Monday, September 14, 2015

Slow Season - Feeling Extra Slow This Year

My first slow season here in Belize, in 2011, didn't feel very slow to me. 
I was working at Pedro's, we had a lot of guests, the bar always had patrons, and I just didn't even think about how quiet the rest of the island was since it didn't really affect me. Plus, I was still new here, so I was hanging out way more often than I do now.

The British Military was around - those guys kept us BUSY 

And don't even get me started on how different the weather is now - we used to get mad rain in rainy season.

My second slow season was spent on the mainland - where I lived one mile away from the nearest village, in the jungle, and never saw one single tourist near my home in eleven months. Again, the season didn't affect me.

This is what I saw all day, all year long. Slow season??

My third slow season went by super fast and I was barely around for any of it - I was still working at Wahoo's through September and then I left to go to Playa del Carmen ,  North Carolina, Washington D.C and Pennsylvania for just over two weeks in October. I was only home in Belize for one week, and then went to Costa Rica for ten days. By the time my travels were over, it was time to start my new job working with the sailing company. 

        My Costa Rica travel buddies.

My fourth slow season, last year, I went to Nicaragua and then spent a few weeks settling into my new home (home number 9) and enjoying the quiet, north-side living experience. I had a pool, so many days were spent just enjoying life. I didn't care at all what was going on on the rest of the island.

       Surfing Turtle Lodge, Nicaragua

This year, my fifth slow season.... I'm stuck here for the duration. I did go to the States for a super quick 9 days in early July, but there will be no more traveling for me this year because I kind of got shafted by the charter company a few times and wasn't given the chance to make enough money to set aside to live off of, let alone spend on anything fun.

So, here we are, only two weeks into September and I have no job to fill my time, and no money to go out and play with.
(And, even though some businesses start opening back up in October, we all know that the real "busy season" doesn't really pick up until mid-November) 

I did have some puppy drama for a few days, Kathy (you all know Kathy, my BFF) came down to hang out for just over a week, and I've had a few beach days with my local buddies... but there's not much going on in my life at the moment. 

Here are some pictures of the past few weeks, starting with my cat, just because she's awesome:


So, the puppy drama, real quick. 
Some dude I know gave me this big sob story about how he couldn't take care of his dog anymore and needed to sell him. It took me three days to finally agree to buy this sweet thing - 


Like, four days after I finally buy him and take him home, the seller tells me he needs him back... I'm already attached, I say no, dude starts threatening me - 

"Im gonna punch u hard in ure face then d party is gonna start then someone is gonna hurt so..."
That was one of my favorites, but I have about 15 of them saved in my phone. 

Long story short - the police get involved, I get *almost* all of my money back, and Whiskey went home with his dead-beat dad. 

Fast forward through a week long depression to Kathy's visit - 

       First stop, Wahoo's for rum! 

Driving to the back beach (FORMERLY know as the "Secret Beach) on what was definitely one of the hottest days of the year. Wild fires were all over the place. 

Our go-to cove, when there isn't a crowd 

A night in Caye Caulker to watch the San Pedro Tiger Sharks play some Bball. WITH a complimentary boat ride to and from the game with members of the team, because we're special. 

Part of our ride up to Tranquily Bay (mile 14) took us past this spot - an untouched area COVERED in sargasso... but, since it's being left alone, it's doing its job and breaking down into sand. This will probably be the biggest beach on the island one day, if no one touches it for a while. 

Seriously, that is a looooong golf cart ride to get all the way up there. We took a break before making it all the way. 

We went south another day - I had never noticed this little cemetery down there before, but obviously it's been there for a while. 

It was another stupidly hot day when we drove south... I saw a house with a pool and had Kathy turn around so we could jump in real quick... but it was empty. Yeah, we totally would've used it for a hot second. 

Another day at the back beach that brought us about ten minutes of rain 

           Random golf cart selfie 

An afternoon at Belizean Shore's pool bar.... Which we weren't technically supposed to be at, but we didn't find that out until after we had a few drinks and the bartender asked us which room we were in. Woops. 

Kathy, waiting patiently for her next drink 

We would've gone back to this bar 20 more times if it were open to the public. 

We had TWO sushi nights at Blue Water Grill while she was here. They were both amazing. 

We took a bike ride to Ak'bol one morning, spent a few hours at the Palapa Bar one day, visited Big Lu at Africa Bar and Grill (formerly known as the Barrel Bar) and went to a few other places, but I was apparently not on my picture-taking game... 

This is the last one I have from her visit - the aftermath of spending 45 minutes being dragged around on a big tube behind a jet ski on her last day. 

Last week:

Another day at the back beach with friends 

A perfect example of why I refuse to refer to it as the "Secret Beach."

                   A log.... just a log. 

More development (it will NEVER end, will it??)

And, finally, what the majority of my days look like - just chillin at home and trying to catch a breeze. 


SO - I'm currently looking for a job. I thought I had one lined up but people are quick to change their minds, I guess. 
If anyone in San Pedro has a position open, or if anyone in the WORLD knows of something I can do from home, let me know, please!! 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Master Lee Experience

Master Lee's on Front Street, soon moving to a new location

So I've been suffering from lower back pain for quite some time now.... a few months, maybe. It just started out as a dull pain, mostly after standing for long periods of time or after a long walk, but about a week ago it went from "dull" to "Holy-shit-I-can't-walk-at-all."

After getting some opinions on Facebook about who to see/where to go/what to do, I decided I would try a highly recommended massage therapist first. Miss Shirlene, located on the beach in Boca del Rio, gives a fantastic deep tissue massage. It's hard for me to totally relax and shut off my brain while I'm getting a massage and I think it's because I, too, am a massage therapist - so if they do a stroke or something that I like, I think, "oooo, I have to remember that one," and if they do something I don't like I think, "wtf is this lady doing to me?" All I really kept thinking while with Shirlene was, "this is awesome, but it's sooooo not helping my back."

I had the same exact thoughts the following day when I had another massage therapist, a girl named Ashty, come to my house to work on me again. Another excellent massage that I would have enjoyed immensely, had I not had one specific area of pain that needed more than just a good rub down, 

What I really wanted to do was get adjusted by Doc, the chiropractor here on the island that almost everyone I know goes to for adjustments. Of course, Doc is off the island for vacation until mid-August... because that's the kind of luck I have. 

Sooo... by this point I'm out almost $200 for the massages and ... well, I think I'm one of the few legitimately poor white people who live here - I pretty much had one last shot at finding someone who could help me before I totally ran out of money. (aaand I can't go back to work until this is taken care of) 

I had three choices left - a new chiropractor down south and whom I had no reviews about since no one I know has used him yet; another doctor who does acupuncture and TENS therapy; or Master Lee, who sparked a bit of controversy when I asked about him on Facebook...
Here are some of the "reviews" I got about him:

"Watch out for fast aggressive movements. I am sure he will want you to remove your shirt as well."
"...some massage maybe some needles and harsh aggressive manipulatons ie legs over head while face up etc."
"Ran into a guy I know yesterday. He said he saw your post. He told me to tell you he swears by Master Lee, and brought others down here just to see him..."
"I had a completely normal experience with Master Lee... 5 stars"
"...Mr Lee tries to get you naked or close to it. If you see him, refuse that part; go with a guy then he is less inclined to be improper."
"Master Lee fixed a 2 year problem with my neck and shoulder. The pain felt like a knife was sticking between my shoulder blades, 24/7. He did beat the shit out of me, but 5 months later I'm pain free."
"Master Lee is inappropriate,., you have been warned."
"Some of your stories about groping and copulation are a lot of hearsay and very demeaning to a man who had helped many many people in pain and need from afar here and in Belize! I have 4 nieces and a sister-in-law who he has treated and helped cure old injuries from sports and car accidents...neck/leg and back pain and one with stomach issues and none of them ever had any issues with improper touching! ....." (this was a LONG comment, but that's the gist.)

So - as you can see - I received mixed opinions about Master Lee.

                                          Massage for weight loss?!? Hmmm.....

Obviously, it was Master Lee who I chose to go to...

For my first visit I told him what's been going on with me and he only had me there for about 15 minutes for an adjustment. Maybe it was a little "harsh," as I was warned - but I'm no sissy when it comes to spinal manipulations, so I was fine with it. It really didn't help my pain ease up at all, but it DID get rid of the numb sensation I had going on in my hips and thighs, so that was a good start.

I went back to him the following day for a massage...

Having received hundreds of massages in the States and having given probably thousands of massages over the past 15 years, I'm used to the client having a little privacy while they disrobe and get onto the table. I'm also used to staying covered up under a sheet while I'm basically naked on the table.

He had me undress down to my bra and underwear and lay face down, and then he helped me slip the bra off. He then pulled my underwear down below my bum and proceeded to massage me. (Seriously, throw away your modesty or any prudishness if you're going to see him.)

It's hard to remember everything he did, step-by-step. I know he worked on my back for quite a while, digging in to the sides of my spine and deep in my glutes, shaking me around to see how much movement my body wanted to give, etc.
Then he had me turn over and "covered me" with a paper towel while he dug around and did some deep work on my entire pelvis area. I could see why some people would think what he was doing would be considered "inappropriate," but honestly - nothing he did felt creepy or unnecessary. Yes, he got a little close to my lady bits - but he had to. If you know anything about the anatomy of the pelvis, then you know how many nerves are running around in there, and if one of your bones is out of whack, your nerves get pinched and it HURTS. 

At one point - and all I kept thinking was, "hmm, should i ask him to take a picture for me or no...?" he used those suction cup thingers on me. He had one big one right on the center of my stomach, one on each hip, and then a smaller one riiiight on my pelvis. It looked SO weird - all my stomach fat just sucked up into a tube... so, so weird. 

That paper towel that he had "covered me" with didn't stay in use for very long. He got on the table and straddled me, had me put my feet up under his armpits (like we were going to do "airplane") had me hold onto his wrists while he yanked me up towards him, and the paper towel was no longer. Whatever - I rolled with it. Again, I didn't get a "creeper" vibe from him or from anything he was doing - I really think that the people who warned me about getting groped need to loosen up a bit. Master Lee is a great guy, and even though I'm not 100% yet - I can tell that he knows what he's doing

He gave me a very fair price, and I can actually move my left leg forward to walk without wincing in pain with every movement again (not too far forward, that still takes my breath away, in a bad, bad way) 

I'm supposed to see him again next Tuesday for another massage and adjustment, and I'm pretty confident that I'll feel way better after that visit.

Until then, I'm taking it easy, doing very gentle stretches, sleeping on a mat on the floor, doing ice therapy, and taking anti inflammatory drugs (which I HATE taking, but whatareyagonnado?)

Me and the Master... My post-massage face looks a lot like my high face....
And he's just adorable, isn't he? 

STILL looking for someone in San Pedro who can help me redesign my blog.... 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Observations of an Island Dweller

Change happens quickly here on Ambergris Caye.

posted about stopping in Dangriga back in May, and mentioned how it seems as though NOTHING has changed in the almost three years since I've been back there. Everything is exactly where I remember it being - no buildings have been knocked down and replaced with something newer, all of the stores are the same stores that have been there for years, the restaurants, food vendors, even the guys asking for change - all of it is the same, same, same.

Ambergris Caye has the exact opposite situation going on. I swear - every time I leave my house and go into town I see something different... The place I used to get great, cheap tacos for breakfast across the street from Tropic Air is gone - not closed - GONE, with new construction happening. The once-empty lot next to Annie's bakery is now a construction zone. There's another new building going up closer to the bridge, and an existing building is having a fourth floor added to it. Grande Caribe has their new, obnoxious resort building going up still, plus whatever they're up to on the back side of the island, AND a fancy new sea wall (I'm bitter towards Grande Caribe, if you haven't picked that up from previous posts)
I haven't been south of town for a while - I can only imagine how different it's starting to look down there...

Two of the most upsetting changes (in my opinion) are what's happening to the beach here on the "main side" of the island, and how crazy busy it's getting on the "back side," up at Grande Belizean Estates.....

It was just a few days ago that I went out to the back beach for a bit - and holy crap, the road construction on the way out there is blowing my mind....

This brand new road was nothing but an overgrown trail not too long ago. It starts just after the old Journeys End resort and takes you out to the main road that leads out to Grande Belizean Estates. 

There isn't a whole lot going on once you get to the GBE lots - a few small houses are popping up here and there and some lots are just being cleaned up and maintained for now... but the amount of people that go back there to hang out is insane. That used to be a spot to go and get away from tourists and hustlers...

Now - it's busy enough to have someone selling jewelry and other people running a food truck/snorkel mask rental shop. 

Uuuuugh - am I right??? 

Ya know what surprises me? It surprises me that all of the big money resorts haven't starting snatching up all the land on the back side of the island yet. I mean.... if they refuse to let all of the sargassum that keeps rolling in just stay around and do its job (repairing/rebuilding the beach) then... one of these days those resorts will start toppling into the sea - just like these palm trees....

Ok maaaaaybe that's a bit dramatic - but you know what I mean. *Everyone just keeps raking it all away, and I've been thinking to myself ever since this problem started (what - a year ago?!?) .."Hmm... they should probably just leave that shit there... they're raking away beach every time they remove it.... "

Seriously - if you haven't been here in a while - the erosion is BAD. 

I posted this on Instagram recently- Do you see the tree that grows straight out over the water? Up until a few weeks ago, I was riding my bike UNDER that tree - when there was still a beach to ride on. 

This tree started dying a long time ago, but the ground that was keeping it standing washed away...

I was super excited to read an article posted by - Man-vs-Sargasso: One islanders idea- Build more beach - FINALLY!! Someone who seems to have the right idea!!

"Instead of collecting and removing seaweed from the beach, which also takes away beach sand along with it, Dimas tested a method that keeps both on site and has the beach growing exponentially. In his first testing of the method he was able to add 17 feet to a beach area. It’s a simple process of collecting the seaweed and evenly laying it out on the beach; various holes are dug where as much seaweed is dumped and compacted, while the white sand from the hole is used to cover the remaining seaweed on the beach."


If I remember (it's hard to keep track of which day it is) I'll go up there on Sunday morning to see his project at work and lend a hand...


I'm STILL looking for someone on the island who can help me re-do my blog - I have ideas for it and no idea how to make them happen. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A Peek at Hideaway Caye

It was back in May that I went on a few charters down south (and posted a blog, "Sailing South and Taking Pictures") and I mentioned a cute little island that we visited called Hideaway Caye.... Now, two months later, I will tell you about it ;)

Hideaway Caye is 14 miles off the coast of Placencia, in the Pelican Caye Range - (there were a LOT of pelicans around, so the name totally makes sense.)

My favorite water bird - I love how they just smash into the water to land and make their catch

Hideaway Caye is also a very fitting name for the island - from the outside all you see are mangroves and the peak of a rooftop, but once you get in there, there's much more going on.

That's Doris to the right of the Caye, and a little fishing boat at the dock. 

A closer look at the dock - I would have NEVER guessed that there was a bar and restaurant open to the public INSIDE these mangroves. Blew my mind. 

The elevated boardwalk leads you to the main house, the Tiki Bar and Restaurant, and, away from everything, the private guest house. This cute little doggy was there to greet us. 

I think most people would have ripped out these mangroves, threw down some sand and tried to build up the island with a beach - but what owners Kim and Dustin have done is SO much better for the environment, and it makes it way more unique than any other island I've been to.

Path leading to the private guest house - the only one on the island

The main house and, to the right, the restaurant and bar

Damn blurry picture - this is under the restaurant..... again, you're IN THE FRIGGIN MANGROVES!! 

If we had known that Kim was in the kitchen preparing the fresh catch of the day for dinner we totally would have stayed to eat, but I already had fish or something in the oven, so we just enjoyed a drink at the bar and then I got a ride back to the boat to finish cooking and the guests came back soon after.

I really wish I had tried to take a panoramic shot of the location that we were anchored in - we were in, like, a lagoon surrounded by these tiny mangrove islands and a long stretch of coral reef and could see the Maya Mountains off in the distance.... Hard to imagine, I know. Just try:

Our neighbors for the night - you can see the reef line behind them

Another little mangrove island just "across the sea" from Hideaway. Looks like a little fishing shack on the edge. 

Sunset to the west - if you're viewing this on a large enough screen you maaaaay be able to see the mountain range. 

To see more pictures of the Pelican Caye Range and Hideaway Caye, check out their website here

To read about HOW the heck they accomplished building inside the mangroves - which I was completely curious about - browse through their Building a Dream blog here
It's kind of a difficult read because of spelling/grammatical errors and lack of punctuation, but definitely worth checking out.  (And, guys, if you come across this post and need an editor for your blog or your book - which I hope you're writing - I'm your girl!)

To find out about renting Hideaway Caye for yourself, see their TripAdvisor page here

To learn more about the importance of mangroves, visit


Belize/San Pedro people - I'm looking for someone to help me redesign my blog - please contact me with your rates!