25 Years Ago

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Last week I featured the various styles and kinds of dances in the 1950’s to 1970’s, with the “bolero” or romantic Spanish ballads being the favorite. Even today there are international groups like Los Temerarios, Los Bukis and Los Yonics that continue to popularize these Spanish ballads.

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Last week I told you that the guys 25 years ago used to slide on the floor and put candle wax on the floor while today people are trying to reach the ceiling while jumping up. I also said that 25 years ago people liked a lot of lights in the dance hall while today everyone likes it dark. Now have you wondered what were the dance styles and kind of dances that were popular 25 years ago?

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Today during a regular week there must be at least ten dances held at various locations. Tourists dance daily. And for a New Year’s Eve night there are up to four bands playing live music all over San Pedro. Dances are as common as going to the store or for a stroll.

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If you have plants or trees at home and you are observant, you have probably noticed that your home has been visited during the month of November by one or two little yellow birds. If you have not observed, well do so. Do not chase or drive away these little yellow birds. In fact you should feel honored and happy that you have been visited. Some kids have the poor habit of shooting these little birds, either with a sling shot or a pellet gun. Again, discourage them from doing so for these little yellow birds are very special.

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So you see these cold days when the northerly cold fronts descend upon us? They are pretty cold, aren’t they? Who would think of going swimming at five in the morning during these cold days of November and December? Nobody does today, but we all did in the 1950’s and 60’s, or twenty five years ago as we like to say.

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It is only November 14, and it already begins to look like Christmas. Soon it will begin to feel like it. Today there are already a few businesses putting out the lights and decorations that remind us of Christmas. Today Christmas is all about lights, clothing and the amenities that go with celebrations.

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I remember when there was no television in San Pedro. Television has been such a great impact in our lives today that without it life might seem meaningless. No doubt it is the greatest source of entertainment apart from bringing us the news and information from around the world. Television actually became available in San Pedro around 1984 with about five channels at the most. At that time it was the most exciting thing to occur in San Pedro and everyone in the village was shopping around for a television set.

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One proud collection of animals people had twenty five years ago was the dove or pigeon. (las palomas) There were the white domesticated pigeons and the local wild gray pigeons. Practically every backyard had a large or several pigeon houses where some 50 to 100 pigeons lived. They, along with the crowing of the roosters, served to wake up the villagers early in the morning.

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How do you see strong winds and rough seas today? Windy days can really spoil your day. It could mean that you cannot go outside the reef to your favorite sport fishing. It could ground even an expert captain like Hilliboo. It could also mean that the sea is too murky for scuba diving. Even an expert dive master like Eddy Alamilla would be obliged to tell his eager divers, “I’m sorry, it is too windy and murky!” Windy days could also spoil your beach activities like a picnic or barbecue because everyone would be eating sand.

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Hobbies today include a variety of activities like stamp collecting, post cards, coins, and foreign money. Pastimes include driving golf carts and jet skies or simply surfing the internet or being hooked to the internet. None of these activities was popular or even existent 25 years ago.

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Twenty five years ago, Sanpedranos with injuries of the bones went straight to a little house on Front Street, now Barrier Reef Drive. This small house with one window on the front and a door on the side was situated exactly where the Belize Bank is across the street from Spindrift Building. People went there to the home of Mr. Victor Lara, who was gifted by God to heal dislocations of bones and bone deformities. In Spanish we say-“Tenía un don”.

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People seem to have a special interest in the life of 25 years ago that reflect some degree of hardship like the making of shampoo water, tortillas and preparing a chicken for a dish. Well, here is another one and it has to do with the cleaning of the house on Saturdays.

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If you thought that preparing for your corn tortillas was a lot of work, wait until you see all that had to be done just to eat one chicken. Today if you want to eat a delicious chicken all you have to do is go to Chico's meat shop and in one hour's time you are eating your barbecue. Or if you will, you go to any of the restaurants like Master Lee and in ten minutes you are eating your fried chicken.

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The other day our family was too lazy to go downtown to purchase some corn tortillas for the "taquitos", so we ended up purchasing a bag of "Minza" or powdered corn mill. We simply added some water and proceeded to make our tortillas, but in the process we talked about how tortillas were made twenty five years ago.

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Do you think that it is possible to live today without shampoo? What will you do to keep your hair soft if you did not have any kind of shampoo, just plain bars of soap? People in the past used to live without shampoos and they managed to keep their hair soft and bouncy, as beautiful as any model on television. How did that work?

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Will be updated soon.

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Now that there is a baby at home, I cannot help but notice some big differences in raising babies today and 25 years ago. The baby today is equipped with several bottles and a variety of nipples like soft, medium, one hole and two holes for different beverages. Then there is the electric bottle sterilizer, the rocker, three or four different types of powdered milk formula and even a special mini bath tub. Also there are special shampoos for the hair, for the body, powder in cream form, etc.

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In the 1950 and 60's we did not have a lot of committees in San Pedro, but things still got done in the small laid-back fishing village. We did not have the Lions Club nor the tourist guide association. Neither did we have a PTA, a Red Cross, youth groups, Chamber of Commerce, Costa Maya Committee, British Bulldogs, sports association, Saga Society, Cancer Society, etc. We did not even have a PUP nor NIP nor UDP committee. So how did things get done?

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This Twenty Five Years Ago will take you way back into the 1950, when no breeze was really a problem, so a solution had to be sought. No breeze today and you turn on the ceiling fan or the air conditioner to have a good night's sleep. Not so 25 years ago! You had to take the licking and if your baby was uncomfortable you used a hand fan to try to provide some measure of comfort.

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After writing letters to the parents of his girlfriend, Alberto finally received the letter of consent and he is overjoyed that now Angelita is no more his girlfriend but his official fiancé. They are no more "enamorados"; now they are "novios". It is Monday, August 5, and it is the day that Alberto will start to visit Angelita officially as her "novio".

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