My Five: The Royal Visit, Sahara Dust Haze, Yoyo Fishing and More…
It’s a busy week here on Ambergris Caye and in Belize. Spring break continues – I’m seeing lots of families with kids bumping around in golf carts (friendly reminder that one needs a legal license to drive in Belize) and college-aged students in big groups.
Easter is fast approaching so I’ll start My Five there. The five things on my mind (and my Facebook) this week, the middle of March 2022.
Easter in Belize
Easter, this year, falls towards the middle/end of April. And unlike the Easter I knew as a child growing up in NJ…an Easter that was one day of jellybeans, dying eggs, the Easter bunny’s visit, leg of lamb for dinner, and getting dressed up for our once a year church service…Easter in Belize is a week. And the unofficial Spring Break for the country. When everyone who can head to the beaches to party.
I was reminded of it yesterday when I complimented someone’s haircut – he told me that he is “getting ready for the Easter”. Sometimes, people in their teens or twenties will work on their “Easter bodies” or buy Easter outfits far in advance. Easter outfits are generally beachwear and clubwear, not white gloves and Easter bonnets.
If you are traveling on or around Easter weekend, expect FULL water taxis, many hotel rooms (especially the ones on the lower end of the price spectrum) to be sold out and the town to be jumping. (One year, there were so many people waiting for the water taxis in Caye Caulker, the dock collapsed beneath them!)
There is also the religious aspect! In general, Good Friday is a dry day and there are special rules around alcohol. San Pedro is very very quiet that day and there is a solemn Catholic procession in the afternoon. See: What to Expect on Ambergris Caye for Easter
And then the nightclubs open at midnight. Easter this year is Sunday, April 17th. And Monday following Easter is also a holiday.
The Royal Visit
Love them or dislike them, They are here. Prince William and his bride Katherine. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Second in line to the British monarchy after the Queen and her son Charles. They are here to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. 70 years on the throne!
Thank you for sharing the photos – Caribbean Culture and Lifestyle.
Yesterday they landed at the Belize International Airport to much fanfare and a bit of distress from my boyfriend Jeff. He was at the airstrip in San Pedro waiting to pick up his guests to take them to the camp. He waited for over 3 hours since the airport in Belize City shut down for the pomp and circumstance. (I would have been GLUED to the window!)
The visit was disrupted before they even arrived with a Maya village in the south of Belize protesting the arrival due to a conflict they are having over native lands. That stop, in Indian Creek village, was canceled.
I’m following Christopher Jackson Getty on Instagram. He’s the Royal Photographer traveling with the duo – and he always does great behind-the-scenes stuff in his Instagram stories. It looks like they are in Placencia this morning? Can anyone confirm?
If you are on Ambergris Caye right now, you might notice the hazy skies…or, like me, that you are sniffling and sneezing. You might be able to blame the world’s largest desert…yes…the Sahara…yes…that one that is 5000 miles away.
It influences us in so many ways…the most famous being storms. It’s the birthplace on Hurricanes. But it can also send out gigantic plumes of dust. Apparently, it supplies thousands of tons of critical minerals (like phosphorus) to the Amazon rain forest each year.
Isn’t the earth amazing? It’s turning cities in Europe orange right now.
In 2020, there was an epic plume that traveled across the Atlantic and the Caribbean – a once every 50 or 60 year plume.
Here is what the view looked like from a neighbor’s home. Unaltered – that is not a black and white photo! Without dust and with dust.
Our skies are just a bit hazy…especially in the morning.
Note: Sahara dust can mean some gorgeous sunsets.
Check out this post: My 9 Favorite Spots to Watch The Sun Set
As far as I know, I am 0% Irish. Predominantly Polish with some French and Welsh, I’m American thru and thru. But I am a fan of the traditional American foods of St Patrick’s Day. (Martha Stewart tells us that the Irish don’t really eat the same way Americans do for the holiday)
Anyway…I was craving corned beef and so…I had to make it. Corned beef is quite popular in Belize – but it all comes in cans. And potted meats? Are NOT my jam.
I had no clue how to make it – but it was all surprisingly do-able. It just took time and a bit of sleuthing for certain ingredients.
I bought a beef brisket – about 4lbs. And then it must be “corned” for 5-7 days in the fridge with lots of yummy spices like cardamom and cloves and coriander, quite a bit of salt and then the secret ingredient – pink curing salt. (A friend of mine who does some curing of lunch meats and salamis gave me some of the salt and a small baggy of juniper berries to add to my spices mix)
6 days in the fridge and I cooked it in my instant pot and VOILA! I also made cabbage and potatoes…and this yummy soda bread recipe from Martha Stewart and it was shockingly amazing.
The meal’s leftovers are now yielding me some delicious hash – just a little chopping and an onion. And the rest is in the freezer…slathered with mustard, it will make some great sandwiches.
It is traditional for Belizeans to corn fish – a dry corning. It’s especially popular around Easter. Check out this great video from Gerber Knives of San Pedro’s own Panny Arceo corning a barracuda.
Speaking of impressed, I just learned about a type of hand-line fishing that involves something called a Yo-Yo. Marvin, who is the chef at Cayo Frances, often fishes with this hand line. But I never watched the process. He can cast 20…30…40 feet with this thing, maybe farther. And he told me it is called a Yo-Yo. And that he bought it at the “Chinese place where he gets fried chicken”.
No matter where he got it…it’s very impressive how far he can throw it. You can find something similar on the internet – it’s called a Cuban Handline or a Yoyo Cuban handline.
A GIF showing how it is thrown because I love the simple pleasures of a GIF.
I’m off to brunch at Matachica Resort right now. If I can travel with (or even see) the Royal couple, at least I can get fancy there. I’ll report back! Have a great Sunday.