Our Beachfront Home

Our Beachfront Home
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Friday, December 12, 2008

Joyce's Visit

Another guest has been and gone. Yesterday, we took Joyce to the Placencia airstrip and put her on a plane for Corozal eventually. According to her email, she went from Placencia to Dangriga, Dangriga to Belize Municipal, Belize to Caye Caulker, Caye Caulker to San Pedro and finally on to Corozal. I told her she saw a lot of the country from the air to compliment her seeing it from a bus.

Joyce arrived in Corozal via Mexico on November 20th. We were waiting for her at the Mirador Hotel. It really is a striking looking building. Once we got her luggage put away, we headed off to Cactus Plaza for dinner. As usual, it was very yummy. After dinner we walked along the beach to the local beach bar where we had met some local people earlier in the day.

Bob on the street and Joyce is in front of the hotel as we head off to the bus depot. We decided to make a straight through run for it from Corozal to Maya Beach so it was an early morning departure. We took the bus as far as Dangriga where our friend picked us up and drove us to Maya Beach.

Here we see Joyce on the beach soaking up the ambiance and one barrel.

Mostly Joyce was here to get in some much needed relaxation so we spent a lot of time on the beach working on our tans and heading up the beach. We did a number of trips to Placencia Village and did lots of shopping.

A very strange thing happened while Joyce was here. There seems to have been many hatches of dragonflies. For two days straight, it was all we could see. They were everywhere.

Here you can see that the sky was thick with the dragonflies.

They would sit for a long time, very still on lines, trees, railings and yes, even on books being read.

We found it interesting, to say the least.
We did some swimming, snorkelling and kayaking off our beach and everyone had a great time. Joyce met most of the friends we have made here in Maya Beach and we were frequent visitors at the Maya Breeze Inn beach bar.

Even just walking along the beach, we saw starfish, jellyfish, and numerous small fish that were striped and colourful. We saw a manatee and some dolphins swim by one day.

We have so many different kinds of birds here, that we can't keep track of all of them. One day, we found this guy in the tree outside the kitchen door. If anyone knows what kind it is, please leave a comment and let us know.
One day we walked up the beach to the Maya Breeze and found it to be under seige from pirates who are usually found up by Plantation. We are forming our own pirate group to retaliate and plant our own flag. We will be the Maya Beach Pirates. Name to be announced shortly.

Of course, no trip is complete without a birthday party, this time it was mine. We went to Caye Caulker and visited again with our friends Luciana and Michael. We had dinner at Habeneros that night and everyone does indeed look pretty happy. We also visited our friend Tim and Bones (aka Sheva) who are getting along splendidly. Sheva and Shamus are quite the pair to watch. We saw our friend Laura as well, and of course, Amanda.
While we were on Caye Caulker, we did the snorkelling trip and I think Joyce was impressed. She says her most thrilling moments were swimming with the rays.
We spent a four days on Caye Caulker then came back to Maya Beach for more relaxation. But first, before relaxing, we had to go cave tubing. That was an awesome experience, although we found that we did more climbing and walking than actual tubing. Our guide was very knowledgeable and helped us alot. If you go caving or tubing, make sure you wear clothes that you don't care if they are ruined. Ours were not ripped, but they were stained from the clay on the rocks that we climbed inside the cave.
We also go an opportunity to go to a local chili cook off at the Pickled Parrot in the village. That was pretty cool, we had a live group play and they were great. Next year we are going to put in an entry to try and win. Again, fun was had by all, both contestants and spectators.
Then it was time to send Joyce home to Canada where we understand it was -10 Celsius and snow.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pirates in Maya Beach

There were pirates in Maya Beach today.

According to Rhumrunner, one of the local pirates here, there will be more.... many, many more. These pirates roam the pristine waters of the Caribbean and attack unsuspecting colonies. Maya Beach is only the latest to be hit in a long line of victims.

Maya Beach will not take this lying down as we prefer to sit up when we drink, or fight off attacking brigands. We will form our own league of pirates and do our own attacking and pillaging and stealing of pirate flags.

First, we will get our own flag and fly it proudly above the bar at Dax's. Then we will formulate a plan to take flags from the other pirates. We will be a force to be reckoned with. So, if anyone has ideas for a flag, let's get on with it. We also need someone to organize and keep track of the pirates and any landlubbers who want to help the Maya Beach Pirates.

Here is a link for some photos of the pirates and landlubbers who attended the attack. If you look closely, you will find some pictures of the Belizean Beach Bums. Thank you to Bob for sharing your photos.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tracy's Visit


Our friend Tracy was arriving!!!!! She was coming from Edmonton via Mexico City to Chetumal. On September 30th we got up early and boarded the 'white bus' heading for Belize City. It is a bit of a drag that we only have a couple of buses go by a day, but really great that you only have to stand outside where you live and flag them down. We went from Maya Beach to Dangriga to Belmopan to Belize City. We only had to wait about twenty minutes in Belize City for the bus to Corozal and it was a delux bus and not the regular bus. We felt like Royalty as we rolled through Orange Walk to Corozal.

In Corozal we headed to the Mirador Hotel and dropped our bags then set out for Menzies Tours. We just wanted to make sure everything was ready for Tracy's arrival. Of course Henry and Cecelia had everything ready and we were free to wander around the town and reaquaint ourselves with the people and places.

We were hoping to take Tracy to the Catus Plaza for dinner, but it was closed on Tuesdays/Wednesdays at this time of year, as was Patti's Bistro so we made reservations at Tony's Resort in the Y Not Bar and Grill. Tracy was just as taken with the turtles as I was. After a great dinner, we headed back to the hotel as we all had been travelling for the whole day and were exhausted.

Early Wednesday morning we were up and ready to go. We got on the bus and headed to Belize City via Orange Walk where we stopped for a quick break and some pictures. Here we see Tracy by the town square.

We had decided that it would be easier to take Tracy to Maya Beach in stages, so we stayed overnight at the Radisson Hotel in Belize City. Here is a picture of the pool as seen from our room.

Thursday morning we got up early and headed for the bus depot all three of us looking forward to our adventures. We have learned living in Belize that each day is like a scavenger hunt, you have to look for things. The ride was pretty smooth for the most part all the way to Belmopan, where Tracy met Radiance and tasted her first Johnny Cake. It met with her approval.

Radiance Margaret selling her wares on the bus in Belmopan.

Tracy playing peek a boo.

Bob giving us 'the look'.

Of course, after Belmopan came the roller coaster ride of the Hummingbird Highway. We were booming along when we came up to a bridge that had workmen working on it. The bus driver did not even hesitate, he made a left hand turn through an orange grove and took the beaten path to the river. The driver stopped just short of the river. He wanted to cross there and the old men on the bus didn't want him to. Some of the men had to get out of the bus and wander to the water's edge to check it out. It was decided not to cross there, so we did the beaten path in reverse back to the highway. Once back to the highway, the workers on the bridge were finished and we were able to continue on our trek towards Dangriga.

We were just past the turnoff for the Southern Highway when a bus coming out of Dangriga pulled over to the wrong side of the road horns honking frantically. Well, apparently we were late arriving and the bus to Placencia was already on the road. So those of us heading to the peninsula got our possessions and transferred to the next bus and started the next phase. Of course this is the bus that goes through Hopkins and Sittee River so Tracy got to see a little more than was originally planned, but it was all for the good. The water was still very high around the Sittee River area and we were glad we were sitting high and dry on the bus.

Once we got to Maya Beach and home, we took the suitcases up the stairs and I walked right into the water and went for a swim with my clothes on. I realized how much I had missed our little piece of the beach. Tracy was surprised at how nice it really was.

The next two weeks seemed to go by as in a blur of motion, we had so much fun, we went kayaking and snorkelling around our area, we found an area off the beach that has lots of coral and fish. Tracy and I saw a four foot barracuda that nearly scared the crap out of us, but we stayed calm and watched it for a bit while we were casually swimming away from it. It did not chase us so: women - one, barracuda - zero.

Our friends Mary and Charles took us on a road trip to Punta Gorda with a side excursion up into the jungle. Some parts were a little harrowing, but as you can see, the end results were worth it. Getting to the campgrounds is part of the adventure.

Here we see Charles checking the depth of the water before we drive through.

Here is a bit of the river and a nice calm pool of water to the side for swimming or wading. Of course getting out was another story. Coming out, we found our way was blocked by tree limbs which had to be removed.

Here we see Bob comtemplating what needs to be done.

Everyone pitched in, Charles cut with his machete while Bob held the tree in place. Then we all helped to pull out the pieces. I did take a few minutes for some candid shots. As with all of our adventures, we had a great time. We have decided that each day is a scavenger hunt here and wake up eager to see what the day's list is.

We spent lots of time just swimming, snorkelling and relaxing on the beach. Time was also spent going to Placencia Village, Seine Bight and the local bars. A favourite beach bar is Maya Breeze Inn where Tracy taught the crabs to smoke cigarettes.

Here we see our friend David helping the crab get up on the bar. Actually, you just see David's hand.

The last four days of Tracy's stay was exciting and busy. We took the bus to Belize City and caught the water taxi to Caye Caulker. We introduced Tracy to some of the people we knew. Our friends Luciana and Michael were available and we were able to spend a little time visiting with them. Most of the places we wanted to see were closed for 'low season'. Habeneros and the Lazy Lizard were only two of those that were closed. We went to Rose's Cafe for some of the best lobster available and Amor y Café for breakfast.

We went to Anwar Tours to go snorkelling at the reef. It was a first time for both Bob and Tracy and I was excited to see their reactions. It was just as I expected, they were amazed and awed and I was so happy to share the experience with them. We had dinner that night at the Bamboo Restaurant next to Hicaco Tours and on a whim, we booked to go to Lamanai the next day.

We caught the water taxi to Belize City where we were met by our driver and driven to Orange Walk after stopping for some breakfast from street vendors. In Orange Walk we were handed over to a young man named Emir, who was our boatman and guide. Bob and I have done the Lamanai Tour before, but never in the pouring rain. It started out with sunshine and blue skies, but that soon turned to dark clouds and rain. Pouring rain, then just before we got to Lamanai, the skies cleared and we were able to walk around the site in sunshine. After a lunch provided by Emir's mother, we headed back to Orange Walk. Within ten minutes of leaving the ruins, it started raining again, this time it truly was a torrential downpour. I looked back at our driver and saw he was laying down in the back of the boat, covered with raingear. I am sure he was steering the boat by feel more than being able to see. We were rewarded in the end as it stopped raining as we were arriving back in Orange Walk and there was a rare Golden Eagle in the trees as we approached the dock. We were picked up by our driver and taken back to the water taxi for the return trip to Caye Caulker.

The next day we were up early and on the water taxi to Belize City. It was Tracy's last day in Belize and we were heading to Corozal. We went back to Tony's for dinner and tried not to think about her leaving.

Tracy's last dinner in Belize this trip, there will be more of them we are sure.

We were up at 3:30 to see her off and then we went back to sleep for a couple of hours before getting on the 7:30 bus to Belize City. We were home in Maya Beach in time for a late dinner.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Making the Move to Maya Beach September, 2008

September 1st we moved from Caye Caulker to Maya Beach.

Here is a picture of Bob and all our worldly possessions on the dock at the Caye Caulker Water Taxi. The only things missing are our bicycles. They were further up the dock ready for loading.

We took the water taxi to Belize City where we had a friend waiting for us to drive us and our luggage to Maya Beach. This would be the first time that we had gone anywhere out of Belize City and not be on a bus.

The trip along the Hummingbird Highway was even more beautiful than the other times we had done the trip. The trip is never the same twice.

I was finally able to get a couple of pictures of the Kendal Bridge.

This is a picture of the temporary landfill bridge, basically culverts strapped together and covered with gravel and sand. Below is a picture upstream of the temporary bridge, showing some of the debris from when the original bridge collapsed during the flood.

And then we were at our new home.

They say "Home Is Where The Heart Is". Well, our hearts are here in Maya Beach.

So we unpacked our bags and settled in to wait for our first visitor, Tracy.

Life after internet

Well, here we are in Maya Beach and after eight weeks, we have internet again. A special thanks to all our friends and family who have been patiently waiting for updates.

On September 1st, we moved from Caye Caulker to Maya Beach and we are loving it. Where we are is quite remote but the people in the community are awesome. We have met some wonderful people and are very happy to be here.

On September 30th, our dear friend Tracy arrived for two weeks. Never has time passed so quickly. We sure packed a lot of things into that two weeks. Poor Tracy was dragged from Corozal in the north to Punta Gorda in the south and all points in between. We even managed a trip to Caye Caulker and did some snorkelling at the reef. A trip to Lamanai was a must and then we had to send her home again. I will be working on more posts about her trip. Hopefully she will be busy planning her next trip back. She made a lot of friends here and we all miss her very much.

Now that we are back up and running, I hope to get all our information updated and posted here. Stay tuned for more.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Adventures in Placencia, August 2008

Everyone has been asking me when I am going to update the blog. So we decided it was time to go on a road run, this time to Placencia. We packed a computer bag with laptop and a couple changes of clothes, charged the battery for the camera and hit the high seas. This means that we got up at five o'clock, had smoothies for breakfast, caught the first water taxi of the day and headed from Caye Caulker to Belize City.

We were at the bus depot early and imagine our surprise when this bus rolled in. We took a second look when we noticed the destination of Bellingham. I checked, there is no Bellingham, Belize. This cushy bus was not going to Placencia, so we waited for the 'chicken bus'. When I mentioned to my sister that we took the chicken bus, she had a vision of crates of chickens tied to the roof. This is not the case, as most of them are just older style school bus types rather than the air conditioned beauty you see above.

This is what we call a 'chicken bus'. Please don't confuse us with Mexico.

To get to Placencia from Belize City by bus, you need to travel from Belize City to Belmopan on the Western Highway, Belmopan to Dangriga on the Hummingbird Highway, and Dangriga to Placencia on the Southern Highway. Total travel time is anywhere from four to five hours, depending on how many stops there are to pick up and drop off passengers along the highway and how long the stop in each city or town is. The highway from Belmopan to Dangriga is one of the most picturesque roads in Belize. Some typical scenes along the way are:

House along the roadside.

Another house on the roadside.

No need to walk on the highway here in the village of Armenia.

Keep our country clean.

Bus stop number one.

Bus stop number two.


At any given time you will find a bus full of mothers and children. The children of Belize are beautiful as you can see by the pictures I took on this bus ride.

This young man was not threatening me, he was actually posing for me, as was his sister.

Posing for me
In this photo she was looking away, and I got her by surprise. You have to love those eyes.

When we went to Dangriga in June, we noticed the scent of the orange blossoms all the way. The orange blossoms are done now, but we did see lots of oranges on the trees, mostly green but starting to ripen. Lots and lots of orange groves along the highway.

Once we left Dangriga and got past Hopkins, we were once again in new territory. We had been worried about the Kendal Bridge, but it was fine, no problems at all. It seemed strange though to drive along the road, see the bridge gone and around the corner, see the land bridge. It makes you appreciate mother nature and her power.

After Kendal Bridge, the drive was groves of oranges, grapefruit and limes. We passed by banana plantations and then more orange groves. It was truly awesome. I did take some pictures, but they didn't turn out well enough to post. We are going back on September 1st, so I will try to take some better pictures then.

We got off the bus at the Maya Beach Hotel, owned by John and Ellen Lee. We would recommend this hotel to anyone, especially if you have any special needs, including dietary. All the staff were excellent, friendly and attentive to our needs. http://www.mayabeachhotel.com/

Once we were settled in, we went for a walk down the beach and found our new home.

Here you can see Bob getting a feel for our beach chairs, looks like a good fit to me.

This is the view from our beach towards False Caye.

For a quick lunch we headed to the Frisky Frog Fast Food Fix which is across the street from Mango (closed). We had nachos for a quick lunch. We walked along the beach and back to the Maya Hotel, then sat on the swing out on the pier. It was very, very relaxing, perfect.

For dinner, we headed north and found the BellaMaya Resort and Residences http://bellamayaresort.com/. We went to the security gate and asked if they had a restaurant. The very pleasant security guard pointed us in the right direction, across the street, around the buildings, past the pool and swim up bar to the beach bar and grill. The food was very good and we would recommend this place to eat. Everyone was very nice even though we weren't staying there. While we were there a family came in on a HobieCat, pulled up on the beach in front of us and headed to the pool. After dinner, we raced back to the hotel as we were being consumed by mosquitos.

The next morning, after breakfast, we borrowed a couple of bicycles from the hotel and pedalled into Placencia Village. Just a short ten miles. Don't try this at home kids. If you do decide to cycle from Maya Beach to Placencia Village, make sure you take lots and lots of water. It was a very hot day, but we did it. We walked along the boardwalk all the way to the end. We had lunch at Shak's and sat looking at the water.

View from Shak's Restaurant

Another view from Shak's.

After lunch, we walked around the village and found TuttiFruitti Icecream shop. It was everything we had been told it would be. Outside, around the back there is a pond and in it are at least two crocodiles, more turtles than we could count and lots of fish. It was pretty cool.

Crocodile and turtle sunning together.

This crocodile was just hanging.

We were surprised that the turtles and crocodiles were so friendly towards each other.
The two crocodiles, sunning and hanging.

We continued our wanderings and checked out the village markets and shops along the main road. We hailed a taxi and had the driver put our bikes in the back, it was a one way bike ride.

We had dinner at the hotel and sat out on the deck and just enjoyed the view, the food and the ambiance. Early to bed as we were leaving the next morning.

There are only three buses out of Placencia each day, 5:30 a.m., 6:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. We chose the 6:00 a.m. It came along shortly after 6 and picked us up outside the hotel. We were in Dangriga before 7:30. This is where the ride got interesting. If you have ever been on a bus in Belize, you know that the roads are windy, twisty and turning. Not a good place for a young woman who has morning sickness. Not a good place for me to be in the way. Things happen. After a few stops and starts, we did make it to Belmopan where the young lady had had enough and got off the bus.

Travelling by bus in Belize gives you a chance to be with Belizeans and get to know them. The buses get full and people share. Our bus was no different. Bob gave his seat to a woman with two small children. The girl, who was one year old, did not want to sit with me and made strange, so I took her brother, who was two years old, on my lap instead. He was a very quiet little boy who never said a word, but he did look very sorry when he wet himself on my lap.

That family got off in Hattieville, and a man sat down beside me. The woman sitting in front of us also had two children. I indicated to her that her young daughter (three or four years old) could sit with us, but the daughter did not want to. Next thing I know, I am catching a baby almost tossed over the seat into my arms. This is a little one, maybe eight or nine months and she wanted to play. She was at the stage where she was just learning to stand. We had lots of fun, jumping, looking out the window and then, she just snuggled into my neck and fell asleep. She stayed there until we got off the bus in Belize City.

We took a taxi from the bus depot to the water taxi and we were back on Caye Caulker before 1:00 p.m. It was a long three days.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Caye Caulker Lobsterfest 2008

It stopped raining last night, just in time for Lobsterfest. How great is that? The following are some of the pictures I took during our walkabout today.

Bike carts and a driver.

Sign made by the Library to promote protecting the reef.

Kids from the library. Notice the "Pin the Tail on the Lobster" game.

mmmmm Lobster

Street scene, everyone is heading to the lobster.

More lobster

Kids being kids, playing on the swings.

Still more lobster......

Beach volleyball game at the split

I would be far less nervous if everyone wasn't watching me....

The signal before the serve

Volleyball scoreboard says 5 - 7

And still more lobster.

Some local artists.

Carving in Herbal Tribe.

Carving on the street.

It's a beautiful day in the sports bar neighbourhood.

These two happy lobsters were married here two years ago and still celebrating.

We stopped at the sports bar to listen to a band. They weren't bad. I could only get good pictures of two of them. The drummer and the organist. We went back later in the evening and they were still there playing. Lots of singing and dancing done by all. Customers and band.



Group photo.