Feliz Cumpleaños Fruit Lady Maria y Muchas Sorpresas
Surprising Fruit Lady Maria
My friend Jenna commented the other day that it was Maria’s birthday. For those who do not know she is a favorite fruit lady to many worldwide. At 68 years young Maria Valdez is an incredibly hardworking and generous woman. She has great skin, 67 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren and several pets. We both agreed it would be good to get her a small treat so set out to buy her some flowers yesterday morning. My friend Dennis who had just landed the day before also came with us. We headed off to The Candle Garden first and picked out some pretty yellow chrysanthemums with a bit of baby’s breath and green.
Next, we went treasure hunting for a nice vase at the local San Pedro Recycling pile – I think many of the fancier booze bottles make great flower vases or lamps. We instantly scored a lovely clear patterned glass Patrone bottle, and I washed it up nice. We ran into Brad Reeder there. He and his wife Shannon own Iguana Juans Restaurant and Bar. When he saw what we were doing he joined in with a keen eye for the best looking vases, and I got a couple for future flower gifting.
Of course, as soon as we got to Maria’s, she was so happy to get her unexpected birthday surprise. For those of you who might not know, Maria’s Fruit Stand is no longer across from Island Bonita Yacht Club. It has been on the main road south just before the Escalante turns off, for the last five months or so. Click the link above for more detailed directions and if you are missing Coconut Leo’s Smiling face.
As always when we go for a visit, we got to chit chatting and taking pictures. Maria posed with each one of us. Not only was Maria happy we turned up with pretty flowers, and joyfully surprised to see Dennis again – they have also known each other for years. Since Rich Grimm’s Boogie in Belize skydiving event back in 2009.
As we shopped and talked, Maria shared her good news. Any day now, likely Saturday great-grandchild 29 is on the way. The other exciting news is that it looks like she and her husband Jose are moving closer to the business. Unfortunately right around the time they had to move shop, they also had to move house and ended up going from San Pablo to much further away Boca Del Rio area. We are all crossing our fingers everything goes according to plan, and they end up in DFC which is much closer to their Escalante store. While shopping, Jenna and Dennis got laughing over a cute looking “squatty squatty” pineapple. Later, Maria wanted to show us her cat.
Maria Surprises Us Back, and Walter is always a great surprise
By the end of our visit, Maria was giving us presents too. The tiny pineapple and some baby bananas – yum. Divine timing was also in play yesterday afternoon. Just as we were leaving, Walter drove by in his disco cart. I flagged him down, and he and Dennis enjoyed a smiling reunion (they have also been friends for years). Maria was also glad to see Walter. He has many fans worldwide just like Maria. Everyone loves his famous pizza, especially the garlic shrimp. You can find it at Garifuna Legegu Bar and Grill on Facebook – and they deliver.
After dropping Dennis and his groceries off at his new apartment, Jenna decided to take the scenic way back to town. I was very happy as I love driving on roads like this. Makes me feel peaceful and absolutely in the moment. Nothing else exists, and the tropical beauty I see takes over my senses.
My Surprises Actually Started Last Night
As I mentioned above, yesterday was the day my friend Dennis arrived. It has been about two years since his last visit, and many of us were excited to see him again. Due to his Maya flight being on a longish delay he was not sure anyone would be at the airport to meet him. Of course, that is a huge benefit to living in town after finding out I ran an errand and by the time I was done he was just about to land.
We walked back to my place to temporarily drop his luggage, and he surprised me with a dinner invite to Blue Water Grill (BWG.) So we footed it over to the restaurant and enjoyed a lovely meal while catching up on life.
I ordered the seared pork belly on wasabi whipped potatoes, served with blackened zucchini coins, crispy shallots, a ginger hoisin reduction, and baby pea shoots. Dennis opted for a tasty vegetarian spicy red Thai coconut peanut curry broth, with market vegetables and Asian noodles. See all the tasty options on Blue Water Grill Menus page.
I so needed to eat this. It was beyond yummy and just the kind of thing I was in the mood for. Plus I was happy to step outside my “menu box” because I almost always order one of my two favorites from the starters menu. The Poke salad – yellowfin tuna, mixed greens, sugi seaweed, avocado, radish, green onions, tobiko caviar, wasabi pea chips, and sesame soy sauce or ribs – Tender baby back ribs glazed with a hoisin ginger BBQ sauce and a Chinese spiced dry rub. I am definitely adding the succulent pork belly to my BWG favorites list and wishing I was enjoying a do-over right now as I look at my picture. Actually, I wish I had all three dishes I just mentioned – hungry monkey right now.
Our lovely server offered us dessert, and we totally would have, however, we had decided to do a progressive meal. We let her know we were heading to DandE’s Frozen Custard to see our good friend Eileen for dessert. When the bill came we also got a tiny wood shot glass with a delightfully sweet treat to tide us over, chocolate mint sticks, they are absolutely delicious, and I could eat a whole box 😀
Off we headed down the beach to surprise Eileen. Although Dennis is a gentleman and was going to hold the door open, I motioned for him to go first. I wanted to catch Eileen’s reaction, and it was so worth it – she lit up. We were very happy with our frozen custard choices as always. I opted for soursop with a fudge bullseye in a cup. Dennis went for his favorite rum raisin, and he added the secret off-menu item mentioned in my 7 Ambergris Caye Restaurants Secret Special Request Options.