Creselda has lived on the Island for around 20 years and in Belize her entire life. Her family owns and operates La Famila, a corn tortilla factory that makes delicious corn tortillas and chips for businesses and individuals on the Island and beyond. I've known "Chris" for two years; meeting her in 2011 when I first visited the San Pedro area.
She has worked at Mata Rocks performing beach bartender duties at the Squirrel's Nest for 19 years in addition to raising her two beautiful children and fulfilling orders at the tortilla factory with her husband . I'm sure that she is the reason so many people return year after year to this tiny little gem of a Resort.
Chris has become my "go-to" person and a safe harbor when I need information or help understanding the Belizean culture. "You need to learn Spanish", she always tells me. Although English is the official language of Belize, Spanish is widely spoken. Just to be ornery, she will speak Spanish to other patrons as I wonder what they are talking about. Then she'll just turn to me and grin. I'm learning.
During one of our recent conversations about how I am settling into life on the Island, I explained how I found it frustrating to find how much money I was spending on food. For one person, I might add - and I don't eat a lot. "There is no one-stop shopping here", she explains.
"Will you take me shopping?", I ask.
"Sure, of course", she responds. I'm psyched! Other ex-pat friends were a bit jealous when I told them of my shopping plans with one of the nicest and knowledgeable locals.
She came to pick me up in her golf cart (a luxury for me) on a mid-afternoon one Thursday. I had my shopping list neatly tucked into my wallet. "Let me see what we are shopping for" she said as she took the list from my hand. Despite the rain that was threatening, we were soon headed for town. The Island of Ambergris Caye is dotted with mom & pop shops, super markets, supply stores, hardware stores and an abundance of road-side vegetable stands.
Our afternoon/early evening adventure took us to more than a half dozen stores. Paper products were purchased at one store; cleaning supplies at another; baking utensils at still another shop; meat, fish and poultry at separate locations; spices, fruit and vegetables a several different stores and stands. What a great day with wonderful company!
I adore learning about different areas of the world and different cultures. Chris shared with me where and why to purchase different items and I also shared with her some staples and ingredients she wasn't familiar with. It was a fun-filled and educational afternoon as I learned to save money with the no one-stop shopping excursion in San Pedro. I'm thankful to have such a friend as Creselda . Thanks to her, tonight I'm enjoying fresh blackened snapper with a Caribbean jerk seasoning and asparagus. I forgot how good my culinary skills are! Bon appétit, or should I say Disfrute de su comida?
I took these snapshots at a later date... they are not the only shops we stopped at; you just have to be here to Belize it.