San Pedro 1959-1987
Page last edited 07 Jun 2002.
Flag 1: (06 Feb 2000) When I first came to San Pedro, the old Blake House had already been bought by the John and Marie Bremercamp and converted into a small hotel catering, primarily, to British soldiers on leave from the mainland. The bottom floor was a restaurant, open to the public, very capably managed by Marie, and serving very good food. All of the locals, for a very long time, continued to refer to the establishment as "The Blake House". Later on, the restaurant operation was handed over to new folks from the mainland, who happened to be of Chinese heritage, and began to serve Cantonese dishes of high quality - as you might have guessed; the Egg Foo Yung came in very handy if you were suffering from goma ("a hangover" to gringos). Here is a photo of the Barrier Reef Hotel (originally, "The Blake House"). (18 Jun 2001) I just received what is, for nostalgic reasons, bad news to me. The grand old structure will be demolished. Well, at least it will be to make room for a bank instead of a parking lot. The promise is that it will be constructed in conformity with the original architecture - but, of course, the new owners may be ignoring the power of tropical claws.
Flag 2: (26 Feb 2000) When I first visited the Town Park, there were some benches, each of which had a small plaque naming its donor. The benches, placed near and along Front Street, faced a hard sand basketball area, which I remember being used only on rare occasions. Probably, this was because the backboards were tilted, the rims were at an angle, and the nets hung down in shreds. Later, the younger men of the town wisely converted the area into a very good volleyball facility with a softer sand surface and a pretty good net. After that, the park was the scene of many a good and vigorously fought game.
Flag 3: (27 Feb 2000) When I was in San Pedro, the Town Cemetery, though larger, had suffered the ravages of time and had almost no beach left. All the monuments were disintegrating or toppling over, or both. Susan and I were quite startled when, on our first whole day in San Pedro, we came across a human bone lying in the sand. We left it alone, but it disappeared later. I like to think it was rescued.
Note to Flag 3: (27 Feb 2000) In 1978, a rather dilapidated, stilted structure stood adjacent to and on the inland side the cemetery. Later on, the building was rented out to a group of young gringos who christened it the "Graveyard Hilton." Just behind it, Front Street had been extended for access to the Paradise, which was built adjacent to the cemetery on the north (right) side - in the photo, the dark green area on the beach. Directly across from the "Graveyard Hilton", and on that extension of Front Street, was the casa of Milo Paz, In the casa's yard, Milo operated a very pleasant open air bar. A description of how that was soon converted into a much larger operation is given in the Bestbird page under the heading, "Three buddies and only two beers".
Flag 5: (09 Apr 2000) This house still belongs to Felipe Paz and his casa is upstairs. The ground floor is now Cholo's Bar, which may be partially seen in the view of the beach in one of the photos on the Lily's Hotel page (also linked to in Flag 6 next below). On the land behind and facing Front Street, is (and was when I was there) the casa of Thomas Paz, one of Felipe's brothers.
Flag 6: (02 Nov 2000) From 1977-1987, while I was visiting or living in San Pedro, Tomas Paz had a few rooms which he rented to tourists and a small dining room, both of which he had personally operated since 1970. That place was known, then and now, as Tomas Hotel (although I don't remember a sign). It's entry was on Front Street and I think that his older brother, Felipe ("Tio Pil") Paz, also may have rented some rooms in the building between there and the beach (Flag 6). Both of them seemed content to have a few rooms and to cater to a few regular guests who, returning year after year, enjoyed their company and hospitality. Where the old dining room was (on Front Street) is now a grocery store run by Tomas, an entrance to his hotel, and (if you know how to wander through) an access to Tio Pil's hotel and dining room, both of which are now on the beach side and managed by Tio Pil. For two photos of the place as it looks now - a view of its main entrance on the side street between it and Cholo's Bar, and another from the beach - click Lily's Hotel.
Flag 7: (09 Apr 2000) When Victoria House was under construction in 1980, the school teacher's house was still there (although, of course, it showed the ravages of time) and was occupied by a non-English speaking Carib who worked industriously on the Victoria House pier; and, the Lions were meeting weekly in a large room above Marino's Bar on Middle Street.
Note to Flag 7: (03 Nov 2000) Recently, a photo of the Lions' Den and of what is now across the east-west side street from den was taken from the middle of Front Street and near the Lion's BBQ cooker. Check it out by clicking The den of a "peaceful" lion. The property across the east-west side street from the den played a big part of my early day's in san Pedro as did, even more so, the Lion's Den.
Flag 11 (28 Feb 2000): I'm jumping ahead to this one while it is fresh in my mind that the placement of the flag is misleading. As I remembered, and Fidel Ancona confirmed, the two buildings by the flag are the old Catholic Church (the larger one) and the Boy Scout building. Fidel remembers attending both facilities when he was young enough to be a Scout and when the beach there was wide enough to be a great area for fun and games. While I was in San Pedro, a new concrete church, with beautifully carved mahogany doors, was erected and opened for services. The old church was, and the new church is, next to Fido's (Flag 9) to the north. Big Daddy's, located near the beach and between the park and the church, was built after this photo was taken and before I first had a few Belikin beers there in 1977.
Bestbird Page Eleven