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

I was sitting out on the veranda the other morning -the western,lagoon facing one on the first floor if you’re interested – with a mug of coffee and my iPad when I took a break from reading The Times online. That’s one of the beauties of being retired, you can just stop what you’re doing and do something else. Or, do nothing at all!

I switched to Facebook and, I don’t know why (the brain is a strange yet wonderful thing), but I wondered how many Facebook Friends I had (I’ve used the past tense because I’ve got a few more since then!). This then got me thinking (told you the brain is a strange thing) about how many of them I could truly describe as friends. I mean some of them I’ve never actually met!

For many of them we’ve become “Friends” because we share a common interest or interests. Or we both know the same person or people. Or we’ve become Facebook Friends because we were both members of a Facebook Group and an invitation to become “Friends” ensued.

But are we truly friends? Well in my opinion we’re not. We’re social network acquaintances but Mark Zuckerberg chose “Friend” as the nomenclature to describe the contacts that we interact with. We may get friendly with them and enjoy a joke or two over the Internet. We may even get to meet them and spend some time in their company and have a very enjoyable time. But friends?

I can count the people that I would describe as friends in the strictest sense on the fingers of one hand. They’re the people that truly “know” me and I “know” them. They can sense what kind of mood I’m in. They’d be there if I needed help (as some have already demonstrated). They wouldn’t ask any questions, they’d just ‘do”.

The description of “friend” is assigned to someone so easily now that -a bit like the use of “awesome”- it’s been devalued as far as I’m concerned.True friendships and, therefore, friends are formed invariably over the passing of time and the sharing of experiences -good and sometimes bad. And from my experience it’s from the latter that you truly find out who your friends are.

I probably sound a bit like a Victor Meldrew type character( for non UK readers this was a character in long running, very popular TV comedy series) but I don’t think I am. I just feel that the term “friend” is now assigned rather frivolously.

See what having too much time on your hands does to you. It allows your mind to wander off in directions that it chooses to. It never, ever did this when I was working for a living. It was always too busy. Now though it’s got time to think about stuff like this. It’s like it’s developed a mind of its own (sic) !

I forced myself to regain control of it. There were important things to think about -where was I going to go for breakfast?

Fully in control of my thought processes again I reached a decision very quickly. Let’s give Lily’s Treasure Chest Restaurant a try I thought. So I showered, shaved, dressed, jumped in (on?) the golf cart and headed south seeing along the way the houses and businesses adorned with bunting and larger versions of the Belize flag in readiness for the 21 September Independence Day celebrations.


House in Boca Del Rio.


The Liquor Shop just north of “Ritchie’s Roundabout”.


Sandy Toes Beach Bar & Grill, Boca Del Rio.



Barrier Reef Drive (front street).


And I’m there. Time to park the ‘cart and walk to


Take a seat and take in the views.




And then breakfast!


The breakfast was ,as always , very good but at BZ$ 27 it’s a whopping BZ$ 7.50 more for virtually the same meal at Estel’s Dine By the Sea. And, I’m sorry to say, served on a plastic plate (no need to send comments re the pros and cons of plastic plates).

Oh, by the way, I ate alone. No friends!

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single (from the album of the same name) released in 1968 by The Beach Boys which reached number forty-seven in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number twenty-five in the UK Singles Chart.


  1. Erik Jensen says:

    Good Morning John,

    Your blog struck me this morning, for I too, in the past, have stated that I could count my “true” friends on one hand. They know who they are, and likewise I would drop everything for them if the phone were to ring and they needed me.
    It bugs me, the decimation of the English language going on these days, using a term like “friend” for someone you’ve never met….and it certainly is only the tip of the iceberg.
    Not that you’ll be seeing any icebergs soon… 🙂

    1. And good morning to you Erik. Don’t really why I got on to the subject but once I got going …
      I just feel that the term “friend” is used so gratuitously.
      Could do with a bit more of the liquid form of an iceberg!

  2. Harry the Hornet says:

    Your song choice is an interesting one. With due respect to the Beach Boys I prefer two other singles named ‘Friends’ which are two of my favourite tunes from the 1980’s. Both, coincidentally, reached #12 in the UK charts and should be checked out on YouTube by both yourself and your blog acquaintances. Firstly ‘Friends’ by Amii Stewart (1984) and also ‘Friends’ by Shalamar (1982) who had a classic US R&B #1 Album of the same name. Whenever I hear the latter in particular it makes me think of true friends and appreciate the importance and lifetime value of them (decent lyrics on this one). They are both classics of their era for those who recall a golden period for soul/disco.

    1. Well thank you “Harry the Hornet”. I am aware of both of the songs and prefer the Shalamar version. And I too recall (with fond memories) the golden era for soul/disco. I remember a guy with big ears playing a lot of it!

  3. Jane says:

    If you include someone who calls to you and waves from her golf cart a “friend,” I’m happy to be one of yours. 🙂

    1. I’d always want to be friendly with you Jane. I think the overuse of “friend” just got to me. Maybe I am turning in to a Victor Meldrew type of character!
      I think what I was trying to get at is that you (in my opinion) really need to know someone before you can say that your friends.
      As always though, I’m probably wrong.
      I will always wave and shout “hello” to you!

  4. JD Wiggins says:

    Haven’t written since earlier this year about grilling and esp about the ease of using a George Foreman grill.
    Had a pleasurable trip to Villas at Banyan Bay in early July; dove Hol Chan, snorkled w rays & sharks but Caye Caulker
    was disappointing with the Split being damaged and not operational. Taxi Driver’s trip around the island was constant
    “And this is for sale, and “etc. etc. as was slow season & speculators worried…but brought up a thought about island hopping
    and thought might be fun to share this with you if you have not already seen it. I read often but seldom write..hope you enjoy this…..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ih_KBru6Co
    Jim & Penny, Texas…

    1. Hi Penny and Jim. I’m pleased that overall you had a good time when you visited Belize in July. Real shame though that you couldn’t enjoy what so many do when they visit Caye Caulker.
      There are lots of properties for sale here on Ambergris Caye but those that are realistically priced seem to sell.
      I’d not seen the homemade hovercraft video you sent so thanks. Now I’d love one of those.

  5. kristina nadreau says:

    good morning John. FYI, your first picture of a house with a flag is a Haitian flag. the others are all Belizean. We are cyber-acquaintances. The odds are we may never meet, since I live on the mainland. I followed the building of your house because that is an interest of mine. I continue because I enjoy your blog. No reason, just do. The FB friends for Belizean topics, are important to me because of our common interest in Belize. We are all strangers in a strange land. Common interests create some bonds, but are insufficient to create true friendships. I am hopeful that eventually I will have genuine friends here in Belize. BTW, the very welcome rains have brought the very unwelcome mosquitoes! Now I have to wear repellent every minute, in or out of the house. Best to Ziggy.

    1. And good morning to you too Kristina. I think the larger flag within the first picture is a Mexican flag. The Belizean flag though is on display.
      Facebook – and other networking sites for that matter – were of great help to me before we located here and they continue to be since we arrived. They are great source of information and, as such, are good for people. I’ve also found some of the postings quite humorous.
      I’ve made quite a few acquaintances from this blog (and long may this continue) who I’ve become friendly with (you included I hope) but we are not friends in the way that I define friends.
      Maybe the edition yesterday got too “heavy”.

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