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You know you've been in a place for awhile when you start repeating yourselves!  Like this time last year, we enjoyed a fine opening day lunch at Aji, one of our neighborhood restaurants, but since we forgot our camera last year, this time we came prepared to snap some photos of the great setting and delicious food prepared by Chef Hugo.  

Unlike last year, when heavy rain forced us to eat at the bar, this time around we had a lovely table outside in the trees, with a beautiful beach-side view.  

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Our tabletop decor
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The special menu
Like last year, they offered a choice of appetizer, entree, and dessert for a very reasonable $25 BZ ($12.50 US) and drink specials as well.  I rarely get to indulge in wine here because of the high prices, but at $10 BZ ($5 US) a glass, this Sauvignon Blanc was a welcome treat!
We decided to order different things for each course so we could taste as many dishes as possible.  For our appetizers, I ordered the Seafood Fritters, while Barry ordered the Hummus with veggies and chips.  Both were fresh and delicious, and the fritters were HOT.  Perfect!
For our entrees, I got the grouper and Barry the vegetable pasta.  Again, delish!  As I told Barry, I wish folks down here didn't make that high-carb white rice taste SO delicious by cooking it so perfectly in coconut milk, because I know it's not good for me...but I can't resist it cooked Belizean style!  Mmmmmmmm.... And the fish was perfectly cooked.
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My Grouper Caribeno with steamed veggies and that addictive coconut rice
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Barry's Pasta Arrabiata
We ordered one of each dessert, the Chocolate Rum Cake and the Caye Lime Pie.  Both were yummy and attractive, but I think we both agreed that the tartness of the pie with its delicious lime glaze was the top choice.  I wanted to lick the beautiful plate and would have if I'd been at home!  
Right before our desserts arrived, our good friends and snowbirds Ruthie and Chunky, just back on the island from their six months in Minnesota, arrived on Forrest Jones' Hobie Cat from south of town.  It was funny because I'd noticed the Hobie sailing up and wondered how they had enough wind as we could feel almost none from our table, sheltered by trees.  Apparently they had plenty of wind out on the water.  We were surprised to discover that the very boat we'd been watching was "crewed" by our friends.  We greeted them with hugs and were truly delighted to see them!
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Ruthie, Barry, and Chunky
After meeting Forrest and saying our goodbyes to Ruthie and Chunky, who should we run onto on our way out but Ben and Joanna Popik, island friends who run Island Films here on Ambergris Caye.  We hadn't even seen them in the foliage of the restaurant.  We all noticed that an extremely large black cloud was forming behind us to the north, and since they had farther to walk than we did, Joanna suggested that they better walk fast once they passed our building.  

I'm afraid they didn't make it home without getting wet, because not long after we got safely inside our condo, the rain came fast and hard.  Wow!  We were imagining the folks at the restaurant having to scramble to get everyone sitting outside the palapa, and their food, safely under cover.  We were so lucky that we had had perfect timing today!
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Forrest's Hobie at the Aji dock
Here is what it looked like just five minutes after we got home:
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Storm! Forrest's Hobie visible just north of our condo
Once the storm had passed, we saw the Hobie heading south right outside our windows.  With wind out of the north, they should be pushed right home.   We waved from our dock, but I don't think they ever saw us.
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Forrest, Chunky, and Ruthie heading home
11/15/2012 09:14:27 am

So nice to see that you are up and about. Have not posted in awhile and I miss the posts. May I ask what type of camera you use. Your photo's of your dinners are as clear as if I was sitting in front of them and they looked delicious.

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BeBelize Emily
11/15/2012 09:26:25 am

Thanks Jody! My camera is just a little Pentax Optio WPA and is many years old. It does a great job with close-ups, like food photos, but only has a 3x optical zoom so doesn't do well for longer-range shots. I bought it because it is waterproof to 5' depth so is great for boating or if you get caught in the rain. It was also wonderful for the "wet" part of the ATM cave when most people could not use their cameras.

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11/15/2012 08:55:13 pm

Great pics, the food looks delicious. So cool Chunky and Ruthie turned up.

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Anne Landman
11/17/2012 11:08:10 am

We have been considering a "snowbird" lifestyle on the island off of Belize. Of course, we are concerned after hearing of the exploits of Mcafee and his bizarre comments to the "Wired" magazine, among others. Bottom line, we are concerned about the crime. Please let us know about your knowledge of crime and safety where you live. Thank you for your wonderful blog and pictures!!!

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BeBelize Emily
11/17/2012 11:07:39 pm

Hi Anne, I wouldn't let the McAfee incident bother you too much. It is very bizarre indeed and tragic for the family and friends of the man who lost his life and is often overlooked in the media feeding frenzy. But it is also a very, very isolated incident. There is crime on Ambergris Caye, of course, as is typical for all Caribbean islands that I am aware of, but we feel quite safe living at Chico Caribe (part of Grand Caribe), where there is a round-the-clock security presence and a large staff. We never worry about leaving our condo to go to town or to travel. We have also ridden our bikes in very remote areas on both ends of the island and have never had a problem. Obviously the usual cautions apply -- we don't stay out late at night and we always lock our doors and windows at night or when we are away from our condo. We don't carry a lot of money or valuables around, nor do we wear expensive or flashy jewelry. Ambergris Caye is still a wonderful place to spend time as most here would readily agree. Check out this article for a more positive view of the island than you're getting from the John McAfee reports: http://www.ambergristoday.com/content/stories/2012/november/16/my-first-my-last-my-ambergris-caye. And glad you're enjoying the blog!

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