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My birthday was yesterday, and I chose one of my very favorite places to go for dinner here on Ambergris Caye, Aji.  Neither Barry nor I had any desire to go into town, since we knew it would be packed with tourists and locals partying like crazy for Easter weekend.  Every now and then we enjoy that type of atmosphere, but those times are few and far between as we've gotten older.  Normally we prefer quiet and peaceful to noisy and rowdy -- maybe we get that from living in the woods on acreage for so many years.  

Aji definitely provided the quiet and peaceful setting we craved, and it was a perfect night with gentle ocean breezes and no bugs.  An added plus is that we can so easily walk there as it's just a couple hundred yards up the beach from our condo.  And since I didn't have to ride my bike to get there, I could wear a dress. 

I started with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, one of my favorite wines.  Barry had a Panty Ripper (coconut rum and pineapple juice).  Our server then brought out a plate of lovely homemade bread with some tomato sauce and cilantro for us to enjoy while awaiting our dinners.  Yum!

For our entrees, I choose the curried coconut conch with veggies and coconut rice, and Barry had pasta with spicy tomato sauce and chicken.  Both dishes were delicious and beautifully presented.

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My curried conch, veggies, & rice
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Bread with tomato sauce & cilantro
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Barry's pasta
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I was a happy birthday girl
Since it was a special occasion, we splurged and got dessert -- not just one, but two!  We tried the chocolate rum cake and the coconut pie.  The key lime pie is amazing too, but since we'd tried that before, we wanted to try the two we hadn't had.  Both were scrumptious!  Barry liked the chocolate rum cake best.  It was deliciously moist, very rummy, and delicious.  However, the coconut pie blew me away because it was absolutely packed with fresh coconut, unlike any coconut pie I've ever had before, since they are usually made with dried, sweetened "angel flake" coconut and more "cream" than coconut.  The crust also seemed to have a lime syrup on the outside.  Manna of the gods!  Chef Hugo is truly a talent.
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We forgot to take a photo until we'd had the first bite of each delicious dessert!
After dinner as we were taking the short walk down the beach home, the full moon was rising over the ocean, amid clouds.  It was a dramatic and beautiful sight to see and a lovely ending to my birthday evening.

A birthday bash on the beach

The previous Sunday, our condo neighbor Danny threw a surprise birthday party on the beach for his wife Judy.  It was a spirited celebration with plenty of food, a band, and plenty of adult beverages.  Just the right size for a party, I thought, and a good mix of locals, snowbirds, expats, and visitors to the island.
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Party just getting started with some ceviche and the early arrivals
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Our host Danny in the purple bandanna
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Talking to Jim (the second wine glass is Barry's!)
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Plenty of ceviche and chips
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Even Zeke came to the party!
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Danny talking with our neighbors John and Caitlyn
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The band
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Our building, Jim and I still chatting it up, Sammy hoping from a handout from the birthday girl Judy (in the multi-colored top)
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Flor in pretty floral dress contemplating her beverage selection
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More food kept appearing...
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...and I kept eating!
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Someone gave Sammy a snack!
After sunset, Barry brought Paisley out but kept a tight hold on her.  She would have gone bonkers for all the finger food!
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Barry and Paisley
Turns out that Danny is quite the musician and singer and joined the band for several numbers.  Even Cowboy Doug got in on the action!  
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Danny at the mike!
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Go, Cowboy!
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Cowboy Doug and Danny collaborate
Judy, the birthday girl, was getting into the spirit of the evening by now and was bustin' a move with a friend!
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Danny with our internet guy Mr. Norman and his wife
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Emily and Leisa enjoying the music
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Judy gets some assistance with cutting the cake
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Danny, Judy, and friends
We enjoyed hanging out with our Grand Caribe friends, tapping our feet to the music; and since the party was right on the beach behind our building, the trip back home was an easy one.  
paula segrest
4/8/2012 10:43:14 am

You look beautiful at both parties, but on your BD you were radiant! Glad you had such a looooooooooovely nite last nite, Emily~!

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BeBelize Emily
4/8/2012 11:25:24 am

Thanks Paula! It was lovely indeed!

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4/8/2012 11:25:43 pm

Happy Birthday, food at Aji looked amazing, Hugo is such a great chef.

Beach birthday looked fun too, tacoboy and I were lounging at the pool bar that afternoon.

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4/18/2012 05:28:26 am

Wow, can't think of better way to spend a birthday! Glad you had such a great celebration (or two) and I can't wait to celebrate my 47th birthday in 2013 somewhere on our sailboat!

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BeBelize Emily
4/18/2012 08:03:03 am

Thanks Cheryl -- I bet you will have a great 47th! Not sure I remember mine, but I won't forget my 51st, that's for sure. It was simple and lovely under the stars!

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