Aaah…the Island Life!

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PHOTOS

We are In Utila, off the Caribbean coast of Honduras, now.  So much to tell you since last blog so little Internet Cafe time!  First and foremost…

Honduras 3 – Canada 1

Freaking Amazing!  Okay, watching the soccer game at an open air dive bar, called Crik Crik, in La Ceiba was not that crazy, As we watched the game projected on a sheet on the wall, the crowds got a bit hysterical when a point was scored, but afterwards the whole town was in an uproar!  After the game we said goodbye to this very young So. Cal. couple we met, but did not get very far as the main street through town was already celebrating.  It seems to celebrate a big win here in Honduras, you need to get into your car, have people hanging out from the inside, on top of your car and around it in any was possible, honk and scream like crazy while flying anything that remotely looks like the colors of the country (blue and white) around in your hand.  Oh, and throw water at each other!  That young So. Cal. couple were much more adventurous than us and jumped on the back of a truck to really join in!  Thousands of people took to the streets in either their cars, trucks, or buses even, or as spectators as Jim and I were on the wall of the square.  We could not stop smiling…just like everyone else.  We do not have anything like this in the U.S.  Yes, maybe a town team may win a championship, but everyone in the country excited for one team!?  No!  We do not even celebrate like that for the Olympics!  It was amazing and even an American who has lived in Honduras for 16 years had never seen anything like it before.  It went on for several hours, which was a concern since our hotel room was right on the street with a balcony….but it did die down.  We were so glad to be part of the celebration and to experience such sheer joy!

The next day we headed for Utila for a bit of that Island life.  First off, our taxi driver cracked us up.  Not because he was funny, because he opened the back of his car, left it open because it could not close as there were large boxes taking up too much room, and just tied our packs on slightly hanging over the edge of the car.  I could see the packs from my seat…so I had to keep an eye on them.  We and our bags got to the boat safely.  The boat ride over to the island was calm.  The real ferry was broken so we all backed on to a large dive boat…no worries.  I talked the ear off a young Irish guy traveling on his own.  Cute kid!  Jim enjoyed the break!  Met a really nice couple from GA too.  They have been coming to Honduras for years helping out a small village up in the mountains.  The husband really makes me feel, ONE PERSON DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

We went looking for a place to stay, but his the Ultra Lite Cafe first.  I first thought the food would be of the calorie lite variety, but now the place is named after the doomed small and light aircraft.  Do not ask why!  After our bellies full of Middle Eastern food, we hit a place that was recommended, but it had gone up in price…so we passed.  We took a really cheap place (!8.00) for the night to figure out which dive school to go with and maybe new digs for the rest of our stay.   First, a cheap place to stay is good, but for once on this trip, I would like to sleep on a bed that the sheet actually stays on!  I have changed my fear of hotel room germs since we got down here, but come on, who wants to sleep on a strange bare mattress??  Have I grossed out any of you yet?  Ah, life as a budget traveler!

After getting our room, we went on a roam looking for that perfect dive school for Jim, a new place to stay and just to check things out.  At the last dive shop we went to, we stayed on at their Tranquila Bar for a Salva Vida (national beer, anywhere from .75 to 1.25) to talk to a couple and were bitten alive by mosquito’s and biting flies.  Yikes…was ready to run from the island, but Deet from now on for us…works really well here!  We do not need to get malaria!  Anyway we did not make a decision by the end of the day on anything and Jim was not feeling well, so it was a very early night in.  Really early, like 5pm early!  He ended up having a slight temperature, so he took some aspirin and slept a lot.  He felt much better the next day, but let me explain, he has had a problem with his ear for a couple/few weeks now, so we started to believe he had an ear infection.

The next day we ran into the GA couple at breakfast and they got us a good room with air con and hot water (ooooh!) at their friends place for a great price.   And also told us about a crazy American doctor, Dr. John (apparently he is on facebook…check him out), to take a look at his ear, but old Dr. John was AWOL after going to the mainland for the night.   After we moved in to the new place, Relax Inn, and took a shower to get rid of the massive amounts of sweat we accumulated, we then rented some snorkel gear and hit the beach on the west end…the water was a bit dirty from the rain and wind, but saw some colorful fish, starfish, sea urchin and lots of sea grass.  We just hung out on the beach for a bit enjoying island life.

We showered off the sea water and dressed for dinner, hee hee, the same clothes we had on earlier mind you.  It was early, so we hit Tranquila Bar again and talked to some people we had met earlier.  Tried to have dinner at Dave’s, a chef from SF, who has gotten rave revues, but he too is AWOL.  After some hard decision making, we hit Mango Inn.  Now, if anyone is ever interested in visiting us and want to go to Utila, I highly recommend this place (google it, I know it has a website).  It is a tropical paradise in itself.  We did not stay there because 45.00 a night for a bungalow type room with air-con, hot water (big deal on this island), cable TV, small fridge and a hammock out front is unfortunately too high for our budgets…but we highly recommend it if 45.00 a night is cheap for you! The restaurant has a adobe looking brick oven for pizzas.  At dinner we ran into the GA couple, sorry, Von (Vaugn?) and Becky, again.  We sat with them as they ate Von’s birthday cake, we at our dinner.   I had a chef salad as I was in major need of roughage (hee hee…TMI) and it was really good.   Jim had the recommended Tuna Filet, but it was way over cooked…the rest of the food looked really good though.  Most interesting about the place was the bats.  Yes, bats!  Now bats are good because they eat misquitos and it was great to see them fly around, never touching a hair on anyone’s head, and eating from humming bird feeders.  Who knew that bats eat from humming bird feeders.  Speaking of humming birds, there is this one that comes to the little tree outside our window several times a day.  Jim actually caught a photo of him today.  One day we will be able to post photos again!

Von has story after story about his good doings here in Honduras.  It seems when you do good, things just may come together and when you have God on your side your odds are even better! Von is a Pastor at a Unitarian Church and he not only gets support of his parishioners, the church supports him too.  It is really nice to meet so many people doing a lot of good things down here.  We met a young woman from Oregon in La Ceiba that works for a hostel and jungle tour place.  The Honduran owner donated land up at their jungle location to build a school for the 500 person local community.  Jim may do the blue prints for the 6 room school.  There are countless opportunities here for both of us to volunteer and do not be surprised if we do a call out for donations, money or inkind gifts for the kids.  I thank you in advance for your support!

Now, an interesting little side tour on our way back to our room from the Mango Inn after dinner.  Mind you, we thought we were taking a short cut, but ended up in a hood called “Little Columbia,” known for drugs and prostitution.  There is only one way in and one way out.  Two young girls told us to turn around, but we thought they were just giving the travelers a hard time, so we turned down another street and then a really rough looking guy told us all about “Little Columbia” and if the police found us there they would assume we were looking for drugs and/or some sex hook-ups!  Turn around we did, after we thanked him and the 2 young girls we formerly did not believe.  I know it sounds dangerous, but honestly, this hood was way way better than the Tenderloin in SF, so no worries.  Who would know there was a bad hood in a 2 Square mile town on a 49 square mile island with only a 3800 population.  I guess it is everywhere.  After that little adventure, we mellowed it out and read for the evening in our little room on the waterfront and fell asleep early.

Today, we tried to see Dr. John again, but he is still awol on the mainland, but was recommended by his staff to hit up the nurse, Marjorie, at the decompression tank (for the bends for divers) for a look-see.  She looked in Jim’s ear, saw wax which he had been trying to get rid of since Daytona, and it was swollen as well.  She thinks it is infected and nicely enough, she did not charge us anything, just set us to the pharmacy for some cepro (strong antibiotics), ibuprofen and ear drops for three days (All for a whopping 18.00).  After that, hopefully the doc is back so he can yank that damn wax out and see if the cepro zapped the infection.  No diving certification for Jim for now and I will wait to dive until he is ready.  The weather is too bad anyway.

Speaking of that…just heard we are being hit by a tropical depression and it will go up to a tropical storm today or tomorrow…so wish us luck our lovely room on the waterfront does not get flooded out.  Oh, by the way, our sheet stayed on the bed all night last night.  Life is good.  Look we are already becoming more simple.  Of course that was after Jim broke the bed by sitting on it.  It was fixed fast by Desmonde, the owner, who then invited us to dinner the next night for some fresh fish.  On the way to breakfast he was already coming back in on his boat, in the rain, with two big kingfish. Oh, let me explain the island language.  It is officially English with a twist.  Europeans have been on the island for centuries.  So picture, some older white guys talking a JarJar Binks kind of language but with a Jamaican accent!  It is just cool to listen to!  Anyway, getting hit by a storm on an island in the Caribbean does not seem as bad as other places we could be.  No one here seems to being worried about it and dive boats even went out today…so we are not going to worry either…and neither shall any of you!

Speaking of storms, do not ever use you tooth as a plier to fix the metal frame part of an umbrella.  Just a warning learned from my stupidity.  I did it and now have a chipped front tooth.  Oh well…we live and we learn.  It is not too bad looking.  My hair is bad enough in this weather (Does Rosanna Rosanna Danna remind of you any special hair style?), do not need half a front tooth smile too!

Back to health issues, as many of you know I have my own small but pain in the neck issues.  I have not had to use any of my asthma medicine since I have been in Honduras….so things are looking up to get off some of my meds!

Okay now, to those of you who want and hopefully will (please please please) visit us here in Honduras (and remember we will meet you anywhere in Central America too as we need to travel outside Honduras every 3 months for our Visa and want to anyway) we are already stocking up places to take you.  Of course, Utila is awesome if you like a more rough not anything like a resort, island kind of place…or want to cheaply get scuba certified in 3-4 days.  Then there is the other islands too.  And let me not forget about the jungle tours which offer canopy tours (zip lines over the jungle), white water rafting and mountain bike tours.  There is Tela too, a great beach town we are going to visit in a few weeks as well and may end up basing ourselves there.  There are tons of national parks too.  We are keeping in mind cheap but great places for you to stay as well.   Late December and after is best to come visit as we will be really settled and the rain will die down too.

Okay by for now and keep the emails and blog comments coming!

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~ by HenderBalz on October 14, 2008.

2 Responses to “Aaah…the Island Life!”

  1. Thanks for the blog! I was thinking about you and so glad to know you are there and adjusting! Sounds amazing! I can’t wait to see pictures!

  2. oooooh, it would be soooo fun to visit you guys! Stop tempting me!

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