Christmas in Belize

This Christmas was a fun one – besides the missing my family part – we had a great day.  The holiday really started for us on Christmas Eve.  My mom cooked a dinner for a holiday party at our restaurant, Scotty’s Bar and Grill.  It was a small staff holiday party and we exchanged some small gifts.  We also invited a few friends to join us for the dinner.  Mom fried a whole hogfish (caught in Belize) for our appetizer and then the main dinner was baked chicken along with a few typical holiday side dishes and it all turned out fantastic.  One of our waitresses had brought over a sampling of the rumpopo her mom had made for the holidays.  Rumpopo is a traditional eggnog type drink in Belize that is made with eggs, cream, nutmeg, cinnamon and overproof rum and is delicious.  After we ate and opened gifts we all took a few pictures by the plastic tree.

A very typical sound in Corozal during the Christmas season – especially on Christmas Eve to bring in Christmas day – are the blasts of various fireworks and firecrackers that are let off all day long.  As the night continued on, more and more blasts are heard and we all knew that we would not be falling asleep before midnight so I grabbed a book and knew exactly when midnight hit by the obvious finale happening all around town.  In Corozal that night it sounded like New Year’s Eve sounds in the states.

At 11am we were in the truck headed to our friend’s house for a ride on his boat to the party out at Progresso Shores (  There were three of us in the boat and then my parents were going to take a truck to the same party so that they would have a way to get back home.  It was a perfect day for a boat ride – the bay was calm and the sky was mostly sunny – we zipped over there pretty quickly with just one pit stop in the Copper Bank lagoon to catch another friend.  He had his own boat and he zoomed off ahead of us, long gone by the time we even hit the Progresso Lagoon.  We got to the party around noon and the food was already out.  We were among the first to arrive and my parents got there almost exactly the same time we did.  The hosts already had the place ready for guests.  They had put a pig in the ground the night before and it had cooked all night long, there was also an abundance of Indian food purchased from one of the local men in town along with the various side dishes and desserts other people brought with them.  We all grabbed a drink and a seat to start in on conversation.  Slowly, more and more people started to arrive and by the end of it all there were about 40 people there.

The boat ride was already a far cry from the typical holiday activities when I was living in Oregon but it was about to get even better.  After dinner the water toys started to come out.  Water skis, tubes, a wakeboard, boats and kayaks; I knew that I wanted to water ski so I put on my swimsuit and headed out to the boat.  It was a ton of fun on two skis but I did take a nice fall to end my first trip around the lagoon.  It sort of stunned me so I passed the skis off to the next person and he got right up and made a nice spin around the lagoon before he fell.  I got back up on the skis and we made our way back to the dock were I made a much more graceful landing.  While all this was going on there was a big group of kids who were very excited to go on a boat so they piled on our friend’s small boat and from the dock it looked like an accident waiting to happen.  Luckily all the kids were wearing life jackets and the lagoon is very shallow, but sure enough, as the boat was coming back in to dock the kids were getting nervous because the front of the boat started to take on a little water due to the amount of weight on board.  Suddenly some of the kids panicked and went to the bow of the boat; well this was the very last thing that should have happened because as all their weight shifted to the front the boat took on more and more water.  One person saw what was happening and ran another boat over to the scene to help as another did a quasi dive in to the lagoon as the kids (most of whom have never been on a boat before) were screaming in terror.  In the end everyone was okay but a few of the kids were very upset – I knew one of the little girls from other trips and I grabbed her hand as she was crying hysterically by herself on her way to the house.  We found her mom and eventually she calmed down, but it was quite an experience for them.

After everything had calmed down I went back out on the boat to try my luck at getting up on one ski.  I had done it before a few years ago during an Oregon skiing trip but it had been awhile, so I fell on the first attempt and the next 10 or so attempts.  At one point I did get up but did not stay up for any amount of time, but on my last try my hip popped and my leg went numb so I figured that was enough for the day.

Most of the guests left soon after that and there were just a few of us (who were spending the night) visiting before everyone made their way to bed.  As you may have already guessed I was extremely sore from my slalom experience but the worst part was that I actually injured the right side of my neck so for the last four days I’ve been nursing that.  We also attempted Corozal’s first annual Christmas Boat parade.

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