A Great Start to the New Year

After the past few months, Kelley and I decided that we needed a little break from all the mud and rain, so over to the beach it was to put our feet in the sand. Placencia was our chosen destination this time, one reason being that Ron & Rhonda were going to be there to check on their property. Most of our time there was spent hanging out with friends, eating, walking around, bar hopping, and soaking in some sun. It was just what we needed to recharge ourselves after all the cloudy rainy days we’d been having up in the jungle.

Sitting at De Tatch beach restaurant enjoying an ice cold Belikin.

Here’s a little more about this great little Caribbean beach town. Placencia has a Guinness World Record for the narrowest main street in the world. This street is not a place to drive on, ride bikes or even skate on, but rather to walk. Called The Sidewalk, this main street stretches for more than 1.5 miles and is only 4′ wide. When it was built, the main foundation for the sidewalk was conch shells, over 30,000 of them. Along the sidewalk you will find local artists, gift shops, restaurants, boutique hotels, and of course some of the best beachfront bars in Belize. When you are in Placencia be sure to take a walk down the sidewalk. It’s a great way to stretch your legs, do a little shopping, grab a bite to eat and of course, sit on the Caribbean shore with an ice-cold umbrella drink.

Looking down the Placencia Sidewalk.

It’s funny how depending on what part of the world you are in what people consider weeds and others consider plants you want around your home. For example, around our place we have philodendrons, lantana, ferns, and a bunch of other tropical plants that just grow wild. In other parts of the world, these are considered house plants, yet here we just hack them down with our machetes. The other day at this roadside restaurant in Placencia there was a bleeding heart plant growing in the sidewalk. We asked the guy about it and he told us that it was just a weed and he will eventually pull it out. I guess weeds come in all shapes and colors depending on where you are.

This is considered a weed in Placencia.

We just picked a nice bowl of coffee this week. Currently, we have two types of coffee growing, Arabica and Robusta. Over the past year or so our Robusta plants have got a disease or something and are not doing too well. On the other hand, the Arabica plants are thriving and doing very well. We prefer the Arabica as they are a much larger bean and are easier to process. Plus it’s supposed to be a better coffee than the Robusta. When we process and roast the two types we usually just do them both together for a blend. If our Robusta plants can’t recover then hopefully we can replace them with more Arabica plants. The problem with buying new coffee plants down here is that a lot of the time the nurseries just call them coffee and you’re not sure which variety you are actually getting.

This is a mixture of Arabica and Robusta just as they were picked from the plant.

For the past year or so I’ve been making a habanero-sea salt blend that is extremely spicy. It seems that if you like spicy hot foods then you just can’t get enough of it. A lot of people are asking when I’m going to make more, well the time is now. We just picked up a full bag of big, ripe, red habaneros and we’ll start drying them later this week. Hopefully next time I make it we will be using our own homegrown habaneros, as Ruben is preparing to plant a few hundred plants for us.

Big ripe habaneros.

Usually, once a week we go to town to stock up on supplies for the week and go to the butcher, baker, market, etc. For those times that we don’t want to make the run all the way to town, there is a great little roadside produce stand that opened a year or so ago right near us. The lady’s name is Nila and her stand is called UPE NAI which means, Dream Come True in the Mayan language. Her family has a small organic farm where they raise fruits and vegetables. She usually has fresh eggs and whatever is in season from her farm. The gal that we have gone to for years at the San Ignacio market also has a farm in San Antonio, but she also imports other fruits and veggies such as mushrooms, apples, and other stuff that they don’t grow here. No matter where we get our fruits and veggies from, we know we are getting the freshest available.

UPE NAI produce stand is about a mile hike from our place.

When we are making bacon or corned beef brisket we usually have to buy the whole side with all the ribs attached. The butcher separates them for us, but we are getting a freezer full of big racks of ribs. The pork ribs are great and we have been mixing up the recipes. Besides basic barbeque, we have done some Asian style and some hot wing style. The big racks of beef ribs I’ll put in the smoker, low and slow the same way I’d do a brisket. I’m sure we could cut the price a little and tell the butcher that we don’t want all the ribs that come with the pork bellies and the beef briskets, but then again who doesn’t like ribs?

Smoked beef ribs.

The weekend after Placencia, Ron and Rhonda headed up to our place for a little jungle time and to do a little pricing and shopping around for things they will eventually need for their new home. Sunday was a beautiful day and most of the stores are closed, so we spent the day hopping around to some of our favorite little watering holes and visiting friends.

Kelley, Rhonda and Ron soaking up some sun at a great little riverfront bar up in our area. 

Mike Nash was back again playing at The Bluff as part of his Meeting of the Mayans tour. This year his tour includes Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, and Nicaragua. It’s a month-long tour that you can sign up for the whole thing or a week at a time depending on where you want to explore. You’ll get to see and explore all the spectacular sites in Central America, plus hang out with Mike at all his shows along the way.

Another incredible show with Mike Nash.

It would definitely be a trip of a lifetime if you could tag along for the whole month-long tour. Especially this time of year when most everyone is freezing their butts off up north. Check it out here @ meetingofthemayans.com maybe next year you could be joining him on his Central American tour. Be sure to check out his blend of Trop Rock and country music @ nashmike.com. And for all our Puerto Peñasco friends, don’t miss him at the S.O.B. Festival (South Of The Border) this May.

Having a good time at The Bluff.

Hope everyone is having a great year so far. See you soon.