Yesterday we met up with friends at favorite breakfast spot, Estel’s Dine by the Sea. Feet in the sand, oldies on the radio, we all ordered one of my favorite foods – the Belizean Fry Jack.
(Awesome shirt from a Belizean owned company called ID Seven. Check them out)
I knew Estel’s had been around for a while…but I asked our waiter what year the diner on the beach opened.
He disappear with our order and my query…returning a few minutes later with the answer.
January 1, 1992.
He also returned with an invite to join Charles Sr. at his corner table to learn a bit more about it.
And while 25 years ago might be considered modern history in most of the world, San Pedro really was a tiny village just a few decades back. San Pedro High School was founded in 1971, our first tourist hotel in the country, the Holiday Hotel, is just over 50 years old. Tropic Air started in 1979 with just one plane.
Charles and his wife Estel met in Tampa, FL – Charles, an American who’d never even heard of Belize, and Estel, born and raised on Ambergris Caye.
Charles visited in 1983 and was smitten with the island. He and Estel moved to Ambergris Caye in 1988; he brought all of his band equipment and some of his band members with him. Members like Dennis Wolfe Sr.
His first proper gig was at Ramon’s Village. One of the very few hotels on the island – just a handful of palapa cabanas on a long sandy beach outside of town.
It was a huge hit. And Ramon asked Charles to return the second night. He told him that a guy who was staying at the resort would be joining them for the show.
That guy was Jimmy Buffett.
JIMMY BUFFETT! The entire town was there for the free show, they played together for 4 hours straight. And Jimmy, the band and a bottle or two of Crown Royal were up until dawn.
Charles got a letter in the mail later that year with a copy of the song (and new album) they played for the first time at Ramon’s. He’s still got it.
For more information, you are going to have to talk to Charles. You can find him at the corner table in Estel’s.
But here are some pictures of Ramon’s Village taken earlier this week. Ramon’s Village opened the same year and month as Belize’s Independence, September of 1981.
Jimmy returned to the island a few more times. Check out the photo of him fishing here. He even wrote about Ramon’s in one of his novels.