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79). The Beach at Placencia   Placencia, Belize (March 2009)

In the spring of 2009, my colleagues at work in Portland told me they were going to the Middle East for a week, so I said to myself, "Heck, if they're going to the Middle East, then I'm going to Belize."  Within an hour, I'd made my plane reservation and had rented a car, and a few days later, I was in Belize.  I spent several days working with a group of 20 college kids from New York University (NYU), building a school and playground near San Ignacio, then I took off and explored southern Belize, my first visit to that part of the country.  On my first evening, I pulled into the village of Placencia on the coast and rented this beachside cottage, complete with hammock, where I spent that evening lolling under the stars, listening to Jimmy Buffett on my laptop, and eating (or trying to eat) habanero peppers.  I wasn't too successful with the latter.