Although Thanksgiving is not celebrated in Belize, many restaurants cater to the large number of American tourists and expats in the San Pedro area by preparing a special Thanksgiving meal.  We examined the list of offerings and decided to dine at Elvi's Kitchen, a restaurant where we've had a couple of delicious meals before, in large part because they were offering a Thanksgiving lunch until 4pm, in addition to dinner later that night.  We thought it would be nice to eat a late lunch as we often did in the US, rather than waiting so late to eat a big Thanksgiving feast.  We invited David, who owns a house on the beach less than a mile north of us, to come along.  David is from Virginia, and although he lives here on Ambergris Caye full-time now, like us, this was also his first Thanksgiving here.

We splurged by catching the water taxi into town rather than walking.  It was nice to arrive in town and not be hot and sweaty as we are when we walk.
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Waiting for the taxi
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...and here it comes!
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Emily and David outside Elvi's
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Elvi's interior: sand floor, thatch roof, and the tree used to be alive. Neat place!
Unfortunately, when we were ready to order, the waitress told us that they were only going to be serving the Thanksgiving meal for dinner -- not lunchtime.  We were disappointed as that was one of our main reasons for choosing Elvi's.  She didn't give any reason for the change; perhaps they just didn't get enough people in for lunch to bother with it.  After contemplating what to do for a few moments, we decided to enjoy drinks and appetizers instead, since we were all hungry, then come back at 5 pm for dinner.  
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When life gives you lemons, make lemonade (or rum-n-pineapple juice)!
After taking the edge off our appetites with some delicious conch ceviche and chips, chicken fingers, and empanadas, we left and strolled around town for awhile.  David has been coming to San Pedro for decades so was able to point out some places that had been around for many years, and even took us into the town cemetery.  It is right on the beach and surrounded by a high fence.  He told us that the fence was added only after some of the graves washed into the sea.  Oops!  Like cemeteries we'd seen in the Florida Keys, this one also had the graves raised up above-ground since the water table is so high.  Our "virtual" friends and soon-to-be San Pedro residents Bill and Debra did an interesting entry about this cemetery on their Taking Belize blog, with plenty of photos, since we didn't get any. 

Eventually we ended up at the Hangover Bar at the Holiday Hotel, which Barry and I had never been to.  David was a great guide as he knows all the good spots to go.  Happy Hour had just started since it was a few minutes after 4pm, so we got some more local rum-n-juice drinks and headed to the nice outdoor seating right on the beach.
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A great way to spend Thanksgiving!
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Main building of Holiday Hotel -- very Caribbean in style
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David and Barry enjoying Happy Hour libations
David was a great storyteller, sharing many experiences he had working for the Dept. of Social Services in Virginia, and before we knew it, it was time to head back to Elvi's for our Thanksgiving dinner.  And what a dinner it was!  Just check out this menu:
We all chose the butternut squash soup as our appetizer.  It was creamy and wonderfully flavored.  The cran-apple relish added a delicious sweetness.  I could have made a meal on this soup and the basket of delicious homemade rolls (wheat, white, and sweet potato) with chipotle butter.  Yum!
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Butternut squash soup, sweet potato roll with chipotle butter, and sangria. Life is good!
Surprisingly, Barry decided to go with the lobster entree, while David and I stuck to the traditional turkey.  This is the second time Barry has chosen a lobster dish recently, much to my surprise, but it was gorgeous and delicious as well.  The turkey was wonderful, though, as tender as any I've ever had, and all the side dishes were yummy too.  It was so much food that I brought back half my plate in a box for tonight.  Lucky me!
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Barry's lobster
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My turkey, ham, and lots of fixin's
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Talk about a table groaning with food...
For dessert, we all chose the pumpkin pudding, which was actually more like a moist cake with cream cheese frosting, but we weren't complaining.  It was delicious!  In fact, we'd already dived in before Barry remembered to take a photo!
After we'd paid the bill and rolled away from the table, we realized we had about a 45-minute wait until the next hourly water taxi north, so David suggested that we stop in at Cholo's sports bar for a nightcap.  The water taxi terminal is just a stone's throw away from this open-air place that was filled with locals, so it was a good place to have one more libation (that we certainly didn't need!) before catching the taxi home.  Barry and I had spent all the cash we'd brought, not expecting to eat lunch AND dinner out, so David kindly treated us.  

While at Cholo's, we met "Fish Johnson", a well-known local who sells fish and shrimp from a cooler on his bike he rides up and down the beach, and we placed an order for two pounds of shrimp to be delivered this afternoon (Friday).  As of 2 pm he has not yet shown up.  He had definitely indulged in a few Belikins by the time we met him, but we did write our name in his little book, so we shall see.  We had heard about him, and our neighbor Mike had purchased shrimp from him before, but we didn't know what he looked like -- now we do.
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Emily at Cholo's
It was a clear night with a star-filled dark sky, a perfect evening to ride the water taxi back to the Grand Caribe dock.  We had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are thankful to live in such a beautiful place, for new friends here on Ambergris Caye; and for old friends and loving, supportive families back in the US.  We are truly blessed!
Susan Sprout
11/25/2011 05:33:38 am

Sounds like you all had a wonderful time, and the food looked delicious!

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Surendra
11/25/2011 05:35:40 am

Here is Fish Johnson's phone number. 668-1865. I would love to know what your experience with him was. We met him shortly after we got to the island and bought a few Lobster tails from him. What I did not realize at that time was that the rest of the fisherman that show up here to sell their catch always clean the lobsters and sell you the tails only. He thought we were tourists I am sure. I ended up having to clean them and do all the messy work. But the bisque Carolyn made was awesome!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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BeBelize Emily
11/25/2011 09:00:17 am

Hi Surendra, if you read the entry I made right after this one, you'll see that we had a good experience with "Fish". The lobster he sold us was totally cleaned, just the meat. So, we were pleased with what he sold us, though the real proof will be in the tasting. The bisque sounds great!

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Sabrina
11/25/2011 11:12:02 pm

I love turkey but the lobster looks out of this world! YUM! Glad you had a good TDay.

~~_/)~~
Sabrina

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11/27/2011 02:59:09 am

What a gorgeous picture of you! And that food...particularly the lobster...looks amazing.

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BeBelize Emily
11/27/2011 05:02:50 am

Thanks Sabrina and Rebecca! If I had seen the lobster ahead of time, I probably would have gotten it, but I had my heart set on turkey, and it was mighty fine too. They do some really nice (and artsy) food at Elvi's!

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