The storms are over and we have some lovely weather now here in San Pedro. We are all trying to recover from the whole post hurricane come down even though we still are wearing shoes because the beach is still not completely safe for bare feet. So yesterday we went to our friend's 'surprise' birthday party. Of course, surprises are pretty tricky to organise here and this was no different. It was a great day on the beach. There was pot luck, BBQ, some funky drumming and of course, the most important ingredient, a bunch of fun people. Check out Taco Girl's blog for pictures (it is on our links list). Because it had been a surprise, another party had been planned for later at Pedro's Inn. For those of you who don't know Pedro's Inn, it is the closest thing we have to a British style pub on the island. It has everything you would expect at a Brit pub - a pool table, low ceiling, dark smokey atmosphere, loud music of the rockish kind, excellent cold draft beer, lots of drunks behaving badly, an adorable bar maid and a grumpy landlord. It does have one unique difference - Walter. Walter is the our favourite rasta pizza chef and he has to have a big chef's hat to hold in all those dreads.
We had received an invitation earlier in the week to go along to Pedro's on the same evening to meet the new British High Commissioner for Belize. Britain doesn't have an embassy or Ambassador in Belize, they have a High Commission. So here is a picture of Maya meeting the new High Commissioner, John Yapp. He seems like a pleasant chap. Poor guy took up his post right in the middle of the hurricane chaos. The second picture is of Colette with our friend and neighbour, Jim Mohammed. He is the head of our local National Emergency Organisation and has proved, yet again, that his background, personality and training make him the best man for the job.
Since we've been here, we've known a local young man named Kenny. He was 18 when we first met him and we have seen him go through the normal frustrations that all young men experience at that age, but of course this is compounded by the fact that he is from a developing country, where a good education and hope for the future can be elusive. Earlier this year, he enlisted in the Belize Defence Force (the Belize Army), known as the BDF. He just got his first proper leave and came to find us. Bless his little cotton ones - he had heard it was our birthday and brought us this painting. We don't know where he got it or who the artist is, but it is a very nice Belizean painting and we were hugely touched. Thanks Kenners!
We get a lot of feedback about our blog from people all over the world and we wanted to get back to you on some of it. Firstly, the most hilarious feedback we have had recently: We bumped into a local businessman who was off of the island during Hurricane Dean. He thanked us for our blog and told us that he had noticed a picture of one of his properties that we had posted when we were showing how people were preparing for Dean. He noticed that things weren't as they should be and phoned his staff. He told them that he could see that some things needed to be tidied up. They asked how he knew, so he said that he could see everything they were doing on Google Earth. They believed him and freaked. We are still lauging about that one.
Better than that, two wonderful regular visitors to San Pedro brought us chocolate and champagne. What a treat. Chocolate that hasn't melted 25 times and isn't white on the outside. That is a novelty here. But these were spectacular, gourmet style chocolates. Thank you Leah Ann! We haven't drunk the champagne yet. Anyone who knew us in the UK knows that we are huge fans of champagne, but of course it is not too expensive in Europe. Over here, it is way too expensive to justify. We just haven't been able to bring ourselves to touch it yet. We just keep it in the fridge and look at it. Sandy and Ed, you guys are too sweet. These guys brought us the champagne at the very beginning of their holiday and then they had to evacuate for Hurricane Felix. Hurry back!
On one final note. We had a comment on a previous post asking why we didn't go somewhere safer? When a cat 5 hurricane is heading for Belize, we don't think there is anywhere safer than where we are unless we leave the country, which just isn't practical. To the person who posted - if you have a helicopter or private plane and contacts with immigration and the agriculture department in a 'safe' country so that we and our pets can get out, please come and pick us up the next time a hurricane comes our way, it would be greatly appreciated. Otherwise, we'll listen to our local experts. We trust their advice as they have been through a good few hurricanes here. Their advice is that if we have plenty of supplies and a strong concrete place to stay, staying put is probably the safest thing we can do.