Objects of Devotion Conference

In Spain there is a trail called “El Camino de Santiago” (the way of St. James). It is a ancient pilgrimage trail dating back to medieval times that ends in Santiago, Spain, where people say lies the remains of the apostle St. James. From a genealogical perspective this trial holds a lot of significance to me because it traverses the land of the Pedrozas. One of these days I would love to take some time and actually walk the Camino myself.

Unfortunately, I am a bit out of walking range at the moment but there is a saying that says “The Camino provides” and I am beginning to think that is true. I read last week in the paper that there was going to be a special showing of the movie “Walking The Camino: Six Ways to Santiago”. It was $10 a ticket, which was kind of high, but I was very excited to learn more about the Camino so I went ahead and registered for the movie.

I got a comp ticket!

I got a comp ticket!

While researching the movie I found out that UCR was hosting an arts conference called Objects of Devotion at the Culver Center of the Arts, literally in walking distance from work (just two blocks). The registration was free and there were some very interesting lecturers so I went. At the conference I was able to hear many wonderful lecturers and see a lot of interesting art. Then to my surprise at the end of the lectures they gave me a complementary ticket. If that wasn’t good enough after the movie I got to meet Annie O’Neil who is a co-producer and one of the pilgrims in the movie.

This relic (ankle bone) is of Saint Toribio Romo Gonzalez, he died in the Cristero War.

This relic (ankle bone) is of Saint Toribio Romo Gonzalez, he died in the Cristero War.

Some of the photographs of Alinka Echeverria. They are of pilgrims to the Basilica de Guadalupe.

Some of the photographs of Alinka Echeverria. They are of pilgrims to the Basilica de Guadalupe.

This exhibit by Adriana Salazar featured items left behind from a crematorium.

This exhibit by Adriana Salazar featured items left behind from a crematorium.

There were several installations by Adriana Salazar.

There were several installations by Adriana Salazar.

It is said that Pope John Paul II was a devout follower of the Virgin de Guadalupe.

It is said that Pope John Paul II was a devout follower of the Virgin de Guadalupe.

After the film I got to meet Annie O'Neil one of the co-producers. The man on the right is Conrad Frost a UCR professor who has also walked the Camino.

After the film I got to meet Annie O’Neil one of the co-producers. The man on the right is Conrad Frost a UCR professor who has also walked the Camino.

Two curators from the Franz Mayer Museum in Mexico City.

Two curators from the Franz Mayer Museum in Mexico City.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I could talk for a long time about all the interesting things I saw and heard, but I am saving those thoughts for a different time. In the meantime however if you are interested in some of the abstracts you can click here (part 1) and here (part 2).

Buen Camino!

I am a firm believer that if you tell the universe what you want, the universe does a good job at helping you on you out.

I am a firm believer that if you tell the universe what you want, the universe does a good job at helping you on you out.

AJ is Now a Bobcat

AJ the bobcat.

AJ the bobcat.

AJ just got his first Scout rank which is Bobcat. The Cub Scouts start in the first grade for Tiger Cubs but our church doesn’t participate in Scouting until age 8 (AJ is 7) so in the mean time we put AJ in a community pack. Denise is the Tiger Den Leader. There are 8 Tigers in AJ’s den. They have been doing all sorts of stuff like going to the police station, hockey games, and having space derbies. The Tiger cubs actually won the trophy for the space derby this year.

 

Denise helping AJ get his bobcat rank.

Denise helping AJ get his bobcat rank.

The Tiger Den roar.

The Tiger Den roar.

The Tiger Cubs won the Space Derby Trophy this year.

The Tiger Cubs won the Space Derby Trophy this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EDIT: For those not familiar with a Space Derby, they are balsa wood airplanes hung up on a string that are propelled by a rubber band propeller.

spacederby

AJ and the Ontario Reign

The Citizen Arena in Ontario is really big.

The Citizen Arena in Ontario is really big.

Yesterday (12/6) was AJ’s birthday. He turned 7 yrs. old. Before his birthday we gave him several options on what he wanted to do with his birthday and he decided that he wanted to go with the Scouts and watch Ice Hockey. It sounds like a strange choice since our family doesn’t really know anything about hockey. I (John) had never even been to a hockey game, but that is what all the other Scouts were doing so that is what AJ wanted to do so we went.

Tickets were not that bad, we paid $22 per person and we were in the lower section. The game was the Ontario Reign vs. the Colorado Eagles. They are both minor league hockey teams. Talking to Denise she told me that according to the standings the Colorado Eagles had a slightly better standing. Charged I guess with the hometown advantage the Ontario Reign won the game with a 5-3 score.

They had scouts riding on the Zambonis.

They had scouts riding on the Zambonis.

Going to a hockey game was an interesting experience. Since there are no “out of bound” areas the game was really fast. I (John) have been on ice skates before and it amazed me how fast those players could get to the other side of the field and then stop and turn so fast. With all the ice they shaved it wasn’t surprising that they had to run the Zambonis after every period. It was also very interesting how violent the game was. I know hockey is Canada’s national sport. I also know that Canada is a relatively peaceful country. They must vent all their aggression playing hockey. There were several fights during the game. It was kind of hard to explain to AJ why the crowd kept on egging on the fights. I had to explain that just because a crowd of 10,000 people are telling you to fight doesn’t make it a good idea. I also pointed out the penalty boxes on the other side of the field and how the players often ended up there.

It was pretty crazy to see all the stuffed animals being thrown out on the field.

It was pretty crazy to see all the stuffed animals being thrown out on the field.

There were a lot of different forms of entertainment besides the hockey games. At every time out there was a little contest. AJ was really excited to see himself on the jumbotron as part of the “Banjo Cam.” After the first goal the audience threw out stuffed toys for the Toys for Tots program. We even won a free taco in one of the contests.

 

 

(Click on pictures to expand)

 

AJ and John in their seats.

AJ and John in their seats.

AJ showing off his air banjo.

AJ showing off his air banjo.

Final score for the game was Ontario 5, Colorado 3.

Final score for the game was Ontario 5, Colorado 3.

reigngrid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall I think it was a good birthday for AJ. He was pretty tired when he got home. As an added bonus I will end with a birthday interview Denise and AJ did:

This year’s Birthday Interview with AJ, on his 7th birthday.
1. What is your favorite color? Grey
2. What is your favorite toy? Lego A-Wing (The newest toy)
3. What is your favorite fruit? Apple
4. What is your favorite tv show or movie? The Lego Movie
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Black Beans (That required lots of contemplation, he has expressed no preference for them at home–it’s very curious to me.)
6. What is your favorite game? Angry Birds Transformers (a phone app)
7. What is your favorite snack? Chocolate
8. What is your favorite animal? Cheetah & the Pronghorned Antelope
9. What is your favorite song? Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer
10. What is your favorite book? Baby Brains (The book we most recently checked out of the library)
11. Who is your best friend? Marley
12. What is your favorite cereal? Coco Crisps
13. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Scooter
14. What is your favorite drink? Chocolate Milk
15. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas
16. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? a little black dog named “Black Ruff Ruffman”
17. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Coco Crisps
18. What do you want to be when you grow up? Scientist
19. Imagine that you can become invisible whenever you wanted to. What are some of the things you would do? Sneak away from my momma.
20. I am very proud because… I am seven.
21. If I were President I would… I don’t know?
22. I am afraid to …rock climb
23. Name one thing you do really well? Math
24. Describe what it means to be a good friend. I’m going to help and be a good kid.
25. What is your favorite time of day? Lunch
26. Describe your best day ever? I don’t have a best day… (I asked if this is because everyday is hard, or every day is good. He said it was because everyday is good.)
27. Climbing trees is… cool
28. I wish there were a law that said….. everybody has to be nice to each other.
29. What makes you feel sad? someone that’s not being my friend
30. What makes you feel happy? someone that’s being my friend
31. Pretend that you can fly whenever you wanted. Where would you go? everywhere
32. If I could choose a different name, I would choose…Upside Down Blaster
33. Where do you want to go on vacation? “this is a tough one… to Belize”
34. What is your favorite thing to do with Mom or Dad? have fun!!

Former YMCA Building: City of Riverside Landmark #41

Location: 3485 University Ave.
Date Established: 1909
Date Visited: 6/13/2014

The woodwork on the building is very imposing.

The woodwork on the building is very imposing.

According to the YMCA’s website their focus is to “bring about meaningful change in individuals and communities, we must be focused and accountable.” The Life Arts Center started it’s life as the YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) in 1909 with the plaque reading “to the glory of God and the uplifting of man.”

The building was designed by Arthur Benton (the same from the Mission Inn) and is done in an imposing red brick, Italian Renaissance style. There are plenty of arched windows and decorative awnings.

When it was first built it housed 25 rooms upstairs which were rented out as affordable hotel space and downstairs there was a gym with a pool. Today the top rooms are rented out as business spaces and the main floor is used for event planning (mostly weddings). In the back there is a small gym called “City Gym.”

The YMCA ran the building from 1909 to 1968 when they moved to a new facility on Jefferson St. Unfortunately in 2013 the YMCA in Riverside abruptly ran out of money and so currently there is no YMCA (there is a YWCA) in Riverside.** In 1974 the original building was bought by a man named Bent Corydon, who had a long running legal battle with L. Ron Hubbard which ended in 1992 with Corydon winning ownership of the building. *

ymphotostudio

A view of the lobby area of the Life and Arts Center.

A view of the lobby area of the Life and Arts Center.

A view towards the Florence ballroom shows a classic brick archway.

A view towards the Florence ballroom shows a classic brick archway.

These stairs lead up to the area that used to be hotel rooms.

These stairs lead up to the area that used to be hotel rooms.

This is the location of what used to be the calisthenics room.

This is the location of what used to be the calisthenics room.

The YMCA cornerstone.

The YMCA cornerstone.

The Life Arts Center is now home to what was the YMCA building.

The Life Arts Center is now home to what was the YMCA building.

A postcard from 1909, interesting to note that the 1907 water fountain was once in front of the building.

A postcard from 1909, interesting to note that the 1907 water fountain was once in front of the building.

A view from across the street.

A view from across the street.

Denise looking at the lobby area of the Life and Arts Center.

Denise looking at the lobby area of the Life and Arts Center.

Towards the back of the building is the City Gym (privately owned).

Towards the back of the building is the City Gym (privately owned).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Brandeis, Gayle (1 October 2012). “From Y to Art: The History of the Riverside Art Museum and the Life Arts Center”. KCET Productions. Retrieved 1 November 2014.

**Robinson, Alicia (18 Januaray 2013). “RIVERSIDE: City wants to see YMCA reopen”. Press-Enterprise. Retrieved 1 November 2014.

 

St. John’s Cathedral, Belize City, Belize

St. John's Cathedral is an easy walk from the city center.

St. John’s Cathedral is an easy walk from the city center.

The first British “colonists” to Belize were not really much into religion but by the late 18th century trade had taken on a more legitimate form in Belize and with it religion soon sprouted. St John’s Cathedral was finished in 1812 after many years of hard work. It was built primarily by slaves with bricks from Europe that were brought as ballast for large sailing ships. Inside the pews and doors are made with mahogany and many decorative altars made out of sapodilla wood.

Outside the cathedral is the Yarborough cemetery which was named after an affluent citizen who donated his property for the site. It is the oldest (modern) cemetery in Belize with graves dating back to 1798.

Today the cathedral is still active with an active Anglican Parrish. When we were there they were preparing for a funeral service. The day was sprinkling (there is lots of water in Belize), but we still had a fun time walking the grounds and looking at the intricate woodwork. In 2009, the cathedral and cemetery were set aside by the government as a archeological and historic site.

The outside of the cathedral is made of bricks brought from Europe as ballast.

The outside of the cathedral is made of bricks brought from Europe as ballast.

A view towards the altar from the back.

A view towards the altar from the back.

The cathedral has an ornate pipe organ.

The cathedral has an ornate pipe organ.

The sign of the dove is often attributed to St. John.

The sign of the dove is often attributed to St. John.

Many of what were known as the " Miskito Kings " (local tribe kingdoms) were coronated by the British at the site.

Many of what were known as the ” Miskito Kings ” (local tribe kingdoms) were coronated by the British at the site.

An outside view of the stain glass window.

An outside view of the stain glass window.

One of the ornate doors going into the chapel.

One of the ornate doors going into the chapel.

St. John's is the oldest Anglican church in the Western hemisphere with church leadership dating back to 1776.

St. John’s is the oldest Anglican church in the Western hemisphere with church leadership dating back to 1776.

An outside view of Yarborough cemetery.

An outside view of Yarborough cemetery.

 

The Government House (former Governor’s Mansion), Belize City, Belize

govfrontThe first meeting of the Government House in Belize was in 1815 when a public meeting on the site was held to decide if the colony should allocate funds to the building of a house for the Superintendent. A sum of 3,000 pounds sterling was set and the building commenced. The first Superintendent to live in the house was Colonel Arthurs who had chosen the site due to it’s downtown location and close proximity to St. John’s Cathedral.

Used as the head of government’s house for over 150 years many notable celebrations have been held at the Government House. In 1815, 1825 and 1845, kings from the Mosquito Coast were crowned at St. John’s Cathedral with celebrations at the Government House. In 1838 another celebration was held at the Government House when, what was then known as the British Honduras, emancipated all of it’s slaves and abolished slavery in the colony. Probably the most poignant of celebrations came on September 21st, 1981, when the Union Jack was lowered and the Belize flag was raised for the first time.

In it’s early days only Belize’s elite were allowed in to the house, but today the Government House is what they call a “House of Culture” and anyone with $5 USD can get in from 8AM-5PM. When we were there Denise and AJ went and looked at the displays available (a lot of local art) and some historical displays. I (John) decided to sit on the portico steps and I read the story about how the Baymen defeated the Spanish armada.

The Girl Guide (Scouts) headquarters are right across the street.

The Girl Guide (Scouts) headquarters are right across the street.

govhousesign1814

 

 

A view of some of the storm windows.

A view of some of the storm windows.

AJ learning about Boledo. A form of gambling that involves a lot of mysticism.

AJ learning about Boledo. A form of gambling that involves a lot of mysticism.

A view of the coast from the Government House. Normally Baron Bliss' boat is here but we didn't see it.

A view of the coast from the Government House. Normally Baron Bliss’ boat is here but we didn’t see it.

AJ and Denise on the portico steps.

AJ and Denise on the portico steps.

Xunantunich “Stone Maiden” Ruins, Cayo District, Belize

A concept drawing of the Stone Maiden.

A concept drawing of the Stone Maiden.

According to legend Xunantunich (pronounced “junantunish”) got named when a hunter went by himself in 1892 to hunt by the ruins along the Mopan river. The ruins were known by the locals for millennium by the locals and people would often prayer in front of a makeshift cross at the main temple known as “El Castillo” (the castle). It was while hunting at this site that the hunter claims to have seen a mysterious woman dressed all in white. It was kind of strange to see this lady by herself but the lady beckoned him to follow him and so he did. According to the story as she slowly ascended the stone stairway she turned and the hunter could see that she had fire-red glowing eyes. She also disappeared straight into a stone wall. This caused the hunter to freak out and he ran back into town. When the hunter got back into town everyone started asking him what had happened to his gun, which he had forgotten back when he had panicked. He told them his story and everyone went to the site to look for this mysterious woman. The gun was found by the cross where everyone had always prayed but despite a looking all around the site the “stone maiden” was never found, but the name Xunantunich stuck and now that is the name of the site.

Denise looks up to El Castillo.

Denise looks up to El Castillo.

In the mid 1890s the first modern explorations of the site were done by a man named Thomas Gann. He was at the time the district surgeon of Cayo and had chosen to settle in the area due to his interest in what he called “the unknown wonders of the indigenous people.”* The first survey of the area was done later by his successor Sir J. Eric Thompson. The majority of the excavation of the site happened between 1959 and 1960 during the Cambridge Expedition to what was then the British Honduras (Belize’s colony name).

Archeological evidence says that there has been a human presence at the site as early as 3000 BC. Looking at the number of ceramics and rate of growth, the height of Xunantunich’s growth happened somewhere between 300BC and 400 AD. In about 600 AD there was another apparent boom period but evidence also shows that Xunantunich may have fallen under control of another local Mayan site known as Naranjo. In 750 AD the site was suddenly and completely abandoned. No one knows why but architectural evidence does show evidence of what could have been earthquake damage to “El Castillo” (the main temple).

The ferry that takes people across the Mopan river.

The ferry that takes people across the Mopan river.

Today Xunantunich is one of the easiest of Belize’s archeological sites to get to being that it is only a mile off the western highway. The site is only 1 KM (about .6 miles) away from the Guatemalan border. When you climb to the top of “El Castillo” you can see down into Guatemala. To get to the site you have to cross the Mopan river. To do so you drive your car on a little hand cranked ferry which takes you safely across the river. The entire drive was paved, which was a first on our travels in Belize. Due to the ease of access we got there very early and we had the place virtuously to ourselves. By the time we left at 10 AM we saw bus loads of cruise people coming in (you can always tell who they are because of the lanyards they wear). When we went it was late September and it was drizzling. This along with the ever small stairs, made for a very slippery climb. We slipped a few times while climbing the slippery plastered steps. Luckily, we did not fall off the temple, because the drop offs were quite steep, but it was definitely not a guaranteed thing!

A brief video:

 

Click the plus sign to expand the pictures:

AJ at the hand crank.

AJ at the hand crank.

This royal grave was found at the site of A4. Mayan royals were often buried under temples, while regular people were buried under their homes.

This royal grave was found at the site of A4. Mayan royals were often buried under temples, while regular people were buried under their homes.

This room was used for spiritual cleansing. The petitioner would start a fire in the pit, pray to the stella, and then bathe in the ashes.

This room was used for spiritual cleansing. The petitioner would start a fire in the pit, pray to the stella, and then bathe in the ashes.

My friend and I slipped on these steps at A4 trying to find an ancient grave.

My friend and I slipped on these steps at A4 trying to find an ancient grave.

From the top of A4 looking at the plaza.

From the top of A4 looking at the plaza.

A view of the Mopan river.

A view of the Mopan river.

The ferry that takes people across the Mopan river.

The ferry that takes people across the Mopan river.

AJ checking out the ball court.

AJ checking out the ball court.

An unexcavated pyramid.

An unexcavated pyramid.

This Mayan servant totally looked like he was walking like an Egyptian.

This Mayan servant totally looked like he was walking like an Egyptian.

This side view of El Castillo kind of reminded me of the old Matterhorn at Disneyland (remember the Sky Ride?).

This side view of El Castillo kind of reminded me of the old Matterhorn at Disneyland (remember the Sky Ride?).

Can you see the stairs in this picture? No railing if you slip.

Can you see the stairs in this picture? No railing if you slip.

We were struggling to climb El Castillo and then I hear "hello papi" and saw that AJ had followed us up.

We were struggling to climb El Castillo and then I hear “hello papi” and saw that AJ had followed us up.

A view from the top of El Castillo. Denise looks like an ant, but she is really an aunt.

A view from the top of El Castillo. Denise looks like an ant, but she is really an aunt.

John with Guatemala in the background.

John with Guatemala in the background.

A view to Guatemala from El Castillo.

A view to Guatemala from El Castillo.

An ancient guard shack.

An ancient guard shack.

Chaq the rain god definitely made his presence known when we were there.

Chaq the rain god definitely made his presence known when we were there.

Denise looks up to El Castillo.

Denise looks up to El Castillo.

This was our "guide" he wasn't officially a guide but as a local he certainly knew a lot more than the official guides did.

This was our “guide” he wasn’t officially a guide but as a local he certainly knew a lot more than the official guides did.

A view to El Castillo from the royal apartments.

A view to El Castillo from the royal apartments.

AJ checking out Stella 1.

AJ checking out Stella 1.

This Ceibo tree describes the Mayan view of life.

This Ceibo tree describes the Mayan view of life.

This clay pot was excavated at the site.

This clay pot was excavated at the site.

A concept drawing of the Stone Maiden.

A concept drawing of the Stone Maiden.

Archaeological evidence says people have been here since maybe 3000 BC.

Archaeological evidence says people have been here since maybe 3000 BC.

The family at the Xunantunich Visitor Center.

The family at the Xunantunich Visitor Center.

Crossing the Mopan River.

Crossing the Mopan River.


 
 
 
 
 
  
 
   
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
   
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
   
  
 
 
  
 
   
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
   
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
   
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
   
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
   
  
 
 
 
  
 
 
 
 
  
 
   
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
   
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
   
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
   
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
   
  
 
 
 
 

*Thompson, J. E. “Thomas Gann in the Maya Ruins.” British Medical Journal 2.5973 (1975): 741-43. Print.

Benedict Castle: City of Riverside Landmark #13

Location: 5445 Chicago Ave.
Date Established: 1922
Date Visited: 10/23/2014

The main tower of the castle is very imposing.

The main tower of the castle is very imposing.

The construction of the Benedict Castle started in 1922 and took about 9 years to finish. It is estimated that the total cost for building the castle was about $300,000. Which back then was an amazing sum of money (about the same as $4 million of today’s dollars). The construction was under the order of Charles Williston Benedict. A native of Riverside he left Riverside just after graduating high school and came back a rich man. Not much is known how exactly he made his riches, but it is known that he operated a firm called the Brockmeyer Economic Service which principal activities included stocks and bonds.*

A view of a side tower.

A view of a side tower.

The name today of the castle is the Benedict Castle but Charles Benedict named the build the “Castillo Isabella”. He was looking for a castle like residence he had seen in Europe and wanted to keep in harmony with the Mission Revival theme common with the rest of Riverside. To do that he hired architect Henry Jeckel. Mr. Jeckel was known for building the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles and which his Spanish-Moorish influences was a fitting pick for chief architect.

Despite the expense in construction the house fell on hard times and in 1949 was auctioned for a final bid price of $52,000. The buyers were Tom Perrin and Francis McDowell who retired Riverside residents who resold the land for the use of the Catholic faith. The Catholic church used the building to train priests for the Servite Catholic Order and was named the Seminary of Our Lady of Riverside.* Today the building is owned by an organization named Teen Challenge and is used to house men who are going through substance abuse rehabilitation. The organization also rents the grounds for wedding receptions.

The castle grounds are big. The main house is over 10,000 square feet.

The castle grounds are big. The main house is over 10,000 square feet.

The crest of Teen Challenge.

The crest of Teen Challenge.

In the courtyard you can see some ruminants of it's days as a Catholic seminary.

In the courtyard you can see some ruminants of it’s days as a Catholic seminary.

A fountain in the courtyard.

A fountain in the courtyard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the praise service there was a lot of singing.

In the praise service there was a lot of singing.

Going to a worship service in a big tent was different for us.

Going to a worship service in a big tent was different for us.

When we went we were invited to a praise service hosted by Teen Challenge. While there we got to hear from Laura Johnson who spoke about her missionary service in different parts of the world. It was kind of different from the worship ceremonies I was used to because of the different music and that it was in a tent. It is always good however to celebrate God and the work that they do at the center is very much needed in the community.
*Patterson, T (1964). Landmarks of Riverside and the Stories Behind Them. Riverside, CA: Press Enterprise.

Belizean Food

belfoodbelezanDespite the low GDP in Belize the food in the country is very rich and diverse.

When we were in Belize we had the privilege of trying food in a variety of settings…

Some places were very fancy like the Marriott Hotel in Belize City:

Some places like the bus stop were not really eating places, but no matter where you go there was always food in Belize:

At this meal Denise tries to learn how to make a tortilla.

At this meal Denise tries to learn how to make a tortilla.

My (John) favorite places were when we got to eat with the people at their homes. This is where you really see what people are eating:

The first thing you notice coming off the plane is that there are no chain fast food restaurants in Belize. There is really no need for them in Belize for mainly two reasons: One, regular Belizean food is so cheap they would never be able to compete on prices; and two, Belizeans don’t really like to eat their food quickly. The majority of the restaurants we saw had outdoor eating areas where the people would sit and watch the people go by, it was kind of like watching a parade but no one really was headed in any particular destination and no one ever marched to the same beat.

To list all of the food we had in Belize would be impossible but I did want to at least try to give a top ten:

10: Stew with beans and rice. Cost: $8 BLZ ($4 USD). This is a classic food in Belize. Typically it also includes potato salad, but one place called Eva’s served it with mashed potatoes that were so good that one time I just ordered mashed potatoes.

The classic: stew with beans and rice.

The classic: stew with beans and rice.

9. Chinese food plate. Cost: $9 BLZ ($4.50 USD). Surprisingly Asians own a lot of the restaurants and stores in Belize. The result of which is that you can get some really good fried rice in Belize, but for some reason you also get french fries included with your Chinese meals.

Chinese food was good, still don't understand why it had french fries.

Chinese food was good, still don’t understand why it had french fries.

8. Belizean Ice Cream. Cost $2 BLZ ($1 USD). With all the fresh fruit and chocolate in Belize it is no surprise that the ice cream in Belize is really good. There is no Baskin Robbins in Belize but if there were I think they would have to change their slogan to “365” because there were no end to the different types of variations we saw. The strangest one had to be the spicy tart ice cream. Ice cream should not be spicy.

AJ enjoying strawberry ice cream.

AJ enjoying strawberry ice cream.

AJ with caramel ice cream.

AJ with caramel ice cream.

7. Lemon Tarts. Cost $1 BLZ ($1 USD). Small convenient and sold at every bus stop. Guaranteed to make you feel like you were instantly transported to an island.

A ham and cheese Johnny cake and a lemon tart.

A ham and cheese Johnny cake and a lemon tart.

6. Johnny Cakes. Cost $2.25 BLZ ($1.125 USD). These hearty creations were originally made for sailors sailing across the Atlantic. Once hardened Johnny Cakes can last up to 6 months, which is plenty of time for a pirate to attack and loot quite a few Spanish ships.

5. Fry Jacks. Cost $5 BLZ ($2.50 USD). Fried dough, how can you go wrong? You can’t. They look and taste just like mini Indian fry breads and are great for a hearty breakfast right before a day exploring ancient ruins.

Eggs, fry jacks, and sausage made for a very hearty breakfast.

Eggs, fry jacks, and sausage made for a very hearty breakfast.

4. Conch Ceviche. Cost $10 BLZ ($5 USD). I had heard of this dish from before I had even set foot in Belize. Conch are mostly known in the USA as those shells that Hawaiians are always making into horns, but apparently the snail that lives inside them are edible. In Belize they pull out the snail, pulverize it with a hammer, chop it up with onions and tomatoes, and then serve it with lemon juice and chips. It reminded me a lot like coctel de pulpo (octopus cocktail).

Conche Ceviche.

Conche Ceviche.

3. Coconut Tarts. Cost $1 BLZ ($1 USD). Lemon tarts are good, but coconut tarts are just one notch above. Eat one of those and not only do you feel like your on an island, but you just became a poor rich man on an island.

It really is as good as it looks and no, I can't wait to take a picture.

It really is as good as it looks and no, I can’t wait to take a picture.

2. The lobster roll. Cost $2 BLZ ($1 USD). I couldn’t believe it when I saw them in the bus station. Someone was actually going to give me a fried lobster roll for $2 BLZ. I quickly bought all 5 that they had and to my surprise they had 5 more when we came back several hours later, which I also bought!

How can lobster be this cheap?

How can lobster be this cheap?

1. Chocolate bars. Cost varied. Hello! This is why we came to Belize and it did not disappoint. Any empty space I had in my (John’s) backpack on the way back was dedicated to the loading of as much chocolate I could get my hands on. It is eventually going to run out, but in the meantime I (John) plan on having a good time.

How can you ever go wrong with chocolate?

How can you ever go wrong with chocolate?

A few other honorable mentions would also have to include freshly squeezed juice, chocolate cookies (what we would call brownies), pepper jack steak, and coconut sauce fish.

In the front is pepper steak, then fresh watermelon juice, and in the back is coconut sauce fish.

In the front is pepper steak, then fresh watermelon juice, and in the back is coconut sauce fish.

AJ eating some stew on a bus bench in Belize City.

AJ eating some stew on a bus bench in Belize City.

The Marriott had a very fancy restaurant but we didn't feel like paying $40 BLZ ($20 USD) for the buffet lunch.

The Marriott had a very fancy restaurant but we didn’t feel like paying $40 BLZ ($20 USD) for the buffet lunch.

On my morning walks it was hard not to buy a lot of pastries.

On my morning walks it was hard not to buy a lot of pastries.

Eva's was one of our favorite hangout places because it had free wifi and was centrally located.

Eva’s was one of our favorite hangout places because it had free wifi and was centrally located.

They called this a cookie.

They called this a cookie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eventually we did go home and we had to leave all that great Belizean food behind. In the mean time we will always have the memories and if we are really lucky we might even find a good Belizean restaurant one day.

You think we would have been more creative for our first meal back.

You think we would have been more creative for our first meal back.

Riverside Metropolitan Museum (RMM): City of Riverside Landmark #11

Location: 3580 Mission Inn Ave.
Date Established: 1912
Date Visited: 10/21/2014

The Riverside Metropolitan Museum has been used for many things over the years.

The Riverside Metropolitan Museum has been used for many things over the years.

The building that currently houses the Riverside Metropolitan Museum also known as the RMM has had various reincarnations. The building started it’s life in 1912 as a Federal Post Office. At the start of World War II it was taken over by the war department and in 1943 housed soldiers on temporary leave in Riverside. In 1945 the City of Riverside bought the building and used it to house the Police Department and the City Museum was housed in the basement. In 1965 the Riverside Police Department got it’s own building at 4102 Orange St. and the after a brief restoration the City Museum completely took over the space in December of 1966.

 

 

 

The RMM is City Landmark #11 and listed on the National Landmark registry.

The RMM is City Landmark #11 and listed on the National Landmark registry.

If you look up at the museum façade you can see some emblems of it's early post office days.

If you look up at the museum façade you can see some emblems of it’s early post office days.

This design drawing shows the opening of the new Riverside Police Station in 1965. (Courtesy Ruhnau Ruhnau Clarke)

This design drawing shows the opening of the new Riverside Police Station in 1965. (Courtesy Ruhnau Ruhnau Clarke)

This picture shows the museum circa 1961 when it was still being used as a police station (courtesy City of Riverside Library)

This picture shows the museum circa 1961 when it was still being used as a police station (courtesy City of Riverside Library)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some decorated Native American artifacts.

Some decorated Native American artifacts.

The Riverside Municipal Museum, now known as the Riverside Metropolitan Museum (RMM). Started on December 12, 1924, when the widow of National Biscuit Company (NABISCO) magnate Mrs. Cornelius Earle Rumsey donated her husband’s collection of Native American artifacts to the city. In the beginning the museum was housed in the basement of the old city hall building and was really more of an archive that guarded prominent artifacts donated by various citizens. It wasn’t until the mid 60’s and early 70’s by the efforts of people such as world famous naturalist, and Riverside resident, Edmund C. Jaeger, that the museum would start to grow and expand into a traditional museum with both permanent and rotating displays.

Today the RMM is a very prominent organization within the City of Riverside. It also has associations with national museum organizations including the Smithsonian. Besides the downtown location the RMM also owns the Harada House and the Heritage House. The permanent collections of the museum include it’s original Native American artifact collection, some city artifacts, and various stuffed animals. When I went to the museum there was a display regarding the Cahuilla Indians and a display upstairs regarding John Muir and his visit to Riverside.

Denise and AJ in front of the Temperance Water Fountain.

Denise and AJ in front of the Temperance Water Fountain.

At the bottom of the fountain it is interesting to note the "doggy bowls".

At the bottom of the fountain it is interesting to note the “doggy bowls”.

The Temperance Water Fountain was donated to the City of Riverside in 1907 by the Women Temperance Society in an effort to promote clean water. The drinking fountain part has been removed, but if you look close you can still see where the pipes were and at the bottom there are "doggy bowls".

The Temperance Water Fountain was donated to the City of Riverside in 1907 by the Women Temperance Society in an effort to promote clean water.

A picture of the fountain when it was still a fountain. (Courtesy Riverside Museum)

A picture of the fountain when it was still a fountain. (Courtesy Riverside Museum)

John Tortes Meyers was a Cahuilla Indian and a Riverside native who played in the major leagues from 1908-1917.

John Tortes Meyers was a Cahuilla Indian and a Riverside native who played in the major leagues from 1908-1917.

AJ and a friend imitate the Cougar roar.

AJ and a friend imitate the Cougar roar.

An early bicycle from the "City of Riverside in 50 artifacts" display.

An early bicycle from the “City of Riverside in 50 artifacts” display.

This 1915 portrait of the Riverside Police Department features Chief Kirk, his daughter, and the rest of the department.

This 1915 portrait of the Riverside Police Department features Chief Kirk, his daughter, and the rest of the department.

In 1887 Hall's railway weaved through 10th, Main, and Date street.

In 1887 Hall’s railway weaved through 10th, Main, and Date street.

John Muir visited Riverside in the late 1800s and spoke about his many travels.

John Muir visited Riverside in the late 1800s and spoke about his many travels.

A crocodile skeleton from the John Muir exhibit.

A crocodile skeleton from the John Muir exhibit.

A walrus head and artifacts from one of John Muir's Alaskan trips.

A walrus head and artifacts from one of John Muir’s Alaskan trips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have some time I would encourage you to go. The museum is open most days 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and admission is a suggested $2, but not required.