BLAM! High season is on! And not a moment too soon. The big 3-bedroom Alamina Beach House is 80% booked up until Easter (woohooyeah!). The little efficiency apartment is still available though, but I'm confident that it will book up as I'm hearing positive feedback from the other hotels that this is going to be a bang up year. For the past 2 years our Village Council has actively worked on marketing Caye Caulker as a dive and vacation destination for families with developing an equal opportunity website and attending trade shows like DEMA the largest dive show in North America. As the market changes and Belize becomes more and more expensive to live and do business in, we've had to change who our target customer is. We're losing the backpackers, who have been our bread and butter since the dawn of tourism 30years ago (way before my time here), when the first hippines arrived on Caye Caulker on Chocolate's fishing dory. I have my theories on why this is happening, although I won't whine and whinge on them. Change is like a train, you can't stand on the rails and try to stop a train, it will run you down. You have to jump on it and enjoy the ride.
So, no more messing around in my studio on the mainland, I'm back on Caye Caulker, more or less full time, until after Easter. I'm grateful though that I was able to take the time this year and produce another collection, this time in oil. This new series is called Village Life. I already have an Island Life series in watercolor that I did in 2000.
On Caye Caulker, people come here for vacation year after year for weeks at a time. If you spend any amount of time here, the next trip, the local people will remember you. They might not remember your real name, but they will have your character down pat. ("Hey big lady wid de pretty hair did I just see you? - that IMPRESSED me!) A woman came into the gallery the other day and we struck up a conversation, she was here 10 years ago and even though there has been some building up of the island, it still feels the same. No shirt, no shoes, no problema!
Christmas is coming, its time to change the marley and curtains. Marley is the thin vinyl flooring that we all use in our little wooden houses to cover the floor. Curtains are curtains, but its a tradition to change them once a year before Christmas. I think, because the sun is so harsh most of the year, it fades the color and rots the fabric.
Bigness and I went to the city today to get some house fixer up stuff. He's repainting (neverending) the interior of the house and is back on construction duty. The electric drill is charged and ready to go and we've located the hammer. We'll have to find a replacement door stop though, Supergirl made pumpkin spice cake with the mystery can, so we were using his 10lb sledgehammer that he uses to smash tings with as a door stop/opener. It worked perfect, but alas, construction begins again. In my opionion, there's nothing sexier than a big man with a sledge hammer in one hand and a drill in the other.
He usually goes to Belize City before me on the boat, to pick up the car from his house there. And, also, after years of commercial fishing, he's up before the crack of dawn and itching to get the day started. I'm a confirmed slow poke. I figure why get on the boat before 8:30 a.m., the stores are just barely open, the clerks haven't even cleared the sleep from their eyes.
Going here, going there, first to 3 banks, then to the central market to buy produce for the cafe, I ended my shopping at Mikado Textile Palace. For Christmas the store is resplendent with sample satin fringy and lace curtains on show from ceiling to floor. The only thing is that the curtains run right along the fronts of the fabric racks, so to shop for fabric you must paw through the curtains to peep at the fabrics. I felt like I was in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. When you enter the store a doorman asks you if you're having a nice day, and "Welcome to Mikado" You check your bags at the front desk and as soon as you touch a peice of fabric a clerk is there lifting it up for you, asking you how many yards you want of it. I'm the typical Amurrrrrikin shopper who wants to be left alone to comtemplate the beautific colors and hues of stretch polyester all on my own, but I've had to change my ways to accept the help of an earnest clerk to avoid being siungled out as that strange-lady-who-won't let-anyone-help her. The search was on for purple cotten sheeting and "Dive Belize" purple-turquoise-green fishy fabric to replace bedspreadsi n the beach house that had become damaged. Also, I had a bet with Supergirl that I could find blue camoflage stretch denim. I found it, she lost. Sucker's bet. I ask you, how do all these girls wear jean pants and skirts that look painted on...? STRETCH DENIM!
We're here and we're ready. The coffee's made and Supergirl made a rum raisen pound cake and triple chocolate espresso brownies, so come on back Big Gial Wid De Pretty Hair.
UNBaby is getting over her cold because finally we were able to tape shoes on her feet and zip up her sweater. She spent most of the day yesterday in prison, upstairs with Crompa. He got the fun job of wiping green baba off her face awhile Supergirl and I worked. She's better now and reading me the pictures from the story book "Midokio," which is Pinochio said with a cold.
The weather isn't looking too great for the next few days, but any day in paradise...
Paintings: Click on any image to enlarge
Untitled (located near the Split where Destiny Tours used to be is house #69, although we don't have house or street number here, I always wondered what went on in house #69)
Spin's Bike leans up against Tia Ilna's fence
Miss Ophelia's House (right across the street from us) was put together by Bigness's father from the parts of 5 houses after hurricane Hattie blew them down in 1961. Bigness's sister isin her late 70s and still lives in this little old house.
The peir on the west side of Caye Caulker near Motel 1788
Laundry Day at Pepe's
Peach on the Beach, Tia Ilna's House, UNBaby and Jakey play in the sand as Mariette (the massage therapist for Caye Caulker) looks on.