Weather-wise, this November has been the best month we've experienced since moving to San Pedro fifteen months ago.  It was mostly dry, cooler than normal, with highs only in the upper 70s many days. Best of all, the humidity was so much lower than the norm that my skin and lips were dry and flaky, and I actually had a few good hair days -- with my wavy mop that tends towards frizz, that's saying a lot!  

But a couple of days ago, that all changed.  For the past two nights, we've had hours of heavy rain, a total of around five inches.  I guess our assumption that dry season might be beginning early this year was a bit premature.  I'll let the photos tell the rest of the story....

Here's the approaching storm late yesterday afternoon.
And some of the roads north of the bridge today.  These were all dry just a couple of days ago.
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Taxi negotiating the puddles
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Motorcycle testing the depth of the puddle
But we can't complain too much.  Without the rain, we wouldn't have the lush tropical foliage nor these beautiful flowers!
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Hibiscus
 
One of Ambergris Caye's much-beloved restaurants re-opened the day after Thanksgiving, and -- of course -- we were there.  Ens and Cheri are our neighbors, and not only that, they really know how to do barbeque right.  Although we don't eat a lot of meat under normal circumstances, when we want to indulge our inner carnivores, nothing but the Lazy Croc will do. 

This is a sign we weren't sure we'd ever see again:
They're starting out simple with their basic menu of pulled pork, ribs, chicken, and a few sides.  Prices are the same as before, and there is a choice of four sides with your meal.  A limited drink menu is included but no desserts.  They told us they might add to the menu again over time, but wanted to begin again with the basics.  Makes sense to us!  Prices are in Belize dollars (divide by two for USD), and only cash is accepted.  
They're reserving their rear deck on the pond for private bookings, but they do have tables out front, or you can carry out.  
Barry had a nice chat with Ens by the smoker -- where the magic happens.
While I talked to Cheri manning the kitchen.  She's a stellar cook!
Since we live right next door, we just brought our grub (note my "cowboy lingo"!) back home.  Barry got the Smoky Joe pulled chicken sandwich (on the left), and I got the Juicy Lucy pulled pork with coleslaw.  We both ordered BBQ baked beans for our side dish.
Let me be the first to say, they haven't missed a beat.  It was absolutely delicious, and I even broke my "no white bread" rule and ate every bit of it, just this once!  

Here are the Croc's days and hours of business.  We'll definitely be back...often!
 
This year Thanksgiving "went to the dogs" as Fido's, an ever-popular San Pedro restaurant, bar, and live music venue, teamed up with Saga Humane Society for a fundraiser featuring singer-songwriter Kelly McGuire.  Fido's and Kelly are both such Ambergris Caye traditions that I am embarrassed to admit we've never experienced either, so we were looking forward to a good time for a good cause, and we were amply rewarded with a unique and fun Thanksgiving evening.  I'd been asked to take photos for the Saga website, so I figured I would kill two birds with one stone by doing our own blog of the event as well.
We left home on our bikes a bit early so we could eat dinner before the Saga event really got cranking at 6pm.  Barry got our steeds safely locked to one of the huge anchors right outside Fido's on the ocean front.  Fortunately, his pinched nerve and upper back issue has finally healed up, or most of the way, and he can ride his bike again.  We're both very happy about that!
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Yay, Barry is back on the scene!
We got a table right by the sea and started with a special drink of the evening -- vodka with watermelon juice.  Yum!
Here's the menu for the special Thanksgiving dinner.  The Cochinita Pibil was tempting, but we both ordered the traditional turkey dinner, which was $40 BZ ($20 US) and also included dessert (and a rum punch, as it turned out) -- neither of which were mentioned on the menu.  So it was quite a good deal.
The dinner was delicious.  The Candied Plantains tasted very similar to candied sweet potatoes, which I love.  It was also nice to get real mashed potatoes with lumps!
These two cute felines were making the rounds and became our best friends while we were eating our dinner.  I gave them a small taste of turkey.  Some kids at the next table gave them quite a nice portion of turkey a little later, so I think they made out pretty well for the night!
As I mentioned above, the menu didn't say that a rum punch was included with our Thanksgiving special, so we drank it between the entree and dessert.  Not a problem!
Dessert was a version of Key Lime Pie that had the texture of frozen Cool Whip with added lime juice and green food coloring.  Not our favorite interpretation of the traditional island dessert, but we managed to choke it down!
After dinner, I spoke to the Saga board members and volunteers at the event, and Barry and I both started taking more photos.
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Here I am talking to Grant, a Saga board member. Notice I wore my Saga tee-shirt!
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Saga booth
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Lots of excellent raffle prizes from local donors
Kelly McGuire was great!  Although his music had a lot of country in it (and I'm not normally a country music fan), it had an islandy flare I really liked, reminiscent of Jimmy Buffet.  Lots of songs of sailing and boats, which we appreciated given our past (we used to own a 30' sailboat), and songs mentioning Belize.  Kelly lives in Texas but is much loved here and comes to the island frequently enough that a lot of the folks in the audience knew all the words to his songs.  It's obvious that he loves Ambergris Caye as much as it loves him.  Some of his songs were upbeat and fun, and some were more touching.  The one about daddies and daughters definitely wet my eyes -- and his too, he said.  He did two great sets and spent plenty of time talking to the audience, promoting Saga, and drawing raffle tickets for great prizes.
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Kelly playing guitar and singing in a perfect island setting at Fido's
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Kelly McGuire
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We had great seats on stools at this small bar area with a perfect view of Kelly on stage.
A lot of Kelly CDs and merchandise was being sold to audience members, with a portion of the proceeds going to Saga!
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Grant working the Kelly retail table
Ari was working the crowd and selling lots of Saga raffle tickets.
Kelly auctioned off one of his "Boats in Belize" bags with CDs and a Boats in Belize shirt to the highest bidder.  There were several bidders, and the bag brought a high bid of $140 US, all of which Kelly donated to Saga.  Awesome!
Here are the winning bidders in the auction with Kelly!
Kelly invited all the dads with daughters in the house to get up and dance when he sang his sentimental daddies and daughters song.  Not all of these are daddies with daughters, but a few were.  There was one really young girl dancing with her mom and dad, but they were just to the right of this photo.  Really sweet!
Two of our building neighbors put in an appearance, which is pretty impressive considering that they are the only others from our building on the island right now!
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Our neighbor Mike with a friend. One word, Mike: sunscreen! ;)
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Our upstairs neighbors John and Caitlin (center and right) with a friend
And just a few more random shots from the night...
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Belize flag up high in Fido's palapa
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The bar at Fido's. I like that they have draft beer as it's not always easy to find in Belize; most beer is bottled.
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Some young audience members helped Ari and Kelly with the Saga raffle drawing
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A great crowd inside...
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...and out on the deck
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It seemed like everyone on the island was here, but I know there were numerous parties going on. A busy night indeed!
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More Kelly crooning
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Entrance to Fido's from street and Saga booth on right manned by Saga volunteers LouAnn and Bob
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Wall of cool old anchors at Fido's
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Black orchid -- national flower of Belize. Guess where I took this photo?!
As Kelly was finishing up his second set, we took off.  It was almost 9pm after all, and these two old farts have to get their beauty sleep!  But first, a bike ride back to our condo (with our headlamps).  The taxi and golf cart traffic north of the bridge was the worst we've ever experienced heading home after a dinner out.  Maybe because it was Thanksgiving, or maybe the whole Mayan calendar fascination brought extra folks to the island, but it wasn't as much fun a ride home as usual.  Oh well, we still had a fine Thanksgiving night on the island, and Saga raised a lot of money to help the dogs and cats of San Pedro.  It's all good!  
Hope all our friends and family in the US had a very Happy Thanksgiving.  We miss you!
 
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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
 
Just a few photos from another typical day here on Ambergris Caye -- and a gorgeous day it is!  We are back to the normal easterly trade winds after about a week of cooler, less humid breezes from the northwest.  
Barry lubed my bike chain since I've been having to do all the rides to town for groceries while he's had his pinched nerve.  I had just returned with my full backpack of goodies.
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Nice place to work!
A large "jungle beetle" hanging out on the tropical plant behind our building.  Barry's thumb for size comparison:
View alongside our building looking east:
Paisley lounging on the pool deck while I cooled off after my sweaty bike ride to town.
The bright sun was hurting her eyes, poor baby!
View from our veranda:
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Another nice day on the island. Temp is 81.5 in the shade, but about 87 in the sun!
 
I'm sure our regular readers have noticed that things have been kinda slow here on the blog lately.  'Tis true.  With Barry partially out of commission with a pinched nerve in his upper back, he can't even ride his bike without a lot of pain, so we haven't been traveling, going out, or doing many interesting things of late.  Hard to believe, but it's been six weeks since his injury.  He's improved somewhat, but it's very slow going.  I considered putting the blog on hiatus for awhile, but I decided that an occasional post was better than none at all.  

One thing we have been doing lately is taking photos of the stunningly beautiful scenery right outside our windows, mostly around sunset or moonrise time, so I thought I'd share some of my favorite photographs taken in the past week or so.  I hope you enjoy them.
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Afterglow
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Afterglow peacefulness
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Egret at dusk
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Full moon rising
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Unfortunately, ugly plastic washes up among the sargassum in certain weather conditions.
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Ruddy Turnstones on the dock while storms brew beyond the reef
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Coastal Express water taxi loaded down with passengers
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Approaching storms
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Rainbow
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Other side of the rainbow
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Afterglow
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One of my favorite views