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The San Pedro Sun

Pancake Brunch with the Easter Bunny a Hopping Success!
On Saturday morning April 7th the San Pedro Lions Club hosted a Pancake Brunch with the Easter Bunny. What promises to be an annual event, the crowd of pancake lovers and holiday fun lined up to enjoy a morning full of food, games, activities and of course the Easter Bunny. Everyone devoured delicious pancakes, sausage, orange slices and juice, with the highlight choosing from a variety of toppings. With chocolate syrup, Nuttela, sprinkles, butter, strawberry jam, shredded coconut and maple syrup to pick from, some children indulged in them all! Locals and tourists to La Isla enjoyed socializing together and the Easter Bunny entertained the crowd while posing for photos with the jubilant children. Activities included colouring, bobbing for Easter Eggs, face painting and Egg in Spoon races.

Misc Belizean Sources

Belize Bank Requiring I.D. Updates
I received my Belize Bank statement today dated March 15 (they switched to the 15th recently). Inside was a glossy customer insert. They are informing customers that they must visit their bank branch by May 31st, 2012 to provide identification proofs. This is stated to be required under the 2008 Money Laundering & Terrorism Act and the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism Guidelines of 2010. Customers are to provide: 1. Belize Social Security card (preferred) or 2. Passport; and utility bill with your name and residential address (issued not more than three months) If the information is not provided "local regulation" requires the bank to "terminate a client relationship." If you are "unable to come into the Bank, or if you require additional information, please contact the nearest Belize Bank branch."

Belize makes Top 19 list of top retirement havens
Retire well overseas In the U.S. today, the discussion about retirement orbits around how much less of it we're all going to have. As the cost of everything from health care to food swells, incomes, pensions and nest eggs erode, leaving baby boomers fewer and fewer options for retirement in this country. But if you look at the right places beyond our borders today, you'll find you have more good choices than ever for a comfortable -- even pampered – retirement. In any one of our top 19 havens for 2012, a lifestyle well beyond your reach in the United States could be yours for pennies on the dollar. In this, our annual Global Retirement Index, we bring you the top choices available on the planet today. From beachfront hideaways to arts-rich colonial cities, from cosmopolitan capitals to small highland villages, there's an overseas haven to fit your fantasy -- and your budget. We measure only the very best havens against one another. So the country last on our list is still the 19th best in the world. The top 19 (in order) are, for varying reasons, Ecuador, Panama, Mexico, Malaysia, Colombia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Spain, Thailand, Honduras, Uruguay, Italy, Brazil, Ireland, France, Costa Rica, Belize, Chile and the Dominican Republic. Read on to find out what makes each of them special.

Film Auditions In Cayo
I am hearing that some film production company is holding auditions tomorrow at Hode's in San Ignacio. Director Matt Klinck is planning to make a student "haunted expedition" adventure film in Belize. His one "big" film is "Hank & Mike," a standard raunch-filled comedy, available on Netflix via steaming by the way.... They are looking for boys and girls up to 24 that speak Kriol.

PHOTOS: Garcia Sisters Gift Shop in San Antonio
The Garcia Sisters gift shop - also a Mayan Museum and clinic - is located just outside of San Antonio. You can find most everything there. From slate carvings, which they do very well, to jewelry, thay have it. They also do herbal workshops, and traditional Mayan ceremonies. Call them at 669.4023 for more information.

VIDEO: Barefoot Skinny @ Lucky 5


My FAVORITE Street Food in San Pedro, Belize: Pupusas at Waraguma
Despite the fact that the pupusa is an El Salvadorean dish, if I was the head of the Belize Tourism Board, I would make it mandatory that all visitors to the island sample a pupusa on each trip to Ambergris Caye. Perhaps a stamp in your passport to give you a 25% discount on your exit fees at the airport would be in order. This food is that good. (You could get another discount for BBQ chicken with rice and beans and potato salad...but I'll work on the specifics). There are a few places that make pupusas but my favorite is Waraguma (it is at the southern end of Middle Street). They make these delicious little stuffed corn pancakes on the street from 5pm until about 9pm and for lunch and all afternoon, they cook them in the kitchen. Here are the flavors:

Now the work begins on Belize
Its cold here because it has to be. Home in Maine, the weather is seasonably frigid with wisps of snow and rain. It suits the mood as a finish to the three months I toured in Belize. I have to have contrast from the bright, saturated colors of the oceans and bush. I have to have perspective on the richness of the environment. The gray of the trees and sky is the only color that would suffice. Its nature’s way to provide me with balance. I loved Belize. The country, the food and its people unfolded to me in ways I would not have expected. I have a massive body of notes, photographs, and anecdotes that sit next to me in my yet-to-be-unpacked suitcase, a hard drive, and crammed within in my head. Now the work begins, and I digest what it means to have been a “Road Warrior.” The Road Warrior Program was the brainchild of a writer in New York, named Julie Schweitert Collazo. She helped develop a partnership with the Belize Tourism Board to bring writers and photographers to the country for three-months stints over the course of one year. The objective: the promote the country utilizing social media platforms. The outcome? Four journalists, each publishing online and in print, each of us crafting stories and presentations for a global audience.

International Sources

Lighthouse Reef Trumps Politics
Edwards said she has been thinking of leaving the statehouse for the past three years. She said it’s become increasingly difficult to balance her work in the statehouse with her family foundation, which is dedicated to the preservation of coral reefs around the world. "I’ve been trying to split my attention between the two for the last couple of years," she said. "But the nonprofit needs my attention now more than ever." The Lighthouse Reef Conservation Institute is a non-profit conservation, education and research organization hoping to merge the Advertisement oft-conflicting aspects of commerce, community and conservation in a model of sustainability on an atoll of six cayes about 45 miles off the coast of Belize. It is one of just four atolls in the entire western hemisphere with a coral reef ecosystem, which stretches 27 miles in length and is about eight miles wide. Her whole family is involved in the foundation, which is creating what it is calling The Lighthouse Reef Model for Resilience and Sustainability.

Mission trip to Belize
Seven members of First Presbyterian Church of Oak Ridge spent a week last month providing medical care and preparing through partnerships to make available more clean water to people in Belize. Their medical and water missions are related because both are keys to improving health in the Central American country, where the annual income per person is barely over $4,000. The seven members -- Dale, Chuck, and Ashley Hadden; David and Mary Mullins, Peggy Bertrand and Dan Terpstra -- will give a report and slide show on their mission trip at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday in Room 102 of the church's Activity building after the church's Wednesday night dinner. "We helped staff a medical clinic for two days in Armenia, our adopted village," said Dale Hadden, a nurse practitioner. "We saw 104 patients and gave out ordinary medication that most families in Armenia cannot afford but that most Americans can. "We helped older people with severe arthritis by simply giving them aspirin or Tylenol," she continued. “Sixty percent of the patients we treated were children. A third of them had head lice or intestinal parasites. We identified one girl with a congenital heart defect. She was taken to Belmopan, the capital of Belize, for an initial evaluation."

Designer Rebecca Stirm wins Mission Catwalk challenge with Belize-inspired design
Drawing on the Hispanic and Mayan influences in her country, 18 year-old Belizean fashion designer Rebecca Stirm emerged the winner in a culture-inspired challenge in the second episode of Caribbean fashion designer reality series Mission Catwalk, filmed in Kingston Jamaica. Stirm and 14 other designers were instructed by host and executive-producer Keneea Linton-George to “create an outfit that reflects the style and culture” of their individual countries joined by “the common thread of independence.” The designers, who were given pointers from Season One winner Shenna Carby, had to apply their creativity within a short time frame and on a US$20 budget. “I wanted a lot of material, so I looked in the curtain section,” said Rebecca. “I was able to get a lot of this very, very light; airy fabric for a little bit of money since we were on a tight budget. I added embroidery to give it some detail and intricacy.” “Beautiful, dramatic, tasteful, stylish-I can feel the culture,” said Linton-George about Rebecca’s dress which also impressed judges -Jamaica Observer Lifestyle Editor, Novia McDonald Whyte; menswear designer Carlton Brown and guest judge, Trinidadian actress Nadia Khan.

Actun Tunichil Muknal, Maya Branding
Foundation of Mayan society and philosophy was their spiritual way of life. They believed the underworld is holy and that’s where performance of many important and sacred ceremonies occurred many years ago. Today, we are able to see numerous ancient offerings Mayan’s left behind. These include artifacts, pottery, carvings, skeletons of sacrificial victims, cathedral-like halls and much more. I have recently visited Actun Tunichil Muknal’s “Cave of the Stone Sepulcher” – described as one of the most remarkable caves in the Maya Lowland, located in the beautiful Belizean Rainforest. It is believed Mayan’s first entered the cave during the early classic period (300­­­­­­–600AD). The ATM Cave is a wet cave ­­­you enter by swimming at first, then walk, climb or scramble over rocks and stones, through ankle-to-neck high water, before reaching the dry part of the cave. Dry chamber is a maze you must scramble in order to reach the so-called cathedral-like main hall, filled with artifacts, astonishing bloodletting altars and sacrificial human remains. These precious items are over a thousand years old, and haven’t been touched or removed. It’s somewhat a “living museum.” One of the things that amazed me most and a reason I wanted to share this story with you are pictures enclosed. Take a look at the very first two photos – these were Mayan logos. Branding seems to have existed even 300-­600AD. Today we are faced with about 1500 brands on a daily basis and it’s impressive to know how people, even so long ago, tried to distinguish “their products.” If you ever visit Belize, this adventure is a must. Any similar stories to share?

The Belize Zoo makes someone's day
I love zoos. My aunt Kathy took us to the zoo in Omaha (a fantastic zoo) probably once a week during the summers when we were young. When I was in kindergarten or first grade, we went on a field trip to the zoo. The teacher got turned around and I ended up leading the group to the next animal. I have visited zoos throughout the world. Seeing hippos mate and searching for Snowflake, the albino gorilla in Barcelona (he had died a few weeks earlier). Following a troop of kangaroos around Ireland's Fota Wildlife park, where the (non-lethal) animals roam freely. Seeing an okapi for the first time in St. Louis. Exploring the back rooms in the aquarium in Omaha when my Dad did a catering event. The confused kids questioning their parents after witnessing an elephant masturbate at the National Zoo. So, you would think I'd have gone to the Belize Zoo before today. It's not that I haven't tried to go to the zoo, but somehow something always came up. I was scheduled to do a night tour of the zoo (lots of nocturnal animals) but Hurricane Richard closed the zoo for a few months. Whenever guests visited me, I would send them to the zoo on their own since it was easily accessible while I was at work. Another night zoo trip was canceled. Two trips were rained out. My mom broke her arm. We went to the Rio On pools instead. It got to the point that it felt like I was cursed and would never make it.