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

Ever since Ziggy’s blogging experience on Sunday I’ve had a real job of wresting my iPad from him. Fame (OK fame with a small ‘f’) has gone to his head!

His first attempt at blogging wasn’t bad. Not as good as mine (sic) but not bad … and with a bit more practice I’m sure he’ll improve. But he now considers himself an island, no, a Belizean, celebrity. He’s got his own Facebook page (you’ll find him at Ziggy Belize) and it won’t be long before his got more friends than me (not too difficult you’re thinking).

There’s a definite spring in his step and the constant standing in front of the full length mirror is starting to grate a little but this prancing and preening on his part does have its upsides. He wants to look good and this played right in to our hands when it was time to give his first bath on Sunday.


“A bit more lather please”.


“Haven’t you got any scented shampoo? Oh, and don’t forget my legs”.

Scrubbed and with his best collar on (well his only one actually) we took him out for a Sunday treat when we went to Carlo & Ernie’s Runway Bar & Grill to get a Barbecue (the best on the island as far as we are concerned). Ziggy showed us just how well behaved a little chap he is.

And how, with his new found fame (oh sorry Ziggy, FAME) he loves to have his photograph taken.


“Do you have to be in this Rose?”.

Anyway enough of Ziggy, what else has been going on? Well for a start I have had to change my breakfast routine this morning because Estel’s Dine By the Sea inexplicably chose to close on a Wednesday so I’m writing this whilst eating my breakfast at Lily’s Treasure Chest, just slightly north of my normal position


Not a bad view



the breakfast was good. More expensive than at Estel’s (by around 20%) but good.

Now where was I ? Oh yeh, it hasn’t all been about Ziggy. For instance since we last ‘spoke’ we have had two contractors around to provide quotations for the dock we will need for when we buy a boat (more about the boat later). The intended dock will ‘sit’ the other side of the gate in the fence of the back garden .


You can just see the gate behind the pile of rocks.

The dock, five feet wide by thirty-five feet long, will run from the gate


out in to the lagoon.

Although some excavation may be required because it is very shallow near the sea wall.


We’re currently considering the two quotations (which surprisingly but pleasingly are within a few dollars of each other) and will make a decision in the next few days as to who we will appoint to construct it for us.

Talking about boat sheds – well I wasn’t but there is a natural connection ((am I’m struggling to find stuff for this edition (shows doesn’t it!)) – the one being built on the lot immediately north of us has come on a bundle (for non UK readers this means “progressed a lot”) with the thatch for the roof being completed. You get to see in a few photos what took a few days. The wonders of technology!


Roof trusses (just for you Robert) going in.

And then for the thatching (now this I find really interesting. You probably not but hey, I’m writing it!).



“Let the thatching begin”.




On the home straight.



Finished. Break open the Belikin. What else!

Now what seems an age ago (well this edition has gone on a bit) I mentioned the boat didn’t I. Well yesterday we received news that made us happy – the current owners have accepted our offer. Just now need to rustle up the money! So if you’re stuck with a few bob (non UK readers this means ‘money’) you don’t know what to do with well …

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 2013 by Pharrell Williams which reached number one in the US Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart (and a host of other countries as well).

“It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Hi Ziggy here. I’m a sort of stand-in blogger for the day (well, anyone can ‘knock’ this drivel out). Why ? How come? You’re thinking. Understandable thought process on your part I’d say.

Let’s go back a bit. I got up this morning at the place I’m staying at for four weeks to greet John (he’s the less attractive one out of the two people I’m staying with) when he came out if his bedroom. I gave him the old tail wagging routine to make him feel like I missed him, let him stroke me, wagged my tail some more and then we headed downstairs. He then went into the room that they call the kitchen (I’m not allowed in there) where he put some brown stuff in a mug, poured boiling water over it (strange,very strange), grabbed his (they have ‘him’ and ‘hers’) iPad and went out onto the veranda with me following him. And that’s when it all started.

I heard him muttering something about it being Sunday – a day of rest – and how he felt like taking a break from, as he put it, “knocking out an edition for the blog”. He also mentioned something about watching the Liverpool v Chelsea game before turning to me and saying “It’s about time you did something for your keep. You can churn out today’s edition”. So there you are, for today’s offering you have the pleasure – and I mean PLEASURE (I’m a modern blogger so I like the use of caps) – of me.

Where do I start first? A little bit about me I suppose is as good a place as any. My name is Ziggy (don’t ask because I haven’t got a clue why), I’m eighteen months old and a rather good looking specimen even if I do say so myself. The good looks come from my Mom’s side of the family (she’s a beautiful looking Labrador).


Admit it, I’m one good looking dude. How could you resist those eyes!

I’m sure there’s a bit of my Dad in me but I’m not sure what or how much. Mom never spoke much about him (well not in glowing terms anyway). Apparently it was a one night stand. So there have been no visiting days or holidays spent with him. No puppy support payments either!

I’ve been brought up (and very well I might add) by Frank, a British soldier serving with BATSUB, but I’m Belizean through and through even though there’s a tinge of Scottish in my accent.

Frank’s time in Belize comes to an end in August when he takes up his next posting in Germany and as much as he would like to take me with him when he leaves he can’t because his new quarters just don’t have room for me (time for you all to go “Aw”). So he’s been looking around for someone to adopt me and his first thought was Rose and John (he’s the bloke that normally writes this blog – not as well as this though!).

He spoke to them about it when we last came to Ambergris Caye and they said they would like to have a trial run first. A sort of “let’s see if he (that’s me) likes us and we like him (that’s me again)”. So it was agreed (I hasten to add that I had NO say in this) that I would stay with them for a month when Frank returned to the UK for a holiday.

This trial period started last Saturday when Frank brought me over from my home in Ladyville with all of the stuff I would need for my holiday. You know the kind of stuff – my bed, blankets (it might get cold!) my toys (c’mon I’m still young), leads, ect. You get the idea, the creature (that’s me again) comforts.

I’ve got to admit that when I first arrived at their house the idea quite appealed to me. I mean they live in quite a nice place (Tres Cocos) on Ambergris Caye. They’ve got a nice big back garden


and a big front garden too.


I’ve got my own swimming pool just across the road


Neat eh!

I mean what more could I want? This is the place for me I thought. That is until it was time for bed and he (John that is) grabbed my bed and took it outside to the front veranda and then turning to me pointed at it and said “Ziggy, bed”. Me being the obedient type I am stupidly ran over to it and laid down. Big mistake. He (John that is) quickly turned around, shut the front door and locked it. Not good. And definitely not in keeping with my view of suitable sleeping arrangements!

What could I do? I know I thought “Attack the front door”. I’m not normally ‘in to’ wilful damage but drastic action was required.


Not nice but as I said “drastic action required”.

It was obvious when they saw it that they were not impressed (I can’t repeat some of the words he used) but it didn’t stop him from putting me out the next night or the night after that even though I gave the door some more of my special attention!

On the forth night it got worse when he (John that is) constructed a temporary fence out of chicken wire that prevented me from even getting up to the first floor veranda.


Alcatraz had nothing on this!

A different approach was obviously required. A charm offensive. So I gave them the soulful eyes, wag the tail routine and ‘Bobs your uncle’ , they relented and brought my bed inside the house. And it’s been there ever since. Who said its a man’s man’s man’s world, give me a dog’s life anytime!

Excuse me a moment while I take a short break from this blogging malarkey


because I must just have something to eat


Some of those, and


some of these, and


Oh and it’s Sunday so I’ll have some of this



No, it’s not too much. I’m a growing boy. AND I work out.


“Excuse me if I don’t talk with my mouth full”.

Oh well, back to the blog


“I look like a techie, don’t I”.

I’ve got lots more to tell you but I’ve just been told by him (John that is) that they’re taking me downstairs for a bath. Before I go though I did want to answer the question that Derek asked about me and the golf cart. I love it!


“Lewis Hamilton move over”.

You’ve probably sensed that I like it here and I’m keen to make this my permanent home when Frank leaves for Germany so I’ve started a ‘Save Ziggy’ Facebook page. Please help by Liking my page and make me your friend. And if you share my page it’s even better. You can find my page by entering Ziggy Belize in the Facebook search bar. When I get twenty-five friends I’ll get my own URL (told you I was getting techie!). So come on, Friend me. PLEASE.

The headline ((I’ve been forced by him (John that is) to continue with this rubbish)) is based on the single released in 1966 by James Brown which reached number eight in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and number thirteen in the UK Singles Chart.

“Money (Thats What I Want)” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

We’ve had Ziggy for around a week now and its starting to feel a bit more like it was before he came to stay with us.

Since allowing him to sleep inside the house I’ve enjoyed a much more restful (and uninterrupted) sleep not wondering or worrying if our front door was coming under attack.

When I arise (sounds like I’ve been knighted doesn’t it) in the morning it’s required a slight modification to my early morning routine but nothing too dramatic. I mean its not too difficult (in fact it’s extremely easy AND very nice) to pat and stroke Ziggy to let him know that I’m pleased to see him again after our five/six hour separation.

With the bonding session finished it takes no more of me than to open the front door (yes, THAT front door) and let him out to take care of his ‘needs’ (he chosen three locations in the garden and our challenge is to reduce this to one. With this taken care of its straight in to ‘me time’. Make the mug of black coffee, grab the iPad and onto the veranda. Ziggy joins me when he’s done ‘what a dog needs to do’ but is quite content to just sit by my chair. As long as I give him the occasional stroke that is.

This ‘me time’ sets me up for the day. Don’t know why because I don’t feel that I do a lot. Yes I might send the occasional email. I read The Times online. I read some blogs. Touch base with Facebook. But nothing life changing. Yet it puts me in a great frame of mind. My variation of transcendental meditation? I don’t emit a sound and I definitely do not have a mantra (well not yet anyway) but after a bit of ‘me time’ I feel totally relaxed and if I was suffering from any stresses they’ve gone by the end of my session. Maharishi John? Why not? I mean I do like Indian cuisine!

In my transcendental state I showered, shaved and got dressed (well at least I think I did!) and then headed in to town to pay the cable and property tax bills stopping off afterwards at Estel’s Dine By the Sea for breakfast (it would have been rude not to was my way of thinking!). When I got there Shanty (one of the waiters for those of you unfortunate enough never to have been there) told me that a British guy had been asking about me. I’m hoping he’s a reader of the blog who just wanted to meet the world famous blogger – me if you haven’t guessed ((don’t worry I’m taking the micky out of myself (for non UK readers this translates as (well the clean version anyway) ” making fun of myself”)) and not a debt collector! Anyway I’m sorry I missed you! Maybe next time! If you’re not a debt collector that is. If you are then I need to let you know that I’ve changed restaurants for my breakfast!

With the chores and breakfast done I went back home and then Rose and I took Ziggy for his morning exercise (some for us too) and took to the beach and headed north and here are just some of the things we saw along the way ((you’ve probably sensed that I’m struggling to come up with anything mildly interesting (not saying that what I ‘put out there’ other times is interesting but …) so why not pad this edition out with some photos!)):


CUTE (aw come on, give me a break, I haven’t used it for a while!) table and chairs on the beach.


Well we just had to. Ziggy is the one on the left!


“Hello. Is anyone at home?”.


Don’t you just LOVE (look I’ve found the CAPS button and I’m going to USE it!) this sign.

After around a two hour session of walking and throwing the ball in the sea so that Ziggy could retrieve it (most of the time) we returned home for lunch to wait for Connie and Bill to arrive.

Connie and Bill come from Ohio but live on Ambergris Caye for six months of the year and believing that we are caring and upstanding people (they’ve obviously spent most of their time talking to Rose!) asked us to look after their plants when they return to the States and yesterday afternoon they delivered them.


Adds a bit of colour (color for non UK readers) in front of the ground floor apartment. The question is “Will Connie and Bill get them back!”.

We’ve now been asked to look after a dog and some plants. Is there no one out there that wants me to look after their money? That’s what I want! PLEASE (oh no, the CAPS have appeared again).

The headline for today’s obviously cobbled together edition is based on the single released in 1979 by The Flying Lizards which reached number five in the UK Singles Chart and number fifty in the US Billboard Hot 100.

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

On Wednesday Rose and I spoke at length (taking in to consideration the many comments we received via this blog) as to how we would tackle the Ziggy ‘problem‘.

After much deliberation and reflection we decided that we would let Ziggy sleep in the house. It’s not what we had intended but we recognise that the move to stay with us is most likely a traumatic experience for Ziggy. New surroundings. New routines. New people (pack). Quite a lot to contend with all in one go without being forced to sleep outside. So on Wednesday evening we took a change of tack.

Early evening we took him with us when we went to Carlo & Ernie’s Runway Bar & Grill where he very quickly became a source of attention. He’s a good looking ‘boy’ and very well behaved and it wasn’t long before people were coming over to pet and stroke him. He lapped it up and, if I’m honest, so did we. Two of the people that came over to make a fuss of him we had never seen before but within seconds it was obvious that they came from London, our part of the world.

They were Jill and Jim a retired couple originally living only miles from where we used to reside that now live in Spain. In fact Jim was a senior officer at our local police station. Pleased though that I never had the ‘pleasure’ of meeting him when he was in this line of work!

Jill and Jim have been away from their home since the beginning of the year on an extended holiday that before reaching Ambergris Caye has seen them visit Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Singapore. They plan on travelling extensively through Central America but don’t know when they will start this because Jill immediately fell in love with Ambergris Caye. We know the feeling Jill.

With the ‘family’ outing over we headed home for dinner and a bit of TV and then the time came for bed. For Rose and I and Ziggy. I’d brought his bed in to the house and positioned it in the living room area before we went out


Ziggy’s dream palace.

The change of location for the bed worked a treat. I got up the next morning at around 04.45 hours opened the bedroom door and there was Ziggy waiting to greet me. Tail wagging like crazy.

A survey of the living room area on the floor below indicated that he had not jumped up and slept on the sofa or chairs (we’d covered them just in case – well you never know…). I can’t tell whether he slept on his bed all night (actually I don’t know whether he slept on it at all) but one thing is for sure – our front door was unscathed (well apart from the damage already done to it). Result!

Feeling reasonably pleased with myself ((don’t know why really because it was Rose’s suggestion – she has all of the good ones (or so she tells me)) I made my self (Ziggy hasn’t mastered this yet!) a mug of black coffee and grabbed my iPad and Ziggy and I retired to the veranda.

When Rose joined us I showered, shaved, got dressed and Rose took off to take Ziggy for his morning walk on the beach


An impatient Ziggy.


“Come on, get the gate open”.


“Look right, look left”. And they’re off.

No sooner than they were off I was too. Headed south for breakfast at Estel’s Dine By the Sea. Well, someone’s got to do it, haven’t they. And I was the ideal candidate!

When I got home after breakfast (I did take care of a few errands too) Rose and I went to Captain Shark’s Boatyard where Lewis our mechanic was waiting for us. As we approached the yard we could see the boat we are interested ‘sitting’ in the water.


“Looking good”.

Lewis had brought along Captain Albe ‘Bam, Bam’ to take the boat out for its water test.


Lewis on board with ‘Bam, Bam’ and me looking on.

The engine cover came off


and Lewis tried to start the engine



So he tinkered around (technical term!) and ‘Bam, Bam’ had a try.


But try as they might Lewis and ‘Bam, Bam’ could not get the engine started.


Lewis told me what replacement parts are required and gave an approximation of what they and the labour would be and we disappointingly set off for home to fire off an email to the owner. We’re still interested in the boat but only if the price drops to accommodate the spend necessary to make it seaworthy.

We didn’t remain down for too long though because Ziggy wanted to play.


Jill and Jim ( remember them? I mentioned them in the fourth paragraph) weren’t the only people we met this week. Oh no. We met a British actor (who must remain nameless at this time) who was in Belize researching for the leading role in a film that goes in to production in June. The film which will be called “Rough Cut” is based on the book by Owen Carey Jones, a native of this country. Another exclusive??

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1998 by George Michael which reached number three in the US Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs chart and number two in the UK Singles Chart.

“Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

The trial period with Ziggy is not going as smoothly as we had hoped.

There’s little doubt that he is a well trained, loving and loveable dog. He is relatively young at eighteen months and still has a bit of boisterousness about him but when a command is issued he comes to heel (generally) very quickly. He’s also shown during the short time that we have had him that he’s a quick learner.

So what’s the problem? Sounds like the perfect dog. And we think he could be apart from one thing. He wants to be with us all of the time. That’s good you’re probably thinking. What’s wrong with that?

Well, we want Ziggy to sleep outside of the house (don’t worry there’s lot of cover and he has his bed out there)and he -very obviously- wants to sleep inside the house with us. Why obviously? The scratch marks on our front door, that’s why!


It’s not Ziggy’s fault and we fully understand that (this doesn’t make looking at the door any easier though) because he has grown accustomed to sleeping indoors. So our challenge is to get Ziggy around to our way of thinking.

Scratching doors is apparently (we’ve done the Internet research) a common trait (problem) with dogs. It’s a separation anxiety issue. Totally understandable. But because you understand something doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to accept it!

Our research revealed a number of ways in which the problem can be addressed. Some helpful and some not so helpful. From covering the front doors with a protection such as plexiglass. To putting the dog in a cage until he/she doesn’t feel anxious anymore. To just letting the dog scratch away to its heart’s content and then you just replace the door every so often! Well, you won’t be surprised to learn that we’re not going for the last suggestion!

We haven’t got a cage but Rose – always the one of the two of us to come up with the bright ideas- came up with a potential solution. “Let’s use the wire left over from the fence for our adjacent lot to prevent Ziggy from getting to the first floor veranda where the entrance doors are” she said. And that’s exactly what we tried last night.


Not the most elegant looking ‘gate’ in the world but it’s effective!

When I got up just before 05.00 hours this morning my first inclination was to remove the ‘gate’ and let Ziggy join my mug of coffee , the iPad and me on the veranda. But then I said to myself (I didn’t really talk to myself) “No, let’s reinforce the message”. So I went outside to say good morning to an obviously very excited Ziggy. A few pats and strokes later I returned in to the house to make a mug of coffee, grab the iPad and head out on to the veranda for my ‘me’ time.

Around forty-five minutes later I opened the ‘gate’ to a much calmer Ziggy and he joined me for my second mug of coffee of the morning.


We sense though that Ziggy misses his kennel because he appears to be using the washroom on the first floor as it’s substitute.



What with training Ziggy and his beach walks and his swimming and taking care of some administrative chores (changing sterling to US$, wiring money to our bank account in Belize) I haven’t really had much time to spare (it’s a hard life!) to get back to painting the fence. But I have spent a fair bit of time watching (it’s always easier watching!) the building projects either side of us.

The boat shed immediately north of us is coming on in leaps and bounds (I’m finding it difficult already not to use doggy type terms!) where, having laid the floor and built the dock the guys have now started on the roof which we were pleased to see is going to be thatched.


Wood delivered for the roof frame (I’m sure there’s a technical term to describe this but …)



And the thatch.

With the materials delivered the guys started to get the roof frame in place.





Immediately to the south of us work on the top floor extension for Pirate Villas has also been progressing.


With the building contractor’s wife taking a leading role. She’s unbelievable.

“Talking” about all of this building work is making me tired (doesn’t take a lot now) so how about something totally unrelated. The latest ‘hot’ wheels I have seen on Ambergris Caye?


Neat, eh? Looks a bit like a spaceship (look I needed to find a way to use the song title). I nearly found myself calling occupants of interplanetary craft (phew didn’t think I’d ever find of way of using this song!).

And going really off subject how about the photo that an ex-colleague emailed me the other day.


I’m the little bespectacled one, third from the right. Did I really wear those shiny suits? Well it was the mid eighties(1980s before any of you are tempted to send a sarcastic comment).

To my current casual look


I’m the little bespectacled one (not much change there then) on the left.

And given that I’ve really lost the plot how about a sunset to bring this edition to a close? Why not!


The headline for today’s rather strange edition is based on the single (suggested by Bob Scott) released by The Carpenters in 1977 which reached number thirty-two in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number nine in the US Singles Chart.

“Walking on Sunshine” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Yesterday morning I was up around 05.15 hours and my early morning routine took on a change. Not straight in to the kitchen to get the coffee going, oh no. The first ‘job’ of the day was to let Ziggy in.

When Rose and I told Frank that we would have Ziggy whilst he (Frank that is) returned to the UK for a month it was on the basis/condition that Ziggy would sleepoutside of the house. He could come in to the house during our waking hours but there would be ‘no go’ areas such as the kitchen, our bedroom, the sofa and chairs.

With Ziggy ‘in’ I then concentrated (who am I kidding? I mean how much concentration is required to make a mug of black instant coffee!) my needs. With the coffee and my iPad Ziggy and I then enjoyed some quality time (I’m sure that he would describe it that way) on the veranda for around an hour when I thought it was time for him to have his first experience of the Caribbean Sea.

So with Ziggy on his lead and the plastic bag in my pocket (told you in the previous edition that I have been allocated poop scooping duties) we headed out of the front gate and across the road to the beach and the Caribbean Sea.


And then it was time for Ziggy to get acquainted with the Caribbean Sea.




“Good boy Ziggy”.

After around forty minutes frolicking around (Ziggy that is, not me) we headed back home so that we could sit down and watch Arsenal stroll to a three goal win against Hull City. Ziggy was absolutely amazed by the skill and finesse shown by the Arsenal players. Three Arsenal fans in the house now. The fan base just went up by fifty percent!

Feeling quite happy with ourselves it was time for breakfast. Bacon sandwiches for Rose and I and chicken (well. It was Sunday) and biscuits for Ziggy.

With breakfast out of the way Rose and I then headed off to catch the 11.30 hours water taxi to Caye Caulker to meet up with most of the BATSUB guys for Ian’s farewell bash.


Queuing for our taxi.

The journey over was uneventful – a crowded boat but we expected that, it’s Easter after all – until we were around two miles from Caye Caulker when the boat reduced speed to snail’s pace. We continued to crawl along until a boat pulled alongside us and I thought briefly that we were going to be boarded by pirates. No, nothing that sinister. It was a relief boat sent to pick the Caye Caulker passengers ie us. Belize City passengers remained on the boat because the engines would be able to cope with the reduced weight.


Safely on board the ‘rescue’ boat and heading to Caye Caulker.

Once we’d landed we headed down a very busy Front Street to meet up with the guys at the Lazy Lizard. With the sandy road beneath our feet it was like walking on sunshine (no groaning now).


Busy front street.




Busy restaurants.

And busy street food vendor stands.


Caye Caulker Sailing Club fund raiser. “Anyone seen Harvey?”.

We hadn’t walked too far down Front Street when we saw Ian walking towards us. They’d been at the Lazy Lizard since 10.30 hours. They’d had their swim and they’d had a few (bit of an understatement really) beers and were now ready for somewhere a little less busy and crowded. So we headed in to Bambooze


Nicely laid out bar with cute (did I really just use that word) hanging seats at the bar.

Given Ian’s impending return to the UK we all tried very hard to get him to try the third drink listed on the Special Drinks’ board


Seemed kinda apt!

Try as we did though we just couldn’t get Ian to go for it. Obviously not drunk enough so we headed to the next bar, the Barrier Reef Sports Bar & Grill. Well, I mean we had to, everyone but everyone goes there.

After a few beers it was time for the camera to come out!


The BATSUB ‘boys’. From left to right: Ian, Todd, “Geordie”, Nanda and Sean.

After a few more beers (whose counting) we decided to head off in to the interior (that’s how one of them described it – you would have thought we were going for jungle training and not just a beer. But then again, they treat beer seriously. And a I mean seriously).

STOP PRESS (forgot to include this in the first edition)
Before we left though I had the real pleasure of meeting Melissa and her family. I didn’t get Melissa’s surname but she is a reader of my blog and took up my invitation of a few editions ago to introduce herself. Great to meet you Melissa and good luck with your plans to build a house on Caye Caulker.

Our next point of call was Ronnie’s Blues, Booze & BBQ


Which has a spacious and colourful interior


and a somewhat quirky exterior seating area.



Ian admiring (well we think he was admiring it) the Belikin koozie that Rose had given him as a farewell memento of his time in Belize.

Two beers later it was time to head off


to the next ‘watering hole’ , Rose’s (where else could we go!) Grill & Bar



It’s a nicely laid out bar with lots of space between the tables. And well appointed and very clean toilets (restrooms ???) for non UK readers). We didn’t eat there but what we saw and smelt was delish (what’s happening to me?). Er, delicious I mean.


If only this was a scratch and sniff photo!

All too soon it was time for Rose and I to say our goodbyes and catch the 16.00 hours boat to San Pedro. After the trauma (well it was for Rose) of the outbound journey we were looking forward to a trouble free return. But no, we hadn’t been on the boat for more than a few minutes when an official looking guy in uniform (I think he may have been from the Belize Port Authority) boarded the boat and instructed all passengers to grab a life jacket and hold it to our chests.


Fortunately the journey home passed without further incident and, I’m really pleased to ‘say’, the jackets didn’t get wet! But it looks like we had a really close shave because when we got home we found that the dock that we had queued on for our water taxi home partially collapsed just an hour after we had left Caye Caulker.

The headline (courtesy of Patty) for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1985 by Katrina and the Waves which reached number nine in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number eight in the UK Singles Chart.

“Rose in Paradise” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

So what have I been doing since we last ‘spoke‘?

I’ve enjoyed early morning ‘me’ time on the veranda. Catching up with the news, thinking about what needs to be done for the house next (yes I know, get the fence ‘painted’ first before I start on the next project), catching up on emails, reading other people’s blogs (hard to believe I’m sure but I do look at other people’s stuff – by now you’d think I would have picked up some good habits but… Old dog, new tricks I suppose).

Speaking of dogs, Rose and I have spent a little time preparing ourselves for the month long visit of Ziggy



Ziggy in his home at Price Barracks, Ladyville.

Things like “who is going to take him for his walks” (me most probably), “who is going to feed him ” (Rose I’d say definitely), “who is going to bathe him” (think I got that one), and “who gets to pet and stroke him” (think Rose has unofficially claimed this one). Oh, and “who gets the poop scooping duty” (an uncontested me on that one. Not that I got to vote!).

It’s not all been about preparing for Ziggy though. I did take up the cudgel (OK, the paintbrush) with the exterior side of the fence again. It didn’t last that long though because ants started to bite my feet (I really don’t have a clue what type they are but they are vicious. And there are so many of them). I manfully endured the pain until I ran out of the preservative I am using and then I very quickly scuttled indoors to lick my wounds (not literally of course).

I also arranged for the water test for the boat that we are considering buying. Its set for 10.00 hours next Thursday. I’ll obviously let you know if the engine is ‘up to it’. If not, then it’s ‘back to the drawing board’. Hopefully not though.

Not content with organising the boat test (it’s all go!) I then set about arranging for Mauricio to visit our house to measure up the doors that we are going to have ‘burglar bars’ made for. We feel safe and secure in our new home but the addition of these additional security measures will, we believe, make us feel just that little bit more secure.

The ‘doors’ will be made for the double-door entrance to our house and the apartment on the ground floor.


Mauricio’s sketch of the ‘door’ for the ground floor apartment.



for our front door.

We now await a quotation from Mauricio and then Rose can go in to negotiating mode. She’s already in training!

Yesterday the big day came for Frank to bring Ziggy over for his four week stay with (the ‘does he like us, do we like him” time) whilst Frank returns to the UK for a holiday. Frank messages me that they would be arriving on a Belize Water Taxi between 11.50 to 12.00 hours so to get ready for the big day ahead I ventured in to town for an early morning breakfast at – where else – Estel’s By the Sea.

I enjoyed -as I always do- the breakfast and had lots more to look at than usual with the throngs of people that had and were arriving from the mainland for the Easter weekend. I must have been so wrapped in my thoughts that after paying I upped and left without putting my iPad in my rucksack. I didn’t notice my oversight (I called it a lot more than that when I realised my stupidity but this is a family newspaper so cannot print what I called myself). I immediately phoned Estel’s in an obvious state of distress but was immediately calmed when I heard Shanty informing me that he had seen it and placed it behind the counter for safe-keeping.

With peace restored to the world (well at least in our house) Rose and I got ready and headed to town to meet the water taxi and got there around 11.35 hours. You never know, the taxis do arrive early sometimes.

We were on the dock when THE water taxi arrived



and we watched the crowd, and I mean CROWD, disembark from the boat. But there was no Frank and, more importantly, no Ziggy. So we waited for the next boat which wasn’t too long because extra boats had been brought in to service to accommodate the much, much larger customer base.


but no Ziggy. Oh, and Frank.

But within the next thirty minutes the next boat arrived



and docked.

And then there was Ziggy


oh, and Frank as well.

Frank brought loads of stuff for Ziggy’s stay. Food. His toys. And his bed.


And then Rose just had to (she just did) join him.


Rose (and Ziggy) in paradise.

In tomorrow’s edition you can read about Ziggy’s first experience with the Caribbean Sea and our trip to Caye Caulker (and all of the back street bars that other blogs don’t cover) to say goodbye to Ian. Can’t wait can you? Nor can I!

The headline for today’s edition (thanks to Wes Witt) is based on the single released in 1987 by Waylon Jennings which reached number one in the US Billboard Hot Country Singles Chart.

“The Sound of Silence” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

I have just got to start (well I don’t actually have to, but I do want to, so I am) off today’s edition by thanking so many of you for responding so quickly and positively to the plea for help in the previous edition

Nearly all of the suggestions will be used (unlikely though “Harry the Hornet” that I will be writing about you in a future edition so will not have the reason to use your submission) in the coming weeks. You’ve given me lots to be going on with but DO please keep the suggestions coming.

I was out on the veranda (yes, the western, lagoon, facing one on the first floor) yesterday morning at around 05.00 hours (yes I had a mug of black coffee and my iPad with me – please do stop interrupting otherwise I’ll lose the flow. And possibly the will to live) running through the list ((I did what I said I would do (a man who keeps his promises, that’s me) and wrote them down)) thinking about which suggested song I would use first.

I was somewhat ponderously mulling over (I wish I could say that my brain was on fire with creative thought but I can’t, I’d be lying) the list when the sound of silence was broken. As an aside, why is it described as the ‘sound of silence’ ? I mean the definition of silence is “the absence of sound” ie you cannot hear a thing! Anyway, back to my early morning reverie and the list. I narrowed my choice for the next edition (this one) when the final selection was made for me when I heard the sound of a cement mixer ‘kicking’ in to action on the lot immediately north of us. The time? It was 06.00 hours. The sound of silence was no more and in no time at all the concrete pour began.


The first wheelbarrow load of concrete on a very long day.

And then the bucket brigade went to work.


“C’mon, get the buckets moving”.




They were in full swing when I heard sounds of activity to the left (south) of me. The guys had started work on the extension of Pirate Villas.


The guys there were getting ready for a concrete pour too. But first some gymnastics.



With my period of tranquility broke there was only one thing to do and the regular readers amongst you will know exactly what this was. Yes, head off to Estel’s Dine By the Sea for breakfast.

Rose decided she’d come with me. Not to have breakfast. Oh no. She was going shopping. Fair division of labour if you ask me. You didn’t ask me! So, I still think its a fair division of labour.

As I locked the front gate I noticed the board outside Pirate’s Treasure Restaurant & Bar advertising the latest addition, the Captain’s Table ( you sit and watch your meal being cooked). Rose and I haven’t been yet but it looks like it’s “cooking up a storm” (terrible I know but you’ve surely come to expect this type of stuff from me) with full bookings most nights.


I must admit that as we set off I wasn’t in the happiest of moods. I mean my ‘me time’ had been disturbed. Seems like being annoyed wasn’t confined to me though


even the buns on sale on the way to breakfast were ‘angry’ (it could get worse!).

Once ensconced at Estel’s I settled down for breakfast and Rose headed off to do the shopping


“Bye Rose”.

Whilst Rose took care of the things that women take care of (yes, I know that I am treading on very dangerous ground) whilst I enjoyed breakfast and took in the view


until Rose returned.


The headline for today’s edition (kindly suggested by carmiekaye AND Paul Cloutier) is based on the single by Simon and Garfunkle released in 1965 which reached number nine in the UK Singles Chart and number one in the US Billboard Hot 100.

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

After the gaffe the other day with my choice of song for the headline I’ve concluded two things. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for me to come up with a song. It’s also -fairly obviously to you and me alike- that I’m not that competent at remembering which ones I’ve already used.

So in an attempt to make things easier for me and less repetitive for you I’ve come up with an idea – I do still occasionally (very occasionally I must admit) have my moments.

It looks to me that I can manage one of these tasks on a consistent basis but managing the two of them now appears to apparently be beyond my diminishing capabilities. Oh for the days when I felt like I could remember everything (and more often than not did) . And have memory space to spare for colleagues (you know who are) whose memories weren’t as good.

What’s the purpose of all of this you’re thinking. Get on with the good stuff (who do I think I am kidding). Well after this self-appraisal I’ve decided that action is urgently required (looks like I can still be decisive though). It’s obvious that I need help.

No, not a visit to the doctor or, worse still, a psychiatrist. Absolutely not. I’d have to pay for that! No, what I’m looking for is far simpler than that (AND far cheaper). I’ve decided that I need help from my audience – I think that’s how the people that analyse ‘reach’ for social media offerings such as this would describe you.

So what do I want you’re thinking. Don’t worry it’s not money (although if you want to send some feel free!), so (please) keep on reading. I’m looking for audience (that’s you remember – oh you did, didn’t you. It’s me that has the memory problem) participation.

All you’ve got to do is let me have song titles that I have to use in an edition and subsequently in the headline. Simple, isn’t it? Well apparently not for me, hence this cry for help.

The only stipulations are:

the song must have been recorded in English
it must have charted (either as a single in its own right or as a track on a charting album)


I must have a ‘fighting’ chance of being able to use it. So nothing like the following examples (please):

“De Do Do Do De Da Da Da ”

“You’re The Reason Our Kids Are Ugly”

“A Lap Dance Is So Much Better When The Stripper Is Crying”

“Why Does It Hurt When I Pee”

“Every Time I Eat Vegetables It Makes Me Think Of You”

There were far better (???) ones I wanted to include in the list of ‘no-nos’ such as “Don’t Drop The Soap (For Anyone Else But Me)”, “Put Your Big Toe In The Milk Of Human Kindness” being two examples, but they didn’t chart so I haven’t included them . Oh I just did!

Given THE memory problem I will record (I don’t normally make notes for this blog – yes I know its obvious sometimes) all submissions and cross them off as I use them. Well as long as I remember where the list is!

So get the ‘requests’ in and normal service will return. You know, coffee on the veranda, me painting the fence, breakfast at Estel’s Dine By the Sea, photos, etc.

Come on, I’m not asking for a lot. Just a little help.

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1965 by The Beatles which reached number one in both the UK Singles Chart and the US Billboard Hot 100.

“Just the Two of Us” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

It’s been awhile (again) since I published an edition. The intention has been there. The time has been there. The subject matter has been there. But getting them all to be ‘there’ at the same time has been a problem. Suppose though that the most relevant of all is that the important missing ingredients of desire and determination just weren’t around when I needed them! I ‘found’ them – well at least I think I did – this morning, hence this edition (for what it’s worth).

I’ve had a mixed bag sort of time since the last edition. Nothing monumental to report. I’ve not been back to ‘go to war’ with the fence. I want to get it finished, of course I do. But it’s not like it’s going anywhere, is it!

I had an ego massaging experience last Friday (well at least I think it was Friday). I had breakfast at Estel’s Dine By the Sea and was on my way to the ‘cart after some shopping at The Greenhouse when I sensed something behind me. Turning around I saw that it was a female pushing a bike. I chivalrously (I do display good manners occasionally) moved to one side to allow her easier passage. As she drew close she mounted the bike and in seconds was beside me. As she started to cycle away from me she turned and said “You’re building a new life aren’t you”. Not being the brightest bulb in the box it didn’t register what she was on about until she added “Love the blog”. And then the penny dropped.

I didn’t get a chance to respond or to get her name but if you (and obviously you’ll know who you are) are reading this I’d just like to say “Thank you”. I was ‘made up’ (( no I didn’t go home and apply mascara and lipstick – it’s an English (originating in Merseyside) expression meaning “really happy”)) all day. In fact I’m still ‘made up’!

A few editions ago I told you that – having gained our Masters Licenses – Rose and I had started looking for a boat to buy. Having found a boat that ‘took our fancy’ we knew that we needed to get the outboard engine checked and after asking around we settled on Lewis to carry out the inspection for us and last Friday we met him at Captain Shark’s Boatyard.


Captain Shark’s Boatyard.

We’d arranged to meet Lewis at 11.00 hours and Rose and I arrived there around ten minutes before then and parking in a shady area we waited for Lewis to arrive. And we waited (get used to this kind of thing in Belize and don’t let it bother you because if you allow it to you’re likely to end up with ulcers).

After a while -perhaps around fifteen minutes – I ‘phoned Lewis and he told me he would be with us in ten minutes. And – nearly true to his word- he arrived twenty minutes later!

He then very quickly set about taking a look at the boat (and particularly the hull) and the engine.


Lewis at work.


A ‘close up and personal’ for the engine.

The initial inspection revealed no ‘horrors’ so this week we’re going back with Lewis to see how the boat – and especially the engine – performs when in water. Well, after all, that’s where it’s going to ‘live’!

We then headed off to the Maya Island Air Terminal to await the arrival of the 01.30 hours flight from the Municipal Airport to pick up our friend Ian who was coming to spend a couple of days with us before his time as a member of BATSUB comes to and end and he returns to the UK for his next assignment.


The Ian has landed ((Ian is the one with the three lions (obviously) on his shirt)).

After settling Ian in to the ground floor apartment Rose started to make a late breakfast for us all of sausages, bacon, scrabbled egg and baked beans (Heinz of course) and this was nearing completion when there was a power outage. Quick as a flash we displayed great improvisational skills and jettisoned the eggs and beans and went instead for a mixture of sausage and bacon sandwiches.

In the evening we did a mini (well maybe not that mini) bar crawl taking in the Palapa Bar, Molly Malone’s, Sandy Toe’s Beach Bar & Grill and Carlo & Ernie’s Runway Bar & Grill (by then we needed food again). Photos were taken but I’m not publishing them for fear of incriminating myself and I don’t know how sensitive some of you might be!

The next morning Ian and I headed to Estel’s Dine By the Sea for breakfast and then returned home to watch Arsenal play Wigan Athletic in the semi-final of the FA Cup. Rose watched the first half with us but then she did the decent thing and went to collect Frank and “Geordie” (for non UK readers this is a nickname for people born in Newcastle), who are colleagues of Ian, from the Belize Water Taxi terminal.

We all watched (well Rose didn’t watch too much because she made breakfast for Frank and “Geordie” and I had my hands over my eyes for some of the match) Arsenal scrape through to the final on penalties. Lucky Arsenal? Absolutely!

In the evening we went on a Poker Run (yes another pub crawl) and met Frank and “Geordie” (they stayed at Pedro’s Hotel) at Caribbean Villas Hotel which was the start point for the night.

We knew that we were in for a fun night when we were greeted by the sartorially elegant “Geordie”


Subtly understated!

We all had a really enjoyable evening


Some more than others

with Ian sharing the BZ$ 750 pot.


The next morning Ian and I were up bright (well I’m never that bright) and early to watch the 06.30 hours game between Liverpool (Ian is a keen Liverpool fan) and Manchester City. Liverpool won a really entertaining game to go top of the Premier League.

Getting Ian down from the ceiling took some doing but I eventually achieved this and he and I then met Frank and “Geordie” for breakfast (yes, you’ve guessed it, at Estel’s).

We said goodbye to Frank and “Geordie” when they caught the 13.00 hours water taxi back to Belize City and then the three of us went to Carlo & Ernie’s Runway Bar & Grill for a bit of Coconut Leo


Coconut Leo in full Marley mode

before taking Ian to catch the 14.00 hours flight.


“Goodbye Ian”.

From a packed (alright I’m exaggerating a little bit) house on Saturday it was just the two of us again.

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1981 by Grover Washington Jr and Bill Withers which reached number two in the US Billboard Hot 100.

Obviously have not cleared the alcohol from my system. I’ve used this song title before! Don’t worry, I’ve chastised myself!

“Looking for Linda” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

On returning home from our trip to Mérida it was very easy -virtually seamless in fact – to resume the routine (has a certain ring to it that. A bit like a Cole Porter song, “Begin the Beguine”. No? Oh well never mind).

Regular readers will know the score. Up early, mug of black coffee and iPad out on the veranda for start of the day meditative time. Just me and my thoughts and wherever the Internet will take them. The only things that limit where my thoughts may travel are whether I have ingested enough coffee and the Internet bandwidth. Obviously I have total control over the former unless we have been stupid enough to run out of coffee – and although I might have my moments there (being stupid I mean)- we don’t because Rose is never that stupid. She’s far too organised for that.

Now control over bandwidth? Well that’s a completely different matter entirely. I’m powerless. You’d imagine though, wouldn’t you, that at around 05.30/06.00 hours that most of the bandwidth would be available to me. Mine all mine and all that. I mean how many other people are up at that time drawing off my bandwidth? Doesn’t work that way though as I’ve found out. I decide where I want to ‘head off to’ enter it in the Search Bar and then watch and watch that bloody egg timer. But hey that’s part and parcel of living in a place like this. I mean I didn’t come here for supersonic Internet speed. It would be nice of course but it’s not the be all and end all.

What the advent of ‘the egg timer’ means is that I turn my mind to other things. I stop peering at the monitor look around me to see and hear what’s going on and pre and post Mérida I been focusing my attention on the building projects either side of our house.

I mentioned in a previous edition that the lots immediately to the north of us had been cleared and work had commenced on building a boathouse (or boat palapa as they are called here). Well it’s now really taking shape.


Foundations and floor in.


Forms in for the pillars.


And more forms being made.


Work starts on the dock.


Preparing the wood for the decking.


And the dock starts to take shape.


As do the pillars.


Starting to look like a building.


Dock finished.

The project immediately to the south of us is much smaller in comparison. A top floor extension for Pirate Villas. A three ‘man’ team is on this one. The builder, his assistant and his wife. Yes, his wife.


There she is precariously balanced whist helping to fix the rebar in place.

With the forms in


she helped carry the concrete up to the top floor


whilst baby son played with the sand


I wouldn’t want you to think that I’ve just sat around watching other people work. Oh no. I’ve started painting the exterior side of the southern fence.


And Rose took over the ‘watching’ role.


Rose doing her Kilroy impersonation.

It was hot – probably in the low 90s – but I made reasonably good progress


The broom marks the spot!


Just this bit to go. And then I can start on the northern side! Can’t wait can you!

But then it was time for sitting around and watching. Watching the sun set.




“See you tomorrow”.

Oh, before I forget. For all you ladies out there a new boutique has opened in Laguna Drive, Boca Del Rio. A bright yellow establishment.



With long opening hours.

So if you are looking for Linda (I’ve been trying to find a way of using this song for a headline for ages) you know where to go!


The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released by Hue and Cry in 1989 which reached number fifteen in the UK Singles Chart.

“Just Can’t Get Enough” from San Pedro, Ambergris Caye,Belize.

In Sunday’s edition I tried to provide you with a flavour of what Mérida Centro is like at the weekend and especially on a Sunday.

Hopefully – even though I forgot ((have mentioned repeatedly (well I think I have!) that advancing age may be getting the better of me))to crop a fair number of the photos – I managed to give you a reasonable insight as to what a fun place it is for people that live there and tourists alike.

In today’s edition, the last in this scintillating (who do I think I am kidding) series, I primarily focus on the trip that Rose and I made to Chitchen Itza on our penultimate day.

During our travels around Central America Rose and I have visited quite a few Mayan sites and although there are (quite obviously I suppose) distinct similarities there is always something different to see and be amazed by. And I’ll never cease to be impressed by how clever and ‘ahead of their time’ they were.

I could fill up a fair amount of space and ‘pad’ this edition out with Interesting facts (for some of you anyway) about the Maya and specifically those that constructed and lived at Chitchen Itza but I’m not going to. There’s loads of interesting facts about the people and the archeological site by just clicking on the links I have provided (I’ve only provided two but there are many, each with interesting information). Instead I am going to have a relatively easy time with this edition and let the photos ‘do the work’ (I deserve it, I’ve ‘knocked out’ so many editions in the last few days it’s been like being at work. I mean it’s not as if I’m doing this for a living!).

Before the photos though just a little information about the tour that we booked with Adventures Mexico Tours :

Chitchen means “the mouth of the well”
Chitchen Itza had two wells. One was considered sacred and the other was for everyday use.
Chitchen Itza is c120 km from Mérida
The journey takes around 90 minutes
The tour we went on cost $MXN 525 per person and covered travel, the tour guide and lunch (drinks are NOT included)
Entrance to Chitchen Itza is $MXN 200 per person
Entrance to Ik Kil cenote is $MXN 70 per person (if you intend to include a visit DO take swimwear and a towel (I stupidly forgot).

We were collected from our hotel at 09.00 hours by Wilberth Torres, our driver and guide for the day, and escorted to the minibus to be introduced to Cecelia and Walter, a young couple from Argentina, who were also taking the tour that day and without further ado (sounds Shakespearean doesn’t it) we set off.

We hadn’t been on the road long when Wilberth said that if we didn’t have drinks with us that it would be cheaper to buy them en route so he stopped at a mercado (told you in a previous edition that I am determined to gain some Spanish) in Kanasin.

So what is Chitchen Itza like? Wonderful, that’s what. Not the best Maya archeological site we have been to but it’s still a really interesting and enjoyable way to spend a day. It’s deemed to be one of the New Seven Wonders of the World after all.




Pyramid of Kukulkan. This building, aside from being a temple, ‘informed’ the Maya when to plant what. In effect it was their calendar. Amazing.


Less excavated side.


The ball court for games of Pok-A-Tok.

I ‘said’ that I wasn’t going to bombard you with facts. I lied! Apparently when the Toltec invaded Chitchen Itza this game took on a new meaning. The captain of the winning team was sacrificed. No fear of Arsenal’s captain being at risk recently!


The object of the game was to get the ball hard rubber) through the hoop.


Where the king watched the game. His executive box you might say.


Petroglyphs (had to look that one up) on the wall around the ball court depicting the fate of the winning (wouldn’t you just want to be a loser ) captain.


The obligatory “look how tall I am shot” (if you know me then you know that I am not. Tall that is). Oh come on, nearly everyone takes one of these.

After a thoroughly interesting tour of the site we got back in the minibus for the short ride to Ik Kil, a seriously impressive cenote.



The water is 150 feet deep. Don’t believe me?


“Told you”!


I could have been down there had I remembered my shorts!

With our tour of the cenote over we headed to Mayaland for our (late) lunch.



The service and food were good but we thought the place to be a bit ‘plasticky’, a bit Disneyland (not that I’ve ever been there), Universal Studios (I have been there) if you know what I mean. But the peacock wandering around the tables somewhat made up for this.


“Come on, show us your train”.


“Thank you”.

With lunch finished we got back in the minibus for the journey home after a thoroughly enjoyable day. Chitchen Itza, well worth a visit and definitely one of the seven (new) wonders of the world.

Talking about wonders of the world how do Mexican women balance in (on?) there shoes? I’ve never seen so many high heels. During our stay I became fixated (not a fetish I hasten to add) with them.






And that brings this captivating series to an end (aren’t you pleased).

Rose and I had a truly enjoyable time in Mérida. In fact as are we are concerned you just can’t get enough of Mérida.

We are definitely MexiCANS


and not MexiCAN’Ts (“stolen from Once Upon a Time in Mexico).

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1981 by Depeche Mode which reached number eight in the UK Singles Chart and number twenty-six in the US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart.

“All I Wanna Do” when away from San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Today’s edition brings you the next ‘thrilling’ instalment about the recent trip that Rose and I made to Mérida in the Yucatan, Mexico. So far it’s been compulsive reading. If you’ve been (notice the past tense) suffering sleep deprivation that is!

Still awake? Good, I’ll get on with then.

In the first of this series I told you that I’d booked accommodation for our stay at El Gran Hotel.


As you can see from the photo above, it’s been around for a long time, 113 years in fact. Not surprisingly-given its longevity- it’s had some illustrious and/or notorious (depending upon your political leanings) guests. And Rose and I had only been there a day when we were informed (with some pride I might add) that Fidel Castro had stayed there in July 1955 after being released from prison by Fulgencio Batista.

We were told that although he only stayed there a few days (before heading to Mexico City where he resided for around eighteen months before returning to Cuba) he was insistent that he be allocated a room without windows. Do you think he may have been concerned about his well being ?

To meet this stipulation the hotel apparently put him in room 113 on the third floor. Rose and I are convinced though that he stayed in the same room (room 106) as us. Why? Well we believe we found his slippers.


Not the greatest photo I agree, but trust me his slippers were in the drawer. Doesn’t say much for the chambermaid though, does it!

Enough of this frivolousness it’s time to get back to what we did and saw in Mérida.

After the exertions of our long walk on Saturday I said to Rose “All I wanna do is enjoy a lazy Sunday”. One during which we could savour all of the entertainment that Plaza Grande had to offer.

On Sundays the streets surrounding the plaza are cordoned off to prevent vehicular and cycle access. Only pedestrians can get through and with these precautions in place the fun begins.


Seating for the shows set up in front of the old City Hall.

Stalls are set up



and ‘restaurants’ too.


But the real fun was the entertainment and with a packed crowd in place



the show began.









And then it was time for the children’s entertainment (I enjoyed too – does this ‘say’ something about me?) with (so Rose informed me) Dora The Explorer (I was – remain- none the wiser):



And then Dora -yea!


encouraging the children to join in


He was to young to join in (and I’m too old!)


but he loved it (and so did I).

We enjoyed it so much that we returned in the evening and had dinner whilst watching the band play


and the people dance.



If you do think about visiting Mérida do try to include the weekend so that you can enjoy the fun and colour of the plaza.

For the last instalment come back tomorrow.

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1993 by Sheryl Crow which reached number two in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number four in the UK Singles Chart.

“Art for Art’s Sake” (for us from) San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

With the, what I think is an exclusive, edition on the re-opening of Molly Malone’s Irish Bar at the Hotel published earlier this morning I can now get back to the trip that Rose and I made to Mérida ((egotistical me thought that you wouldn’t want to wait another day! The truth is though that I was worried that I might forget stuff (advancing age and all that!) because I don’t make notes)).

With visits to shops (mostly) out of the way , on Saturday and Sunday we continued our tour of Mérida. Mostly on foot ((and I have the blisters to prove it – and boxes of plasters (band-aids or adhesive bandages for non UK readers)) but sometimes we took advantage (my poor feet needed it) of the really inexpensive minibuses which have a standard charge of $MXN 7 whether you go just a few streets or the entire route.


A really inexpensive and fun way to get around Mérida.

As you walk around the streets – and it is really easy to find your way around because they have very conveniently/sensibly numbered the streets in downtown using odd numbers for east to west and even numbers for north to south. No street names to navigate your way through and exceedingly difficult (even for me) to get lost – you cannot but be captivated by the beauty of many of the buildings.


The Ayuntamiento (old city hall) in Plaza Grande. Yes, you’re right, I didn’t take this photo during our walkabout during the day.


The Governor’s Palace. Again in Plaza Grande.


Main entrance to Casa de Montejo.




It’s not just the exteriors of the buildings though.



And then when you actually go in to the buildings it’s even more impressive. The following are just a few of the fantastic (and I do not use this description lightly) murals by Fernando Castro Pacheco in the Governor’s Palace:






The beautiful and interesting grand room.

Rose and I really enjoyed our tour of the ‘Palace and for us it definitely wasn’t ‘art for art’s sake‘.

With so much walking though we deserved a snack.


Yes they are there. Along with Burger King!

I’ll bring this edition to a close now. I mean two editions in one day. Don’t want to wear myself out.

There’s more to come about our visit to Mérida and I might even milk it to get two editions out of it. As they say (or so someone said they do) “you can’t have too much of a good thing”. Read my stuff and you’ll know by comparison when you come across a good thing!

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1975 by 10cc which reached number five in the UK Singles Chart.

“Alive, alive, oh” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

In Thursday’s edition I ran the exclusive that the bar and restaurant at the Hotel in Tres Cocos was re opening. Well yesterday Rose and I popped in to the bar – Molly Malone’s (Irish Bar) for it. It is after all just around three hundred feet south of where we live in Tres Cocos and it would be rude not to ‘support’ our neighbours!

Before the photographs though a bit of background information.

The bar, which is situated on the ground floor (road level) of the Hotel first opened on 17 March 2012 but regrettably closed around six weeks later with the rooms of the Hotel never having a paying guest. And it had remained that way until yesterday. The Mary Celeste of hotels/bars you might say. That is until Bruno Nobrega and his partner Diana rented the bar and the Hotel.

Bruno and Diana came to Belize from Namibia (Bruno being born in Lisbon,Portugal) and lived on the mainland before finding their perfect business opportunity – the Hotel. The re-opening of the bar, Molly Malone’s, being phase one of the project.

So what’s the place like you’re thinking.

Well it’s very reminiscent of bars in the UK and, not surprisingly, Southern Ireland (and I have had the pleasure – if I recall correctly- of visiting quite a few). It’s got a comfortable (like its always been there) type of feel about the place.


the Hotel


Entrance to Molly Malone’s from the foyer of the Hotel.

The bar is really spacious with plenty of seating both inside




and outside



As I have already mentioned, it’s location is particularly convenient for Rose and I. We can sit outside and look north and see our home.


It’s a particularly well designed bar (or am I being overly patriotic?) with toilets (restrooms for non UK readers).



Gent’s toilets.

And for the ladies (don’t worry I didn’t take this photo, Rose did)


For the re-opening they had Valentino on hand to entertain the clientele.


Work is now underway on finishing the eighteen hotel rooms so that it can operate (for the first time in its three year existence) as a fully fledged hotel which Bruno and Diana will operate and manage.

So what do Bruno and Diana look like you’re asking.


Bruno in the centre ( those of you familiar with Ambergris Caye will recognise Shaggy who is one of the bartenders).

And Diana


Diana is the one on the left.

The bar also has a food offering


It’s a well designed bar with an ‘always been there’ type of feel and well worth a visit. It is after all a short way north of the bridge. And it would be great to see our new neighbours Bruno and Diana succeed.

Before bringing this ‘special’ (who am I kidding!) to a close I’ll leave you with a couple of photos of the foyer of the Hotel.





The headline for today’s edition is based on the lyrics of the song “Molly Malone” (also known as “Cockles and Mussels” and “Dublin’s Fair City”). As far as I know a rendition of it has never made the charts.

“Love Is in the Air” away from San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

In yesterday’s edition I got no further than the first meal (evening meal/dinner, depending upon which part of the world you come from) in Mérida during the five night holiday that Rose and I had there. So I only barely scratched the surface.

First off I’ve got to (well I don’t have to but I want to and it’s my blog so I can, so there) ‘say’ what a fabulous place Mérida is. A really cosmopolitan feel about it. Great buildings to look at and admire. Clean streets, some of them cobbled (I just love the sound of vehicles driving over cobbled roads). Friendly people. A really safe environment (we’d been told that it is safe but you always have doubts. Well we do anyway). A plethora of restaurants serving virtually every imaginable type of cuisine. And at very reasonable prices!

Good shopping – Sam’s Club, Walmart, Chedraui, Radio Shack, Apple. And then you’ve got the multitude of smaller retailer groups such as Parisina (Rose just loves wandering around their stores ) , what appears to be thousands upon thousands of small, independent retailers littered around the streets and arcades. Then there are the street vendors selling fruit, vegetables, shoes, ‘T’ shirts, trinkets, etc – you name it and you’ll probably find it on one of the stalls.

And if you don’t feel like shopping? Well the ‘shop’ comes to you!


“Honestly it wasn’t made in China. My Mayan mother made it”!

It’s not all high pressure selling though!


It’s a City of music with Mariachi musicians playing in the streets, restaurants and bars.


“You’ve got to spread your fingers more on the fret”.


“When you get it tight you can join is. Keep practising, you’re never too old”.

It’s a city that cares about the people that live there AND that visit with free use of power points and Internet for mobile devices in most of the major plazas.


You can just see the power points near the left leg of the child climbing the wall.


It advises that free Internet is available. Trust me I’m mastering Spanish!

It’s a City with so many travel options


from taxis to



with orderly queues




buses, to


horse and carts, to



And, if all else fails, there’s always Shanks’ pony!


It’s also a city of love and if there’s any doubt these love seats are to be found virtually everywhere. You see them and you just know that love is in the air!


And before you ask, yes, Rose and I did sit in them!

But before you go anywhere you mustn’t forget the breakfast.


a mushroom omelet with rice and salad for Rose and for me


huevos motuleños, a traditional Yucatan breakfast. Suppose now (as a blogger) I’ve got to put something like YUMMY. Or DELISH! But then again I’ll just stick with “it was really tasty and extremely filling”. And for only $MXN 86!

On our first full day we walked just under ten miles, a fair bit of which I must admit included a number of circuits of Walmart’s aisles! I needed to keep that feeling of love is in the air didn’t I!

Along the way we took time to look at many of the brightly adorned stalls.



And we obviously found time to visit the Cathedral of Ildefonso and the Church of the Third Order.



For the next thrilling (sic) instalment – which includes all of the fun, gaiety and entertainment of Plaza Grande on a Sunday you will have to come back tomorrow. Be patient. Don’t wish your life away!

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1977 by John Paul Young which reached number five in the UK Singles Chart and number seven in the US Billboard Hot 100.