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!
 
Since Barry has been rehabilitating a torn muscle and pinched nerve in his upper back for over a month now (he's improving at last, but it's been slow going), I've been having to do a lot of things solo lately.  Yesterday it was a bike ride into town to attend the Saga Humane Society's 9th Annual Halloween party and fundraiser in Central Park.  

There was something for everyone:  delicious donated homemade food, cold drinks, free biodegradable doggie poop bags and dog collars, t-shirts and jewelry for sale, raffle tickets to benefit Saga, and the highlight, a doggie costume contest full of the cutest pooches I've ever seen!  I couldn't take Paisley because of the difficulty getting her there with only my bicycle, but that made it much easier to take photos to try to capture all the fun everyone was having.  Hope you enjoy the slideslow!
I did my part to help by buying a Saga t-shirt (below), a bunch of raffle tickets (didn't win anything, but I never do), a delicious cupcake topped with marshmallow creme, and an ice-cold Belikin.  The service provided by volunteers was outstanding!
With all the dogs and cats Saga houses awaiting adoption, in addition to the many other services they provide the community, they are always in need of funds.  There was a great turnout for the party, so I suspect a good amount was raised for this excellent cause.  In addition to the Saga website, did you know they have a Facebook page as well?  Come on, give it a "Like"!

Also, make sure to check out San Pedro Scoop's Halloween Party blog for more party and costume contest pictures, because really, who can get enough of dogs in costumes?!
 
Last night we attended the Saga Humane Society cook-off.  These cook-offs feature a different food "theme" each month and through food and raffle ticket sales serve to raise much-needed funds for this worthy organization.  This month's theme was appetizers, and the cook-off was once again held at Mojito's Bar and Grill, right on the beach in San Pedro.  We had previously attended a pasta cook-off in this same venue, and it proved to be a great setting with plenty of seating, a fine breeze, and a good bar.  The bar was offering $5 BZD ($2.50 US) "Meow-itos" (mojitos) all night in honor of the occasion, a fantastic deal that we took advantage of, of course!

We had the pleasure of meeting and sitting with Jana and CJ, who were visiting San Pedro from Texas.  Our friend Bill was volunteering this evening and did a great job.  There was a great turnout from the community, locals, tourists, and expats alike, and we recognized quite a few of the faces.  
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Jana, CJ, Emily, and Barry
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Bill working the volunteer table
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Hi Bill!
There were twelve appetizer entries to sample, which may have been a record.  The other cook-offs we have been to featured six to eight food choices, so our palates were a bit overwhelmed with all the choices last night.   
The entries were delicious, though it is always a little disconcerting to me to bite into something without knowing in advance whether to expect seafood, chicken, pork, or something completely different.  I am a person who likes just about everything (except olives!), but I enjoy reading a menu with description of the dish first to prepare my tastebuds for what I am about to eat.  These cook-offs are a bit of an adventure since many dishes are a mystery when judged by appearance only.  There was only one item I didn't care for all that much (must have been the olives!) that I passed over to Barry, and he passed his Scotch egg to me -- he is not an egg lover.  I had never had a Scotch egg before and liked it quite a bit.  I googled the recipe this morning and was surprised to discover that the outer coating contained sausage.  I had no idea.  But hey, it was fried.  Anything fried tastes good, if not good for you!
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My plate
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Barry's plate -- Scotch egg already banished!
It was nearly impossible to choose a favorite as I'd forgotten so many by the time I got to the end, but ultimately I cast my vote for the Fish Cake with Chipotle Sauce (upper left of right side of plate above).  Barry chose the Garnache, which is the large corn tortilla with toppings on the right side of the plate.  He really liked its spicy flavors and also its large size!  The Garnache was a close second for me, and I also liked the Honey-Garlic wings and the Scotch egg.  

The sign below helped us remember what we'd eaten and how to vote.  However, it was put up after we'd eaten so it didn't help much in knowing what we were eating as we chowed down.  I truly don't remember eating a ham and cheese roll up!
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Bill carefully guarding against any voting irregularities
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Attendees trying to figure out their vote
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Bill with the vote bin
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"Shhhhhhh...the votes are supposed to be made by secret ballot"
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There was an excellent turnout -- good for Saga
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Bill chatting with Jana and CJ
When the winners were announced, there was a tie for second place between two restaurants, Mojito's for the Garnaches (Barry and CJ's choice) and Crave, for the Fish Cakes (my choice!)  First place went The Hotel for the Potato Skins.
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Mojito's restaurant gracefully accepted the 3rd place prize, even though they tied for 2nd
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Crave restaurant accepting the 2nd place prize
There were five prizes up for grabs in the raffle tonight, mostly lunches at local restaurants.  No one from our table won, though at the next table over, one lady won two, and another won one!  Must have been a serious case of stuffing the raffle box, but in this case, we certainly don't mind as each raffle ticket benefits Saga in their worthy quest to care for the dogs and cats of San Pedro.  Thanks for all you do, Saga!
 
What a fun night!  We rode our bikes into town early Friday evening to attend the Saga Humane Society's pasta cook-off at Mojito's Bar and Grill on the San Pedro beachfront.  These monthly events, featuring a different food theme each time, support a wonderful cause, and really, who can resist pasta?  In addition to pasta, there were special prices on "Meow-itos" (mojitos), "Bark-aritas", and other drinks.

We met our friends Robert and Maureen there, and were early enough to get a great table.  We were supposed to meet our "virtual friends" Bill and Debra (Taking Belize blog), whom we've been corresponding with for quite some time, as they were arriving in San Pedro this very day to begin their retirement dreams here in Belize.  Unfortunately, unlucky Friday the 13th struck them, and they missed their original flight out of Houston due to difficulties returning their rental truck, so they arrived on the island too late to join us.  

The four of us enjoyed some mojitos and great conversation and bought some raffle tickets from the darling local children circulating around.  When we brought our pasta dinners back to our table, we had fun discussing our favorites.  With nine delicious entries, it was really hard to decide!  When it came time to vote, Robert chose the chicken parmesan fettucine, Barry and Maureen picked the pork lo mein, and I chose the spicy bowtie pasta.

When the winners were announced, Robert's favorite came in third place, and Barry and Maureen's pick came in first!  My favorite, unfortunately, did not place.  I guess some folks just can't take the heat.  :)

We were all getting a little tired by this time (hey, we're retirees!) so didn't stick around to see who won the raffle drawings.  I am assuming we would have gotten a call by now if we had, so I'm not holding my breath.
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Drink specials with cute pet-related names
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Barry with our bikes
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Mojito's
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Mojito time for Maureen and Emily!
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The sun sets on a beautiful evening here in San Pedro
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Who can resist cute kids selling raffle tickets?
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Robert talking to Saga folks at the donation table -- all donations were matched tonight by a very generous anonymous donor!
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Setting up the food line
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Lots of outside tables were set up for the occasion
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Maureen and Emily
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Barry, Maureen, and Robert
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Maureen, Emily, and Barry
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We were disappointed to see that prancing wasn't allowed (See rule 5).
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Now this is a pasta meal. Yum!
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The winning chef, Sharon Metcalfe, for the pork lo mein!
We used our headlamps again to ride home on a beautiful dark and starry night.  The road from Reef Village up to Grand Caribe had just been re-graded, making for a smoother-than-normal ride.  There's honestly nothing much more fun than night riding.  Kinda makes you feel like a kid again! 
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Riding home
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Over the bridge -- it's really dark once you get north of here.
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Toldja it was dark!
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Not much traffic tonight either!
 
We stopped in at SAGA today while on our errand ride in town and purchased our 2012 calendar.  You see, we're getting into the Belize spirit of not doing anything too terribly quickly, so instead of buying before the new year, we waited all the way 'til January 5th for a new calendar!  We're really getting into the island frame of mind, no?  

The calendar is really cute, with photos of lovely ladies with precious pooches and felines inside, and all proceeds benefit the SAGA Humane Society.  Several businesses around town are selling these, and you can also stop in at SAGA or even order online on their website to get yours too!  Get all the deets below....
SAGA –Paws & Princesses 2012 Calendars for Sale
Price: BZ $25 each, 6 for BZ$100, 15 for BZ$200

-Support Shelter Animals
-Adorable Puppies & Kittens
-The beauty of the Reina de la Costa Maya Princesses
-Belize Holidays & Full Moons Listed
-Important Phone Numbers

Through your support Saga Humane Society is able to save the lives of orphaned or abandoned companion animals, provide humane education and serve as a resource for pets and their owners in our community.

To make orders or for more information contact
Saga Humane Society. Sea Star Street. San Pedro Town, Belize
Phone:  501-226-3266      
www.sagahumanesociety.org
Facebook - Saga Humane Society