“Last Christmas” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Did you enjoy yours? Christmas I mean.

I enjoyed mine. Difficult not to really when living here on Ambergris Caye. And we even got a drop in temperature to make it feel just that little bit more like Christmas.

On Tuesday, after enjoying my early morning ‘me time’ out on the veranda with a mug of black coffee and The Times online, I went in to ‘Town to ‘hit’ the shops to buy presents for Rose. What could you possibly buy for the woman that has everything – well she does have me, doesn’t she- you’re probably thinking.

I’d already got her a new Kindle – the old one had developed so many lines on the screen since we moved here that it was beginning to look like she was reading from a lined textbook – but had to find some stocking fillers.

Ever since Rose and I met each other – forty years ago next March 1 – we’ve bought each other loads of little gifts. Some of them not terribly expensive but hopefully the kind of things that you genuinely have a use for . And, if we really think about the purchases, something that you might even have bought for yourself!

Before shopping though I just had to go to


yes, that’s right, Estel’s Dine By the Sea, for breakfast.

I knew the Christmas spirit was in the air when the time came for me to pay. I handed over a BZ$ 100 note to Shanty only for him to return it to me a few minutes later with the words ” This one is ‘on’ everyone at Estel’s”. Nice one Charles and the rest of the team – an early Christmas present for me!

So where to go? First stop at


You can never have too much soap. And this place has so much choice:


Wasn’t brave (or stupid) enough to get this one for Rose!




“Anyone for tennis?”

And then it was on to get some




Then on to the A & R store in Pescador Drive (middle street) to get some wrapping paper and that where Christmas good deed number two took place.

I chose what I thought was some stylish silver paper with little bell emblems and was quite pleased with myself when I took it to the counter where the young lady asked me if I really did want see through wrapping paper! I hastily changed my choice and set off home and this is when Christmas good deed number three occurred.

I’d got to Boca Del Rio when I heard the constant beeping of a car horn. I looked in my mirror (yes some people in San Pedro do use the mirrors!) to see a taxi close behind me. Another one trying to ‘bully’ it’s way ahead?

I held my position but the honking on the horn got louder so I pulled over. And the taxi pulled up beside me and inside was the driver holding up my wrapping paper.

Profusely thanking him I continued on my journey and that’s when Christmas good deed number four took place.

As I approached Reef Village Resort I saw that a Transport Department checkpoint had been set up so I pulled over to get the necessary documents from my rucksack.

I hadn’t quite got them out of the bag when the Transport guy got to my cart. In fact all I done was remove the wrapping paper from the bag. The guy looked and me then looked at the wrapping paper and said “Oh you’ve got presents to wrap, best you get home and do that straight away”.

Feeling a bit like George Bailey in ” It’s a Wonderful Life” I got home feeling very happy and tackled the wrapping with gusto (it’s not normally something I enjoy doing – I’m not the most dexterous individual around!).

In the afternoon we collected our friend Dave ( he’s a serving member of BATSUB) from the airstrip. He come to stay with us for the Christmas break.

On Christmas Eve, wishing to give him a day with a difference, we took the boat up to the southernmost point of Ambergris Caye and then made the homeward journey via the Caribbean Sea side, stopping on the way for a beer at Caribbean Villas Hotel. Only the one for me, I assure you!


Dave enjoying the view


No, not me


but this. Much better, I’m sure you’ll agree!

By the time you back to the lagoon side the sun was just getting ready to set for the day.


On Christmas Day we joined the other forty- seven guests at Pedro’s Hotel for the thirteenth consecutive ‘Sad Bastards Christmas Day Lunch’ (honest, it is called that).


Table set out.


Rose (the stylish one) posing with Forrest who had been forced to wear his Christmas present.

We waved goodbye to Dave on Boxing Day but Christmas wasn’t finished for me because on the Saturday (Arsenal didn’t have a game!) I joined three friends for a day of fishing.


Roman (don’t ask, I didn’t!) getting ready to cast the net for sardines.


Success. Time to get fishing!

I was the first one to bring one in. But, like me (and Garfield for that matter) it was undersized so back it went. And that was it for me for the day. A different matter entirely for the others though.


Bill (the organiser of the trip) reeling in


a barracuda.


Think he was telling me that it was the first of many. I could be wrong though.

Oh, and if you’re wondering what Rose got me for Christmas it was this


Neat eh!

Well now you know. That’s how I spent last Christmas on Ambergris Caye.

The headline is based on the single released by Wham in 1984 which reached number two in the UK Singles Chart.


  1. Hey John
    I have been coming across your blog again and again the last few weeks. My wife and I will be moving out to San Pedro this summer, and I would really like to ask you a couple questions about getting containers shipped and that sort of thing. Would you mind sending me an email? im at DrMuerte22@hotmail.com . We were actually at the Sad Bastards Christmas lunch as well, as we were in town on our honeymoon and my wife is good friends with Peter. I look forward to hearing from you

  2. ditto from Erik’s bro and Christi…may your days be merry and bright…see you in December! I know – entirely too long from now – ugh….the trappings of youth.

    ..an excellent edition by the way – I’ll relish my own Xmas days at Pedro’s sometime in the NTD future….

  3. Say John, we are headed down there this Saturday Jan 10th, and I was wondering if you would tell me the day or days that the fresh veggies and fish come in and where? I know its at the ungodly hour of 4:30 – 5:00 (and that I should bring a good flashlight) and I think it’s Tuesdays if I remember correctly from your previous posts, but I’m not positive and I don’t know the location. Randy and I’d like to try and get a sense of what it’s like to live here, so we thought we’d cook a couple of meals for our selves and do some islander shopping. Thanks! Susan

    1. Hi Susan. You’ve read my blogs accurately. It is on. Tuesday and it is best to get there before 5.30 am (they are actually there from around 3am). Much after 5.30 and the good stuff becomes rarer and rarer.

      The boat docks on the lagoon side to the north of the football field and the new (ish) ferry boat terminal. Look for taxis parked up because they are normally collecting for restaurants.

      Good luck. And I hope that you and your husband have a great time.

  4. Belated Happy Christmas and a VERY New Year John, Rose & Ziggy.

    I suffered the same fate of catching next to nothing while a friend on the same boat caught a large barracuda, several trigger fish and gosh knows what else off Ambergris Caye. I didn’t care though. I was more interested in the peace and beautiful water than catching fish. How’s the road progress coming? Good luck in 2015!

  5. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I assume that you made it to the New Year’s Eve firework show. Is that your next edition??

  6. A very Happy NewYear to you and Rose, hope there weren’t tyre marks over the wrapping paper. If you have a chance,I’d love a PIC of what’s going on next to our bungalow. Take care Robert &Carolyn

  7. Merry (belated) Christmas John and Rose, I hope 2015 is a healthy and prosperous one for both of you.


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