We awoke to a gorgeous day here and headed over to Footprints (the beach bar/restaurant at Grand Caribe) for veggie omelets. After a fine breakfast eaten poolside, it was time for our long Sunday bike ride. We would be testing out our new equipment purchased in Belize City today (handlebars for Barry, saddle for me). We got a mile or so up the beach when Barry's chain fell off, and he realized he needed to head back to tighten it up, so we turned around and rode back to Chico Caribe. Barry did his bike maintenance, then we were off again.
We rode north to Grand Belizean Estates, which is a most excellent place for a ride (I've mentioned this before) thanks to the high and dry road and no traffic. There are also lots of birds. It's a peaceful place since building has not started yet (and may never if they don't get electric and sewer in - not a problem for us at all!) We ran into a little light rain while we rode there from a passing dark cloud, though we could see that it was still sunny and bright at the beach. We were both happy with our new equipment and thoroughly enjoyed the ride. Even the rain was welcome as it was a hot day. It's amazing to realize it is October, since it still feels like August here! It's almost as if time has stopped since we left North Carolina.
Road to Grand Belizean Estates -- traffic, not.
Care to buy a lot in paradise? I'm sure this one is lovely during dry season. ;-)
Barry rocking his new flat handlebars
After our ride we were eating lunch out on our veranda when we noticed some guys conch fishing in a kayak. They were getting quite a haul. They retreated to the shade under the Grand Caribe dock to remove the conch from the shells and clean them. I was interested as I love conch ceviche and thought it would be great to get some fresh conch to make some, but I was a bit shy to approach them to see if they were selling. Pretty much everyone is selling something here in Belize, so I figured they would not turn away a customer.
Barry encouraged me, and I finally went for it! First time I have ever shopped under a dock! They ended up being younger guys and extremely friendly. The price was so right -- $10 BZD ($5 US) per lb (or approximately a pound, as they had no scale). They cleaned off all the skin and talked to me while I waited. I don't have a scale either, but I think they gave me a very generous pound!
Doing the deal!
We didn't have all of the ingredients we needed for ceviche, except a red bell pepper and tomatoes, so Barry ended up riding his bike back to town for the appropriate goodies (red onion, cucumber, hot pepper, limes, and cilantro). I neglected to give him the bike lock, so he had to be very careful about going into shops. The cilantro proved difficult to find (we suspect no boats come to the island bringing vegetables on the weekend, so it was sold out at all our usual haunts). He finally found it at a local shop, though leaving his bike outside took guts, as he said the neighborhood the shop was in was not the best. Fortunately, it worked out fine, and I was able to make my first-ever ceviche. If I do say so myself, it was delicious! Barry seemed to like it too. There's nothing like eating fresh seafood caught that day. This is one of the simple pleasures of living on an island.
Fresh conch ceviche