Bestbird Page Six:
holds out, luck will change.
Fish and slips: (05 Feb 2000) The title to this page, an old poker player's adage, reminds me of a fish story concerning the aforementioned Dick Hayes, who, by now, was my close friend and drinking buddy. He had been a high powered geologist, had made a ton of money in the business whirl, had lived in a mansion in the New Orleans French Quarter, had fallen in love with San Pedro, Belize, and had moved himself, his wife Jan, and about 1/2 a ton of his money to the tropics with the idea (this may sound familiar, except for the money part) of getting out of the rat race, building a small hotel on the beach, and living happily ever after just drinking rum and cokes in the shade of a coconut glade. Well, his circus disintegrated and the 1/2 ton went to aid the local economy instead of building the hotel. But, as they say in Belize, "no big thing". He still had the 1/2 ton and the coconut glade part and, of more importance, had escaped the rat race. On a day when he and I had been fishing, we were cleaning our catch on a table near the beach when an old (just visiting) buddy of his from gringoland approached unexpectedly. After appropriate smiles, hand shakes, and other pleasantries were exchanged, the visiting gringo said, "Dick, I brought you a present - here's today's Wall Street Journal." "Gee whiz, thanks," said Dick, "that's just what I need to wrap my fish in!"
Kids and coconuts:
The big disaster:
High and not dry while hiding away: (4 Sep 2002) I'm returning here after a more than a two year absence while I got the Imjin Buddy Bunker underway. What brought me back was coming across the ditty you may be hearing in the background. It's Nobody's Child and, for some reason, Wil Nunez and his Grupo thought it a very appropriate serenade for me as I held forth at my usual spot at Fido's. Maybe I appeared "... like a flower, just growing wild ..." and seemed to Wil as if I thought "... nobody loves me, I'm nobody's child." The "hiding away" is added because, soon after the big disaster and the family left, I moved from the house in San Pedro to Bob Liva's Hideaway Hotel - another example of my misguided maneuvers in the tropics.
A bank and a borrower: (26 Feb 2000) At one point, I was begging, literally begging, the Houston investors for more of the money about which I had been assured "not to worry". Having decided that we needed to "get some borrowed money" into the project, they, as usual, and speaking with the voice of the one they decided would be optimal to put an issue to me, asked me to do just that in Belize - this even though one of them owned a substantial interest in at least one Houston bank and all of them had good banking connections. Relying on their previous assurance, I had acquiesced already to their desire for a grandiose facility and to a more expensive method of building it than I had envisioned, but I was loath to alter the original financial arrangements for obvious reasons, obvious to any Belizean that is. Also, from a personal standpoint, there was the fact that control of the project was passing from me to the gringos (Yes, Canadians are gringos to me, Canada being north of the Rio Grande, you know.) and their money. However, having no alternative (except to stop building - my agreed draw had already gone south) but to acquiesce yet again, off I went to revisit the Royal Bank of Canada. Well, this time, my favorite banker scraped up some money to be secured by a mortgage on the Victoria House property. It turned out that Derek Courtenay was to draw the papers. That revealed another odd (to a gringo lawyer) Belizean custom. Lawyers, pardon me, solicitors customarily represent adverse parties in banking deals, land deals, and who knows what other kinds of transactions.
My blood, and my money:
Taca travels to gringoland:
Riots and resilience:
Nak U On Ting: (06 Mar 2000) The title for this insert is a slogan that was painted on the rear of a small push cart, which was loaded with goods and which was guided along the streets of Belize City by its owner who evidenced much pride in its ownership. Although I never spoke with him, I deemed him to be a wise man. You can figure out what you think the meaning of the slogan is; I think it means, "Mind your own business."
I got here as quick as I could: (16 Feb 2000) The title to this paragraph was usually my glib remark when a mainland Belizean would ask if I was new to Belize or how long I had been in Belize. I refer to "a mainland Belizean" because any San Pedrano, already knowing more about you than he wanted to know, would have no need to make such an inquiry. I stole the line from an ex-marine friend of mine who once used it with good effect after he, in full dress uniform, had jumped off a troop train which was making a quick stop in a one horse town (an odd phrase to use for one of the things I liked about San Pedro was that it had no horses) and rushed into a bar filled with nothing but red-necked locals, the biggest one of which came chest to chest with him and asked, "Kind of new in town, ain't you buddy?" His apt retort was so popular with the crowd that they bought him three quick beers before his train left.
A bank and a gunfighter:
A bank and a real battle:
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