Okay, actually NONE of these things really have anything to do with the others – but I’m still going to see if I can cobble them all into some kind of semi-coherent post. Damn the torpedos, I say; and why not just start with this universally topical subject:
ARE THERE ANCIENT ALIENS IN BELIZE?!
We ARE in Mayan territory, after all; so [use your hushed Ancient Aliens voice-over voice – if you watch that show, you’ll know exactly what I mean] could this crop circle formation actually be an ancient aerial map for space invaders?!
We paid a visit there a month or so ago to collect some folks who wanted to have a look at the estate, and since we had time before our planned meet, we poked around and took some pictures.
That’s me, unwilling to leave the shade under these trees and still managing to work up a sweat. Have I mentioned how hot it’s been here lately?
Orchid Bay is a pretty place with nice amenities (beach, pool, bar & grill) for renters (casitas and inn rooms) and buyers (lots for sale). If you’re interested, tell ‘em Ray and Jackie sent you. You know, so we can collect our commission.
LOCAL WATERING HOLES
Besides our semi-regular stops at Cerros Beach Resort and Enrique’s Beach Bar on the Cerros peninsula (yes, those are shameless plugs for friends), our other sometime watering hole is Jam Rock in Corozal.
It’s located right on Corozal Bay, a very pretty spot with (usually) a nice breeze off the water. Both gringos and Belizeans frequent the place, and owners (and husband/wife) Rocky and Teresa are good folks. The picture above is the only one I have, but a local blogger did a post with more pictures – click here if you want to see it (we even know some of the ex-pats she photographed).
We also discovered a nice little place in Orange Walk right on the New River – El Gran Mestizo, which includes a bar/restaurant called Maraca’s and a suite of cozy little cabins for overnights right nearby. When we were there for lunch the other day (awesome teriyaki wings), the manager took us through a few of the accommodations.
All over this property, local wood is used in really wonderful ways. I took some pictures but mine don’t do justice to the place the way that their professional website images does. If you haven’t already clicked on the link above, have a look. I’ll wait. Nice, right?
AND SPEAKING OF PARROTS…
Okay, that was a completely irrelevant segue; just roll with it. What started out as the quaint, amusing ‘Parrot Hour’ here (a regular evening flyover with brief mad squawking) has since devolved into ‘Parrot Yard Party’ starting at daybreak and pretty much continuing on and off all day.
If they’re going to hang around like this and make such incessant noise, the least they could do is stop camouflaging themselves so well in the trees. Because I’ll step outside with the camera and look up at a tree that I KNOW has a whole slew of them in it, and they’ll go silent as I search…and search…and search. Nada. Nothing moves. Not a peep. Really? And then I step back inside and a whole fricking army swarms out of that tree, screeching and taunting me with low-altitude aerials that I could have easily photographed, had I only been in position.
Obviously, this pic is not my photo. I swiped it off the web awhile ago and didn’t think to register the photo credit. So, sorry but thank you for letting me use it, whoever you are, Photographer Who Actually Managed to Foil the Parrots.
Can you tell the freaking parrots are on my list these days?
WATER & ICE
Speaking of lists (how about that one? eh? eh?), these two items are almost always on ours. I can’t even imagine what drinking from a tap is like anymore. And even if we buy bagged ice close by in Progresso, some degree of melt will almost always already be in progress by the time we get home, which means the cubes will then re-freeze into large unmanageable chunks. And speaking of first world problems (ha! now I’m on a roll; see yesterday’s post for reference), there’s just nothing quite as annoying as unmanageable chunks of ice when you
want need a cold drink. Have I mentioned lately that it’s been freaking HOT here?!
Anyway – when we first got here, we used the crude but effective technique of smashing the bagged ice on the tile floor inside or the cement floor outside until it was sufficiently usable. The downside of that was it was more work than you’d think, and also invited potential damage to the tile, and it got the bag dirty, which sometimes got the ice inside dirty. Obviously, this was not a long-term solution.
One day we were sitting at the bar at Jam Rock and the bartender picked up what looked like a police billy club and whacked the crap out of their bagged ice. Huh, I’m thinking. We need one of those – or something like it.
The ideal fix presented itself after one of the wheelbarrow arms broke. We bought a new one at the feed mill so Ray could replace it (good as new now). He tossed the pieces of the old arm outside and they laid there for a while before I realized: Hey! Saw off the jagged edge and there we go: Ice Basher, complete with handy grip.
Brilliant, right? Still crude, but much more effective.
And, I might add, not only at bashing ice – The Ice Basher doubles as a handy outlet for aggression. Like, where (BAM) in the HELL (BAM) is rainy season this year?! BAM BAM. Or, if those freaking parrots (BAM BAM BAM) don’t shut up, I’m going after ‘em with a .357.
Oh, don’t go all PETA on me, anyone, of course I am kidding. But you get the idea: Get yourself an Ice Basher – it’s functional AND therapeutic.
Moving right along…
Besides the very common mahogany (national tree), there are many beautiful varieties of wood in this country – click here for a good sampling. Including, believe it or not, the wood harvested from my nemesis, the poisonwood or che-chen tree, which is surprisingly beautiful. If not presumably painful to harvest. If you’re me, anyway. Some people say it doesn’t bother them at all. Yeah, whatever. Those people suck.
I’ve mentioned zericote wood before, which is commonly used for gift shop items like the toucan at left (our homeowner’s property) and our parrot. Yeah, seriously, parrot – what the hell was I thinking when I bought that?
And how about the ceilings here in the lagoon house? All different kinds of wood, all gorgeous. Sometimes when I wake up in the morning, I just lie in bed for awhile taking in this view. Yeah, that’s what I tell Ray – THAT’s why I don’t just bound out of bed. I’m EXAMINING THE CEILING. You know he believes me, too.
Outside on the screen patio, more of the same.
Even a picnic table becomes a work of art here (this one is at the New River Stop).
And for some really exceptional wood products, visit Graniel’s Dreamland. If we had four or five extra suitcases for the (eventual) trip home, it’d be full of this stuff.
EVERYBODY, SING ALONG!
This is the logo for a line of Central American hardware (and machetes) sold in many places around town. Every time I see one of these signs, this little ditty goes off in my head:
I’m a casa, you’re a casa
We are casas all
And when we get together…
(slight pause for resounding finish)
We give the casa call!
(insert gnawing sounds here: Nom nom nom, etc.)
What can I say? Clearly, the heat is getting to me.
And I’ve always thought this little melody just one of many quirks of my Milwaukee childhood; but I Googled it and apparently it is a scouting song so it may be familiar to others. But if you have no idea what I’m talking about, see this. And you’re welcome for the earworm. 🙂
Okay, the last bit. Really, I promise.
‘BUSH’ REAL ESTATE SIGNAGE
FYI – for the record, there are actual Realtors in Belize and most of them use the signage you’d expect. But creative signage abounds everywhere in the bush. We see this sign on the way to Orange Walk and it always cracks us up. Yet again, we have “crude, but effective” – right?
And if the image of the property on this sign intrigues you enough to call, just let me know if you can’t make out the phone number – and remember, non-locals, you’ll have to add Belize’s country code (501). Also don’t forget to tell ‘em Ray and Jackie sent you, so we can get our commission.
You doubted – hell, I doubted! But that there is a semi-coherent post, out of pretty much nothing. Guess we better get back to traveling soon, huh?