Warning: LONG POST..but HANDY!
Many of you new to this board may not remember me….but I found this board a few years ago like a lot of people, while researching vacation spots. I fell in love with Ambergris Caye long before I ever saw her. I eventually made my first trip and within a month of returning to the States was able to schedule a 1 year sabbatical and make the move. I spent many hours on the board inquiring about working, what to pack, etc. The hardest part was getting up the guts to sell the car, pack the stuff and move all alone to a place I had only visited once. But I did it. And now after 9 months, I am returning to the States a bit early due to an exciting promotion and re-location. I thought it fitting, to end things on the board where it all began.

What a magical and yet frustrating adventure it has all been. I have met many of you, worked too many jobs to count, lived in a shack and a villa and a few places in between, been through the worst experience of my life (Hurricane Iris) and some of the best. I have met wonderful people and have met terrible people…been called awful things and not-so awful things.

I feel different now. I came looking for paradise…milk and honey and wonderful peace. I was slightly naďve. AC isn’t perfect..the problems you had back home will most likely follow you here. Once I got over that, I wasI was really able to get the most from my experience. How have I changed? I walk slower, I talk slower, I chew slower, I know I can subsist on rice and beans and no running water for five days. All those toiletries and make up I packed still sit virtually unused in my bag. I have fought boredom and won, now feeling such contentment on my own that I avoid crowds. I am my own best friend and value everything in my life so much more. For these things I will always be grateful for my experience in San Pedro. Thank you all.

I thought a Best/Worst list would be in order:

Worst Experience: Being on a boat next to Wave Dancer in Big Creek during Hurricane Iris and the aftermath. I have never seen such horrors.
Best Experience: So many days of looking out at the most beautiful blue water, waves crashing on the reef, sitting with good friends.
Funniest Rumor spread about me: DEA agent
Best party: Tie Fidos Hurricane Fundraiser and Rendevous Anniversary Party

Best “Stuff from Home” Grocery Store: Island Supermarket (south)
Best Local Grocery: San Pedrano (in town) and Marina’s (south)
Best Produce: The Greenhouse (town) or CAYO!

Best women’s clothing: Moon Dancer (middle street) and Mambo Chill (fidos)
Best Shoes: La Boutique Elegante (front)

Best random after work bar: Mata Rocks Hotel (squirrels nest)
Best Bar: Sharks on Sun and Tues, Fidos on Mon, Fri, Sat
Best Night Out: Saturday (Fidos, Barefoot Iguana, late night snack at Rosas)
Best “I can’t afford vodka” drink: White Rum and Cranberry
Best Vegetarian: Bamboo Hut (south)
Best Lunch: Bamboo Hut, Caliente or Celi’s Deli (BLT rocks)
Best Lunch if you have time: Sweet Basil (north)
Best Dinner (low price): Papis Diner
Best Dinner (medium): Café Ole, Caliente
Best Dinner (high price): Capricorn and Rendevous (both north)
Honorable Mention: Blue Water Grill if drinks were priced better and service was improved ..this would easily be a best.

If I was a tourist…
Most Romantic Hotel: Victoria House or Portofino
Best Buys..but still great for a honeymoon: Blue Tang Inn, Sunbreeze
Cheap but on the beach and nice (where my friends stay): Spindrift, Conch Shell
Best Day Trip: Cave Tubing
Best Spa: For the whole experience, Maruba is a miracle. For a quick relaxing escape, La Diosa.
Best Manicure/Pedicure: Styleland (in town)
Best Haircut: Leslies (back of town)

Place I wish I would have gone sooner: CAYO. Caves, rivers, rolling hills, ruins and it is CHEAP. Stay at the pink house at duPlooys for only $40 USD
Favorite “I need quick civilization” : Belize City, stay at the Biltmore for $49 USD, go bowling at the Princess and eat at Chef Bobs or have a curry at the Indian place.
Favorite “I need out of the big city (San Pedro)”: Caye Caulker, stay at Seaside Cabanas, eat at Rasta Pasta and drink at Oceanside. NO CARS. NO STRESS!

Guidebook that proved most useful: Adapter Kit Belize by Lan Sluder and Rough Guide Belize.
Advice that I wish I would have listened to: “Lay low when you first move here”

All in all it has been great, I will be back soon for a visit!
Love JEN