“The Street Parade” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Out on the veranda (the western, lagoon facing one) yesterday morning with my mug of coffee (black and unsweetened) I gave some thought to how I would describe the rescheduled San Pedro Independence Day Parade that was being held later in the day.

Should I dispense with my normal circuitous and, more often than not, discursive style (sic) and try to write in a poetic way using picturesque language.

I pondered this matter for quite some time. In fact I had a second mug of coffee to aid my pondering but reached no firm decision. I mean, how could I decide how or what I would write without witnessing the spectacle! The street parade that San Pedro had been waiting a whole year (plus one week) for.

So I gave up on pondering, showered, shaved, got dressed and had breakfast (oh Estel’s Dine By the Sea where are you in my hour of need!) and before too long it was time for Rose, Ziggy and I to set off for ‘Town.

We rather fortunately found a parking space in Angel Coral Street (back street) and took the short walk to Pescador Drive (middle street) and positioned ourselves close to Pirate’s Pizza under what I think is the only tree in the street. The sun was beating down and the shade of the tree was a cool haven.

We weren’t the only ones to secure shady spots to witness the pageantry.



We’d probably been there around thirty minutes ( I can’t be precise because I no longer wear a watch) when the barriers that had been in place to prevent ‘normal’ traffic from entering the street were removed. The cavalcade was on its way. And then it arrived, with as always, the San Pedro Fire Department heading the procession.


And then it ‘hit’ me. Why bother with words, let the pictures tell the story. So here they are.



A resplendent Miss San Pedro.

The marching band.



The reason for the parade.




And then it was time for the tradition of handing out sweets (candies for non UK readers) to the children.



Time to stop for a drink and a photo.




Time for a bit of advertising!


But then back to the fun.










Time for a young reveller to show his ‘moves’!










Kudos to the people that took part in the parade. It was hot, extremely hot. But thanks to them we all


the young


and not so young

all had a great time.

The headline for today’s edition is based on track six of side five of Sandinista the triple album set released by The Clash in 1980 which reached number nineteen on the UK Album Chart and number twenty-four on the US Billboard Hot 200.

“Don’t Rain on My Parade” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

I woke up on Monday morning around 03.45 hours (I know this because I’ve got one of those clocks that project the time on to the ceiling) to the sound of rain tapping at my bathroom windows. It was coming down hard, very hard.

Now back in my previous life that sound would have filled me with a degree of dread. How to keep control of the brolly (umbrella for non UK readers) on the way to work without poking someone’s eye out. Wet suit, wet shoes. A damp and depressing day ahead. But now …

I love the sound of rain. The heavier the rain the better. Give me a torrential downpour over a shower any day. Why? Simple I need the rain to ‘feed’ the 45,000 gallon tank that ‘sits’ under our house.

We’re off-grid as far as mains water is concerned so we depend on a rainwater collection system to provide for our needs. That is unless we want to buy water ‘in’. And, obviously, we’d rather not have to do that.

So, feeling very happy at such an early hour of the day I got up, made myself a mug of instant – black and unsweetened if you must know – coffee and took it, along with my iPad, out to the veranda. The western, lagoon facing one on our first floor.

It was dark, so dark that I couldn’t see the rain. But I could smell it (you can, you know). I could hear it. And, I could feel it as the raindrops hit the tiles on the veranda and splashed my feet and lower legs.

I sat there luxuriating in the sounds (the croaking of awakened frogs had joined the ‘orchestra’ by now) contemplating how long it would take before the overflow pipes on the water tank sprang in to action. And then it dawned on me. Of all days I didn’t want rain that day.

Beggars shouldn’t be choosers you’re probably ,quite rightly, thinking. But not on Monday. Not on Belize’s 34th anniversary of it’s independence. My thoughts turned to wishing the rain would stop, but the rain kept tumbling down and down.

By now the pitch black of the very early morning had turned to grey but visibility was established. How was my garden holding up under this onslaught of water?


The core of the front garden had coped very well


but the same could not be said for the area to the west of our house. Oh dear, looks like more landfill is required. “Are you reading this Lloyd?”

My wish for the rain to cease went unheeded. It continued to come down but not as strongly. Maybe, just maybe the rain god heard me when I uttered pleadingly “Don’t rain on my parade” (yes, the worst song title link so far).i

As the strength of the rain reduced my confidence that the San Pedro Independence Day Parade would go ahead increased so Rose and I got ready and headed to ‘Town to meet our friends from BATSUB who were over for the weekend to celebrate a birthday.


Spot the birthday boy and try to guess his age!

We met at Carlo & Ernie’s Runway Bar & Grill after getting my lips around a bottle of Belikin I checked the San Pedro Town Council Facebook page to see if there was any news about the ‘Parade. There was but regrettably it was to announce that ‘rain had stopped play’. The ‘Parade had been cancelled until Saturday (subsequently moved to Sunday). Only one thing for it. Get another Belikin!

As we ordered up another round the rain reappeared and it came down, boy did it come down. But it didn’t prevent some Belizeans who were determined to have their ‘Parade as they drove past the bar in their liveried golf carts. Had I not been so busy applauding them (as everyone else in the bar was doing) I would have taken a few photos. Newshound I’m not.

So you’ll have to make do (until my Independence Day Parade edition) with a few snaps I took last year.





Oh, by the way, my water tank still isn’t full.

The headline is based on the song which featured in Funny Girl , the 1964 musical starring Barbra Streisand.

“Sweet Dream” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

I suppose it could have started and finished last Friday night around 21.20 hours when, in the first minute of additional time, Atiba Hutchinson scored the third goal for Canada. Three nil to Canada in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification first leg.

Rose and I had watched the game – mostly surrounded by passionate – and at times extremely noisy – supporters at Carlo & Ernie’s Runway Bar & Grill. Prior to kick-off we felt the hope and anticipation. We believed in the team.

We were, therefore, extremely proud when the draw was made around the end of July and we were asked by friends of ours if we wanted to join a group of them to go to Belmopan to watch the second game of the two leg qualifier against Canada. And of course , having been on the last trip to Belmopan to support the Jaguars, we wanted to go.

When the third and final goal went in last Friday though I half expected the enthusiasm to make the trip to wane. But no, the belief in the team, the Jaguars, was undiminished. Of course we were still going to make the trip. All of us still wanted to be there to cheer the team, the country on.

So on Tuesday morning at around 09.00 hours after dropping Ziggy off at Pampered Paws (we were going to experience something different so why shouldn’t he)


Ziggy looking forward to his bit of pampering

and assembled on the dock at Ramon’s Village


for the first part of our journey. The boat trip to Belize City.



“C’mon, you know you want one”.



Three Belikins later we moored at the Ramada Belize City Princess Hotel, loaded our bags on the two busses waiting for us and set off on the next stage of our adventure. We were headed to Banana Bank Lodge.

After a Belikin (it is the national drink after all) fuelled journey we unloaded our bags, checked in


and went to our rooms (Rose and I had been assigned the Caracol room).




Exquisite use of stained glass in the bathroom .

After quickly unpacking and tidying ourselves up it was time for lunch



at Cafe Carolina.

And then it was time to tour the expansive – and extremely lush – grounds.


Meandering the verdant paths.


Chilling and savouring the beauty of the surroundings at one of the many conveniently located ‘resting’ spots.

Watching the free roaming horses (they have around ninety).



And then to the aviary.



And then down to take a look at the Belize River.



The pleasure of catching sight of howler monkeys.


And, saving the best until last, we then got to see




Tika Too. Impressive and beautiful isn’t she.

With the tour of the grounds complete (well actually you could probably spend days touring the grounds) it was time for the pool.



Jaymon, the youngest of the travelling fans.

Fun over it was time for the serious stuff. Take the bus


and head to FFB Stadium. I had a very important ticket to use!


There was the important matter of a team talk though (oh, and the opportunity for a few more Belikins) so we stopped off at Scotchies where we discussed tactics. Well, at least I think that’s what we were talking about. One thing we all agreed on was that the Jaguars needed to come out firing on all cylinders. Attack was the name of the game!

The teams came out. The National Anthems were played


and the game began with Belize doing what we all wanted. They attacked. And the pressure paid off in the twenty-first minute when Deon McCaulay slotted one in. One nil to Belize and the crowd (Rose and I included) went wild.

The Jaguars continued to attack but just couldn’t get a second goal and just before half-time Will Johnson for Canada managed to find the net.

Such a crushing blow could have deflated the supporters but it didn’t, it spurred us on and when the boys from Belize entered the field for the second half the noise levels increased. The Mexican Waves began. Hope was renewed.

Now the Jaguars may not be as experienced as their opponents. They don’t enjoy the same level of backing and facilities but they made up for this with boundless levels of energy and unbridled passion.

They had chances to win the game but the Canadian goalkeeper – perhaps playing the game of his life- thwarted them with last gasp saves.

The game ended a draw. Belize had failed to win. But was that really the case? To my mind they won the admiration of all of us that were privileged to be there or to watch them on TV. They tried hard. They played with passion and determination. They ran until the final whistle blew. They did Belize proud. It was a sweet dream that they just couldn’t pull off but deservedly so the team was applauded as they left the pitch.

I’m fortunate to have attended some great football games which will remain in my memory for ever. This game that Belize played against Canada joins this illustrious line up.

We left the ground happy. Belize had lost but we were not downhearted. Happy with the spirit they had shown. There was only one thing to do. Celebrate. So we headed off to the E & L Sports Bar. Well we just had to, didn’t we!

Midnight came and it was time to head back to Banana Bank Lodge. It had been a long and exciting day.

Refreshed after a good nights sleep we assembled the next morning and the conversation was all about the game. It probably will be for a long time to come. You know the kind of thing ” I was there when Belize nearly (should have) beat Canada”. And we were there, I’m really proud and pleased to say.

Breakfast over we had time for another walk around the grounds and then it was time to take the bus back to Belize City and lunch at the Club Calypso Seafood Restaurant .

Lunch over and time to head to Caye Caulker. A tremendous way to finish off our trip.

Rolando , our boat Captain, getting us there safely


Balde demonstrating his skill at drinking in a bumpy boat


and keeping his cap in place


the Lazy Lizard in sight so time for Ricky to get ready to secure the boat at our mooring spot


and time for a well earned rest



No, we haven’t shrunk!

and an ice cream.



Too soon it was time to head back to the Lazy Lizard


with an ice cream for Jaymon so we could tempt him from the water.


“Yes, it’s for you Jaymon”.

Time for one last Belikin (OK, OK it was two. Or was it three???) before heading back to Ambergris Caye.

A memorable time with a great bunch of people who allowed us to share their passion and pride. And, of course, their friendship.

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1969 by Jethro Tull which reached number one on the UK Singles Chart and number twenty on the US Billboard Hot 100.