San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The Log: April 24 — Stories help us understand, Alicia Keys helps us heal



#1. GREAT ESCAPE: The plan was for me to get up early and walk Moppit so Rose could take an online yoga class before the sun turned up the heat.

The internet was down.

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

When your kids hand you a slice of home-made ‘American Pie,’ devour it with delight

eastersunday4-20-15 (1)

A scene from Ambergris Cay, Belize, on Easter morning, 2015. The building on stilts is called “The Wedding Shack.”  At one time, newlyweds were rowed out there and abandoned until they consummated their marriage — or ran out of champagne.

It is not every year that a man turns 70, especially in a year when a global contagion seems to be targeting his demographic with the determination of an avenging angel.

Virus or no virus, I never expected to see this day. In truth, I never expected to see 30, or 40, or … well, you get the picture. I’ve always had this premonition, like a renewable annuity, that this decade or the next could very well be my last. Continue reading

Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Think twice before painting a whole nation with broad strokes, avoid the ‘single story’ trap

am-dirtThe last thing I’m going to do is review a book I’ve not read.

Plenty of people are pouncing all over “American Dirt,” especially Latino writers. They don’t need another old white guy to wade in.

The major complaints seem to be around author Jeanine Cummins’ tone-deaf characterizations of immigrants, Mexicans mostly. Her characters could have been more nuanced, more richly detailed, less stereotypical, the critics say.

Some also resent that she made an extraordinary amount of money for writing this story, as though her seven-figure payoff sucked the oxygen right out of the cultural-literary writing room — money that maybe could have gone to authentic Latin/Mexican writers.

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San Miguel de Allende

In San Miguel, it is always one thing, then another, and another


The pied pipers of San Miguel, leading a birthday party down Cuna de Allende on Thursday evening, November 7, 2019.

The thing about San Miguel de Allende is, when you set off to do one thing, something else pops up along the way.

Then something else.

Then something else again.

And so on, until you are back home again. Continue reading

Memoirs -- fact and fiction, San Miguel de Allende, Uncategorized

Rose’s birthday season draws to a close … whew!



A piece of birthday cake from the staff at Hank’s in Centro, San Miguel de Allende.

Well, the Rose Alcantara Birthday Season has closed the books on another year.


Since the day she was born — on Sept. 7, mumble … mumble–  the world has often felt a rather frenzied uptick in activity and happiness in the week’s preceding this event.

Long before I met Rose, her birthday season was filled with road rallies, theatrical skits and dancing, scavenger hunts, magical enterprises and most importantly, lots of friends and family.

My idea of a birthday celebration is the sound of the escaping hiss from a single can of beer in an otherwise vacant and monastically enshrouded livingroom. Or on an empty beach. It is in April and usually, that means a cold and rainy and empty beach. Continue reading

Memoirs -- fact and fiction, Uncategorized

Hanging out on Leo’s private island


Walking around Blackadore Caye on my birthday in April, 2016, enjoying the splendor of a deserted island — with 20 of my best friends!

Did I ever tell you about the time that my wife threw me a surprise birthday party on Leonardo Di Caprio’s private island off the coast of Belize?


I know what you are thinking so let’s clear that up right away: No, Leo did not attend the party. Was he invited? I don’t know. Should have been. It was his island, after all.

But 20 of my closest friends on Ambergris Cay, where we lived, did show and that was party enough for me.

In fact, it was on a Sunday.  I sat on the porch reading the New York Times online when a boat filled with laughing and shouting people pulled up to our dock. They started singing “Happy Birthday.”

That’s when I learned we were going to spend the day on Blackadore Caye.


Wow! Imagine the shock of looking up on a Sunday and see the C-Monkey loaded up with friends ready to help celebrate my birthday on a deserted island! They had party horns, food and drinks aboard, too.

For a newspaper writer who is a trained professional observer, it is pretty easy to pull off a surprise anything on me. My wife, Rose, did it again this year on my birthday here in San Miguel de Allende,  just as she did the first year we were together, at Lake Tahoe.


(Which reminds me, her birthday is coming up in early September. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated! But keep it between you and me ….)

We all boarded one of our favorite island transports, the C-Monkey and an hour and a couple of cold rum punches later, we were on the island.

Blackadore Caye is three miles long and barely a few hundred yards wide. If you were to make a movie about being stranded on an impossibly beautiful and deserted tropical island, this would be the place.

You can see pictures here and read a bit about the party.


The landscape on Blackadore Caye hasn’t changed since this visit in 2016.

I am writing this is because my old friend and Belize blogger Rebecca “Scoop” Coutant just posted yet another blog about Blackadore. I say “yet another” because over the years she and I were constantly posting stuff about Leo’s plans for turning the island into a high-end, environmentally-responsible, resort and residential paradise.

Rebecca recently re-visited the island and reports that it is virtually unchanged. You can read her latest account here.

Frankly, it may never get developed. The more Di Caprio’s partners tried to be responsive to local concerns and be responsible guardians of the environment– well, the deeper into the muck sank their plans.

The whole dream development has been shelved.

Meanwhile, as Rebecca points out, some incredibly shitty and sleazy developments are moving forward at the speed of many a greased palm. That’s just life in a corrupt Caribbean nation, I suppose.

I feel bad about Blackadore. It could have been one of those showpiece developments that define a whole country and could have set the bar high for all future projects. Of course, it would have become a place that I couldn’t even dream of visiting.

As it is, thanks to Rose and a bunch of great friends, we’ll always have Blackadore — as it is now.

Thanks for the memories, Leo.