Twenty-five years ago or perhaps 35 there were very few amenities in San Pedro. There are many things we take for granted, but they came slowly, with effort, with sacrifice of our parents and with vision for a better San Pedro.
There was no post office. I don't know if anybody communicated to the U.S. or any place abroad. Letters were hand delivered to a boat owner who would deliver them to stores in Belize City. Then came once a week service at the police station. A bag came by boat and we had to go to the police station to check for letters. Then came our daily airmail. What's next? House to house delivery?
There was no 24-hour electricity. Most kids studied by candlelight. Then there was electricity from sunset until 9 p.m. Then there was darkness. Louis Sylvestre, area representative, was very helpful in getting our modern day electric system in San Pedro.
There were no ice machines all over town. With the kerosene refrigerators one or two shopkeepers sold a few trays of ice to the neighbors. Ice was brought in 300-pound blocks from Belize City on the Elsa P owned by Mr. Felipe Paz.
There were no tortilla factories. Every household cooked its own corn, ground it and mom made tortillas at home. Then came a ready made corn powder called "Minza" which was used to make tortillas, and still is used today.The late Gildardo Paz was the first to introduce a tortilla factory in San Pedro. Perhaps the next will be a flour tortilla factory.
There were no specialized stores. El Comisariato was the first one- large and beautiful, located at Blake's House, now the Barrier Reef Pizza Place. Then there was the ever-popular Fina's, Daddy's Store and one by Cruz Nuñez Sr., called "La Favorita." These were general stores, no fans, radios and microwaves. Only the staple foods like milk, flour, beans, rice and cheese. Now we have the bigger supermarkets and hardware stores. What's next? Shopping Malls?
There were not many beauty salons. There was only one barber, Mr. Narciso Valdez "Chicho". All men got a nice hair cut for 25 cents. Don't know what women did to beautify their hair. Now there are many beauty salons. What's next, vapor baths, etc?
No gift shops. I remember when the nuns came to San Pedro for summer. The children went beachcombing and diving for shells to give to the nuns. Shells were always well received.
San Pedro is rapidly getting more modernized nowadays with such information era devices as computers, fax machines, cellular phones, TVs, VCRs, computer games, etc. Anything is possible in the future with the amazing inventions taking place quickly as we speak. What can we expect? Cellular telephones with TV screen, interactive TV's, a civic-center? Just let us be patient.