Home and the warmth of dear friends

Tuesday, December 23, 2104

After a few fun-filled days over at Caye Caulker, it was time to head “home” to Ambergris Caye (in case you missed that post, click here). Before jumping onto the 11:15am Caye Caulker Water Taxi for our 25 minute boat ride, we grabbed breakfast at a different location today called The Spot. We certainly made sure Paul had his dive bag this time, then off to the dock. As we waited, a local musician named Dan Man came up to us, chatted a bit, then pitched his CD that he was selling. Maybe it was his sweet personality or good looks and even better smile that won me over, but I figured for $10BZ ($5US), why not! I ALWAYS have a Sharpie with me, so I asked if he would sign it…perfect timing as the water taxi was approaching and we had to part ways.

The boat was loaded with a lot of “hostel looking” people (not to be confused with “hostile”…far from it really), or as I like to call them, “hostel hoppers.” People of all ages with some distinguishable accents, some looking a wee bit haggard, all ready to disembark and eager to explore the island. One thing that really stood out for me while on Caulker is that it seemed that there were quite a few transient looking people with their backpacks and relaxed demeanor. Smiling, laughing and making conversation with new friends. It made me wonder where they were from, where they were going, what their stories/ experiences were and a quick reflective moment of my amazing 6 week backpacking trip to Europe back in 2007 (a post down the road). As those passengers disembarked, a new group of us boarded ready for our next adventure…including a new batch of “hoppers!”

Home! Such sweet words that always make my eyes well up when we arrive here. Although our “home” is just a chunk of sand with tons of overgrowth and two bushy palm trees, for now, it feels like home. Here’s the sign that greeted us at the taxi dock on Ambergris.
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Although the island is super easy to get a round and we walk most places, we decided to rent a golf cart to make it easier to visit friends, explore farther and for Christmas Eve (more on that in my next post). Before we left Cleveland, we reserved our golf cart (HIGHLY recommend…especially during the busy tourist Christmas rush) and called them from Caulker just before we left so they could meet us upon arrival. One of the convenient features they offer is to bring the cart to you! So off the boat, down the dock, onto the cart and off we went to Ak’Bol.

It was so awesome to arrive and see Philip still working there since we stayed a year ago…he still remembered us! Tua was still there as well and the staff has slightly changed, but we absolutely LOVE staying there and can’t imagine staying anywhere else for a few days. It’s an eco resort that offers excursions, daily yoga and hosting yoga retreats. Kirsten, the owner, was in the kitchen behind the bar and her husband Milio, was crunching numbers at the corner of the bar. After greeted hugs and quick catching up, we dropped our bags off in our beachfront thatched cabana (another MUST if staying here) then carted off into town. Here are some shots of our cabana and around the property…AMAZING!

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This is one of the carvings on their GIGANTIC deck at the end of their (guessing) 300′ long pier.
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This is an abandoned fisherman’s shack a few hundred feet south of the property. So pretty at sunrise!
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And the hermit crabs love to come out at night just outside the kitchen.
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Speaking of critters, there’s quite a few iguanas that linger on the property.
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Here’s video of one grabbing a quick snack on the outside wall of our cabana…so beautiful!

It was time for our (4th) traditional “grab our first drink when we land on the island” at Hurricane Ceviche Bar and Grill. *here’s where you insert that “needle scratching on the record” sound* It’s Tuesday. They were closed. Who knew? The previous times we went were on a Saturday. Bummed to say the least. So we ended up strolling the beach taking in a few noticeable changes since our last visit and grabbed lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, Estel’s Dine by the Sea.

With delicious lunch in our bellies, we made our way up to see our island neighbors, Pete and Tami. The normally crater-laiden road that leads up north and takes about 25 minutes on a golf cart that tops out at 15mph, is now nearly glorious! In a year’s time, the town of San Pedro has paved big sections of the road. *here’s where you insert that “angels singing with harps” sound* Glorious, I tell ya!

After pulling into their lot, we immediately headed over to our property to see what’s going on.
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Still vastly overgrown, which is good to help trap and keep the sand to build it up. There’s a new 2’ tall palm tree growing on the shore side of the lot and the “bicycle highway” has become narrower because of ground growth. The bicycle highway is the stretch of beach that runs almost the whole length of the island, where the locals come and go in clusters on their bikes at certain times of the day to and from work. In the midst of daydreaming of our future, out popped our dear friends…so GOOD to see them! It was somewhat bittersweet in that Pete and Tami had put their home on the market…they decided it was time for their next chapter to begin. After giving them shit for selling, we were invited in to their beautiful home to catch up and exchange Christmas gifts. One of Tami’s hobbies is creating mosaic pieces. Look what she made for our future home…we LOVE it!!!
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After a few drinks, great laughs and catching up, we headed out to a fairly new restaurant called Rain at Grand Caribe for dinner then back to Ak’Bol to hang out on the dock to check out the stars.  This trip will be broken up in to several different posts.  To view them all, click on the hashtag “trip4” below.

Up next? A beautiful and heart-felt Christmas Eve tradition that we’re so very happy to participate in!

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