Friday, November 23, 2007

Photo Friday - Two - November 23

This photo could be subtitled Strawberry and Chocolate. Jelly Bean and UNBaby ramp up for Jelly Bean's birthday party. They have their hair-doos from Miss Myrna's hair braiding and fresh fruit stand, their party dresses bought at the Tucan Giftshop, on and Jelly Bean found some big ole dangle earrings in my jewelry box. They are ready to par-tee. This photo was shot this summer whild Mal was visiting with baby JoJo.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Well That's Not Nice

From Channel 5 Belize:
Guatemala bans Belizean commercial flightsBelize’s two local airlines are feeling the pinch following the banning of Belizean commercial flights into Guatemala. According to spokespersons for Tropic and Maya Island Air, the ban, which was instituted on November fifteenth, involves the upgrading of Guatemala’s civil aviation standards: specifically their requirement that all airlines flying to the country have a valid Air Operator’s Certificate. Although Belize’s local airlines, which each fly twice daily to Flores, Peten, were notified six months ago, they have not been able to complete the necessary technical paperwork. Following several extensions, the Guatemalans finally enforced the new regulations and since Thursday Maya and Tropic have stopped flying across the border. Ironically, while the airlines have been forced to refund fares and with tourists either cancelling or arranging ground transport, the biggest loser has been the tourist industry in Peten which has been deprived of around thirty visitors per day, largely to the ancient Maya site of Tikal. Late word is that following negotiations between the two countries’ civil aviation authorities, a compromise is being worked out to give the Belizeans interim landing rights and more time to comply with the regulations. At news time, however, the flight ban remained in effect.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Garifuna Settlement Day in Orange Walk Belize

Take a look at Leonardo Melendez's blog at Take Ur Vitaminz for pictures of Garifuna Settlement Day in Orange Walk Belize.

I spent the morning of Settlement Day painting pictures and draping soggy laundry over door tops, shower curtain rods, backs of chairs and door knobs from the decision to wash laundry during a torrential downpour which lasted into the night.

It looks like Leonardo had more fun and less rain in Orange Walk.
Art Credits:
Left - Jaguar Mask on Silk 20" x 28" $225 U.S.
Location: Belize
Right - Pelican on Silk 20" x 28" $225 U.S.
Location: Belize

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Photo Friday - November 16 - Travel

Illustration Friday - November 16 - Superstition

According to Wikipedia, Superstition is a belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge, in or of the ominous significance of a particular thing, circumstance, occurrence, proceeding, or the like.

Superstition indicates something standing above, or set up above. The earliest English uses of the word in the modern era refer critically to Catholic practices such as censing, rosaries, holy water and other practices that Protestants believed went beyond - or were set up above - their own interpretation of the New Testament practices of Christianity. From there the uses of the term expanded to include non-Christian religious practices, and beliefs that seemed unfounded or primitive in the light of modern knowledge.

Many extant superstitions arose before and during the time of the Black Plague that swept over Europe. During the time of the Black Plague, Pope Gregory I the Great passed a law requiring people to say "God bless you" when somebody sneezed; this was said to prevent the spread of the disease and to cure whoever already had it.[1]

According to Wikipedia, again, Shamanism refers to a range of traditional beliefs and practices concerned with communication with the spirit world. There are many variations in shamanism throughout the world, though there are some beliefs that are shared by all forms of shamanism:
The spirits can play important roles in human lives.
The shaman can control and/or cooperate with the spirits for the community's benefit.
The spirits can be either good or bad.
Shamans engage various processes and techniques to incite trance; such as: singing, dancing, taking entheogens, meditating and drumming.

Animals play an important role, acting as omens and message-bearers, as well as representations of animal spirit guides.

The shaman's spirit leaves the body and enters into the supernatural world during certain tasks.
The shamans can treat illnesses or sickness.

Shamans are healers, gurus and magicians.

Shamans have the ability to diagnose and cure human suffering and, in some societies, the ability to cause suffering. This is believed to be accomplished by traversing the axis mundi and forming a special relationship with, or gaining control over, spirits. Shamans have been credited with the ability to control the weather, divination, the interpretation of dreams, astral projection, and traveling to upper and lower worlds. Shamanistic traditions have existed throughout the world since prehistoric times.

Some anthropologists and religious scholars define a shaman as an intermediary between the natural and spiritual world, who travels between worlds in a state of trance. Once in the spirit world, the shaman would commune with the spirits for assistance in healing, hunting or weather management. Ripinsky-Naxon describes shamans as, “People who have a strong interest in their surrounding environment and the society of which they are a part.”

Other anthropologists critique the term "shamanism", arguing that it is a culturally specific word and institution and that by expanding it to fit any healer from any traditional society it produces a false unity between these cultures and creates a false idea of an initial human religion predating all others. However, others say that these anthropologists simply fail to recognize the commonalities between otherwise diverse traditional societies.

Shamanism is based on the premise that the visible world is pervaded by invisible forces or spirits that affect the lives of the living. In contrast to animism and animatism, which any and usually all members of a society practice, shamanism requires specialized knowledge or abilities. It could be said that shamans are the experts employed by animists and animist communities. Shamans are often organized into full-time ritual or spiritual associations, like priests.

I've never encountered so many superstitious people as I have since moving to Belize.

I find it interesting that many Christian holidays fall on the same date that traditional Pagan ceremonies would occour. The Maya believe in the old ways, and owuld be openly practicing if the Catholic missionaries hadn't come in and messed things up. You could call the old ways superstitions, or you could call it an awareness of the spirit world and how it affects the physical world. I am an inbetweener, I believe some things call down Mr. Badlucky, and some things are just human nature and not avoidable.

Obea is a form of ritual for the Garifuna people of Belize. To obea someone is to call down the bad spirits upon a person, to cause bad spirit posession. I believe you can obea someone, because your intention is wrong, you bring about all kinds of bad feelings and direct them towards a person and that can't be good. I don't believe it to the exent that some do, and they blame every random act and mishap on someone "doing them something" or rather than accept responsibility for bad decisions. Bigness laughs at Obea. He says he likes it when people try to "do him someting" it brings him more luck than ever.

What do you believe?

Art Credits: 20" x 28" hand painted silk "Smoke" $225 U.S.

DJ Play Your Music

Bittersweet Symphony by the Verve rings from the IPOD that we have hooked up to the old DVD/CD machine with surround sound that we used to have upstairs hooked to the TV. When the last CD player went the way of most electronic devices on Caye Caulker (the dump), Carlos from Carlos Eco Tours recommended that I load all the CDs onto an IPOD and use the DVD player as an amplifier. This discussion went on over coffee and banana cake several mornings in a row. IPOD? Amplifier? Yes, he reassured me, his friend in San Pedro sells the IPOD and the hookup and he thinks it just might work, if not we just have to get a set of new speakers.
It worked. Bit by bit he figured it out for us with a cable here and a power adapter there. Every time he would take a snorkel tour out with a stop in San Pedro, he would pick up another component, and quickly we were back in the music playing business which goes so well with the art and coffee business.

Shirl, the new cafĂ© counter girl, is today’s DJ. I just let her pick it and go. She started with Revenge of the Tango by Gotan Project, first thing up in the morning to get us moving, then onto the Verve and as I’m typing its changing to Enya (A Day Without Rain), which seems appropriate for the rain which has been pounding us for hours.

Today Caye Caulker will empty out and refill for the aMerican Thanksgiving week. It marks the beginning of high season for us. I see porters on bicycle carts and golf cart taking people and luggage to the water taxi pier in the rain. Many of the boats are covered, but for those that aren’t, the captain provides tarps to huddle under, which helps keep your head dry, but my can always ends up wet. (in case you were wondering) Every time I get under one of those tarps I feel like asking someone to please pass me the beer.

Its 8 a.m. and Bowen & Bowen, the beer-water-soda truck has already stopped by to stock us up on water and sodas. Its going to be a long holiday weekend on Caye Caulker with Garifuna Settlement Day officially being celebrated on Monday. Most of the celebration activities will happen in the south part of Belize. Dangriga, Hopkins, Seine Beight and Barranco, is where the majority of the Garifuna community lives. Caye Caulker will get weekenders. Sometimes the Garifuna Council on Caye Caulker will reenact the landing of Garifuna of Belize’s shores a long long time ago. Maybe this year there will be a parade. No one is for sure yet.

The internet is slow this morning and I can’t view the satellite image for the Caribbean. Everyone coming in asks me if the rain will last, and I don’t want to disappoint, but it looks like all day rain.
The music changes again and its Harry Belafonte singing Islands in the Sun… and I have to get the broom out and sweep away the growing rain puddle from the front entrance to the gallery. One by one brave travelers dash in from the rain to warm up and drink a cup of hot tea and enjoy the warm vibe from Shirl behind the counter and Harry Belafonte advising us now that “Jackass will jump and bray, let him bray, let him bray.”
Art Credits:
Top left - Blue Vase - 30" x 40" hand-painted silk by Lee Vanderwalker $450
Top right - In the Garden - 30" x 40" hand-painted silk by Lee Vanderwalker $450
Location: Belize

Monday, November 12, 2007

Weather Report

Looks like rain for the next couple of days. Bad for hanging out laundry, good for staying in and drinking coffee (hint hint).

A change of plans came about today because of the weather. Bigness and I were scheduled to be in Sarteneja to shoot photos for an updated website. A last minute call to check the condition of the road, a peice of important information, revealed that the roads in were impassible unless you have a 4wd. The only way into that area would be via boat from Corozal, and no time to make those arrangements. So we rescheduled for later in the month and took the day off, spent the day home, taking it easy, doing nothing. Well not exactly nothing, we had quite the time watching the shitestorm (below) unfold.

On a more pleasant note, the Sandbox Restaurant is now open for the season and I enjoyed a wonderful bowl of lobstser bisque with rice, Bigness had the baracuda steak dinner.

Little by little the island is waking up. Renvations are finishing. Businesses are reopening for the season.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Jewelry Party!

If you are in the metro Detroit area, check out the jewelry show.

Caribbean Colors Art Gallery proudly presents its exclusive line of jewelry inspired by the sea, sun and sand of Belize. Please join us for our first holiday jewelry party. This handcrafted jewelry is made with sterling silver, freshwater pearls, crystal and Murano glass. All items shown are for immediate purchase, no waiting for orders to be shipped.

Hosted by: Linda Adkins
Presented by Adriaan Schroeder
December 1, 2007 at 3 p.m.
Location: 3201 Pale Street, Trenton, Michigan, 48183
For directions and R.S.V.P. contact or call (313) 917-6157
To see examples of jewelry that will be shown, click on the Caribbean Colors website.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Illustration Friday - Scale - November 9, 2007

This hand-painted silk painting is available through River's Edge Gallery in Wyandotte, Michigan. River's Edge Gallery was voted "Best Gallery in the Detroit Area" by the Detroit News. So, as of last month, they are representing me in the U.S. Check out my newly updated website, several peices are already in the US. and available for sale. I'm scheduled with them for a joint exhibition, that opens the 3rd Friday in May, 2008.

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Friday, November 09, 2007

Shaken but not Stirred

“How was your trip back from aMerica?” my friends all ask.
“Inconsequential except for the bus accident in Mexico.” I reply.

Bigness has accused me in the past of being a drama queen and making a big story out of a little thing. Well, he would say that as he’s usually the driver of the vehicle hurtling down the road with me as the paralyzed scared passenger most of the time. I find its best to take my glasses off and just look out the side window. It helps me to relaaaxxxxx if I can’t see what’s coming at me.
I travel up and down the Chetumal-Tulum corridor all the time. I am on that road on a bus no less than 6 times a year, without incident. I ride ADO, first class express busses which have a bathroom at the back. I like to sit at the front, behind the driver because in the back you can smell the bathroom, and in the front there’s more leg room. This trip I sat in the second row behind the driver.

Accidents are a numbers game, and my number was up. It was after dark and about 2 hours south of Tulum, the road is very narrow, barely 2 vehicles can pass each other, and no shoulder to speak of. I was jolted awake by the sound of screeching metal and breaking glass and the bus swerved around for a few seconds. Lots of screaming in Spanish going on, and the bus kept on going because there was no shoulder to pull off on. We were sideswiped by a double semi’s side mirrors. No one was hurt, just a lot of broken glass projected back from the windshield and the side windows in the front where I was sitting were shattered. What saved me from being cut was that the side curtain next to me was closed, and I had turned my hoodie sweatshirt around and the hood was over my face as I was trying to stay warm and to sleep. The driver was a little bit cut and pulled over a few miles down the road to assess the damage and call into the dispatch.

No announcements were made, the driver shook the glass off of himself, got back into the bus, but the video back on and drove on. I have no complaint about the driver, he was skilled and professional and certainly calmer than his passengers.

It reminded me to BUCKLE MY SEATBELT, a day late and a dollar short.

I would like to take this opportunity to caution traveler's coming on the bus at night between Cancun and Belize. It has nothing to do with the skill of the drivers of these bus lines, they are all amazing and professional. The road south of Tulum is under construction and in many places there is no shoulder, or they have sand and gravel piled up right next to the road. They say the road is in bad shape from hurricane damages from Dean. I think they are in the process of widening the road on each side and it is in the preliminary stages. There isn't a problem during the day, but at night these big rigs with double trailers run full bore blasting up and down like hogs. You will not catch me again traveling at night on this road until it is fixed up.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


Cousin Alvi was out on Caye Caulker the other day complaining that I hadn’t updated my blog in so long he thought I was still in the U.S. When he rode by on the golf cart he thought he saw a ghost. He also chastised me for watering it down, as you all know I’ve let up on the hard copy gossip because Bigness was getting phone calls and complaints from people with no sense of humor at all. I take certain creative liberties in my stories, some of my characters are composites. This is my opinion and you can choose to agree or disagree with me, no one forces you to read this blog. Most of the people reading this blog do so for entertainment purposes only and do not take it as a CNN broadcast of current events on Caye Caulker. If you have close ties to Caye Caulker you may or may not be able to tell who I am writing about, and if you think I’m writing about you, then stop your bad behavior and I’ll stop writing about it.

More Fan Mail
Bigness wondered why Cousin Rage would turn his face away from him when he passed on the beach and thought that he’s becoming a “Sometimes Crazy” person as opposed to being a “My Friend Sometimes” person.

I hadn’t told him about the email I had received until then, because (Life is short) and I didn’t want to get his panties in a twist over something so juvenile and jr. high school behavior is not on my list of things to do these days.

But since he brought it up… what a perfect time to bring things to light and as we all know, timing is everything.

Cousin Rage informs me via email that he wants me to stop blogging about him, that I have my facts wrong and no one in the ENTIRE Alamina family likes me. And that he speaks for everyone and that not a one of them thinks I’m fit to carry the name.

Bigness laughed and laughed at this. (Now is the time for my daughters to close their eyes and ignore the next sentence) Then gave me a big smack on my behind for being a very very very naughty girl and we danced naked around the room to tango music. (O.K. daughters you can open your eyes now)

I didn’t reply to the email as I didn’t want to dignify the ranting with an answer. I also know the golden rule of the internet… “Don’t put anything into an email that you don’t want one million people to read” So, stop giving me your bad behavior to write about and I’ll stop writing about it.

Bad Mindedness:
Typical bad mindedness comes from jealousness of other’s accomplishments. Cousin Rage likes to complain to the village council about other people's tables on the beach saying they are infringing on Queensland, but neglects to let them know that he built his building 15 feet into Queensland, stealing beach intentionally. Should I tell them? Naw, its none of my business and my rule of thumb is don’t bother me with your sillyness and I won’t bother you. I try to not pay him any mind at all, after all there are starving American Tourists in Belize dying for a good cup of coffee and I am the only one who can save them.

Revisionist History:
What Cousin Rage fails to recognize is that any stories that I’m telling that happened prior to 2000, I’m just repeating like a parrot as it came straight from Bigness’s mouth to my ear. He’s objecting to revisionist history. But of course he would never dare to approach Bigness to his face as he’s a coward.

BTW, Cousin Rage, since I know you stalk me and read my blog (obviously), I’ve done a family poll and with the exception of one person who doesn’t even live in Belize, everyone else is on my side. So there.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I Promised Myself

I promised myself that when I was in aMerica with all those good DSL connections and easy access to technology I would update the blog regularly. Yea, right. I was lazy as ever chilling my brains. I avoided buying long pants by not going outside, glued to the TV watching reruns on A&E of Dog the Bounty Hunter (Dontcha luv him? And what about his wive's ginormeous boobs, aren't they amazing? A story in themselves) Several nights Adria and I were up past midnight glued to the TV, she had a hard time getting up for work the next day, it was reminiscent of high school days. And don't get me started on Rock of Love with Brett Michaels, I'm making myself sick thinking about all the trashy TV I consumed right along with Dunkin Donuts.
Leaving was bittersweet. 6 weeks in civilization was more than nice, but I needed to get back to Belize and clean up the usual dirt bomb that explodes in the store during all the construction. I hated leaving all of these grandbabies and let's not forget about the Cinnabon stall in the mall. k(keeping our priorities straight) May-the-seven-year-old was happy to get her bedroom back, Jelly Bean was glad I wasn't there bossing her around, but Malibu Mal Mal and Adria miss my company already, and I miss theirs. BTW UNbaby is loving school in aMerica and is all civilized wearing shoes and all now.