Published: July 31st 2012July 23rd 2012
July 23 - I couldn't manage it, the relaxing. So not a good relaxer. I woke up at 6:30am and repacked, emailed, was sick, etc. The usual morning routine. So I started taking the meds for my stomach. Then I headed upstairs at 7:30 for breakfast and the woman who runs the hotel had already cooked it. Very nice. I waited at 8am for the cab driver who said he would be there, but by 8:10 I just found another, with the help of the same woman. At the port, I bought my round trip ticket for the ferry that would take me to Roatan. It came with a sea sickness tablet, which I almost took. Then I remembered that I have been on boats almost every day of this trip, sometimes several a day. And this boat was big, 400 or more capacity. How bad could it be? Well, it was bad. I took one of the sick bags they were handing out to everyone and had to put my book away and take out my music to concentrate on something else other than throwing up. Especially since there was a lady I could see who had just thrown up
in her bag and I got an unfortunate sight – and whiff - of it. Horrible. I could just feel my stomach going up and then dropping again with each wave. Breakfast certainly did not help. That was the first time I have even listened to music the whole trip, but I think it came in handy. Thank you, Ashley, for my tiny travel ipod that fits everywhere. Somehow I was not sick, which was great, but I couldn't imagine having to get back on the boat in three days to go back to La Ceiba. I should have bought a place ticket.
Off the boat and luggage reclaimed, I found a collective taxi that would take me to West End, the town I would be staying in. Roatan is not particularly cheap, but this part of the island has more budget accomodation. The driver helped me find Burke's place, the first place I wanted to try. I ended up staying. I decided to take a huge room, with private kitchenette and bathroom. No a/c or wifi, but so far it is breezy and cool enough. It is nice to have the space, but without tv and wifi, I
feel more lonely. I am actually the only person staying here, which is even more lonely.
Once settled in, I went for a walk of the town, hoping to feel excited. I don't know if it was the cloudy weather, the boat ride, the construction down most of the only street, or just me, but I was not really impressed. There are many severely overpriced restaurants, a bunch of gift shops, and bunches of dive shops. I have pretty much decided I am not interested in diving anymore, so that wasn't particularly interesting for me. I went searching for lunch as well, since it was already close to 2pm at this point. I decided to eat at this little Honduran food place and got an avocado baleana, like I did yesterday. It's basically a thin flour tortilla/dough that gets cooked on the flat grill and then toppings are added in and then it is folded over. Yesterday I paid a dollar, today it was a dollar and a half. Not bad. While I was there, these two girls came up and of course I made them talk to me, attention starved as I was. They are both teachers at
an international school in Mexico City and it turns out they work with a guy I met in Punta Gorda as I was leaving Belize into Livingston. He had just come in from Livingston. Funny how small the world is. And how much teachers travel. Yay teachers!
I had no idea what to do with myself, so I stopped at the small grocery store and bought some food for dinner and came back to the room where I talked to the guy who owns the place – Burke? - and found out he thinks Obama is a communist. Then I decided to try the beach for a swim. When I got there, I sat down and tried to enjoy myself. It's times like this when I wished I had a book, not a kindle. No way was I going to get my kindle all sandy. But that meant I had nothing to do. It was actually too cool to enjoy swimming, with all the clouds. And I kept getting bitten my little gnat like bugs. I have several unattractive red bumps now. I came back again, talked to Burke about weird guests stealing his things, and then went back
into town just to feel like I was part of things again. I knew it would be lonely here tonight. Well, I looked in a few gift shops and decided to save the others for tomorrow. Then I came back. Again. There was a mom cat and two kittens out and about and they ran under the house next to mine when I came. Scaredy cats indeed. I tried to get them out until I heard a mosquito buzz. I don't want malaria more than I wanted to play with the cats, so I came in. I showered and made the agonizing choice between my two dinner options – mac and cheese or black beans with an avocado from Mr. Burke himself (he has a tree). That's right, black beans won out. And it was delicious. I find myself wanting to finish the whole can, of course. But will try to save it for tomorrow. I also have pudding for dessert and granola and soy milk for breakfast, which I brought over from the mainland. Glad, since no soy milk seems to exist here on the island. Tomorrow I may go to West Bay, a pretty beach a couple kilometers
away. By water taxi – another boat. Maybe snorkel. Hopefully it will be less boring. I really need to start staying in places that are more social again. I like the idea of quiet and peace, but it would be nice if I had someone to talk to.
There was a lot of time for introspection today and it led to so many questions. Why am I here? What am I hoping to find/do/see/learn? Am I really a traveler, or just a tourist? I seem to just be in tourist places, does that change the nature of my trip? Am I the people who annoy me? Will I get to see any of the Olympics? When did hot and humid third world countries become less interesting for me? It is because I have more money now? Because I have seen so many other great places where my skin feels better and not greasy all the time? (Though I admit my feet get dry and crack up quickly in those places, and the opposite seems to be happening here in the land of humidity). I find I still really love American things – tv shows in American (not British), the
movie and restaurants I saw yesterday made me ridiculously happy – but I like living in Europe as well. I want to travel but also find I want to start staying home more and relaxing there. In a place where I know I can actually relax. So who am I?
Thursday - Today I experienced some conflicted emotions. I did not sleep well. It was warm, and I found myself ridiculously itchy. Sand fly bites from the beach, but also a mosquito in my room. I killed it and put on insect repellent. I'm not convinced the Swiss make a good repellent. In the morning there was another mosquito. It took me a while to kill this one. It was definitely playing with me. My leg is covered in bites, and I am nervous about tonight. And getting malaria. I hate wearing repellent all the time. Just another thing that makes me feel gross in the tropics. I spent the morning trying to keep myself busy. I wrote in my journal, and read through my travel guide about all of the cities I should come to in the next week and half or so, trying to pick out hotels
or hostels that sound good. I think I need to start staying in some dorms to meet people, even though I'd rather have a private a/c room with wifi and tv. I read my book. I slathered up with sunscreen and then headed out to the internet cafe. It was a sunny day, much nicer than the depressing gray of yesterday. The cafe had lost power due to the construction, but said it should be on soon, so I stayed and read my book. Shortly afterwards I was able to get online and skype with Jeroen. I planned the timing well. He hadn't been home long. It was nice to talk to him. I have felt so stressed out the last day or so. Sadly, he is also stressed out with his job. He had just gotten home and was planning to start working again. He has to go to Austria every other week for a few days, and now it looks like he'll be going more often. He might even be gone the whole week when I come back from this trip. At least I'll be there and he won't have to find a cat sitter then. The little
girl who normally watchs them is on vacation, and fortunately the neighbors who have cats have been around and helped him out the last two times. Anyway, even though we're both a mess I felt much better after that call. I came back to eat the other half of last night's dinner of black beans and avocado, and then headed out to the beach. I put my sarong down under some trees near a couple of girls and then decided to get in the water. One of the girls was in and we started talking. Or more like, I made her talk to me. Her friend came in soon and we all chatted a bit. They were undergrads and have been living on the island next door, Utila, for the last four weeks helping out with a volunteer project. They came to Roatan just to see another place before going home. It was good to have a chat. An hour later I came out of the water and started reading The Age of Innocence, which I found in my room. A real book, much better suited to the beach than a kindle. It's not my normal read but I may
finish it. From there I showered and went for another walk down the main street, walking next to or around bulldozers at work. So weird. Tomorrow I will get up early and take a taxi to the other side of the island to where the cruise ships come in. My family is on a ship that will be here tomorrow, and I plan to spend the day with them, my sole purpose for coming to Honduras on this trip. Supposedly it is cheaper if I get a cab to take me to the town of Coxen Hole and then another to take me to the ship. Hopefully. I hope I can get close enough to the ship to even find them. I don't have a plan for once we are together, but it should be a nice day. Twenty four of them I think – there will be lots of people to talk to!
Friday - Today was a good day. I woke up at 6:15am and found out that my room had no water for some reason. So that made the toilet unfortunate and the face washing more complicated. I finished getting ready and wanted to leave by
7am, but I also wanted to tell Mr. Burke that my water was gone. I knocked on the wrong house first and then his and couldn't find him. I came back to write him a note and then he was there. He came to fix it but I didn't have time to let the toilet tank to fill up before I had to go. So I just hoped that would be ok when I got back. Then I walked into town and tried to find a cab and found I needed to walk down a different street. Then I stood with three others waiting for a taxi and we got in a few minutes later and started off towards Coxen Hole, the main town near here. From here I got another cab to Mahogany Bay, where the cruise ship docks. When we got near the turn off, he said I would have to pay more to go to the boat and I argued with him until he got where I needed to be, which was a remarkably short distance anyway. I walked in and found my parents and sister Jackie at about 7:59am. I was excited I was on time
– a minute early even – and then found my mom on the edge of tears. It turns out that they were on “ship” time, which was the same as Florida time, two hours later than here. So for her, it was 10am and I was two hours late, meaning that I could be lost or dead. I had no idea about ship time. What a mess. Sucks too, because it meant I lost time with them on both sides of the day.
We decided to just go to the beach for the day, which was a Carnival beach, owned by the cruise ship. You had to have a ship ID to enter, but somehow I passed through with my parents by some magic. Always illegally crossing borders, I am. We were by no means the first people to get there, and the little clamshell seats my mom wanted to rent were rented, but all the other chairs were free, so we grabbed 10 or so of them in the shade in what might have been the least pretty part of the beach. But I thought it was fine. I spent the next few hours swimming, getting sunburned, etc. I shared a half jerk chicken meal with my mom that was quite good. Of course, we ate lunch at what was 10:30 in the morning for me, but it worked out fine. Over the course of the day, I met all the others. My other sister Jamie and her family and friends, my nephew and his cousins, my sister's baby daddy, his girlfriend, his brother and family and so on. It was a long list. It was really nice to see everyone. They all started to disperse at different times and eventually it was just me and my mom. We walked into some of the port shops and looked around, especially the ones with air con. My mom made me take her hat, since I forgot to bring one. We also looked at the taxis to see how easy it would be for me to get one. The taxis there all charge a ton, because they take advantage of the cruisers. My mom wanted to pay for an expensive taxi for me, but I was opposed on principle, and luckily she didn't have any money on her. It wasn't going to be that difficult. I just had to walk up to the main road and get a shared taxi. But then she was going to walk me up there to make sure I got one, and I didn't want her walking back alone. Fortunately, as we went back and forth about it, a shared taxi magically appeared and I had to say goodbye quickly. I found it hard to say goodbye, just like when I saw her two weeks ago, but maybe it was better then that it had to be fast. I went back to Coxen Hole, and since it was much earlier than I expected, I stayed to use the internet and shop for dinner. The internet was far cheaper there, which was great. I was a little late to talk to Jeroen, but played around anyway and sent some emails. The grocery store only added to my pleasure. So many yummy looking things from the states that made me happy just to see. I bought a couple of things, including ramen noodles for dinner and some baby wipes, as my stepfather suggested today, in case I don't have water again sometime. Then it was another share taxi home.
Back at the room, I discovered that someone who works here had been in and that my bathroom door was propped open, the toilet was clean and eve had toilet cleaner in it. That made me nervous. Did it stink that bad all day that someone came in to fix it, since I couldn't flush it properly this morning? Or did he just know I didn't have time and had someone clean? Either way, embarrassing. I went for my regular evening walk a few minutes later, and saw something strange, but I couldn't tell what it was. On closer inspection, it was a cat with its head stuck in a plastic container. I took a picture of it, and then grabbed the container to help it. But I didn't grab hard enough and the cat was scared and took off. Not easily, but too fast to do anything about it. I felt bad. I hope someone will help it. As I walked down to the beach, I saw the cruise ship sailing past! Very cool, knowing they were all there. I took some pictures of the ship to show them later. I also ran into one of the teachers I met two days ago. She was heading to a yoga class. She came and talked to me. Yay! A semi-friend!! On the beach I also saw a bee walking on the sand out to sea. It kept getting hit by the waves, so I saved it. Hopefully it wanted to be saved. When I got back, there was a huge fly in my room. I saved it. And just now, there was enormous cricket or something scarily flying around the room. I saved it. I still feel bad about the cat. I made dinner and read my book while I ate. Now it's time to repack and make some decisions about tomorrow. I have to leave quite early to make the 7am boat. Then I'm planning to get to the capital, Tegucipalpa, to make a bus that next day to San Salvador if possible. Bring on a new country!