Flat calm, Fil and Fried Fish.

After all the blowing that’s been going on here, We now have a flat-calm, which means the Sea is like plate-glass and the neighbors are burning a big fire, already, at 6:00am, of palm fronds, coconut hulls and other debris, maybe a little styrofoam… no wind also may mean the sand flies will come. The man upstairs, Doug, says: don’t take an early shower, I’ve only had one since I got here, late yesterday afternoon and it made Me feel too clean, I missed my Lord-of-the-Flies style grunginess (and since I’m not sitting close to anybody on an Airplane…)

flat-calm this morning

When I was on the Airplane, I was in a row with a Large Lady from Belize who was very nice, She sat on the aisle and I had a window seat so the middle was empty, there were no seats before Us, just a bulkhead separating Us from First Class (I could smell the Lobster Thermidore), that Lady got up to use the Lavatory while We sat with the engines off during a slight delay (caused by heavy air-traffic over Cuba), and a bearded Man came up and claimed the middle seat, He said the Lady he was sitting next to had way too much perfume. His name was Craig and He lives in Belize, in Monkey River, You can only get to His house by boat, so He has to take all of his supplies at once. I didn’t feel bad being stinky next to that Man and He laughed when I told him I was the opposite of the perfumed Lady, from the extta-long OJ Simpson-style run through the Miami Airport.

a mile and a quarter to the Sittee River curve.

Yesterday, I rode the route I took on Wednesday, butcept, I went in reverse (as I type this one of the two Airplanes that fly over here all day, goes by, a propeller plane, probably heading for the Dangriga Airstrip. There is nary a “chem-trail” in the entire sky). I rode the mile and a quarter through the tall grass and swamps on either side, down to where the Sittee River curves and goes out to Sea. Lots of lily  pad  flowers are blooming but not a sign of any life, not even a raccoon (I know they are nocturnal, and also they are just normal to me, not something I don’t ever see, so…).

When I got back to Tipple Tree Beya, there was a Man, an Artist from Toledo (just North of Punta Gorda, where I will travel next Wednesday to meet Tiffany on the Water Taxi). His name, like mine, was Fil (short for Filone, He showed me his licence to prove it, although He said His name first), he had many carved bowls and some butterflies behind glass that He called “Humming Birds”, he also had the Jaguar Masks (above), that were very unique, to my eyes.

Yesterday I finally asked Doug if there was an “Isis Restaurant” I thought I saw it on my first night but couldn’t find it again and I began to wonder if I had imagined it, or dreamed it, maybe… He didn’t miss a  beat and said: “oh yes, Iris’ Restaurant, She’s been here a long time but She takes in the sign when They’re closed.” So that’s where I went for dinner last night, across the street from “Arts by Alex”, I was the only customer, the Lady came out and asked me if I’d like to eat there and I said Yes, please, what have You got? (there was no visible menu posted) She said “rice & beans… and fried Fish.” I waited to see if She said anything else and then agreed to that menu. It was yummy and I was hungry and with the Fanta, it was less than $10 US (which coming from Asheville, NC, is a refreshing price for a filling meal). Then I walked down (or up if You like) to the Dong Lee Supermarket and turned on my heal and came back to the Beya (having no more dollars to spend).

fire, street light, moon.

Exploring and Dining in Hopkins, Belize.

 A squall can come up quickly here. We are right on the sea, no Caye to stop the Bay from blowing and causing things to swing and wind to sing through palm fronds across the sandy long lawns. 

a squall blows in across Hopkins Bay.

I rode my bike (rented) for miles down a bumpy dirt road with saw grass and palms trees higher than my head on either side, way down along a swampy bog. I’m told there is a chance I could see Raccoons if I go out along the Swamp’s edge just around dusk. I have yet to see a single Tarantuala or Snake but I have seen a nest of Baby Birds and lots of lizards.

I swam in the sea twice and walked and ran down the thin strip of sandy beach, on which I was the only Human in sight. Around noon the breeze kicked up again and cooled things off. It was warmer at 4:00am than it is now, because the breeze had completely stopped. I rode from one end of the village to the next past oppulent constructions and fallen down shacks. It’s mostly closed up here at this time of here, there are a few other Tourists, riding Golf Carts, sending up clouds of dust as they zip down the dirty highway, packed in there, six or seven of them, coming to see what’s going down in the non-all-inclusive part of town. 

 

Coconut Gravy seasoned with herbs and fish.

 
I ate the Hudutu last night at Innie’s Restaurant, it’s the second night I’ve eaten there, the first night I had StewChicken With   Rice&beans, I also had their last Sprite on Tuesday, so last night I had Fanta Orange soda (which tastes like fake orange popcicle flavor). Hudutu has a thick chunk of bony fish inside of coconut gravy, I mixed it all up and made quite a mess, it ends up a lot like coconut chowder, although it starts out like a Chicken and Dumplings, if the chicken were an unknown fish and the dumplings were a clump of Plantain mash molded into a wad of doughy delight. The restaurant’s menu has this description of Hudutu: “Hudutu is mash Plaintains (in a cake) and gravy made from coconut milk, seasoned with local herbs and fish. This unique Garifuna dish has been cooked by the Garifuna People and it is loved by many people from all walks of life [who] have tried the Hudutu and many have loved… It’s definitely worth trying” – Innie’s Restaurant. I recommend You try it, too and getYourself some local Culture. 

Travels to Belize

I have always wanted to come to Belize, for some reason it stood apart in the names of places I had heard of. I arrived here yesterday morning, landing at the Air-strip in Belize City after flying in low over the Western Carribean and super-lush jungle landscapes with dark green rivers winding through them,   similar to giant sunning snakes. Flying through the mist as We came to touch-down, the clouds made shadows on the emerald green water and I could see the paterns in the sand on the sea floor. Out of the jungle, rapidly  came the runway and truly this is the tiniest airport, with People going up and down the ladders to get to and from three Jets parked on the tarmac, my heart does flips to experience this non-babylonian status. Off the plane in a hurry and down into the warmth of late Summer greeted by smiling Belezians, down to the far end of the Terminal (which rose singularly out of the jungle there), toward the Immigration Department and all the way back to the other end once inside (cattle-herding at its finest). The people in the Customs area appeared as though they had no idea a whole Jet-load of Folks would be arriving, there was a guy in one booth who had a computer completely disassembled and was wiping it off with paper towels, the Young Lady in the booth I was headed for was being very official and looking at Everyone’s passport as though it were some sort of magical object, when it came my turn, I was quickly processed, even at the second step, they only asked me one question then I was out the door and into a Taxi and off to the Bus Stop in about a minute, my Driver, Norevell, told me about crocodiles in the Old Belize River and how Belize adopted the “American” style of driving on the right, even though Belize was a British Colony prior to its independence in 1981 (which right now is the heart of the National celebratory status, that continues until September 21st). Soon We see a Bus approaching and Norevell flags it down and I am on there and on my way to Dangriga down the Southern Highway at a much faster speed than I have ever experienced on a school bus style of vehicle, packed with people, chickens, babies and all sorts of other stuff. I didn’t sleep so well the night before so I am nodding off and waking up periodocally as the bus vibrates like I would imagine an old-timey bomber airplane would with rumbling engines and road sounds to drown out almost even Your thought process. We pass through endless jungle greenery and more snakey rivers and distant misty hills rise up from the blue smoke of a fire. All along the route, quonset huts with balconies and stilt houses spring up by the roadside, in various states of repair. Finally We reach Dangriga, maybe 2 hours after getting on the Bus. They tell me they can’t stop to let me off at the Junction for Hopkins (my ultimate destination) because its an “express” bus and meanwhile they stop to pick-up and let off all kinds of people, including a Guy selling little bags of plantain chips with sauce squirted inside. At Dangriga, I wallow off the bus with my baggage and immediately meet Leonard who offers to shuttle me directly to my destination and after educating briefly on the surrounding area, He does just that. I bought Us each a water and we reached here in short order: Tipple Tree Beya, on the beach in Hopkins, Belize.

   
 (submitted from my phone)

Phil Cheney Coloring Book KickstARTer Campaign launches to-day!

For years Folks have been asking Me if I had ever considered making a Coloring Book from my Paintings and Drawings and for many of those years I politely nodded and just went on about my business… now, finally I have decided to follow through on those requests and actually make a Coloring Book! I am self-publishing with a Locally made first Edition, entitled “Phil Cheney’s Dynamic ART Gallerie Coloring Book Volume One”. Here is the link to get Yours (and other Prizes): https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/314841510/phil-cheneys-coloring-book

Thank You for Your support!Cover ART pARt 23

this and that and going here and there

I intend to write a lengthier version of this in its entirety at some point in the near Future. Until then, these words will act as my marker, to hold the place in mid-air, floating, just above the Horizon, until such a time (a time certain) that I may continue to place more words in an order befitting the Story and how I’d like for it to be told. So, please stay tuned to this place, soon!IMG_7587

By the time We got to Pollo Yo!

When I was swimming in the ocean just a little while ago, a whole Thought Parade went clambering by in my mind, with an interesting beginning for this blog I have committed to publish each week, albeit a day late, now, for the second week in a row. This time last week I wrote about HOONs in the steadily falling snow, now here I am, way down in the Jungly Seaside Town of El Lago del Mar, which is located in Jalisco, Mexico.

WaterTaxiMan

To reach here, at last, to the Casa Hacienda, We had to come from Playa de los Muertos by Water Taxi. Playa de los Muertos is a grandeous future-primitive beach town with a large space-age-esque sail feature and a spiral pier built around it. On either side, a tan, sand beach stretches off into the haze of Cabanas and oiled bodies, in non-USA regulation swimming attire.

SailSculpture

I’ve been keeping busy doing lots of drawings and helping to come up with funny tunes with my very talented Musical Friends down here. We’ve also done quite of a bit of exploring as it becomes an unfolding culinary and ARTs adventure series continuum… Yum! It pretty much just unfolds before Us, as is typically the case in my experience. The People that We meet and the conversations had and overheard, mix with the experience and come out as delightfully fresh-baked goodies.

There is some amazing Art here, as well. No one knows for sure, as these pieces were collected by the now-deceased Isabel, but they are some type of Native Ceremonial Arts, possibly psychedelic in Nature, they are depictions of naturally psychedelic situations, involving Shamans and Others, wearing fantastic head-gear.

BathroomPeyotePieceI would like to stay here forever but this adventure doesn’t end here and I have so much further yet to travel. I will savor the experience for now and keep blending it up into my colorful stew.FlowersHousethe Flower Trees, as well as the Hibiscus and the Bougainvillea, all match the colors of the House and the Sea. Here the Sea is aquamarine and blends with a lovely medium hue to reach the deep Sea blue that surrounds Us and appears to be bounded itself by enormous purple hazy Mountains, aiming at the Sky with their jagged peaks.

The Sea is so buoyant here, it is second only to the Dead Sea, or perhaps the Great Salt Lake (in that case third only). You can float straight-up, even if You’re bony, like Me. The soft toss of the gentle waves lands You right back up on the sandy beach, which massages Your body with soft extra-large grains of natural material (bits of sea shells and crabs and stuff).

EnchantedGardensThis is an incredibly inspirational Creative Retreat, where I am left entirely to mySelf to decide how to bide my time. In between typing these paragraphs, I have been going up and down the four hundred or so sandy, stone steps, of varying heights and depths, all the way from here to the small beach below and back again, to take a shower with gas after swimming in the warm water and hopping up, up, up from the Sea.

I’ve left it until the end to explain the title of this particular posting. We met a Man on an ATV yesterday, which are an annoying addition to the tiny pathways, only slightly wider than an ATV, Who was wearing a shirt that said “Pollo Yo” and was exclaiming in Spanish about His restaurant and that We should come there, to eat, et cetera. He gave His card to the most Spanish Speaking member of Our Crew at that time, Ami Worthen. However, by the time We got to “Pollo Yo” (and not “Pollo Bollo” by the way, that’s on this side of Town), they had changed the name to “Pollo Pollo”…