Monday, January 18, 2016

Drive By Shootings

Sometimes bloggers take desperate measures for ratings.  This would be one of those.  LOL

Seriously, I normally am able to walk through areas where the locals live on vacation, but on Roatan, the logistics weren't right.  It was a minimum $25 cab ride to get to those places, so all my shots of daily scenes in places we couldn't walk to were from a speeding taxi.  Hence the title Drive By Shootings.

These photos were taken the day we hired a driver to take us on an island tour.  Big Daddy (one of many Big Daddy's) was supposed to drive us on the tour, but he sent his son Junior.  Junior was nice enough, but had no experience being a tour guide.  Next time we visit Roatan, I'll hire a professional guide who specializes in island tours.  Lesson learned!

Junior never slowed down between official stops, so excuse the blur.  Many were shot through a dirty car window because Junior also liked his A/C.  Sometimes one can work wonders with editing programs!

Christianity is thriving on Roatan.  As Junior told us, Everyone goes to church on Sunday!  (Except Junior.  It was Sunday morning!)  But seriously, I love this photo!

Here's another man who's not in church, but he's minding the pulperia.  He may also be guarding his clothesline if he heard the serial clothesline shooter's on the island.  I asked Junior what a pulperia was and he said a mini-mart.  The official definition says it's a rural grocery store which may also function as a drinking establishment, so we may have missed a bar!

Some of these photos of quaint brightly colored homes were shot as we passed through French Harbor, the second largest town on the island and home to most of the fishing trade.  It's about mid-way down the island on the eastern windward side.

This fence and home are still dressed for Christmas.  Slow down Junior!
Coca-Cola has a large presence on the island (just like everyplace we've visited in Mexico and Central America.)  I'm assuming diabetes is also off the charts here.
This guy is staring at his cellphone.  The Third World is like everyplace else when it comes to smartphones.  I like the Jesus Saves juxtaposed against the No Fumar at the gas station.
I'd like to buy the world a Coke, but I think they already have one.  But seriously, I guess rum and Coke go together and Cuba Libre's are very popular on the island.
 I know.  Enough already! 
Mom and daughter walking down the main street in Coxen Hole.
Next trip I vow to walk some of these areas so I can take more photos.   There are collectivo vans that can be taken from the West End area to Coxen Hole for a fraction of a cab price.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Garifuna Scenes from Punta Gorda

On our tour of Roatan the last Sunday we were on the island, we visited the Garifuna town of Punta Gorda to watch the Sunday afternoon drumming and dancing, a style called punta.  Along the way, I snapped some photos of the scenes around me.

The Garifunas (click this link to find out more) were brought to the Caribbean as slaves and escaped to the neighboring areas of Honduras nd Belize from St. Vincent in the mid-nineteenth century.  Garifunas are unique because they've been able to maintain so much of their culture, including language and religion in addition to their unique music and dancing style. 

Here's a short video of the music and dancing we came to see.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Some Parting Pics

It's moving day.  Moving home that is! 

You know it's time to leave when the microscopic ants are taking over.  I opened a bathroom drawer where I keep toothpaste this morning and it was swarming with those teeeny tiny see through ants.  

It's nothing unusual.  Before we flew to Roatan, I was still killing tiny little bugs that have inhabited my Nook since our last tropical trip in July.  They crawl out when the glow screen comes on.

Living up this hill seems to have had a positive effect on us.  I pulled out a pair of crop pants to wear on the flight home and I'm swimming in them.   The pounds will return, but living a rigorous walk or a $10 cab ride from the closest little tienda seems to have trimmed a tiny bit of fat. 

I've so enjoyed my hammock time on the screened balcony this trip, but I bet I'd get a big fat fine slapped on so quickly if I hung one of these on my patio out back in Arizona.  They'd say it was distracting to golfers on the course?

This little one stop stand at the main traffic rounder in West End by the Coconut Tree (I like saying that) sells papayas, coconuts, mangos, flip flops, miniature wooden boats, carved wooden bowls, and religion all on two tables.  Look carefully and you'll see the vendor.

It's winter here on the island with overnight low's dipping into the mid-70's, so every girl needs some sleeves.  For us, the cooler nights have been a godsend since we're living with nothing but sea breezes and fans to cool us at night. 

With no A/C humming, we wake to the sound of the macaws from Gumbalimba Park flying over the macaws in the cage at the neighbor's compound below.  The cage free Gumbalimba's are mocking our enslaved neighbors saying -- Ha ha!  We're free, you're not!  The two gangs rumble early every morning and again at 5:10 p.m. every evening.  We know we've stayed too long when we're charting macaw behavior!

I'll miss the mobile fruit and veggie stands.  Craig bought four bananas the other night with a Honduran 10 lempira bill.  While the 10 spot looks impressive, it's worth about 50 cents.  We're trying to unload the remaining cash before we leave.  Hopefully the airport will have a snack stand!

We're going to miss Roatan!  How many times do you walk down the street at home and see this?  I think that's the spider monkeys my friends.  I just remember the guide on the boat in Belize saying -- Careful!  De spider monkey might bite! -- so I choose to just take a photo of someone else holding them!

I'd better get busy because a tiny little woman with bright purple hair arrives at noon in a beat up cab to drive us to Roatan International.  Cheers, and we'll see you on the other side!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Deep Blue Sea

One of Roatan's claims to fame is the Meso-American Barrier Reef.  In fact, at the far tip of West Bay Beach, reef meets beach and one can access the wonder just steps from the shore

After rain earlier in the week, the water was clear enough today to snorkel our favorite area again.  I snapped my first underwater photos and found out how hard it is to capture those elusive fish on camera!  The only easy subjects are slow moving like the one in the turtle swim trunks.

Craig tried his hand at underwater photography snapping a photo of me.  How'd this happen? It looks like a photo that's been edited with a crazy filter.  I may have to frame this one!
We'll be back to this area again tomorrow for more beautiful views above and below the sea!  We depart on Saturday, so we'll be seizing our remaining time Friday!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Be Careful What You Wish For . . .

Craig and I just commented to each other on Saturday that we really wouldn't mind seeing a little more rain before we leave because it's been hot and sunny for the past two weeks.

We must be fools.  What's the old adage?  Be careful what you wish for? 

We were thinking maybe a few hours at night or a morning rain delay, but we got torrential rain that began yesterday morning and really hasn't let up.  After eating crackers and cheese for lunch yesterday and ordering pizza again last night (because it's the only restaurant that delivers on the west end of the island), we were both suffering from cabin fever and pizza overdose this morning.

We lounged around trying to enjoying the roar of the waves breaking over the reef below and the rain pounding on the roof, but we'd had it by 11 a.m.  We decided we wouldn't melt and if needed, could slide down the steep slick hill on our butts to get out of here.  We donned raincoats and headed to West Bay.

We made it to town slightly drenched and decided quickly to head for the the Hangover Hut before all the dry seats disappeared.   We walked the beach on the route to the restaurant and felt sorry for all the people off cruise ships who would see Roatan at its worst today.

They'll return home with a memory of a gloomy island where the rain never stops.  The bay looked grey and one lone boat was parked where there normally would have been a huge flotilla waiting to taxi crowds to West End for shopping and snorkelers out to the reef. 
The shore was full of sargasso today, something we haven't seen here during the past month.  Resorts were raking it as it landed and wheel barrowing it to these trucks to haul away.  If the sun's out tomorrow, the beach will be clean and beautiful for the five shiploads of people in port.  (And we'll be hanging elsewhere!)
Some diehards were trying to tough it out at the beach huddled under the palms or umbrellas in the rain hoping for clear skies.
We ran for the restaurant because we knew the squall was coming from the cold wind blowing in off the beach.  Shortly after ordering a hamburger and fries, the sky began dumping buckets.  For hours.  (And it's still pouring at 10:30 p.m.!)
We thoroughly enjoyed our three hours in West Bay sitting at our perch in the diner.  Cruisers with yellow armbands wandered about with no Plan B shivering under wet beach towels wading through the large grey stream running down the sand road.

Aren't these umbrellas gorgeous?  All the locals seem to carry them.
We spent an hour and a half under the tin roof waiting for a break in the rain that never came.  Finally we decided to test fate and wade through the huge puddle at the end of the road.  The waiter showed us the back way to the West Bay Mall (a small little strip mall with a few stores, deli, and a coffee shop), but it involved walking through a field of high grass (probably full of mosquitos and ticks).
We chose the well-traveled road and went in up to the ankles, something I avoid like the plague in countries with less developed infrastructure.  I took a long shower when we finally got home and gave the walking sandals a good rinse.
While waiting for a taxi, the fruit/vegetable truck pulled up.  He evidently makes scheduled stops on certain days because there were quite a few people waiting to make purchases.  Now I know (since we're leaving Saturday).
We waited under an awning until a man approached Craig to ask if we needed a ride.  He drove an unmarked taxi which probably means he has to be low key about soliciting fares because he's not licensed or a member of the cab union?  Don't know, but he was an extremely polite safe driver and the only cab we saw on a rainy day!
Guess what we had for dinner tonight?  LOL  Leftover pizza really comes in handy.
Hopefully the rain ends soon!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Journey to a Hole in the Wall.

Didn't some wise person say -- it's not the destination, it's the journey?  Maybe on this part of our Sunday journey, it was the destination since we were headed to Hole in the Wall, an outpost bar on the side of a canal in Jonesville, Roatan.

Oh oh oh!  When I saw the boat above, I wanted to ride in that one!  I soon realized with all the museum curated displays and stuffed animals hanging from the roof that it must be part of Roatan's wooden boat museum.

Alas, we were destined to ride with our friendly informative Captain (his name now eludes me) in the Happy Landing, a super dooper seaworthy old wooden boat that swayed from side to side with any small movement or shift of weight from its passengers.  For a sum of $25 apiece, he would transport us to the Hole in the Wall restaurant/bar and give us a tour of the canals and mangroves in the Oakridge/Jonesville area of Roatan.

As we boarded, we were told to sit exactly in the center of each row (unless we wanted to go for a swim).  It reminded me of a canoe with a motor!  I was thinking positive thoughts that Happy Landing = Happy Ending!

After several attempts by Captain Morgan to start the sputtering motor, we were off on our adventure.  Ever heard that song "Papa goin' fishin', Mama goin' fishin', rockin' in a wooden boat?  Papa's choice of t-shirts on Sunday was extremely unfortunate because everyone behind him (just me and Junior, our taxi driver) were destined to look at that Arrogant Bastard the entire trip.

Along the way, we saw lots of fishing boats and colorful homes.  Evidently the owner of Twitter has allowed his yacht to become a rust bucket.  Who would have thought!

I'll save the bulk of my boat tour photos for another post since this one is actually about the destination.  Or is life supposed to be about the journey?  Now I'm confused!

I think these homes along the canal are in Oakridge, but then again, it could be Jonesville (which was supposedly a settlement where everyone belonged to the Jones family).  I snapped 300 photos with three different cameras during tour day, so my facts may be faulty!

After a rockin' ride in the wooden boat (and I mean that literally), I saw an oasis in the distance.  Could it be the famous Hole in the Wall?

We have arrived!

 The famous Hole in the Wall bar! 

The place was completely decked out in the rustic chic that is so popular now.  They were even playing bowling on the big screen in the lounge!  If only it'd been the Seahawks game, Craig might have paid the captain to come back for us in three hours!

Soon after we'd consumed our lobster burgers, more arrivals pulled in to tie up.  Best boat award goes to a tiny homemade barge on pontoons with occupants relaxing in two white plastic loungers anchored to the deck.  They have a $25 buffet on Sunday's with conch soup and all the seafood you can eat.  It really pulls 'em in!

More dock decor!  You can leave your name anywhere with a magic marker if you like!

They evidently heard the clothesline queen was coming because they even had a nice display out back in my honor!

Stay tuned!  I'll post more photos from the wooden boat/mangrove tour later.