Saga Humane Society Presents 1st Annual Grand Champion Cook-off
Tonight December 16, 2011, from 6:00 — 11:00 p.m. at Central Park
Also presenting Costa Maya Miss Belize launching Saga’s 2012 Calendars & Photo’s with Santa
Come out for a fun-filled, family night and support Saga Humane Society by attending their first Annual Holiday Fundraiser at Central Park. The Grand Champion will be chosen by you, the public, in our first every Grand Champion Cook-off. The monthly cook-off Winners from 2011 compete to vie for the title of Saga’s Grand Champion. Food Tickets are $10.00BZ to sample the entries and place your vote.
Also, Miss Costa Maya Belize, Idolly Salazar, will be on hand to launch Saga’s 2012 Calendars and will personally be signing all calendars sold that night.
Santa will be making his 4th appearance once again for Saga at this years Holiday Fundraiser doing Photos with Santa. His elves will be joining him also and helping the kids make Christmas Tree Ornaments and other activities.
Paws & Princesses Saga 2012 Calendar: $25.00 BZ each OR (6) for $100 BZ
Photos with Santa
**4×6 Colored Print in a Holiday Greeting Card
**$10.00 BZ each or (3) for $25.00 BZ
Saga Humane Society needs your support to operate the Shelter. It takes continued fundraising efforts from the Board, Staff and committed volunteers AND your generous donations. Thank you for attending this event and for your continued support.
A great cause for our whole community!
Make your own Christmas Ornament — $1.00 BZ ea
Kids Raffles –Tickets $2.00 each; 4/$5.00; 10/$10.00
Adult Raffles — Tickets $3.00 each; 2/$5.00; 6/$10.00; 15/$20.00
Full Bar with Christmas Spirits: Eggnog, Hot Buttered Rum, Sangria
National Geographic Names Belize as One of The Best Adventure Destinations of 2012! For the past 52,000 years, the Maya people have anticipated the year 2012 as the end of one cosmic cycle and the beginning of a new one. Belize is home to several Mayan ruins that will provide you with a spectacular and emotional experience.
(Source: National Geographic)
HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM THE COCOTAL CREW!
Tanya and I had dinner last night at a place called “Waruguma”. We had their famous lobster burrito which has lobster inside the burrito, huge lobster chunks in the topping on top of the burrito, and an entire lobster tail sitting on top. This burrito is gigantic! The best part of it all is that it was only $7 USD! In addition to the burrito, we ordered a shrimp soup. It’s a creamy soup made with coconut milk, whole shrimp, onions, green peppers, and some other miscellaneous ingredients that made it the best soup I have ever had in my entire life! This meal was just way to good not to share with everybody!
Last night was the first night of the Costa Maya Festival, the largest island festival of the year. Everybody was out and about, music playing, street vendors with food and crafts, and people getting all dressed up for the dance. Last night was the beauty pageant for beautiful girls coming from all over Central America; El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, etc. There are more festivities tonight and Sunday. Sunday is the big finale in the park. I can’t wait to go to attend those festivities and gorge myself on Belizean food!
The days in Belize seem to pass like a blink of an eye. Every day is a new adventure, new memories, and new friends. I took the golf cart in to town with Raul a couple of days ago and spent the entire day running errands. I think that most of us take it for granted how easy we have it in the U.S. It took us all afternoon to go to the gas station, grocery store, post office, hardware store, a different grocery store, the butcher, and of course, Manelly’s Ice Cream to get an obscene amount of coconut ice cream. It’s not like just going to WalMart to get everything and you go home. The best part was on the way back. The butterflies all hatched at once and we were driving through thousands and thousands of them. It was just a beautiful, amazing sight to see. I will post a picture of the road back to the Cocotal and some of the butterflies.
After a long day in town, we went to dinner at Aji, which is an outdoor tapas bar/restaurant. We walked across this beautiful bridge across the lagoon (which is home to salt water crocodiles) and then it’s a maze through coconut trees, plants, flowers, fountains, and other types of outdoor decorations. I have never seen another place that even comes close to resembling Aji.
I got to see my friend Christine and her daughter Nicole yesterday. I wish everybody could have the experience to meet Christine. She has the purest heart of anybody I have ever met. She just pours out pure love. Nicole has gotten so big since I last saw her, but she is the same. She is almost 10 years old, but just a wonderful child. When she saw me she ran up to me and just gave me hug after hug. I only wish I got to spend more time with Christine and Nicole, I have a lot to learn from both of them.
After doing several hours of office work yesterday, Tanya and I took a sunset sail on a catamaran. They took us 7 miles out on the Caribbean Sea and watched the sun go down. It was a beautiful, clear day which made the sunset that much more amazing. On the way back to the island, the sky being very clear with no light pollution I laid back on the catamaran, which just has an open weave bottom so you can see and feel the water under it, and I looked up at the sky at the stars and moon as the breeze slowly pushed the boat back to shore.
This morning I was up at 3am for some very strange reason, so I got to see the sunrise up over the Caribbean Sea. I walked down to the end of the pier and there were large schools of many different types of fish just hanging out. There were needlefish, grouper, sergeant majors, several others I don’t know, and my favorite, the lion fish. They have fishing derbies here to get rid of the lion fish because they are not native to this body of water. They are extremely poisonous and kill off large amounts of other fish. They are really cool to look at though!
The water is so calm and clear today; a beautiful crystal blue. Tanya and I are going to kayak out to the reef and go snorkeling for a bit to cool off and see what other underwater life we can find. We are talking about doing the night snorkeling tour, but we are scared! Most of the sea life is nocturnal and come out after dark, scary stuff like moray eels. The tour guide says it is mandatory to have two strong alcoholic beverages before leaving! Since we are both scared to do it, we are going to make ourselves do it just overcome the fear. I will let you know how it goes, that is if I don’t get swallowed by a sea monster!
Christine and I
Another couple of days have gone by without my promised daily blog from Belize. By the end of the day I just stare at my computer and can’t seem to dig up the energy to walk over to type. I thought maybe it would be better if I blog in the morning and had a tad bit more energy.
First I must start off by saying a congrats to Ernesto, the new office manager at the Cocotal, for the birth of his baby girl. She was born yesterday morning, 6lbs 8oz. The cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck so they had to fly off the island to Belize City for an emergency C-section. Both mama and baby are doing great now. His absence left Tanya and I fumbling through the office yesterday, but we laughed all the way through it and had a good time.
We had some errands to do in town, grocery store, hardware store, etc, so we hopped on the golf cart and headed down the newly “improved” road which still feels like a golf cart rodeo. On our way in we encountered high winds with torrential rains. The rain was blowing in from Tanya’s side of the golf cart, so being the gentleman I am, I hid behind Tanya so I didn’t get wet. It really is a gift to everyone that I continue looking so good! Once we made it to town, everything was completely dry. It didn’t rain a drop!
I FINALLY was able to go to my favorite ice cream place in the whole world! Mannelly’s Ice Cream makes homemade ice cream right there in the store. My absolute favorite is the coconut ice cream. I have tried every type of coconut ice cream in the US and I have yet to find one that comes close to duplicating Mannelly’s world famous coconut ice cream!
Due to so many different circumstances at home, I was unable to make it back to Belize for much longer than I wanted. My biggest fear was that the people here would forget who I was and I would once again be a stranger in a place that I consider my second home. These fears disappeared as we drove around town, going from store to store, and had many waves, handshakes, and hugs. I was not forgotten! The news that I was in town had even travelled all the way across to the mainland!
Aside of the occasional rain, the weather has been great. The clouds have been out just enough to keep it cool; around 86 degrees. I am now off to town to meet a friend for lunch.
I have posted a couple of pictures, more to come!
My original plan for my trip to Belize was to create a blog entry each night with my activities and thoughts for each day. I have been here three days and this is the first time I have actually opened my laptop. I will try to get caught up tonight without writing a novel!
For those of you reading that don’t know, I am staying on a Belizean island called Ambergris Caye (pronounced “key”). The only city on the island is a small little town called San Pedro. Belize is located between Mexico and Guatemala on the Caribbean Sea. It is home of the world’s second largest barrier reef, 2nd to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. This makes for one of the world’s top destinations for snorkeling and diving. The national language of Belize is English; however it is a melting pot of nationalities where you can hear Spanish, English Creole, and even German from the Amish population. I am staying at a small, intimate resort 2 ½ miles north of San Pedro (www.cocotalbelize.com).
I traveled for 18 hours to reach Belize City. I left Billings on Wednesday at 5:30pm and arrived in Belize City on Thursday at 11:30am. Once I reached Belize City which is on the mainland, I took a small little 15 minute ride on a little puddle jumper plane to San Pedro. Once in San Pedro, Jesus picked me up from the airstrip and brought me over to the Cocotal. It was just recently that a car could drive on the dirt road out here. It used to be that only a golf cart could make the trip, so I always took the water taxi over to the Cocotal’s pier.
The minute we pulled into the Cocotal I had the feeling of coming home, welcomed by familiar, friendly faces along with Mara, the property’s canine mascot. I was immediately greeted by the office manager who told me she had explicit instructions from Tanya (the property owner) that I was to be given a stiff rum punch. Once I finished the rum punch, my exhaustion from the long trip caught up with me and I took a nice two hour nap. I later found out that this was Tanya’s plan all along. She knew I would immediately try to begin some sort of activity with no sleep.
Once I woke up it was evening, the sun was beginning to set (the sun sets in Belize around 6pm-6:30pm year round). I sat under the palapa along the Caribbean Sea and felt the breeze blow against me and listened to the gecko next to me chirp at me with a welcome song. It could have been a mating call, but I choose to believe it was just saying “Hi”! I had dinner at the White Sands Resort next door to the Cocotal. The lady that runs the bar and the restaurant informed me that I had gained weight from the last time she saw me. Thanks for the update, I had no idea! Haha! The great thing is I was in no way offended by the comment because she is so sweet and non-judgmental. I was just happy to catch up with her and find out all of the island gossip since I was last here.
I woke up at 5:30am on Friday morning and got in the water and began cleaning out the plastic bottles and other miscellaneous garbage that had blown in from the overnight wind. I don’t know where I found the energy to do that, I can’t even take the garbage out my own house! As I was walking through the water I cut my toe on a rock and it started bleeding. The funny thing is that it’s a tradition for me to slice my toe up in some way or another every time I come to Belize. It’s just something that I have to do at some point while I am here. I guess its best I just got it out of the way on my first full day here. After I got out of the water I began picking up some of the palms that had blown down onto the property from the wind. I took an armful of them out back to the lagoon where there is a pile of stuff like palms, branches, sea grass, coconuts, etc. The dirt road I had to cross to get to the foliage pile was muddy from the rain the night before. I was just wearing flip flops with my arms full of palms and I stepped in the mud, did a little slide, and fell in the mud! Of course I had to get up real quick and make sure nobody saw me! I then I had to sneak back into my Cabana so nobody could see that I was covered head to toe in mud so I could take a shower and change clothes. As far as I know, nobody saw me. This is what I get for attempting physical labor!
At 8am this morning I had a boat pick me up along with a couple from Colorado( Ryan and Darcy) I had met on the plane from Atlanta to Belize City for a private snorkeling trip. It was just the three of us, so we got to what we wanted and not have to deal with a bunch of other people. We went to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve along the reef and then on to Shark/Ray Alley. We saw some amazing sea life including sea turtles, reef sharks, eagle rays, sting rays, nurse sharks, a whole variety of beautifully colored fish and coral. I will be sure to post some photos taken with my underwater camera real soon. Darcy got extremely sea sick and was pretty green around the gills. I felt so bad for her, she tried so hard to push through it, but it got the best of her. We still had a great time, shared some laughs, and made some great memories!
I took the golf cart into town today to get some groceries to bring back so I can make some meals when Tanya gets here tomorrow. It was so nice to just take a relaxing drive on the way in and then driving around town watching all different types of people go about their daily lives. I drove by Mannelly’s ice cream, the makers of the most fantastic coconut ice cream I have ever had, and had the will power not to stop. I wanted to wait until Tanya was here so we could go get ice cream together, that is sort of our tradition. We get huge coconut ice cream cones and then eat them as the ice cream melts and runs down our arms and onto the sidewalk. When it’s so hot and humid, ice cream doesn’t last very long! Tanya will be here tomorrow, so I hope she doesn’t expect me to wait any longer for it! Just as I was about to leave town, I ran into my dear, sweet friend Deona who greeted me with hug and her signature smile. I was so happy to see her! We have plans to get together this week to get caught up.
The rest of my day was spent floating in the pool and soaking up the sun, it doesn’t get much less stress free than that! I am now off to bed so I can get up early to watch the sun rise up and over the sea. I hope to have some pictures up tomorrow of my first few days on “La Isla Bonita”.