixed in place at a fair old lick.


My observation of the guys working – I am quite getting used to watching as opposed to ‘doing’ – was interrupted when I heard a noise around the front of the house. I walked around the veranda and saw that it was a guy pushing his motorbike in to our lot.

I shouted down to him and he explained that it had broken down as he was on his way to work. He asked me if it was OK to leave it on our land whilst he went to work, promising that he would return with the parts to get it going again. When I told him that he could he looked up at me with a big smile on his face and thanked me and then told me I was his friend. Now I truly can say I have friends in low places (OK its a naff connection but I have wanted to use this song as a headline for ages).


All the while Rubio and Mike continued work on the fence, working their way along the northern side of our lot.


Around 15.45 hours my friend from earlier in the day returned with his friend and they set about replacing the broken chain on his bike


and it wasn’t too long before he was on his way, waving happily as he left our lot.

By this time Rubio and Mike had finished for the day (most building workers here finish at 16.00 hours on a Saturday) so I took a walk to the sea wall to see how the fence was taking shape.



Although Rose and I were going on a Poker Run I still had time for a ‘sit and chill’ on the veranda as the sun was getting ready to as goodbye for another day.



A quick shower and shave and a set of fresh clothes and we headed off for the Poker Run and had a great time. Starting off at the Road Kill Bar, on to Luna Loca ((the place to go on a Saturday night if you like (and I do) 70’s,80’s & 90’s music that has been ‘funked up’ (great music selection by Chris Skorwid)), then on to Lola’s Bar, Wayo’s Beachside Beernet and finishing off at Pedro’s Hotel. We didn’t win (again) but had a fun night.

Don’t know if this is an EXCLUSIVE or not (because it has been fairly common knowledge for nearly a week) but Caribbean Villas has just been bought by a consortium headed by Peter Lawrence (aka Pedro of Pedro’s Hotel) and the new owners take over around the middle of next month.

I am sure that changes will take place fairly quickly and I know that a new, much enlarged, bar on the beach is on the ‘agenda’.

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1990 by Garth Brooks which reached number one in the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and number thirty-six in the UK Singles Chart.

“Imagine” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Hopefully you all had a great Christmas. Rose and I did. The first in our new home.

I know that it was Christmas but there was nothing much different for the start of the day for me. Usual routine. Veranda, chair, mug of black coffee and the iPad. Wait. There was a difference. I had a new iPad. An iPad Air.

I can’t say that it came as a surprise. Why? Well, I bought it for myself.

The ‘old’ (given that I have not had it for quite two years I shouldn’t really call it old) one has served me well but a lot of the original functionality has gone. Rose blames me for this saying that I just don’t look after things. Me? I think it’s the weather conditions. It’s funny though that her one works as well as the day she got it. Long before I got my one too!

In the previous edition I showed you a couple of the presents that Rose gave to me. It didn’t end there though. Oh no. She bought me a pair of Belizean style house slippers.


I know they are Crocs but who needs a pair of sheepskin lined slippers in Belize? And the cushion soles are just great for tiled floors and our wooden staircase.

On Christmas morning after breakfast we basically just lazed around until it was time to go to Pedro’s Hotel for the Sad Bastards Christmas Day Lunch. The food, as always, was superlative and the Secret Santa Present session was good fun. And (obviously) the wine and Belikin were flowing and everyone had a great time. So much so that I ended up speechless!


Peter (aka Pedro), Andy and me doing our three (not very) wise monkeys’ impression. I’m the one that dressed for lunch – a long-sleeved shirt!

We stayed for a while after lunch – maybe a shade too long – and watched the opening set by The Cover-Ups before we took the long, winding and bumpy ride home to sleep, very well. Think the Belikin may have had something to do with that!

Boxing Day came and went without too much eventful happening. Oh apart from Arsenal coming from a goal down to triumph over West Ham by three goals to one. Since we have been able to watch our team on our own TV they are undefeated! OK so it’s only two games but …

Yesterday, with the holiday break over, work resumed on the erection of our fence starting off with a delivery of more wood. Treated pine to save you asking.


Mike then set about carrying the planks to the side (southern) of the house and before too long it was neatly stacked.


Whilst Mike was stacking the wood Rubio had started preparing wood for the horizontal posts and with Mike finished they began fitting them.



“Bring another post Mike”.


As Rubio and Mike worked their way along the southern side of our lot it was not too difficult to imagine what it will look like when the fence is in situ.

In bringing today’s edition to and end I’ll leave you with another of Melissa and Ken Fellure‘s photos from ‘way back when’.


The old Police Station when it was virtually on the beach.


‘Home’ of the old Police Station – how it looks now.


How the Police Station looks today.

The headline is based on the single released in 1975 by John Lennon which reached number one in the UK Singles Chart and number three in the US Billboard Hot 100.

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” from San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

It’s Christmas Day morning so what am I doing here on the first floor, lagoon facing (western side) veranda ? Writing this Christmas Day edition of the blog that’s what! Told you I can get a bit OCD didn’t I.

I will let you know what yesterday held for Rose and I (if you are interested) but first I just want to say “Have yourself a merry little Christmas ” (OK that’s the song title for the headline out of the way!).

I mentioned in yesterday’s edition that I got an early – and most welcome- Christmas present that arrived in the post. Well yesterday Rose and I got some more early presents when Ofel Flota turned up at the house around 10.00 hours with Moses and Pablo. And our bed. And our night stands. And (yes there was more) our curtain rods. None of them were wrapped but who cared!

But it got better than the stuff just being delivered because Moses and Pablo assembled the furniture and fitted the curtain rods ( I now know what Rose is going to be doing after Christmas. Making the curtains!).


Our curtain rods.


One ‘down’, five to go!

Whilst Moses and Pablo were busy at work Ofel’s other guys continued work on our fence and concentrated their efforts on installing the final posts for the southern side of our lot.


Louis measuring to make sure that the post has been sunk to the right depth.


Rubio measuring and marking where the horizontal posts will go.


Louis with only one post to go and ready to head home for Christmas.


Looking good.


Southern side finished.

This morning Rose and I opened the Christmas presents we had got for each other and Rose, as always, included something that she had made just for me.


Soap. Is she trying to tell me something?

Santa had also chipped in with festive mugs for us each.


Very Christmassy.


And mine gets its maiden run!

When Rose opened her presents she found the bag she always wanted.


No expense spared! OK, so they gave it to me but it’s the thought that counts. And the colour suits her. And she goes there a lot. And not everyone has got one. Have I said enough?

The headline for today’s edition is based on the version recorded by The Carpenters which was track four on side one of their “Christmas Portrait” which was released in 1978. The album reached number one hundred and fourteen in the US Billboard Hot 200 chart and one hundred and four in the UK Albums Chart.

“Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” -San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Well in today’s edition I bring things virtually up-to-date. I ‘say’ virtually because although I am covering some of what Rose and I experienced yesterday I am not covering everything.

As journalist, picture editor, sub-editor, editor, editor-in-chief and the publisher I have total say so over what goes in to an edition. Don’t worry though, I’m not morphing in to some kind of second league Citizen Kane, it’s more a case of holding a little back in case I run out of things to write about. Sort of building up a library.

In the last edition I told you that Ofel Flota‘s guys had started work on the fence that we are going to have around the lot that our house ‘sits’ on. Before I bring you up-to-date on this work though I have got (I know I don’t have to but … I want to) to let you know just how much better my ‘me time’ is first thing in the morning.

Since the container arrived I’ve had my own chair to sit in (or is it ‘sit on’? – never quite sure). It’s made my mug of black coffee and iPad time so much more enjoyable. No more having to carry one of the only two chairs that we had for our first nine weeks (quite uncomfortable chairs actually) out on to the veranda.


My ‘comfort zone’ at around 05.00 hours. Note the mug (it has black coffee in it) and my iPad.

Before I go much further I want to ‘say’ a very public (and this is about as ‘public’ as I can get) “thank you” to Louise Gow (a long-time reader of this blog from the UK who also is going to move to Belize) for my first Christmas present.

In the summer I happened to mention in an edition that one of my all time favourite books (I read it again and again as I approached my teens) was Forward Arsenal by Bernard Joy. Louise informed me that she had managed to get a copy of it on eBay and would give it to me when she visited Belize in November.

Unfortunately the timing just wasn’t right for Louise and I to meet so she posted it to me before she left Belize to return to the UK and since then I have been checking our PO Box every couple of days only to be met with disappointment. That is until yesterday. It had arrived!


The envelope wasn’t on for long before …


the content was revealed. I know what I will be reading over Christmas. THANK YOU Louise from a very,very happy me.

It’s true that Rose and I have been busy since the container arrived but not so busy that we couldn’t take a little time out to erect the Christmas tree. Our first since moving to Belize.


With the tree up it really does look like Santa Claus is coming to town.

Anyway, let’s get back to the construction of our fence.

Ofel’s guys started off on the northern side of the house and after striking the lines and cutting down some branches of trees that were in the way set about putting the vertical posts in.




A close up.


Constantly checking with a spirit level.

As the day wore on so the line of posts grew.




Post bolted securely to the sea wall.

And then the guys started setting the posts for the fence for the southern side.



First one in.


And they are off!

The headline for today’s edition is based on the version of the song by The Jackson 5 which was released as a single in 1970 and reached number forty-three in the UK Singles Chart.

“Back When” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Instead of starting today’s edition by regaling you (well I think some of you find it amusing) with my early morning exploits- you know, black coffee, etc – I thought I’d start off by including another of Melissa and Ken Fellure’s pictures from yesteryear.


The Barrier Reef Hotel in Barrier Reef Drive (front street).

One of the first meals that Rose and I had when we first visited Ambergris Caye was back when The Barrier Reef Hotel was operational. We had dinner on the veranda and if I recall correctly it wasn’t the greatest cuisine I’ve experienced but the atmosphere and the view (Rose of course -she was as ‘tasty’ then as she is now) were tremendous.


How it looks now.


Heritage Bank standing just where The Barrier Hotel used to be.

In the previous edition I told you that our container of stuff was delivered on Wednesday morning and that Lloyd and two of his guys carried the parcels to the areas of the house that we had designated for them. So it just remained for Rose and I to rip open the boxes (carefully of course) and place the contents in position in their new ‘home’.

We went ‘at it’ like demons and very soon we were surrounded by cardboard boxes and it was becoming very difficult to move. So remedial action was required.


Empty boxes stacked in front of the ground floor apartment.


And then a bonfire! Our vacant adjacent lot sure comes in handy.

I should mention (don’t really have to of course but I want to) that two of the first boxes we unpacked contained our mattress and a box spring. Time for the air mattress to go back in the bag. It had served its purpose but …

We spent the rest of the day opening boxes but didn’t complete the task so resumed the next morning (after a very comfortable night’s sleep – OK the bed hasn’t been made and delivered yet but …) and after a full day we eventually completed unpacking. And I had another bonfire!

On Friday morning I spent some real quality ‘me time’ on the first floor, lagoon side veranda with a mug of black coffee and my iPad. And a proper chair (photo to follow in the next edition – can’t wait can you!). A mattress and a chair. Oh the bliss. So good that I very nearly didn’t feel like going to Estel’s for breakfast! It was good but not that good so I made the bumpy journey to town for my second bit of self-indulgence of the day. It’s a hard life!

I hadn’t been home long when we heard the sound of a lorry (truck for non-UK readers). The first load of wood for our fence was being delivered.


It didn’t take Ofel Flota‘s guys too long to unload the lorry (truck)


and then start moving it


to the southern side of the house.


With the lorry (truck) unloaded and the wood nicely stacked the guys then set about striking and setting the lines (using fishing line) for the fence for the northern side of our lot.


‘Guide’ frames in place to run the line.


Lines ‘run’.

And then they starting digging the holes for the posts.



Exciting isn’t it. Better than a soap opera! TO BE CONTINUED …

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 2004 by Tim McGraw which reached number thirty in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number one in the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.

“Waiting in Vain” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

In yesterday’s edition I promised(sounds very magnanimous of me doesn’t it) that I would bring you all (anyone would think that I have an audience of thousands ) up-to-date with what’s been going on for Rose and I. So, without further ado I will start to do just that.

On Tuesday morning I caught the Belize Water Taxi 07.30 service to Belize City and on arrival at around 09.00 hours caught a taxi and went straight to the offices of Caribbean Shipping Service (this company acts as agent for Hyde Shipping, the company we used to bring our purchases over from Miami) to pay the invoice so that our container would be released.

As an aside I must mention (well I don’t have to really but it might be of interest to some of you) that if you are in Belize for any length of time and think that you might be using the Belize Water Taxi service quite a bit it could be worth your while joining the Rewards Program. It will cost you BZ$ 10 to join but thereafter you get discounts off the normal prices. For example a return ticket from San Pedro to Belize City normally costs BZ$ 50 but as a member of the Rewards Program it costs BZ$ 48. OK so it’s only a BZ$ 2 saving but … it adds up over time. So am I a member? Keep meaning to fill in the form but haven’t quite got around to it yet.

Anyway,sorry for that little diversion, let’s get back to the purpose of my visit to Belize City on Tuesday – the inspection, clearance AND release (sounds like it was imprisoned doesn’t it) of our container.

After paying the invoice I headed (I’d kept the taxi waiting for me) straight to the Port of Belize to meet with Milyn Gomez our Customs Broker and a day of excitement, not!

I wish that I could spice or glam up the process that followed but I can’t. My literary and creative skills are not that good. A descendant of Wilhelm or Jacob Grimm I’m not. Suffice it to ‘say’ that it was a painfully, numbingly boring process.

I just stood around whilst various people headed off to different offices with my paperwork and every so often I was told that my container would be taken to the Queen’s Bonded Warehouse soon. Live in Belize for a while though and you get to realise that ‘soon’ has a different meaning to what you are used to it meaning.

The lunch break came and went and I continued to just stand around waiting. I felt like I had waited so long that I might be waiting in vain but then Samuels aka “Buck” returned to find me – just waiting- and gave me the great news. Yes, our container was on the move.

“Buck” and I walked to the Queen’s Bonded Warehouse and got there just before the container arrived.


Backing up to the dock/inspection area.


In position.


Break the seal.

“Buck” and two other guys (I paid each of them BZ$ 50) then unloaded a sufficient number of packages to create a pathway for the Customs and Excise Department officials to inspect our consignment.




The officials then carried out an inspection and found nothing in the container that wasn’t on the list of items that the Belize Tourism Board had approved as being absent of tax and duties. Maybe it was my imagination (it can be a bit vivid at times) but they didn’t look too happy that they didn’t find anything in the container that shouldn’t have been there.

With the inspection over it was to close the container doors


and for me to lock it with the padlock I’d taken with me.


With the container locked I jumped in the cab of the lorry (truck for non-UK readers) to make the short journey down the road to the Caribbean Queen barge.


The antiquated (and well worn) dashboard of the cab.

Within minutes the driver was reversing on to the barge


and unhitching the trailer with our container.


Beside us another barge was being loaded with building materials and fruit/vegetables.


Ready to be loaded next were fourteen new golf carts for what to me seems like Carts Belize,one of the golf cart hire companies on Ambergris Caye.


Just in time for the busy Christmas and New Year period.

I don’t know if this is an exclusive or not but the driver told me that last week he loaded a forty foot container on the barge to Ambergris Caye for Steven Seagal. Not seen him on the island yet but …

By now it was close to 16.30 hours and time for me to head home but after hanging around all day I just couldn’t face the thought of a crowded water taxi back to Ambergris Caye so I took a taxi to the Municipal Airport and caught the last flight Tropic Air flight of the day.

The next morning (Wednesday for those of you that are interested in this type of detail) at around 11.00 hours the container arrived at our house where we were anxiously waiting for it.


“Don’t go by”.


Driver testing that our driveway (I use this description very loosely) was firm enough to take the lorry(truck) and trailer.




Rose unlocking the padlock.

We had organised it for Lloyd and two of his guys to be there to unload the container and take the packages to the areas of the house that we wanted them in and within two hours the container was empty and it was time for Rose and I to start opening the parcels.

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1977 by Bob Marley and the Wailers which reached number twenty-seven in the UK Singles Chart.

“Say It Isn’t So” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Its been a while since I published an edition so I’ve got quite a lot to tell you about to bring you up-to-date. I’ll do this over a few editions and will start the ‘catch-up’ at the end of last week.

I’ve tended to choose the veranda on the first floor at the front of the house quite a few mornings for my first mug of black coffee of the day and a read of The Times online on my iPad. Well I didn’t so much choose it as a heavy driving rain made the choice for me. I’m not complaining though because at least I had somewhere to sit outside in the dry. I’m still making use of the one seat (until our container arrives – more about this later) I can call my own

Most mornings the rain eventually abated enough if I wanted (and I did on a few mornings) to make the very ponderous and bumpy ride to town for breakfast at Estel’s. Well I needed something to cheer me up!

On Friday we got a call from Ofel Flota (his company, Aqua Construction Co Limited, is making some furniture and building and erecting the fence for us) that our first payment to him had eventually ‘hit’ his bank account. Apparently it had been ‘floating around’ in the ‘banking ether’ because Atlantic International Bank Limited had not included the branch account numbers within the wire transfer instructions.

The delay was irritating (and so is the amount of time consumed trying to find out why the payment took so long to be processed) but it has still been made in good enough time for us to have our bed for Christmas. The air-bed has been OK and I now really know what the saying “roll out of bed” (the air-bed only ‘sits’ six inches off the floor) means but I won’t be sorry at all to say “goodbye” to it and “HELLO mattress”!

The other welcome telephone call (don’t know why I phrased it this way because I don’t recall getting any unwelcome ones!) on Friday was from Milyn Gomez, our Customs Broker. He was aiming to present paperwork for our imported goods to the Customs and Excise Department on Monday with the objective of arranging the inspection and clearance the following day and thats exactly what he did and because of this I travelled to Belize City on Tuesday to witness the process (more about this in the next edition).

In a recent edition I included a photo of the two dwarf palm trees that we bought and after this I received comments (one from my sister – so its doubly important!) that only one of the trees could be seen. So to remedy this below is a photo that includes both of the trees.


I don’t like to be a harbinger of bad news but I have now heard from a few people that the closure of BC’s is imminent. I know that this has been quite a few times on the Ambergris Caye.com forum and in one or two blogs but this time it just seems to have more substance.


An island icon.



The ceiling covered with sports shirts that everyone looks up at.


Is the welcome sign about to be replaced with goodbye?

Apparently the notice for the lease for BC’s has been exercised and work on building the Diamante beachfront suites will commence soon.


Hoarding displaying an artist’s impression of what the Diamante development will look like.

I do hope that the speculation turns out just to be another rumour. I just need someone to say it isn’t so.

Regular readers I am sure will recall (you’ll need good memories though because the last edition was some time ago) that I mentioned that Ken and Melissa Fellure (two long-time visitors to Ambergris Caye) had very kindly given mea disk with a collection of photos that they took in the mid eighties to the mid nineties (last century in fact). Well today I include the first of these photos.


Cannibal Cafe. A great place to go for breakfast or a beer (Belikin of course) in the evening.

Cannibal’s was demolished and replaced with a concrete structure that has operated under a number of names and now goes under the name Luna Loca.


Just where Cannibal’s Cafe used to be.

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1983 by Hall & Oates which reached number two in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number sixty-nine in the UK Singles Chart.

“Picture This” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

So what have I been up to since the last edition? Nothing world changing but, nonetheless, important to me.

I’ve continued to do ‘battle’ with Atlantic International Bank Limited to make the wire transfer I actioned last Wednesday (yes, last Wednesday) for the down payment (for the wood) for the furniture and fence that we are going to have made/erected.

Rose and I had hoped that with a relatively quick transfer of funds the work on the furniture would have commenced on Monday of this week but here we are nearly at the end of the week and … Bankers!!!

I’ve (obviously) continued to enjoy my early morning time on a veranda with the mug of black coffee and my iPad. Choosing which veranda to sit on though has been massively influenced by whether it was raining or not (and it has rained a lot) and, if it was, which direction the rain was driving in from.

It has rained so much that although we have now been in our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize for nearly seven weeks our ‘under the house’ water tank is still in overflow mode. Mother Nature is great. Although I must admit that it feels like I am developing web feet!


BWS (Belize Water Services) “Eat your heart out!”.

The container of stuff we purchased in Miami arrived in Belize City on Monday and I have spent a fair bit of time(well not that much really because it doesn’t take that long to knock out an email or two but I thought I needed to inject some drama in to this edition) emailing Roshel Godfey at the Belize Tourism Board to find out if the necessary (without it we would have to pay duties and tax on the goods) letter of authorisation had been generated.

After sending emails on a daily basis (on one day I actually sent two) I decided that maybe it might be better to try to talk with her over the ‘phone and after three attempts I got through and within minutes found out that our purchases have been approved for importation and that the letter was produced on 4th December! Anyone know where I can develop physic powers? Or learn to mind-read?

It was obviously frustrating to find out that the letter was available BEFORE our container arrived and that we (via our Customs Broker) could have started making arrangements for the inspection by the Customs and Excise Department as soon as the container arrived but we are not going to get wound up by this. We are just pleased that approval has been granted because there is now every chance that we will have a mattress and a TV for Christmas. In advance (and hoping that I am not tempting providence) thank you Santa (and the Belize Tourism Board of course!).

On Tuesday I had a day out all on my own -yes, I went out without Rose! Well, this is not strictly true because I met three friends who picked me up at Corazol airstrip (I had caught the 07.00 Tropic Air flight from San Pedro) just after 08.00 hours and we headed off for a day in Chetumal. TIP – do always ask for a discount when you book a flight because it works. Rose and I have never failed to get 10% off. It pays to ask!

We breezed through Belize Immigration in around five minutes (thank you “QRP” card) and only took slightly longer (had to fill the immigration card out) getting through Mexican immigration and then straight to Burger King (I have never professed to be a healthy eater). Fully burgered up (OK, I know that there is no such word but …) we ‘hit’ the shops with my main (well the only really) objective to get some (notice the use of plural) Christmas presents for Rose.

I had a really fun-filled and successful (can’t tell you what I got for Rose because -surprisingly- she reads this blog) day and got the 17.15 hours (the last one of the day) flight back to San Pedro.

I did take some time earlier in the week to take a look at progress on the Sunset Boardwalk project (I know that some of you have expressed an interest in this) and its obvious that it is nearing completion.




Looking good!

Even though it has been raining heavily throughout the week work has continued on building the little rock wall around the lot adjacent to our house that we own.


Taking shape at the edge of the lagoon.



He’s a little guy (who am I to talk?) but he hefted those rocks like they were tissue paper!

Rose and I also found time (am I really serious? We have loads of time) to take a look and admire the Christmas decorations adorning houses and businesses around San Pedro.


From the low key.






To the more extravagant.

If regular readers are starting to wonder (worry even) that I have jettisoned (see, I have seen so much water I am beginning to use nautical terms) Estel’s for breakfast stop thinking that way. Of course I have braved the elements (including the bumpy road to the bridge) and partaken (nice word isn’t it) of my favourite of eggs (sunny side up), potatoes, bacon and tortilla. And obviously a mug of black coffee.

I’ve been there so many times now that I’m fairly (not totally) confident that I can choose a table that’s dry when all around it is wet.


A very wet and windy Estel’s.

I meant to mention in a previous edition that last week Rose and I had the pleasure of formally meeting Melissa and Ken Fellure. We’ve seen them around San Pedro since we first started coming here nearly seventeen years ago but had never spoken to each other (reserved Englishman and all that). We had a great chat during which we learnt that they first came here over thirty years ago.

Seeing an opportunity I asked Ken if he had any photographs of San Pedro that he would be willing to let me use for the blog and I am really pleased to let you know that he has. It gets even better though. He has already provided me with a selection of them on CD.

So? I hear you (I can’t really hear you) thinking. Well, picture this. In future editions (maybe even starting with the next edition -can’t contain your excitement can you?) I am going to include a shot of a scene or building from twenty to thirty years ago and a photo of what it looks like now.

Today’s headline is based on the single released in 1978 by Blondie which reached number twelve in the UK Singles Chart. Surprisingly (well, as far as I am concerned anyway) it was never released as a single in the US.

“Who Wouldn’t Wanna Be Me” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Since the last edition the weather has improved quite a bit. We did experience some chilly (well by Belizean standards anyway) days and it rained (filled the water tank under the house again though!) but the last few days have been lovely, sunny and warm days. Feeling envious? You should be! Who wouldn’t wanna be me? Loads of people wouldn’t actually (for example a good looking twenty year old guy) actually but I needed to get the song title for today’s edition in somehow!

Some of you may be wondering if I am still getting up early and the answer is a resounding YES. I may not have been producing too many editions just lately but I have still had my ‘just me time’ in the morning. Well, me, the mug of black coffee and my good friend iPad. I still haven’t worked out though where I prefer to sit. Do I sit on the first floor veranda overlooking the lagoon or move to the smaller veranda at the front of the house to look out at the Caribbean? Now you are starting to understand (and maybe appreciate or even sympathise with) my predicament. Decisions, decisions. I think though that when I have a proper chair (not the wooden chair that has served all my needs -internal and external – since we moved in to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize six weeks ago) the choice will be a lot easier to make.

So what else have I been doing apart from wondering where I am going to sit first thing in the morning? Well, after some meetings with Ofel Flota (Aqua Construction Limited) Rose and I chose him to construct the furniture (three beds, two night stands, a dresser ,some shelves and six curtain rods) and the six foot fence that we are going to have erected around the lot that our house is on.

Obviously there is a great element of trust (and gut instinct) whenever you appoint someone to carry out some work for you but we are really confident that the furniture will turn out just as we want because Moses (long-time readers will, I am sure, remember that he was the carpenter for our house when he was employed by Daniel Camal our building contractor) works for Ofel.


Moses on the right.

Having chosen the contractor and negotiated an acceptable price (for both him and us) I made arrangements to make a wire transfer from our Atlantic International Bank account to Ofel’s Belize Bank account so that he can order the wood (treated pine) for the fence and I did this on Wednesday. The money though still hasn’t ‘hit’ his bank account. The two banks are only a couple of hundred yards apart from each other. The benefits of electronic banking? I could have walked the money there quicker!

Banking is a pet ‘hate’ for me this week. Aside from the time it has taken to wire the money for our fence I have also experienced real trouble in trying to withdraw cash over the counter at Atlantic International Bank Limited’s branch in Pescador Drive. Four days running I visited the branch, stood in the queue, got to the counter only to be told that the credit card telephone line “is out of order”. Bring back the quill pen and a ledger!

Some things have started to move in the right direction though. All of the stuff we ordered in the States was finally delivered to Hyde Shipping (the company we are using to bring the stuff from Miami ) and our twenty foot container set ‘sail’ on the service that departed on Friday and arrives in Belize City today. Just now need to get approval from the Belize Tourism Board and then ‘pass’ the inspection by the Customs and Excise Department. Then get the container barged to Ambergris Caye and then delivered to our house. The challenge is to have the TV on the wall by Christmas. I’m not asking a lot of Santa !

Rose and I have also spent time agreeing on the list of things that we should have included (thought about) in the build of our house and got Rolando and Nicholas to come to the house so that we could explain what we want and where we want it. We are now waiting for them to come back to us with a quotation for the work. In future editions (cant wait, can you!) I’ll provide details (and photos of course) for the things that we should have thought of but didn’t.

On Thursday we caught the 17.00 hours Tropic Air flight to the Municipal Airport and spent a very enjoyable evening in the company of our friends from BATSUB at the December Wine Club organised by Premium Wines and the Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina.

With a bit of time to ‘kill’ (the event didn’t start until 19.00 hours) we popped in to Le Peit Café to enjoy a pastry (or two). If you find yourself in this part of Belize City its a nice place, with lots to choose from at very reasonable prices.


We had a great evening tasting (well guzzling actually)Taittinger, sparkling wines and port (none of the latter for me though) and all for BZ$30 but all too soon the night was over and after a good night’s sleep at Price Barracks -courtesy of our friends in the British Army – we returned to Ambergris Caye the next afternoon. While we were at the ‘Barracks though we did see the Traveller Palm that Tom recommended to me in a recent Comment that he posted.


Just too big to get on the Tropic Air Caravan!

Around San Pedro the Christmas lights have started to adorn houses and shops alike and it’s fantastic just how much effort these people put in.



Nativity scene at Casa Pareisa in Boca Del Rio.




Christmas tree in Central Park.


Still in Barrier Reef Drive (near the Amigo’s Del Mar office). If you peer hard you can just see Rose.

Well I think I have allowed my mind to meander enough (some of you might think too much) with this edition so I will bring it to a close by leaving you with a shot of the sunset that I think (days blend so easily) I took last Wednesday.


The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 2003 by Keith Urban which reached number thirty in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number one in the US Hot Country Songs chart. If you are wondering why there has been this ‘run’ of Keith Urban songs it’s quite simple, he is one of Rose’s favourite singers and she plays his stuff all the time (and I mean ALL THE TIME). Strange though that when she plays his stuff it’s a video! Could it be something to do with his looks ???