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And the Journey Continues…


January 28, 2013 I flew back into Belize, exactly 4 months after leaving.  The past 4 months have been quite a roller coaster of activities and emotions but my desire didnt’ stray too far from Paradise.

So my first day back was  almost a non-event.  Back in Toronto yesterday morning the weather was horrendous – we had a snow storm which covered the roads completely so we couldn’t see where the road started and the shoulders ended.  As a result, 3 lanes became 2 and it was interesting to note that everybody drove as if we only had a 2 lane highway.  The snow was coming down so heavily that I visualized warp 9 as if I were on the deck of the Starship Enterprise.  What should have taken about 60 minutes to drive took over 90 minutes to drive – top speed on a series 400 highway was 80 km per hour and that wasn’t often, so no warp speed, it was all visual.  So we make it to the airport and boarded our flight.  We learned later that about 150 flights had been cancelled out of Toronto to various destinations, starting about 2 hours after our flight took off.  We were late taking off as well.  Another first for me was the de-icing process.  The whole process took approximately 45 minutes, which also set us late to leave for Belize.  But I was glad for the de-icing because we had a couple of inches of snow on the wings and on the top of the plane.

snowplo-473x315

http://www.citynews.ca/2013/01/28/school-bus-flight-cancellations-amid-freezing-rain-in-gta/

So after the flight took off the rest of the trip was uneventful – thank goodness.

Then we arrive here and believe it or not I was recognized by a friend from Punta Gorda.  What a surprise – I guess this is what happens in a small community.  And I feel like I am back home.  Oh, not for the people because anybody who read my previous entries, will know that I do miss my family.  But I love this place.   And I am back, with hubby in tow for a month, and we are going to do a lot of investigating to learn what we need to do to make this permanent.

And I’m not missing the snow either, or the slippery driving or the cold.

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Posted by on January 29, 2013 in Moving - in progress...

 

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It’ Market Day!


Here in Punta Gorda, Belize we have the open air market at least 5 days a week.  The vendors are usually at their stalls from early in the morning, (and I can’t tell you how early because I am never up that early.)  I just know that the market usually finishes by noon.  One or two stragglers stay to catch the late shoppers like myself.  So this week I decided to try to get there relatively early, and was there by 10 a.m.

The streets were busy, but I have seen them more crowded.  Maybe this is attributed to it being the low season for tourism here in Belize.  There definitely weren’t as many vehicles on the streets as I have seen in the past and in my opinion this is a good thing.  Front Street is a narrow street to start with and with the market and an abundance of people cars are just an additional hazard.  However, in the time I have been here I have not seen, nor have I heard of any problems arising associated with the vehicular traffic.  I live fairly close to the market and with Front Street being a one-way street I am sure I would have heard of something.

Now you may ask, if the market runs 5 or 6 day why would I have a market day?  The answer is simple – I work in my office in the morning, from 9 until noon generally where I encourage drop-in visitors to ask real estate related questions or just to sit and visit with me.   By the time my office hours are done so is the market so I need to make a determined effort to get what I need at least on Saturday.

I pack up my re-usable bag, which hasn’t caught on here at all yet, and away I go.  While the clouds looked like they were going to open up on us at any time, they didn’t.  It turned out to be quite a sunny day and it didn’t rain at all.

Cars on Front Street

I make my way down the street, greeting and chatting with people I know and saying hello to people I don’t.  The market is a place to see people, to meet people as well as to find the freshest produce around.  I had one lady come up to me and ask if I was the “real estate lady”.

So now comes the best part – what did I get?  24 BZ ($12 US) bought me a lot of fruits and vegetables (values approximate for cucumbers, onion, cabbage, cause I can’t remember how many pounds each was).  I got:

  • 7 bananas – 1.00 – didn’t put all in the picture because the pile was falling over
  • 5 oranges – 1.00 – no room on tray for the oranges
  • 5 onions – 5.00
  • 2 cucumbers – 6.00
  • 3 carrots – 2.00
  • 1 cabbage – 3.00
  • 1 plantain – .50
  • 3 tomatoes – expensive at $3.50 lb – rainy season reduces yield
  • 12 kenips – 2.00
  • 5 limes – 1.00

Pile of Fruits and Vegetables

As I had some ground steak defrosting in the fridge the first thing I did was take some of these yummy vegetables and make stew.  Then I tried one of the kenips.  These fruits look like small limes and are about 1″ in diameter.  The inside is kind of squishy stringy texture that is slightly tart in flavour.  The seed is quite large for the size of the fruit.   The flavour and the texture are definitely different from anything I had eaten before.  When I asked the stall vendor about them she just broke it open and showed the insides – just eat the pulp off the seed.  There isn’t much pulp at all and it is a lot of work for such a small reward.  But now I know.  And that is part of the appeal of being in a new place with new foods and new activities to be experienced!

Kenip Fruit and Seed

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2012 in Cooking in Belize

 

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Green Drinks


This past Friday night I had the pleasure to attend a monthly event called Green Drinks.  I actually thought the drinks were going to be green, or that we were going to be presented with environmental postulations.  Neither was true, and I still don’t know why it was called Green Drinks.  I will have to find out, as that thought just hit me.

Anyway, the event was held at a place called Belcampo Lodge.  Have I told you before just how beautiful southern Belize is, especially in the Toledo District?  Well, if I haven’t, let me tell you now.  Belcampo Lodge is situated on top of one of the many hills that dot this district giving you the opportunity to look down onto the jungle.  The view is, I don’t know, I have used the word gorgeous so many times that I think I have worn it out.  But that is how I feel. The plush jungle surrounds the lodge as far as the eye can see.  Off in the distance the trees shake and quiver with the activity of howler monkeys as they scamper about through the branches.  The birds, of which there are dozens of varieties arrive from both the north and the south to the delight of avid and casual bird watchers.

Belcampo Backyard

So, this Green Drinks evening was set in this beautiful location, with 2 jaguar carvings standing guard as you enter up the stairs to the main bar area.  There is an outside seating area where guests can sit, enjoy a cocktail, mingle with other guests and just enjoy the view.  It is there that I spent a good part of my evening conversing with two young men who are here from the United States, Ohio, I believe.  The one young man has family here in the Toledo District and he brought a friend with him.  The friend is quite taken with the area and definitely expressed a desire to return at some time in his future when school is finished.

While we were talking one of the young men, Ronald, noticed some monkeys off in the distance in the trees.  I didn’t see them but both of them did.  The visiting friend was again blown away by the experience.     While talking I didn’t consume any green drinks but I did consume a salsa that was mixed with avocado, which turned the dish green.  My drink was a watermelon margarita.  I must say that watermelon has become, in my world, quite a versatile fruit.  Since this was my first time tasting a margarita I have no idea if it was a good one or not.  After talking for a while it was time to have dinner.

The menu consisted of a wide variety of dishes, all of which are grown or raised locally.

I didn’t have any of the coconut rice or any of the yellow split peas – I never liked split peas – but I did have some of everything else.  It was quite tasty.  This was the first time ever having cassava and I quite enjoyed it.  The texture was something quite different from what I have had before.  It was firm but I could bite through it without resistance and the flavour was good too.  Apparently, if prepared improperly, the cassava root and leaves can lead to the production of cyanide which leads to poisoning of the person who ingests it.  However, when prepared properly it is good, healthy and may even had cancer fighting properties associated with it.  Dessert was a choice of one of three items – Maya Chocolate Pudding, Pineapple Crumble Pie or Velvet Apple Pie.

I am a baker at heart and have several times made velvet chocolate cake so when I heard velvet apple pie I was thinking how did they do the “velvet” out of apples?  Well, it turns out that the fruit is actually called a velvet apple and it is the size of a crab apple but covered with fuzz like a peach.  The texture is neither hard like an apple, nor soft like a peach.   Since I couldn’t decide and neither could one of my dinner mates, we agreed to each get one and have half so we could experience both pies.  I had had the Maya Chocolate at the Cacao Fest so I wanted to try something new.  Let me tell you – I think I have found a new favourite pie – Pineapple Crumble.  That was such an unexpected taste – the sweet of the crumble and the tart (not too much) of the pineapple.  What a combination.  I am going to try this myself at home.

After a bit it was time to head out.  Dinner was delicious, the dessert was scrumptious, the wine was just right but it was time to go.  By this time it was 9:30 and we had been at Belcampo for 4 hours socializing the night away.

What was your last sumptuous dessert?  I hope it was as good as mine!

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2012 in Miscellaneous

 

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