Thursday, April 22, 2010

Plagued by Lawsuits, McAfee Founder hunts for jungle remedies in Belize

John McAfee, the antivirus-software pioneer, says he’s lost most of his fortune — but doesn’t care. To the contrary, he now hopes to give something back by deriving antibiotics from jungle plants in Belize. Really?

  No road runs the length of Ambergris Caye, a 25-mile-long island off the Belizean coast, so to get to John McAfee’s house, I climb aboard a boat in the resort town of San Pedro, on the island’s southern tip, and motor north for half an hour, along a coast of white beaches set with resorts and private villas. At last, his pier comes into sight, and I step off and walk down the weathered boards, the blue-green water shimmering through the cracks, to find him emerging from the shrubbery beside the swimming pool, his smile blinding against the reddish brown of a fresh tan.

Twenty-three years after he essentially invented the antivirus-software industry, McAfee, now 64, radiates the vitality of a rich man who thinks about more than money. As he steps forward to meet me at the edge of his yard, he’s wearing sandals, shorts, and a muscle shirt that reveals a wiry physique and a tiger-stripe tattoo on each shoulder. He grips my hand with sinewy vigor. For decades, McAfee was a hard-partying ne’er-do-well playboy entrepreneur, a self-described trickster and bullshit artist who’d spent the majority of his adult life gadding about and having fun. That’s all in the past now, or so he would have me believe.

He leads me into the cool semidarkness of his compound’s central living room. It has been nearly three years since I last saw him, in the scrubby desert of southern New Mexico, and while the environment couldn’t be more different, McAfee himself looks unchanged. He has spent the intervening years building a new life for himself on the coast of Central America. He has just auctioned off the last of his sprawling properties back in the United States and sold or given away many of his possessions. He has taken a huge financial hit, he says, but that’s okay. He has enough to fund his latest passion, his gift to the future: developing new kinds of antibiotics from herbs found deep in the rain forests of Belize.

In a radio-ready baritone, McAfee unfurls his story, digressing over centuries and across continents. He describes the economic injustice of the developing world, the imbalances of education and capital, and how tapping the biodiversity of the rain forest for natural cures will help address those problems. “The product is something the world desperately needs, or will need, within a few years,” he says, “as our last lines of antibiotic defense are breached by the ever-growing ranks of drug-resistant bacteria.”

As he talks, he flicks at the fabric of his pants, unable to contain his relentless energy. He pauses, suddenly serious: “But maybe I should ask what kind of story you came here to write? An exposé?”

John McAfee’s rise to fame and wealth began with what at the time seemed a minor annoyance. In the mid-1980s, he was working for Lockheed Martin as a software designer when he came across one of the first computer viruses, the Pakistani Brain. Seeing an opportunity, he picked the virus apart and figured out how to defeat it. Then he built a program, called VirusScan, that could detect and disarm multiple virus threats automatically. The program — the first commercial antivirus software — was an impressive achievement, but it’s what he did next that was true genius. Instead of selling it, as every other software maker was doing, he gave it away for free via online bulletin boards. In no time, he had a base of 30 million users; revenue followed in the form of upgrade charges and licenses for corporate customers. By 1994, McAfee’s antivirus company was worth half a billion dollars.

Though his name was on the product, McAfee wanted nothing to do with it anymore. He sold his entire stake, worth, he says, “$50-to-$100 million. I wanted to move on. Who wants to be tied to the past?”
His next project was software company Tribal Voice, which made an instant-messaging platform that allowed Skype-like telephony. It quickly attracted a quarter-million-strong following despite the era’s slow dial-up connections. In 1999, McAfee sold the company for $17 million. “When John was at Tribal Voice, the growth rate was incredible,” says former employee Jim Zoromski. “But when it got to be too popular, it started to feel too much like work, and John wasn’t interested.”

McAfee had already found financial security. Now he wanted to leverage his success into something greater: a sense of never-ending possibility. He turned his attention to yoga, racing ATVs and motorcycles, and long-distance Jet Ski journeys. “Life is free; life is limitless. You can do whatever you want,” he told me in New Mexico in 2007. “Success for me is, Can you wake up in the morning and feel like a 12-year-old?”


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

More POWER OUTAGES in effect for San Pedro Town

**Revised** Scheduled Outages for San Pedro, Ambergris Caye

  • Thursday, April 22nd from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 Noon. Areas to be affected: All that area including Angel Coral Street, Coconut Drive, Sea Grape Drive, San Marcos Area, DFC Area, Escalante Subdivision, Holiday Lands and Boca Ciega Area.
  • Thursday, April 22nd from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Areas to be affected: All of Barrier Reef Drive, Angel Coral Drive, San Marcos Area, DFC Area and a portion of Sea Grape Drive.
  • Friday, April 23rd from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 Noon. Areas to be affected: All that area from Laguna Drive to Boca del Rio including North San Pedro and Pescador Drive.
BEL apologizes for any inconvenience caused by these outages and assures customers that the Company continues to work diligently at minimizing interruptions. These outages are necessary for the company to carry out maintenance works on the distribution system in the area.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

7News Reporter, Keith Swift Passes at 30

The well known television journalist for Channel Seven, Keith Swift, passed away Yesterday. He did not report to work yesterday morning and his roommate Mark Bowman reportedly found Swift lying face-up with foam at his mouth after five last night. His door was locked but the key was found in the door. When Bowman entered the room, there were signs that alcohol was consumed at some point over the weekend. Swift, who was thirty years old, was known to suffer from arthritis. In November last year, Swift won platinum at the 2009 UNFPA Caribbean Population Media Awards. It is a stunning development in the media industry where Keith was known for his zeal and passion to get his stories.

Isani Cayetano: “Goodnight, Marleni, goodnight Belize. I’ll start with receiving the news inside our newsroom. The boss alerted us that a text message came in and that was what the text message read. I’m still in a state of shock and disbelief. To be quite honest with you, I don’t know Keith personally but in the professional world, I should say that I know enough about him. What I found a bit interesting, surprising even is that while we were among the first to arrive at the scene, his colleagues from Channel Seven were there, there weren’t any police officers, any coroners, any medical professionals. I found that a bit strange.

What was sort of a bit unnerving for me is that usually when you deal with grieve and this type of thing, you kind of have to sensitive towards the friends and the family and what have you. And being around and gathering the little bit of information that we had preliminarily, kind of put me in a position where I feel for those who are there; his colleagues and whomsoever but at the same time I needed to get information at least to put it out there.

In our business, there are not too many of us. The media industry in Belize is a very small industry so most definitely the loss of Keith Swift is a massive one for us. A lot of us still don’t believe and still are in a state of complete shock and disbelief. Standing there tonight, the irony of the situation for me is that when I watch Seven News and I watch Keith Swift’s news product, he’s always one for the money shot. So if there’s a murder at eight o’clock or ten o’clock at night and he is on the scene, the last video footage you would get is the body riding off in the back of the pan and sadly that was the last we saw at the scene on Lizarraga Avenue. It’s so ironic the way how life unfolds and the way how things are. What I can say about Keith in a professional capacity, as I mentioned before I don’t really know him personally, we’ve always seen each other as the competition.

As much as we go in the field and we kind of look at what the other person is doing to critique where we stand, it has always been that kind of competition. I can safely say I’ve been, to some extent, a critic of his in terms of looking at what he does and saying you know what, if there’s a standard to be set, if he sets a standard I’ll try to trump that and I’m pretty that that kind of healthy back and forth happens across the board in the media. And to see someone as tenacious as he was—there were a lot of times we would go on the scene and let me see who Keith is going to interview and let me see if I could one up him, that type of thing. And at the end of it all, you look at your product and you look at his and say you know what if nothing else, we both gave it our best shot.”

Marleni Cuellar: “Let’s talk about some of the details. I know you talked about the difficulty in gathering information and I think the connection; who he is and what he does and how we know him definitely made it more difficult. But what were some of the details that you were able to gather at the scene?”

Isani Cayetano
“Like we had mentioned at the top of the newscast, the body was discovered a little after five this evening by his roommate, Mark Bowman. Apparently when Mark got home, he noticed that the door was locked but the key was in the doorknob and he called a friend of his to sort of seek confirmation on whether or not he should open the door. The friend said yes, go ahead because we don’t know what the situation is and upon opening the door, that’s when the discovery of the body was made.”

Marleni Cuellar
“He was found in his room, the living room…”

Isani Cayetano
“He was found in his bedroom. I personally did not go in the room to see the body, it’s not a thing of mine. But from what I was told he was found on the floor as if he either fell off the bed or he was struggling to get back on the bed; sort of in that position and foam was visible around his mouth.”

Marleni Cuellar
“What was the general mood of the people looking on. We talked about his media colleagues there. I’m sure neighbors and members of the public came out. But what was the general mood that you…”

Isani Cayetano
“A somber mood; very, very dismal. It took a while before the crowd gathered out there. The first time we went on the scene, we left and there was still nobody there. The police had just responded. By the time we got back the crowd was already there but everybody was just sort of curious to see if it’s true and what was going to happen next. As a matter of fact, I was able to speak with a friend of his, a close friend of his, who had made arrangements for them to hang out after work on Friday night. apparently he did not show up; I’m not sure if we’re ready to roll that footage as yet.”

Marleni Cuellar
“You have an interview lined up.”

Isani Cayetano
“Yes I do.”

Friend of Keith Swift
“Me and he always deh together especially Friday night time, we always heng out dah princess or ih would ah come dah my house. We always heng out together. Sometimes we tek wah lee drink and this really hurt me mein.”

Isani Cayetano
“When was the last time you saw him or spoke with him?”

Friend of Keith Swift
“Friday. Friday I come way yah come holla fi ah. I tell ah come meet me. Me, he and ih got wah next young man weh dah ih good friend and dah all ah we keep together. Ih always deh by my house, always. Dah my friend.”

Isani Cayetano
“Did he show up to meet you that Friday?”

Friend of Keith Swift
“No. Di other mawning I meet ah gwein dah work and I di tell ah Keith bwai di bus gwein and ih seh he neva did si di bus cause he stress out. I holla fi stop di bus fi ah and so ih get pan di bus. I just mi di worry bout ah dat’s why when I hear weh happen I run come yah because he tell me dat he stress out but ih noh tell me dah what. Ih just seh I really, really stress out. Ih seh ih depressed and I tell ah mek ih go dah da nurse dah hospital, mek ah ker ah. But ih neva did come fi mek a ker ah. But ih tell me ih depressed bad. Dat dah di last time ih talk to me.”

Isani Cayetano
“What dah your best memory of spending time with him? Maybe hanging out or what have you? What dah your best memory you could tell me you remember him as?”

Friend of Keith Swift
“I like when ih deh pan news, when ih deh pan news. He noh care weh pah he have to go, he gwein. Noh care if dah wah riot or whatever, Keith gwein. Dat dah weh I remember bout Keith. Keith dah wah person weh gwein, dat dah weh I rememba bout ah. Keith gwein anywhere weh news deh. He gwein; if dah yah, Corozal, he wah deh deh. Dat dah weh I rememba bout ah.”

Marleni Cuellar
“Alright, and that was a friend of his.”

Isani Cayetano
“That was a personal friend of the late Keith Swift.”

Marleni Cuellar
“Well, Isani thank you for coming on set and sharing with us just the immediate details that we’ve been able to gather so far and I’m sure we’ll have more on this tomorrow in our newscast.”

Isani Cayetano
“My condolences go out to the family of Keith Swift and his colleagues over at Channel Seven. It’s going to be a great loss for us in the media.”

Marleni Cuellar
“It’s a great loss to the industry in general, absolutely.”
Keith Swift, dead at thirty years.

Monday, April 19, 2010

GOB negotiates to regain ownership of Los Salones Caye

Little cayes dot the leeward side of Ambergris Caye, a beautiful and serene location that without a doubt rivals the pristine quality of the coral reef environment of the windward side. This area has for years been a haven for migratory and resident bird species, providing a critical nesting and feeding habitat. As tour guides visit the area, as fishermen traverse the lagoon side, much activity taking place in the cayes have for months raised questions and eyebrows as to the ownership of the cayes, in particular Los Salones.

Green Reef signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Belize Audubon Society for the management of two bird sanctuaries (Los Salones and Little Guana Caye) in April of 1998. With financial assistance from a Protected Area Conservation Trust (PACT) grant. Green Reef compiled a management plan for the sanctuary. Work soon began and Green Reef proceeded to carry out bird and vegetation field surveys of both sanctuaries and it became obvious how important the surrounding cayes were to the successful survival of birds in that area.

However, as survey pegs were established in that area as of last year, questions began arising across the community on whether the bird sanctuaries had been sold. Speculation abounds and in order to get answers, The San Pedro Sun had an interview with Area Representative of Belize Rural South Honorable Manuel Heredia Jr. who made the clarification.

Indeed, Los Salones has fallen under private hands and no longer belongs to the people of Belize. The private investor received Los Salones as part of compensation given to him for previous land purchased. When the previous property was discovered to have had actual ownership, the past administration compensated said investor with portions of land spanning across Ambergris Caye. Part of the portions of land compensated included Los Salones spanning 60 acres, according to Honorable Heredia, as well as two adjoining shoals (sandbar) spanning 10 acres each.

Honorable Heredia and the investor have been in constant communication trying to remedy the situation and return Los Salones and the shoals to the Belizean people. It has to be a trade for trade. It’s not what we can give them, it’s what we can agree mutually, explained Honorable Heredia. There is not much government land left to compensate him with. As an investor, he also has to look at the value of what the exchange will be.

When asked what land was being considered for compensation, Honorable Heredia explained that the land being discussed was the only government land available across the Belize Water Services Limited pond on southern San Pedro Town. That part of low land that lies over there, that is the area where we are trying to see if we can reach a compromise with the investor. It’s the only area that remains government land which can be handed over as compensation. If we accrue the value of the three pieces of property in question, the 20 acres in shoals and the 60 acres of Los Salones, that value would be far more than the land which we are considering in compensating him for, stated Honorable Heredia.

The matter remains under discussion between Government and the private investor. The San Pedro Sun will continue following the story and will release more information as the deal gets finalized.
SOURCE: The San Pedro Sun Newspaper

Friday, April 16, 2010

Dining in Ambergris Caye - an ecclectic dining Experience

Ambergris Caye has Belize's widest selection of restaurants of interest to visitors, ranging from inexpensive local spots and pizza joints to a few that are rated among the finest in the world. The emphasis is on seafood, of course, but many restaurants also serve chicken and pork. Lobster is usually the most-expensive item on the menu (in-season mid-July to mid-February), at around US$20. Pasta and Mexican-style dishes also are popular. After all that pricey seafood, an honest plate of Belizean beans and rice will taste real good. Dress is very casual, even at the spiffy places. Conch season is September 30-July 1st, and shrimp doesn't really have a season but very hard to get from June-August. Price ranges shown are for typical meals for one (usually dinner), not including tip, tax or alcoholic drinks. VAT of 15% may be charged at some restaurants, mainly higher volume places. Lobster season (when you can eat lobster, fresh or otherwise) starts June 15th. Prior to 2003, no lobsters at all was available in the off season.

CELI'S RESTAURANT ON THE BEACH- at the San Pedro Holiday Hotel, serves Great Fajitas, salads and local dishes for lunch. Delectable Seafood Speciaties for dinner. OUTDOOR & INDOOR DINING 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. 5:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Beach barbeque every Wednesday night with live music.
HOLIDAY HOTEL- Every Wednesday, live music and a fabulous Beach Barbeque 6:30 p.m.- 9:00 p.m. Barrier Reef Dr. 226-2014.
ROJO LOUNGE - "Tropical Lounge Cuisine", Come drink, linger and lounge beachside under a huge thatch palapa in one of the most beautiful beachfront settings in all of Belize - Azul Resort. Enjoy a fusion of fresh tropical delights and signature cocktails like our "Frozen Mojiotos". Up north at Azul Belize.

CALIENTE MEXICAN & CARIBBEAN CUISINE - Serving lunch and dinner daily from 11 am - 9:30 pm. On the beach in the Spindrift Hotel. Try one of Jennie Staines' original creations. Closed Mondays.
WINE DEVINE - Fine imported wines and cheeses. Olive oils, vinegars and specialty items. Located in the Vilma Linda Plaza on Tarpon St. Phone 226- 3430.
CELI'S DELI - at the San Pedro Holiday Hotel. Carry-out service; a variety of delicious sandwiches and local food. Fresh juices, coffee and other beverages. Open daily 6 to 6.
EL DIVINO at Banana Beach. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner from 6 a.m - 10 p.m. Book your party or banquet today! Phone 226-2444. The Martini Lounge is a full service bar, with a variety of choice drinks and well as imported wines. Phone 226-3890.
BLUE LOTUS - Come take a complimentary water shuttle to San Pedro's only luxury water top Indian restaurant. This is the place where luxury meets the layback way of Caribbean life with a sunset so stunning you will want to come back again and again.
EL FOGON - Dedicated to the home style cooking of Belizean Creole and Mestizo food all prepared in an open fire hearth (or ‘Fogon' in Spanish). We have recreated at an atmosphere typical of the old San Pedro Village kitchen 25 years ago with an outdoor fogon where all the food is cooked and prepared. On El Fogon's menu you can find any, if not all, of the typical home-cooked Creole and Mestizo foods that are typical to Belize, in particular San Pedro. Phone 206-2121.
EL PATIO - Right downtown, dine while you listen to our fountains in our lush tropical courtyard. Open for lunch from 11:00 am to 2:30 pm; dinner, 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Reasonable prices, great food, daily specials. Phone 226-3063
RICO'S SURFSIDE RESTAURANT - A truly unique dining experience on the beach at Banyan Bay. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Phone 226-3739 ext. 135.
CAPRICORN RESTAURANT & BEACH BAR - is small and intimate and worth the boat, golf cart or bike ride! "Interesting" snacks and dishes are served at the friendly beach bar and restaurant. Phone 226-2809 for reservations or transportation options.
PORTOFINO RESTAURANT AND GREEN PARROT BEACH BAR - Meet our boat at 6:30 p.m. at Fido’s Dock for a complimentary ride to one of the best culinary experiences you will have while in paradise. For reservations, call 220-5096.
BUENA VISTA RESTAURANT - At Captain Morgan's Retreat. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner specials. Make your stay on the island much more memorable! Phone 226-2207.
MAMBO RESTAURANT - Mambo Cuisine - for food lovers. Homemade pasta, shrimp paté, bruschetta, charbroiled seafood and much more! Call 220- 5010/5011.
ELVI'S KITCHEN - serving the finest food since 1977. Daily Lunch and Dinner Specials. Caribbean Night on Thursday. Mayan Fiesta every Friday - come try our Maya Buffet. Open Monday - Saturday. Lunch: 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Dinner: 5:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. Call us for group reservations. Ph 226-2404/2176 "Where something good is always cooking!"
LILY'S TREASURE CHEST RESTAURANT- Serving beachside breakfast, lunch & din-ner. A true island dining experience. Get fresh seafood daily! Beachside at Lily’s Hotel. 226-2650.
RUBY'S CAFE- Right along Front Street, Ruby's opens early for breakfast and is ready to serve you all day long.
RENDEZVOUS RESTAURANT AND BAR- Unique Offerings... AND BAR - The most romantic spot in town featuring award winning chefs. Thai and French cuisine blended to make paradise taste like heaven, or so our customers say. Free Rendezvous Wine tasting from 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Fermented, blended and bottled here on the property. Open for lunch and dinner. Call 226-3426 for reservations and transport options.
SEÑOR LOBSTERS RESTAURANT- A new Restaurant has opened at the Exotic Caye Beach "Playador" Resort. The Senor Lobsters is open for breakfast at 7 A.M. and lunch is served from 11 A.M. to 2 P.M. dinner starts at 5 P.M. until 11 P.M. A full menu is available, including fresh fish and lobster, steaks grilled to perfection, and local dishes.

BEAN RESTAURANT/SHADE BAR - @Ak’bol Resort- full service- awesome bartender! Local food @ Local prices on the beach $1-$15BZ + unique specials+desserts daily. Interesting pizzas $25BZ+up. Saturday
DandE's FROZEN CUSTARD and SORBET- If you like ice cream, you will Love DandE's Frozen Custard! Delicious cones, shakes, sundaes and splits. Located on Pescador Drive next to Caramba Restaurant. Closed Wednesday. Phone 608-9100.
ESTEL'S DINE BY THE SEA- Open at 6am, great food, right at the waters edge of the beautiful Caribbean.
HIDDEN TREASURE - Hidden Treasure Restaurant offers fine dining in a relaxing atmosphere of Caribbean breezes, mahogany tables and great Belizean food. Have a romantic candle lit dinner with your significant other while the soft Caribbean wind caresses or bring the entire family for a night out at one of our bigger tables. We cater to any group size and demographic and will ensure that your time at Hidden Treasure Restaurant is definitely one to remember. For Reservations, please call 226-4111.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

AIDS Commission to offer FREE HIV TESTING - Get tested today!

The San Pedro AIDS Commision is hosting s health fair on April 18th, 2010. Do you know your status?

Sign up for the 42 Mile long Eco-Challenge 2010

The 6th Annual Lagoon Reef Eco-Challenge has been set from April 24 to the 25, 2010. Take the CHALLENGE and sign up NOW! Applications for the race can be picked up at the offices of Hol Chan Marine Reserve or Seaduced by Belize. Race concludes at Central Park with a Huge Block Party with BBQ and Ceviche Competition and loads of FUN!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Top 10 BEST places to get married! Cayo Espanto makes list

 Reuters – Asking someone to marry may be one of the most important questions of your life, and the right place can make it all the more memorable. Boutique hotel travel specialists Mr & Mrs Smith ( have come up with a list of the top 10 hotels to propose. This list is not endorsed by Reuters.

This dramatic 18-room destination hotel adds a modern shot of plush velvet, saucy feather-trim and moody mirrored wall to polished parquet floors and period details. In the bedrooms, the theme continues with minibars in deco-style cocktail cabinets. Sigh over Grand Canal views in one of the lovely Junior Suites, which also have separate dressing and wardrobe areas. Then whisk your lover out of the door and straight onto the gondola you’ve arranged at the hotel’s marble-clad waterside landing.

2. NOIR D’IVOIRE, Marrakech, Morocco
At this ravishingly restored riad, the delight is in the detail: capacious beds and baths; real fires for winter nights; fresh oranges brought to your room each evening; squirreled-away bowls of nuts and dried fruit dotted around; giant swags of tasseled silk and linen; and artisan toiletries presented in glass vials with silver caps. Add on a hammam, boutique, candle-lit courtyard and excellent chef, and you’ve already got romance with a capital ‘R’. If you really want to push the love boat out, check into one of the Royal Suites, which have private roof terraces with plunge pools.

3. CAYO ESPANTO, Ambergris Caye, Belize
Three miles of the coast of Belize, this palm-fronded private-island resort is ultra-exclusive. It’s surprising, then, that it can also nurture such a laid-back and unpretentious air. Hidden among the palm trees on the Caribbean shore, its handful of luxurious villas offer a uniquely personalized level of service. Your every need is met by a houseman who’ll do everything from fix you drinks to accompany you on excursions – it’s like having your own genie. Casa Ventana is set out to sea on its own wooden pontoon. It may be the smallest of the resort’s six villas, and lack the private pools of its neighbors, but who needs a pool when you’ve got the Caribbean on four sides?

4. WILSON ISLAND, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
With just six luxury tents set beside the sea on a tiny tropical islet, Wilson Island may just be the most romantic campsite on earth. You can gaze straight out at the ocean from the comfort of your bed, taking in the empty beach strewn with coral, and spend days draped around each other in a hammock big enough for two. If you’re planning to propose, you’ll be looking for Isolation – the most private of the island’s six luxurious beachfront tents.
5. MOLLIES, Auckland, New Zealand
Music, food and romance await at the elegantly attired Mollies, Auckland’s bohemian boutique hotel famed for its sociable soirees. With classic-meets-arty interiors dotted with pianos, regular opera recitals, gourmet dining and a sensual spa, there’s a fairy-tale feel about this glamorous harbourside getaway. Seclude yourselves away in Room 8, a New York-style loft with views over the water.

There’s an English elegance about the Crosby Street Hotel, a kitsch-but-classy boutique bolthole on a calm, cobble-stoned street in sassy SoHo. While away the days watching romantic films in the sexy screening room, curled up by the fireplaces in the luxurious lounges or making the most of the spectacular bar and restaurant scene in the NY neighborhood. Pick one of the Junior Suites on the 10th and 11th floors – their winning combination of height and huge warehouse windows will give you some of the best views in southern Manhattan.

7. THE LOUISE, Barossa Valley, Australia
Indulge your inner gourmand at the Louise, the Barossa Valley’s brightest star. Concern for guest satisfaction and food-and-wine passion have informed every decision at this South Australian retreat: privacy is paramount, room facilities are state of the art, and the restaurant is truly outstanding. Hide away in No 29 – the best of the 10 suites revolving around the entrance piazza. It has a private courtyard and terrace, spa tub, underfloor heating and recessed candle nooks in the bathroom, and an outdoor shower.

8. LA RESIDENCE, Garden Route & Winelands, South Africa
This mini, modern Versailles presiding over Franschhoek’s valley of vines has a contemporary shell and a romantic colonial interior. La Residence is filled with Persian rugs, exotic antiques and fine art works. This Winelands estate will make you feel as though you’ve been whisked off to your own private palace to live in the lap of luxury. White and gold Frangipani is the most tucked-away of the ground-floor suites and has a monumental four-poster bed, 18th-century French dressers and mirrored bathroom, complete with chandelier, roll-top bath and chaise longue.

9. AMANKORA, Bhutan
Not so much a hotel as a pilgrimage, Amankora consists of five luxurious lodges dotted around the remote Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, set against a spectacular backdrop of plunging valleys, lush rice paddies, and mountaintop temples. Whether you make the full 10-day trip to visit each lodge or tailor-make your Bhutanese excursion to suit the time you have available, Amankora can arrange your travel and put together a program of mountain-trekking, temple-hopping, or spa pampering as you wish.

10. HOTEL DE LA PAIX, Siem Reap, Cambodia
The Babylonian-meets-metropolitan facade of this spectacular spa hotel offers just the faintest hint of what awaits inside. White is the shade of choice throughout, set against dark tiles and brooding monochrome images of temples and carvings. The rooms have an understated elegance, the restaurant, Meric, is renowned throughout the city, and the breath-stealing majesty of Angkor Wat is just 10 minutes away into the jungle. Duplex Spa Suite 346 is swoon-worthy, with an alfresco rooftop bath and enough space to host a cocktail party should you have something to celebrate.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Take the Challenge! Join the Eco-Challenge 2010

The paddlers are off! The Lagoon-Reef Eco-Challenge kicked off this morning at 6:30a.m. A large crowd gathered at the lagoon to cheer for all the paddlers who took the grueling two-day challenge of kayaking around the northern part of the island and back to town the next day. Twenty two teams are participating in this years challenge. This year, take the challenge by its horns! This 42 mile race is a yearly event that is filled with excitement!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

New BTB Director Unveils Plan for Game Change

The new Director of Tourism Seleni Matus was officially introduced to the media today. She takes over from Tracy Panton who held that post for ten years. Here’s what the Minister had to say about her as she unveiled a plan for game change.

Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism
“We are confident that the sustainable knowledge and experience that Ms. Matus brings to the table in sustainable tourism, facilitation of complex multiple stakeholder initiatives and community outreach coupled with Mr. Garbutt’s long involvement and leadership in the tourism industry will together help us to look beyond business as usual and to chart a clear path.”

Seleni Matus, Director of Tourism
“One of the key priorities is this concept of result oriented planning. We need to very quickly, within the next two to three months clearly define an action plan that will articulate what the key activities and the recalibrated tactics are that will take us to the next level and position Belize as a leader in destination stewardship and really help us to refresh the marketing and branding activities that we have going.
This will start by developing what I keep referring to as the game changing action plan with the input of stakeholders. It will be a short term plan with a very clear focus. We will be ruthless at keeping on track. We have for very long tried to be everything for everyone and that has not worked and so we definitely need to revisit what we do and how we do and ensure that we are really investing in those activities that have the highest return for our industry.”
Lindsey Garbutt, Chairman – BTB
“I am very comfortable that with this board united as we are that we will move tourism forward in the way that the new Director just explained. We are committed to taking a new approach to how we move forward our tourism agenda, an approach that will be grounded stronger ties with the entire tourism stakeholders throughout the country.”
And while the new Chairman is with the game change, Matus also spoke specifically about the Tourism Board changing its focus to internet marketing and focusing on the high end market.
Seleni Matus,
“From a marketing standpoint we know importantly from the marketing intelligence we have that travelers, there are very clear shifts in how they are selecting destinations and how they plan their travel. Most of this target audience is very focused on using the internet as an integral part of their daily life so it is really to shift our advertising to be more in line with what these individuals are doing on a daily basis to put Belize in front of them in their daily lives. So it is really moving, shifting from print media to focus more on social networking, also doing more online advertising, and so that is a drastic shift in how marketing is done for Belize.”
Jules Vasquez,
“Is there any way of making Belize a not so expensive destination? If you look at those we are competing with, I would say just in this region, Belize is a lot more expensive.”
Seleni Matus,
“It is and that has been a recurring issue and concern from many camps. However we have seen that if we are very smart in really zooming in on segments of the market that really have the disposable income to have this rich experience that you find here in Belize that we still are able to increase heads in beds and plan for that sustainable growth.”
The game change plan will be ready in three to four months and Matus will report to the media in another 12 months.

Source: 7NewsBelize

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

World health Day observed

World Health Day will be observed today. The highlight of the day will be a multi-cultural Health Fair at the Fred Westby Park in Belize City.  The theme for this year’s World Health Day is “Urbanization and Health.” According to the Ministry of Health, the observation and the theme will provide an opportunity to focus on the many health challenges related to water, environment, sanitation, violence and injury, non-communicable diseases and their risk factors including tobacco use, unhealthy diets, physical activity, harmful use of alcohol as well as the risks associated with diseases outbreaks in cities and towns. During tomorrow’s health fair, which is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Health, the Pan American Health Organization and the Belize City Council, there will be free HIV Testing, Blood Pressure Monitoring, Glucose Testing and Body Mass Index. This year in connection with World Health Day festivities, a global campaign called one thousand cities, one thousand lives has been initiated.

It is intended to encourage cities, towns, neighborhoods and local authorities to conduct health-promoting activities on or around World Health Day. The campaign promotes opening up of public spaces to health, for example by closing off portions of streets to motorized vehicles and opening them up to people, holding town hall meetings, and community forums, promoting more active civil society participation in local planning and governance, initiating clean-up campaigns and conducting work-place and school based  health initiatives. In 1948, the First World Health Assembly called for the creation of a "World Health Day" to mark the founding of the World Health Organization. Since 1950, World Health Day has been celebrated on the 7th of April annually. World Health Day is a worldwide opportunity to focus on key public health issues that affect the international community. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Beautifully designed Home for Sale (Bamboo House) North Ambergris Caye

Villa Haute Couture - The Bamboo House For Sale

Located in the North end of Ambergris Caye, a mere 10 minute golf cart ride from Town, this villa is easily accessible  by land or water. Standing 3 stories high and bearing breath-taking views of the lagoon and the Caribbean Sea, Haute Couture comes fully equipt with the finest quality furniture and fabric detailing found nowhere else in Belize. Each room has been carefully put together and showcases equisite bamboo decor. Features surrounding the yard includes: drive-in entry way, parking lots that fit up to 10 carts, a bar-be-cue deck, a fishing deck with twin docks measuring 10 feet in lenght and 4 feet in width, sandy beach area and fruit and vegetable garden.
The 1st Floor features:
Daytime golf cart parking area, secured garage, boat garage, store room, outdoor entertainment area (kitchen & dining area) and the caretakers living quarters (kitchen, living/dining room, bathroom and closet).

2nd Floor Features:
Unique bamboo gate measuring a height of 9ft 9 inches and width of 9ft 4inches, fully functional office space, spacious entertainment deck, a day-bed terrace, private swimming pool complete with 6 jets and waterfall. 3 bedrooms with walk in closets, 3 stonewall bathrooms, fully equip indoor kitchen, stained floors, winding staircase and unique bamboo rails dressed in long flowing curtains. 

3rd Floor Master's Quarters:
Relaxing day-bed terrace, master bedroom with walk-in closet, stonewall bathroom with designer shower, stained floors, master terrace, lounging area and massaging terrace with adjoining bridge (massage beds).
This beautifully designed house can be yours for the asking price of $1.4Mil (usd)!