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The San Pedro Sun

Why wild animals do not make good pets!
People often do not realize the risks and long term consequences of everyday actions or habits such as keeping wildlife as pets until it is brought to their attention. I have seen this again and again, and the recent media attention given to racoons, advertised as pets, is very alarming! The Belize Wildlife Conservation Network (BWCN), an organization established partly to decrease the conflict between humans and wildlife, works closely with the Belize Forest Department, and has been working to develop some basic information and facts that explain why raccoons and other wildlife should not be kept as pets. First, and perhaps the most important reason for not keeping wildlife as pets is the threat to the health of your family. All animals can harbour certain diseases that can be passed to humans (and vice versa) – the list of possible diseases is long and the consequences of those diseases range from a nuisance (itch) to deadly (herpes in monkeys). A lot of knowledge and expensive care is required to keep wildlife healthy and avoid disease transmission.

San Pedro’s Michal Guan joins Belize Basketball selection to Ohio
Fifteen players, including San Pedro’s very own Michal Guan, have been chosen from around the country to represent Belize at the King James Classic Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Basketball Tournament scheduled for April 2012. The tournament will be played in Akron, Ohio, USA, the hometown of LeBron James, (Miami Heat forward) from April 27-29. Try-outs began countrywide starting February 11th and end February 22nd in San Pedro. Interested young men at the high school level gave their all at the chance to be chosen to attend this prestigious tournament. 48 individuals were selected from the tryouts and invited to the University of Belize campus in Belmopan for the preliminary final tryouts on February 25th and 26th. From this group, 21 were selected to return for the final tryouts in Belize City on Sunday March 4th at the Civic Center. Making the cut were fifteen players, including Michal Guan from San Pedro.


The Week in photos
It has been a week of interesting weather. A week ago, the wind was so blustery, our Saturday Ak'Bol yoga class had to be held in the small palapa off the beach and without mats, lest everything blow away. Late Sunday through Monday, a cold front came through bringing quite a bit of rain (especially for "dry season") and leaving lots of muddy puddles in the road north of the bridge. We've also had extremely high tides this week (from the full moon?) bringing boatloads of sargasso and other sea grass up onto the beach. This is the highest we can remember the water coming on our beach since last fall, when Hurricane Rina came within 100 miles of the island. As a result of all this weather, both the beach and the road have been messy to ride bikes or run on. By mid-week the weather was back to the norm -- moderate east winds, sunny, and very warm. The changeable weather here continues to surprise me! I've been posting a lot of photos on Facebook this week but have been neglecting the blog. I know at least a few folks worry if we don't post in a week, so I thought I'd share some of the photos from the past week here.

Go Nature Belize
For all my past blogging about the pool and clean eating I cannot believe I had not been to Go Nature Health food store before now. I finally stopped in the other day and was pleasantly surprised. I was able to get something I had been missing since my other life in Canada, fancy health food store toothpaste. I scored some Now brand Xyliwhite Cinnafresh toothpaste Gel. I also discovered an interesting skincare line called Peace of Belize which I am going to try, I just wanted to double check what I have at home still and then decide where to start for Rachel’s line. Go Nature Belize Shop Hours, Mon- Friday 10am to 5:30pm closed for lunch 1 to 2 pm Sat 10am to 2pm, Sun closed, Closed Belize bank holidays. Taz will do do special orders if products are available from her mainland supplier. Right now she has a bulk container of Dr Bronner’s peppermint soap and she is practicing recycling in Belize by filling peoples bottles and charging by volume. I highly recommend trying some.

A Morning Walk Turns into Breakfast
I woke up early today to take a long walk down the beach. A little much needed exercise. The sun was just up, fishermen were trolling for bait fish and pelicans were drying their wings in the wind. The dock is just south of me at a condo complex called Tara Del Mar. And just south of that is a much smaller, much older house. The gentleman is drying off his lobster traps. Season is closed again until June 15th. Victoria House was looking beautiful... But the breakfast was smelling even better. I guess 8 minutes of exercise is better than nothing.

“Only in Belize” The La Ruta Maya Race 2012
The 15th annual La Ruta Maya River Challenge, held between the 9th and 12th of March and one of the world’s longest canoe races, replicates an ancient Maya river trade network through the rainforests of Belize to the Caribbean seacoast and is capturing a larger audience this year due to global interest in the 2012 Maya “prophecies”, according to one long time participant. Mick Fleming, owner and GM of the Lodge at Chaa Creek, which has been entering canoes in the gruelling race for 12 years, with his own team winning the 2002 Masters Class in 2002, said that in addition to the historical Maya link, the race also has a strong environmental significance. “One thing we’ve always loved about La Ruta Maya is that it creates more awareness of Belize’s beautiful river system and our need to continually monitor and protect its health.

La Ruta Maya Promotes Competition and Conservation
Today marks the beginning of the 15th annual La Ruta Maya River Challenge, one of the world’s great river races tracing a 175 mile ancient Maya river trade route through Belize, and, according to Belizean eco resort Chaa Creek, a valuable way to raise awareness of the need to safeguard Belize’s pristine waterways. The Lodge at Chaa Creek, which has been promoting environmental sustainability in Belize for over 30 years, has been a long-time supporter and enthusiastic participant in La Ruta Maya. So passionate, in fact, that owners Mick and Lucy Fleming sent a staff member to Canada to learn canoe building from Ted Moores, a master canoe builder of Bear Mountain Workshop in Ontario, and now produce their own handmade timber canoes. During last week’s visit to Belize, Prince Harry christened a new Chaa Creek canoe, The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee, for a British High Commission entry in the race.

Exploring The Land of the Submerged Crocodile
The Belizean Jungle and the Mayan ruins of Lamanai had always been an area I longed to see ever since I did an Essay in high school on the Mayan Civilization. As soon as I was old enough to travel on my own, I’d booked a trip to the Yucatan Peninsula. I explored the whole coast, all the way down to Tulum, experienced some fantastic bird watching in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere (the UNESCO World Heritage site) on the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, and then wandered around in awe in Tikal, one of the largest archeological sites of pre-Columbian Maya civilization in Guatemala. It took my breath away and ignited a spark in me to see more archeological and historic wonders in the world. Lamanai – meaning “Land of the Submerged Crocodile” in Belize, is the third largest and possibly most important archaological sites in Belize. It soon became one of my dream destinations. So, in true New Jetsetters spirit, knowing that life is too short to just sit and think about living your dreams, we set aside the time and money for a visit to Lamanai.

know your food: Belize
Belizean Cuisine. What does that mean? To be honest, when I was invited to taste the foods of Belize in December, I had no idea. A quick internet search told me that Belize had a national beer (Belikin), relied heavily on the habanero and that rice and beans were a signature dish. I found all of these things when I visited Belize, but I also found a diversity in food that complements it's diverse people and landscape. A change in location meant a different cuisine entirely. As I moved through Belize's landscape from the jungle to the sea and met it's people, I saw a shift in cuisine. (When is the last trip where you visited both a Mennonite village and then danced with Garifuna, a culture descended from Carib, Arawak and West African people, in the same week?) At first glance, the continuity of beans, habaneros and even fry jacks might lead one to belive that meals were uninspired or standarized. But, close to the border I tried Mexican inspired meals and fell in love ceviche, further south I tasted the Mayan influence in dishes centered around corn or in Mayan-style pulled pork . I snacked on sweets made by Mennonite women with recipes passed down from their European ancestors and ate fresh fish for breakfast just like a Garifuna family. I'll do my best to take you along on my all too brief tasting journey and help you know what to expect, dare I say, seek out, when you decide to visit Belize. Just a mere six days didnt afford me enough time (or stomach room) to try everything. In fact, my "to do" list of foods to try that I made before my trip still has work to be done. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but an attempt to share with you my most memorable meals.


Police and criminals – wolves in sheep’s clothing
Dear Editor, I am writing this to bring awareness of the frustrations people are having with the Police Department. My home was burglarized in December 2011, in Vista Del Mar, Ladyville. I have been following up with the police officers regularly to get updates on the investigation and, most importantly, the police report, which I desperately need. Among the items stolen was a Dell desktop that I had gotten from Courts Belize Limited. I have gone so far as appearing on the news to appeal to the public in hopes of making people aware that purchasing “hot items” encourages stealing. I thought this would help in the recovery of the items that were stolen, since I described them on a television and radio interview. Below is a letter that was sent to Mr. Elodio Aragon, Jr., to get his assistance in dealing with this matter. I was told go visit his office on Monday, February 20, but as I mentioned over and over to the police, with the nature of my job, I am not always working in the city. The letter details all the occurrences since the burglary.

International Sources

Reelected Belize Prime Minister Will Turn To Chavez For Fuel
Newly reelected Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow has said he will turn to Hugo Chavez for assistance in providing low cost fuel as part of his plan to reduce the cost of living in Belize. Mr. Barrow was speaking at a press conference in Belize City after narrowly escaping defeat in general elections held yesterday. His United Democratic Party won 17 seats versus 14 seats for the opposition Peoples United Party in the country’s 31 seat parliament. It had previously enjoyed a super majority of 25 seats in parliament. Mr. Barrow said that his government will continue its pro-poor agenda and that by importing fuel direct from Venezuela, he will cut down on high priced imports from traditional fuel suppliers. He said that while the plan was not divulged in his party’s election manifesto, he would immediately open a dialogue with Venezuela to obtain fuel under the Petro Caribe plan promoted by Mr. Chavez. Currently Exxon, Shell and Texaco provide fuel imports to Belize. Mr. Barrow further promised to establish a government oil refinery within 18 months to process the country’s crude oil which is currently exported, in an effort to further reduce reliance on fuel imports. Mr. Barrow added that his government will look at producing its own bio-fuel and other fuel alternatives.

In Belize: 4 must-do inland adventures
Sure, the island life is a sweet one. But don't leave Belize without taking a short drive from the coast and discovering a different world: The Actun Tunichil Muknal cave was a Mayan place of sacrifice and worship about 2,000 years ago. It's largely untouched, and only a handful of guides are licensed to take small groups in. We trek for half an hour in the jungle, cross a river three times, swim into the cave, climb rock walls, squeeze through tight spaces and wade through neck-deep water crossing slippery rocks at every turn, with nothing more than a headlamp and helpful guide.

In pictures: Mother nature struts her stuff in Belize
The Globe's Amberly McAteer spent six days island hopping - by kayak - in Belize

VIDEO: A Day of Sailing aboard "Twice As Nice"
Sailing from Caribbean Villas Hotel Ambergris Caye to Caye Caulker. Here's a look at the Verralls family on their home away from home, Twice As Nice. Thanks for the invite and sharing the experienc

2012 Readers' Choice Awards - Favorite Caribbean Hotels - Matachica Resort in Belize makes the list
Matachica, Belize, one of the 2012 Readers' Choice Awards - Favorite Caribbean Hotel Nominees... This small (24-room) ecoresort on a Belize beach offers uber-private luxury, including fine dining at the Mambo Restaurant, massages and locally sourced body treatments at the Jade Spa, and explorations of the nearby barrier reef.

Oh my, do we ever love having leftover pork roast just so we can have these delicious pork tacos!

Mexico City phases out iconic VW Beetle taxis - Belizeans know about these too well.
Officials said Friday that the last of the old-style VW Beetles will have their cab licenses expire by the end of the year. If you are a Belizean and travelled to Chetumal in Mexico to go buy groceries or to just go relax you know about these cars as taxis.

Last edited by Marty; 11/17/12 10:47 AM.