Today we read on Facebook about the Isla Bonita school first-ever "lighted golf cart Christmas caroling parade" happening tonight in San Pedro Town.  It sounded promising, and since we'd had to skip the official San Pedro Christmas parade over the weekend since it was raining (hard), we decided it would be fun to give this one a try and to see some of the Christmas decorations in town at the same time, since we don't get to town in the evenings too often.  

The parade was advertised to start at 5 pm, so we hustled to get everything together to ride our bikes into town after Paisley's afternoon playtime on the beach.  Barry wanted to try riding our bikes instead of taking the water taxi back, as we've always done when we've been in town after dark in the past.  We would take our headlamps for riding back in the dark.  When we tried them out, mine wouldn't light; it appeared the batteries were dead.  When I removed them, I noticed some corrosion on one of them; must have been the salty, humid air here.  I should never have left the batteries in the headlamp when I wasn't using it -- my bad.  So we'd need to make an extra stop in town for more Triple-A batteries before heading home.

We had a nice ride into town along the beach and bought a four-pack of batteries at Caye Supplies, a fine variety store in town.  After many purchases there when we first moved here and needed quite a few basic household items, we heard from our friend Robert recently that we could be getting a 5% local discount, so starting today, I asked for it (we'd bought a few items there earlier today on our grocery ride also) and got it.  Sure do wish I'd known this before as we could have saved a little money early on.  Better late than never, I guess!  

After picking up the batteries, we started cruising around town looking for the parade.  No sign of it.  However, parades and other events are known to start a bit behind schedule in Belize, so we didn't worry.  Barry snapped a few photos of holiday lights in town while we waited around.
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San Pedro Town Council building
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Official San Pedro Christmas tree in Central Park
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Replacing the batteries in my headlamp
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Festive holiday decor
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Front Street
By this time it was getting dark, and we continued riding around the main streets of town a couple more times to make sure we hadn't missed the parade.  Unfortunately, we saw no signs of it, and we didn't know where the school was or where the parade was supposed to start.  The nice picture on Facebook simply said it would be on the streets of San Pedro starting at 5pm.  All we can figure is that it started south, and we didn't ride south of the old football field.  Or the start was delayed more than an hour.

We were disappointed, but didn't want to wait around too much longer since we figured we might never find it, and we were getting hungry, so we decided to head back.  Part of the purpose of the trip was to test out our headlamps and riding home from town after dark, so we could at least accomplish that.  

It was plenty light in town with street lights, so we didn't need the headlamps until we crossed the bridge.  At that point, we put on our headlamps to continue the rest of the journey back to our condo, another two miles or so.
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Just north of the bridge - the last street light
Barry took off pretty quickly, but when I started riding, I immediately realized I couldn't see anything.  It was like riding completely blind, on a road full of potholes like moguls and puddles as well, where sight is an extremely important sense to have in order to dodge 'em!  I started clicking my headlamp and ended up putting it into a low-beam mode, which provided even less light, and I couldn't get it back to full power.  Yikes!  Barry, in the meantime, had completely disappeared up ahead somewhere.  Hmmm, tonight was not going so well. 

I turned around and walked my bike back a short distance to the Paradise Theater, where there was enough light to see what I was doing.  I twiddled with the headlamp until I got the high power restored.  About that time, Barry rolled up.  He had finally realized I wasn't with him and come back looking for me, thank goodness.  We played around with the angle of my headlamp and realized that I had had it angled completely wrong to see the road (duh!)  Once I angled it properly, I could see great!  Whew...I had a momentary panic when I thought I was going to have to ride back completely blind -- and mostly on the beach path (which can be very narrow in places), no less.  That would not have worked at all!

The ride back now that I could see was actually a lot of fun.  I rode behind Barry so had the benefit of his light as well.  It was definitely a little more challenging than riding in the light of day, but we had no problems and made it back just fine.  We did hear a lot of barking dogs along the way, so I guess dogs don't like small moving lights in the night.  Fortunately, they were all behind fences.  

I'll be interested to find out if this parade actually did occur and where we went wrong!  Maybe next year....
Surendra
12/20/2011 12:50:40 pm

I remeber seeing a lot of decorated golf carts lined up from the high school all the way into the street where Isla Bonita school is located a couple evenings ago.

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BeBelize Emily
12/21/2011 02:40:11 am

I think that was the official San Pedro Christmas parade, Surendra. That was on Saturday night (in the rain). The one last night had a really nice advertisement posted on Facebook and was definitely supposed to be on Dec. 20. Probably started a few hours late or something! We still haven't heard definitively, but if we hear for sure, I'll post an update. Thanks!

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Surendra
12/21/2011 03:05:31 am

What i saw was on Sunday evening about 7 PM

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BeBelize Emily
12/21/2011 04:50:44 am

That must have been something different. Scroll down to the second entry here and you'll see the notification for last night's parade: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Isla-Bonita-Elementary-School-IBES/148341435208157

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12/21/2011 04:52:02 am

Most people from the stars have no idea how dark it gets on AC. When I ride, I typically have a light on the bike and one mounted on my helmet, which I notice you don't wear one.... Did you know Bicycling is the number one sport related to head injuries.

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BeBelize Emily
12/21/2011 06:51:25 am

Yes, I would love lights (front and rear) for my bike. Many locals ride the beach at night without any lights at all, and I simply can't imagine. There are some lights from houses and palapas, but many stretches are very dark. As for helmets, I wear one 100% of the time in the US, but did not bring it here as very few people wear helmets on beach cruisers. I guess it was a perception that the traffic here is much slower so there are fewer accidents -- and a bit of the "when in Rome" attitude of wanting to fit in with the culture here, where I've only seen maybe three gringos wearing bike helmets in the months we've been here, and no locals at all. I do know I am taking a safety risk by not doing so, but I think the risk is much less than what I used to take driving on the highway every day to commute to work in the US.

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12/22/2011 09:17:41 am

We missed this parade too...I thought that they'd be lined up near the park, since SAGA was doing a fundraiser there, but nope.

I'm with you on the helmets...someone wearing a helmet looks a little 'funny' here. We're not often out past dark (sometimes, but not often with a 3 & 1 yr old), but riding along on the beach I don't find it to be too much of an issue with no lights, however, I can see they would be helpful.

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12/23/2011 04:25:12 am

The truth is that the parade are magical, I also love these, I love the different exhibitions taking place in them, thank you very much for sharing the experience. Also very good photos my friend.

Regards

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