Weekly Photo Challenge: Cherry On Top

Punta Gorda, Belize
Location: Punta Gorda, Belize

I just came back from a holiday in Punta Gorda, Belize. It was a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Needless to say, I had a great time. Belize is a small country in Central America known for its beauty and innate charm.

Punta Gorda, Belize
Taking drum lessons from Ronald McDonald at his school was the cherry on top. He helped me discover the rhythm in me.

Ronald is a member of the Garifuna, one of the five major ethnic groups in Belize. He said that his ancestors originated from Western Africa, but he was quick to point out that they were free men. It happened that, when their ship sank during a storm, their European masters drowned. This allowed the survivors to escape to the hinterlands and build their own settlements.

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July 23, 2016 at 10:37 am 5 comments

She Was Heading Home

For Friday Fictioneers 100-Word Challenge: 22 July 2016

Jan Wayne Fields
Photo Credit: Jan Wayne Fields

After a long illness, Nana passed away.

One day I saw her sitting alone on the beach staring into the vastness of the ocean.

“What are you thinking, Nana?” I asked.

“My ancestral home,“ she replied with a sadness a seven year old wouldn’t understand.

Years later, I learned she was the only one in her family to survive the holocaust.

Growing up, it was Nana who babysat me. We became very close. I never felt so safe under her care.

As she was being laid to rest, I cried. At the same time, I knew she was heading home.

July 20, 2016 at 3:43 pm 23 comments

Inside Belize: I Heart Punta Gorda

Punta Gorda
Location: Town Square and Clock Tower, Punta Gorda, Belize
Early this month, we went on an 8 day holiday to Belize. We loved it although it was in the off-season.

For one thing, there weren’t a lot of tourists around. When visiting a site, we often found it all to ourselves. In addition, we got better accommodation at a reasonable rate.

But it came with disadvantages as well. It rained every day we were there. I guess it could be expected as the rainy season runs from June to November. Fortunately, it happened mostly at night. But on a couple of times when it rained during the day, the weather did get in the way of our planned activities.

We arrived in Belize City and stayed there for the night before driving to Punta Gorda, the capital of Toledo district in Southern Belize, which served as our base.

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July 19, 2016 at 8:33 pm 2 comments

Inside Belize: First Impressions

Punta Gorda, Belize
Location: View from Moho Caye Near Punta Gorda, Belize

I didn’t know much about Belize when I got the invite to visit the country, but I went anyway. I was glad I did.

Belize is located in Central America about two hours flight from Miami.
It’s a small country the size of the state of Massachusetts but not as densely populated. It has a total population of only 365,000. By comparison, Boston alone, the capital of Massachusetts, has a population of 670,000.

Belize reminds me of the Philippines where I grew up. It makes me feel right at home.

In July, it’s sweltering hot with the temperature in the 90s and relative humidity of 75 percent. And when it rains, it’s like water pouring from huge buckets in the sky.

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July 18, 2016 at 2:11 pm 2 comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: Partners

Gabrielle d’ Estrées and Sister
Location: Château de la Bourdaisière, Montlouis-sur-Loire, France

It was a painting of two women showing one of them affectionally pinching the nipple of the other while having a bath. I saw it displayed in one of the rooms of Château de la Bourdaisière in the commune of Montlouis-sur-loire, France.

But partners in love they were not.

It was actually a portrait of the former resident, Gabrielle d’ Estrées (1573-1599) and her sister, the Duchess of Villars. Gabrielle was the Duchess of Beaufort and mistress of King Henry IV (1553-1610). The nipple-pinching gesture was said to symbolize the pregnancy of Henry’s illegitimate child, César de Vendôme.

hotel sign

Château de la Bourdaisière

Château de la Bourdaisière has a colorful past. Over the years, its ownership has changed hands among people eager to have a piece of history.

It has since been converted into a hotel allowing the public to enjoy its amenities. Our group being small had the opportunity to have dinner and stay there for one night feeling like royalty without fear of being thrown into the Bastille and losing our heads.

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June 24, 2016 at 2:51 pm 6 comments

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