Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Toledo Cacao Festival in Belize - Part 2

Toledo Cacao Festival in Belize - Part 2
By: Will Moreno
May 22nd, 2011


After an exhilarating opening night for the Toledo Cacao Festival in Punta Gorda Town, waking up to the waves crashing ashore and the birds chirping in the trees was truly a peaceful beginning. While getting ready for what we knew was going to be a long day, and reviewing all the activities of the day in the Toledo Howler. We quickly realized that the activities were spread out throughout the whole town and at different time intervals. We had to strategically plan how to be in attendance at most of the events, and we knew we could certainly not attend all the events.
We noticed the small town waking up and becoming alive with people who wanted to see more chocolate treats. The Events for the day, according to the timetable, started around 8 a.m. at the Fajina Craft Center, where we observed various Mayan Artisans displaying their lovely crafts of basket weaving, Mayan tapestry, wood carvings among other things all while wearing their traditional Mayan dresses. There were also individuals selling locally produced garifuna crafts, dolls and the famous Noni juice.

We then made our way to the Toledo Cacao Growers Association that was just one street over. They were displaying booklets and talking about the production and processing of the cacao pod into chocolate. We must make mention that it was great to know that the chocolate company that produces Green and Black's Chocolate buys their cacao from Belize. Cyrila's Chocolate was also displaying their artesian chocolates as well as their traditional Mayan chocolate drink, the 'Kukuh'. We could never associate the tastes of sweet chocolate with that of spices, but we have to admit that Cyrila's Chocolates has a spicy chocolate blend that we enjoyed very much.  Also in the vicinity there were food vendors offering tasty foods, for example, the Mayan version of a spicy chicken soup called 'caldo'. This delicious soup is made over an open fire or 'fyah haat' and made from home-grown chickens and a unique blend of Mayan herbs and spices.
Knowing earlier that we had very little time between events, we then made our way to the Texaco pier where the triathalon was about to get underway. On our way there we passed by the chocolate center where the many chococolate by-products were being displayed. Some other products that were being displayed were the copal soaps and oils as well as paintings. As we arrived to the Pier participants were stretching and getting ready for a 250m swim, before biking 6 miles and then running 2 miles to the finish line. Participants came from a wide cross section of the community including famous Belizean athletes such as Shalini Zabaneh, Jim Scott (general manager of Radisson Hotel), and youths from Belize High School in Belize City, who made the 4 hour trip just to compete in this event. The Triathalon showed the drive of the participants who pushed their endurance until the very end to get to the finish line and absolutely no one gave in to fatigue. All participants finished the race by crossing the finish line on their own determination and energy.
After a short lunch break, we resumed the tour of Punta Gorda Town and made our way near the airstip to Maya Bags. Maya Bags is an organization producing high quality, hand embroidered bags which are selling in major US stores such as Barney's New York among others. They also exhibit their bags and collectibles by local Mayan Artisans and have recently been featured in news articles abroad: Maya Bags. Looking at the finished products were great and even better to see how tedious the work was to create each and every bag. Some handles were intricately woven like baskets, while others were made of coconut shell rings joined together and some woven of fine threads. Each and every bag is definitely a labor of love.

Wanting to enjoy the rest of the day, we made our way back to front street where we came across a rythmic group of drummers and dancers performing for the crowds who stood in the streets of Punta Gorda. The group was that of Mr. Emmeth Young who has a drum school in San Pedro Columbia in Toledo. We stood by and watched the dancers swaying to the harmonious beats of the hand made drums. They entertained the crowds for quite a while with the wonderful drums and dances.

Knowing we had a long night ahead of us we went back to where we were staying and were very happy at the thought of having coconut water straight from the coconut itself. Coconut Water also called "Koknat Wata" is sweet tasting and very refreshing after a long hot day. It is said to have lots of nutrients and great for the health of your kidneys. After having the water, the cocunuts were chopped into halves and we ate the fleshy white pulp in the center which is very sweet and milky. We also tried a new fruit called the jackfruit that we had never tasted before. It smells like ripe plantains and taste like a cross between ripe plantains, papaya and pineapple. The fruit grows like a soursop with a spikey outer pod and inside it has a yellowish pulpy fruit which contains the seeds that can be boiled and enjoyed as a healthy snack.

The nights in Punta Gorda are very peaceful and cool however we were ready to dance and have a night of fun so we decided to go to Waluco's around 9:30 PM. From our understanding, Waluco's got packed as the night progressed. When we got there, it was very quiet so we decided to go to Reef Bar and were not disappointed with the old school music playing at the bar. After a while they let the band Chukuro and the Tribal Vibes start their Garifuna drumming. The band is led by Mr. Ray Arzu who teaches kids the art of drumming and has led them to win the coveted title for battle of the Drums 2 years in a row in 2009 and 2010. This night he has 2 juniors with him ages 9 and 10 showcasing their great talent with the segunda drum (base drum), the primero drums (lead drum)and the shakka (calabash rattles). When the rhythm is paired with cold Belikin beers, the feet start shuffling and the body starts moving with the rhythm. Getting on the floor and dancing was so much fun while moving to the beating of the drums. Mr Arzu definitely educated us about the difference in the Garifuna music. He told us that the Garifuna music was broken into six different rhythms. The first of those rhythms was the 'Paranga' which is a slow warm up followed by the 'Huguh Huguh' which is a slow rhthm that is usually used in the temples. He then told us about the 'Chumba' which is drumming music based on the dancers actions and the drummers have to match their every move. The drumming then changed to one that most Belizeans are familiar with and it was the 'Punta' which is a fast beat that is very synonymous with the Garifuna culture and the Garinagu people. Next there is the 'Wanaragua' beat which is a fast paced drumming beat usually used by the Jankunu dancers who dress like their colonial slave masters and danced around. Finally there was the 'Sambe' which is a drumming to call on the 'Sisters' for blessings. The beat continued late into the night as we shuffled to different drumming beats on the floor.


We knew the following day was going to be another fun day at the Cacao Festival at the Lubaantun Maya Ruin. Come back and visit our blog again and we will tell you all about day three of the Toledo Cacao Festival in Punta Gorda, Belize. You can also read about day one here: Toledo Cacao Festival in Belize - Part 1.

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Toledo Cacao Festival in Belize - Part 1

By: Will Moreno
May 21st 2011


We were very excited at the idea of a road trip to a place that most Belizeans tend to forget because they say its too far away. Punta Gorda is a 4 hour drive away from Belize City traversing the Western Highway to the Hummingbird Highway and then the Southern Highway while passing many villages and scenic views along the way.  We were graced with the wonderful views of the majestic Maya Mountains, banana plantations, orange orchards as well as villages that are steeped in culture.

As we drove down the highway to our final destination in Punta Gorda it was very evident that we were no longer in Belize City and that the life in the villages along the road such as Armenia, Valley of Peace, St. Margaret's Village, Middlesex, Santa Cruz, San Roman, Bella Vista, San Isidro, Jacintoville just to name a few, was definitely different.
Driving past the villages we could definitely see the old wood- planked thatched homes being replaced by the new concrete construction with zinc roof.  Some were even perched atop the hills. We passed kids carrying jars of water on their heads as well as carrying water in gallon jugs tied with strings and strewn across the handles of bicycles, campesinos or ranch hands carrying firewood bundles on their backs for miles as well as piglets roaming the yards freely. Surely Belize offers a life that's different from anywhere in the USA, Canada or the UK. Belize is a wonderful place to visit or even to call Home.

Entering into Punta Gorda Town, we were greeted by the beautiful, breath-taking turquiose waters of the Caribbean Sea in an area called Cattle Landing which is just outside of the main town. The town filled up slowly with people from all over Belize and other parts of the world  who gathered to celebrate Toledo Cacao Festival 2011. This festival celebrates the cacao pod that produces a seed that was used during ancient Maya civilizations as currency, and of course, chocolate!
 The Toledo Cacao Festival started with a night of wine and chocolate at the Coral House Inn, where the main attraction was chocolate in all its glory. Belize chocolatiers such as Cotton Tree, Goss, Kakaw and Cyrila's were in attendance showcasing their refined and delicious blends of chocolates. If you happen to love sweet, smooth milk chocolates and creamy white chocolate, you might love Goss Chocolates. If you happen to love bittersweet, dark chocolates with unique blends such as mango or ginger, then you'll love Kakaw Chocolates. If you love a chocolate that's smooth and semisweet you will love Cotton Tree Chocolates and if you love artesian chocolates made in the Mayan fashion perfected hundreds of years ago, you will love Cyrila's Chocolates.

Radisson's Chefs prepared decadent dishes such as bananas foster with chocolate, coconut chocolate macaroons, chocolate cake and more. If you wanted even more chocolate to take your chocolate taste buds into ecstasy, they had a flowing, enticing and mouth-watering chocolate fountain.

 Old Masters Rum debuted their new blend, Na'Lu'Um Exotic Belize Cacao Liqueur, which was very smooth, sweet and sinfully delicious.

The evening's festivities ended with a dramatic and brilliant fireworks display that added to the intoxicating ambiance of a perfectly, chocolatey evening.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Saint Herman's Blue Hole in Belize is a place of Natural Wonder

By: Will Moreno


Often times you hear about the Belize Blue Hole off the coast of Belize near Belize's Great Barrier Reef. However there is another hole in Belize definitely worth seeing and it's the Saint Herman's Blue Hole located only 12 miles outside of the capital city of Belmopan on the Hummingbird Highway.

The Blue Hole is part of a 575 acre conservation effort by the Belize Audobon Society called the Saint. Herman's Blue Hole National Park whose main attraction is the Saint Herman's Blue Hole and the Saint Herman's Caves which are uniquely interconnected by an underground stream.

This Blue Hole was formed after a natural underground limestone cave collapsed forming this geogological wonder and exposing its true beauty to the world. This depression in the earth measures a amazing 100 feet deep and about 300 feet wide with the actual sapphire pool measuring 25 feet deep. The water that flows through this hole, as it did for many years before, can be seen flowing into an underground cavern again on the other end of the stream.

To get to the exact spot you will have to drive just about a mile further down the road from the main entrance to a second entry and parking lot. Then there is just a short walk along a wooded trail with picnic areas that leads to a set of concrete stairs with rails. These stairs lead down to the crystalline, crisp waters showing its depth through its varying natural shades of blue.

We were amazed by the sheer size and the beauty that this natural phenomenon was presenting to us as we walked closer shaded only by the jungle canopy. The water is very cool and crystal clear. This location is a serene place to relax and listen to nature as you are mesmerized by this Blue Hole in the middle of country of Belize.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Best Secret Islands on Earth - Caye Caulker, Belize

Written by the Travel and Leisure Staff

For white-sand beaches, salty breezes, freshly caught seafood, and no crowds, head to one of the world’s best secret islands.

Belize - Caye Caulker

There’s nary a traffic light on this laid-back island—a five-mile strip of land that’s a 15-minute flight from Belize’s main airport. Head to Shark Ray Alley to snorkel among nurse sharks and stingrays or go scuba diving at the underwater caves of Blue Hole. Aboveground, try the curried lobster at the roadside Jolly Roger’s Grill (Ave. Hicaco; 011-501/664-3382; dinner for two $25). On the eastern side of the Caye, Seaside Cabanas (501/226-0498; seasidecabanas.com; doubles from $105) has 10 rooms and six colorful cabins, each with its own roof terrace for taking in those amazing Caribbean views.

T+L Tip: Visit during the annual Lobster Festival (July 1–3), when the main road turns into a street party.

Read the entire article: Click Here!

Sharks in the sunshine in Belize

Jeffrey Simpson
The Toronto Star
Published On Wed May 18 2011

Dimas Mejia feeds fish heads to some sharks
while leading tourists on a snorkeling expedition to Shark-Ray Alley
off Ambergris Caye in Belize. - Jeffrey Simpson/for the toronto star

SAN PEDRO, BELIZE—I’m standing on the edge of a boat peering uneasily into an ocean that’s swirling with sharks, mentally preparing myself to jump overboard.
Dimas Mejia, who’s leading this excursion to the appropriately named Shark-Ray Alley, is attempting to reassure his uncertain passengers this is a perfectly safe spot for snorkelling.

“It’s all right,” Mejia, 23, says. “I carry a life-ring with me.”

But drowning is the least of my worries as I watch five sharks that are about my size going after the fish-heads he’s tossing into the waves. Fortunately these are nurse sharks; despite their disconcerting resemblance to Jaws they’re usually harmless to humans.

“Just don’t stick your hand in their mouths because they’ll suck it right in,” Mejia says.

With that in mind I pull on flippers, grab a face-mask and plunge into the impossibly turquoise waters of the Caribbean, trying all the while to keep my hands as close as possible to myself.

Travelling a bit farther south than Mexico’s Mayan Riveria brings you to this sun-splashed holiday haven in Belize. I’m staying in the town of San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, a 40-kilometre-long island 45 minutes by water taxi from Belize City on the mainland. The narrow spit of land is an idyllic tropical paradise, with a sandy white beach stretching along a coast studded with palm trees.

It may be part of Central America, but the vibe is classic Caribbean with Jimmy Buffet and reggae music drifting on the tropical breeze from the pastel-coloured beachfront bars.

Ambergris is developed to a certain extent, but its hotels are small and the attitude is laid-back. Shoes and shirts are optional. Most people get around using golf carts or bicycles and there’s only one paved road. There are the creature comforts a vacationer might crave, without the raucous crowds of Cancun.

Canadians will feel right at home in the former British colony — and not just because there’s a bar called Crazy Canucks. English is the official language and the Queen even adorns the Belizean dollar.

The country’s main attraction is just offshore — the stellar snorkelling and scuba diving around Belize’s barrier reef, which at 300 kilometres in length is the second largest in the world after Australia’s. The coral reef system is home to a diverse ecosystem of plants and animals that lurk in the underwater caves and among the atolls.

The Hol Chan Marine Reserve, of which Shark-Ray Alley is a part, is about a 20-minute boat ride away.

I flutter along near the surface looking down at underwater canyons that run to a depth of 25 metres. The water is so clear the sun shines through unimpeded, allowing for fantastic views of schools of iridescent tropical fish that dart here and there.

A stingray gently flaps its broad wings on one side of me while a green turtle paddles along on the other.

Mejia dives deeper to point out creatures of interest along the seabed, such as a moray eel that pokes its head indignantly out of a crevice in the rocks, chomping on one of his flippers.

“They can bite your hand off,” he tells me later, showing me a scar where one had apparently tried.

There are stunningly beautiful creatures such as the pinkish-hued hogfish. Then there are astonishingly odd-looking ones such as the porcupine puffer fish, which inflates to twice its size like a beachball studded with spikes.

The reef runs about a kilometre from the coast of Ambergris and blocks the heavier surf from striking the caye. The water inside the reef is shallow and calm, allowing for that beautiful bluish-green tint that puts you at ease while sipping a pina colada on shore, smugly thinking about the North American winter you’re missing.

That’s exactly what Ken Timmons has in mind as he takes a break from blustery Chicago
“I didn’t know where Belize was,” admits Timmons, 52, while recounting how a former colleague had piqued his interest in the country.

But he found it had an inviting atmosphere that offered something different than other better-known vacation spots.

“It’s a little more laid back maybe than Mexico,” he says. “Kind of a less touristy place to come than Cancun. It’s still got a little bit of a local flavour that’s not ruined by cruise ships.”

Asked how he’s spending his time on the caye, he glances at his girlfriend Donna Engelhard and grins.

“I’m not sure your readers really want to know that,” he says, breaking into laughter before quickly adding, “Actually we’ve been bike-riding a lot.”

Ambergris does provide a perfect backdrop for romance. After a beautiful Caribbean sunset, the soft lights flicker on at restaurant patios, providing al fresco dining to the sound of waves lapping the nearby shore and the wind caressing the palm trees.

Naturally, the specialty is seafood and one of the best places is a slightly upscale yet relaxed restaurant called Mango’s, where a mouth-watering starter of coconut shrimp has me wanting to order it again for my main.

There’s also a lot of good eating available on a smaller budget, from simple taco shacks to papusa joints offering the Salvadoran dish of corn tortillas filled with cheese, beans, chicken or seafood topped with salsa and slaw. They’re best washed down with the local Belikan beer. For further drinking, San Pedro’s nightlife booms until dawn, attracting locals, ex-pats and tourists.

No need to worry about sleeping, since there will be ample time to doze under the sun during lazy afternoons. And there’s no better feeling than waking up to another day in paradise.

Jeffrey Simpson is a Canadian journalist who lives in London, England

Monday, May 16, 2011

Historic US Embassy Building Being Demolished

Historic U.S. Embassy Building being demolished
The Reporter
Saturday, 14.05.2011, 10:37am

Jobs are hard to come by in Belize these days, but over a dozen Belize City youths are employed dismantling a historic structure that once housed the United States Embassy in Belize City.

The contractor who preferred to remain unidentified, said the owner had decided to dismantle the building because it has been damaged by a fallen tree, and has also been further vandalised.
The old chancery building, with various additions, had served as the U.S. Embassy in Belize from Independence in 1981 until November 17, 2006. It was the last such wooden U.S. embassy building in the world when it was officially decomissioned after the U.S. opened its new Embassy building in Belmopan on December 11, 2006. The old building was sold to a private party in 2006.
The U.S. Consulate to Belize was first established on Gabourel Lane in Belize City on February 12, 1848.
The building, originally erected in 1866 in New England, was later dismantled and sent as ballast in freighters to Belize City where it was reassembled as a private home.
The U.S. purchased the building from P.W. Shufeldt, the most prominent U.S. citizen in Belize City, to serve as a consulate in what was then British Honduras in the mid 1930s. The first vice consul to work on the ground floor, Culver Gidden, later married Shufeldt’s daughter, whose family lived upstairs, and six of their children were born in the building before the family’s transfer at the end of World War II. The financial austerity of those times obliged P.W. Shufeldt to sponsor the annual 4th of July party on the grounds, because the Vice Consul had no funds for such an event.
The original building had porches only on the back and front, and Hutson Street was a pathway from Gabourel Lane to the sea front. Termites and the tropical elements have always been a problem and much of the building had been replaced, piecemeal, over the years. In the 1950s, the impressive Corinthian columns had to be replaced with plain flat wooden boards due to termite damage and because no cabinetmaker in Belize at that time could duplicate the decorative design.
This handsome building has survived numerous hurricanes, fires and other vicissitudes of local life. In the 1931 hurricane, the building was badly damaged by a tidal wave which flooded the building up to the second story. In the same hurricane then Consul G. Russell Taggart was injured when the building collapsed, and he later died.
In 1961, Hurricane Hattie’s high water and winds caused extensive damage to the building, which has taken all in stride, including the foot of mud left behind by Hurricane Greta in 1978.

You can read the original article at The Reporter, click here.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Crooked Tree Village in Belize - The Home of the Cashew Festival and A True Bird Watchers Paradise

Crooked Tree Village - The Home of the Cashew Festival and A True Bird Watchers Paradise
By: Will Moreno - 5/9/2011

The past weekend was, as usual, a hot one with cool winds prevailing in Crooked Tree Village. This weekend the village of Crooked Tree in Belize celebrated its landmark event, the Annual Cashew Festival. This is an annual event that showcases the cashew fruit that grows ever so abundantly in the village and its many many by-products. As expected with such an event, many locals and tourists alike, came out to enjoy the music, food and events celebrating the cashew fruit. Cashew is an unusual fruit that has a fleshy pear shaped body that is  normally yellow in color when fully mature and it has an external seed that is shaped like a kidney bean. Cashew by-products can both be made of the fruit and the seed.

Getting to Crooked Tree Village is quite a scenic drive that is definitely worth making. Crooked Tree Village is not only unique, but also, a beautiful place. It is an oasis with access only by a single causeway. The Village is usually surrounded by water from the Northern and Western Lagoons. At this time of year, the waters in the lagoons are extremely low which exposes the fish, snails and crabs which many species of birds feed on. The village is a well known bird sanctuary, and the wetland is vital to the survival of many species of these local birds. As we drove to Crooked Tree Village, we could not help but notice the bright blue skies with luminous puffy clouds. We stopped along the causeway going into the village to observe nature's wonders and the many species of birds like the Jabiru, Herons, Egrets, Swallows and many others feeding by the causeway. We  quickly realized why this area is a well known bird watchers paradise. Upon entering the village, it was apparent that we had arrived as we were greeted with a sign that said,  "Crooked Tree Village, Home of the Cashew." We could also see many cashew trees laden with fruit gracing the street side and yards.

After passing the Crooked Tree Museum and Gift Shop which is a quaint white wooden building you will realize that you are indeed crossing over into village life where the villagers have that laid back, relaxed and go slow mode. While in Crooked Tree Village, a local showed us the inviting hospitality of the Belizean people. We were casually invited to go to a scenic area on their property. We went to the end of a planked wooden pier with a  palm thatched roof overlooking the great lagoon. Sitting there, taking in the beauty of all the birds, and the cool winds blowing was a sight to behold.

After leaving this property, we drove through the village on dirt roads where we saw some children on horseback and villagers just relaxing in their yards. Upon arriving at the fairgrounds, we could hear the sweet Belizean melodies before we even saw the people who were in attendance. The festivities were in full swing with people enjoying the melodic tunes of a live band. Locals and visitors alike with their favorite beverage in hand  swayed and bopped in time to the music while others danced across the basketball court which was covered with a huge tent.  It was great to see locals, visitors and tourists  enjoying the makeshift booths that were shaded by palm fronds. Belizean entrepreneurial spirit was alive as enterprising merchants showcased their local cashew by-products, handicraft and food. Kids flocked to the games and rides as their parents enjoyed everything made from the sweet tasting cashew fruit and nut.


We took the time to visit each and every booth to see if there was anything we could find that would be rather unusual. Many know of the cashew nut as a snack, but there was also an abundance of cashew wine, cashew sweet, cashew fudge, cashew cake, cashew jam and, yes, there was lots of cashew fruit and freshly roasted nuts.

We were drawn to the booth of  Mr. Charlie who has been making his famous wines or liqueurs for over 45 years. What drew our attention was the many bottles of wines covering the entire table from one end to the other, while he was offering wine tasting sessions. This wine tasting was so different from the many that we had attended in the California wine vineyards or others around the world. Although unconventional, it was certainly 'intoxicating' tasting so many of Mr. Charlie's savory blends. Soon we realized that we were not only getting giggly, but having a blast tasting the different blends of cashew wine, mango wine, cassava wine, golden plum wine, moringa wine, berries wine and tonic wine among others. Needless to say, it made our decision very easy as to which bottles of wine we would soon be purchasing.

 After sampling Mr. Charlie's fine wines, we admired the beautiful handicraft and jewelry which were all locally made. We were stunned to see such beautiful wood turned into great artistic pieces or art and conversation pieces. We were pleased to note that the very affable and knowledgeable young man that attended us was the actual artist of these fine pieces. Ryan told us that he had been doing the carvings and the jewelry himself for many years and has showcased his work at the Altun Ha Maya Ruin for tourists who visit. It was quickly evident why he is so popular and selling many pieces as he had great attention to detail and fine finishes. Ryan is truly a young and talented Belizean entrepreneur who will definitely go a very long way with his artistic pieces.

It is always an adventure to eat at festivals in Belize, and this day was no different offering local village foods. The choices included the local favorite rice and beans with stewed chicken, plantain and potato salad or  deep fried Tilapia. There was also an abundance of bbq, tamales, hot dogs and tacos. Wherever we go we have to try something new, something different and something adventerous. We were introduced to Mrs. Tillett, a local villager who has been preparing the village delicacies for many years, and is known for having some of the best foods cooked over a 'fyah haat' or fire hearth. This is an open wood-fed hearth used to cook meals. We can certainly attest to that after having tried some of her usual rice and beans with stewed chicken, stewed beef and her deep fried fish; however, we wanted to try something more adventurous and she introduced us to a new local delicacy.
This delicacy comes in the name of the Agouti Paca, known locally as the gibnut. The gibnut is a large nocturnal rodent that feeds off the jungle floors eating fallen fruits, leaves and tubers. It is said that on her visit to Belize in October of 1985, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II ate this delicious delicacy. Being totally honest, it did not have the normal gamey taste of game meat, and was wonderfully prepared by Mrs. Tillet. Who would have thought that we would have enjoyed eating a rodent! Mrs. Tillett was very open in telling us that had it been a couple months earlier, we could have tried another local delicacy called the Hicatee, a river turtle who is now on the endangered list in Belize. In trying to protect this endangered animal, the local fish and game authorities have seasonal catching of this turtle and has also designated areas where they are protected.  Sharing a meal cooked over an open fire is truly a way to share great stories of the time gone by with the locals as they told us about when time was time.

 The cashew festival offered many great opportunities for the children with games, horseback rides and lots of space to run freely and enjoy themselves while the parents enjoyed the many booths with cashew by-products and great foods. We will certainly be looking forward to the next opportunity we get to visit Crooked Tree Village again!