Saturday, January 24, 2009

Last Utila Blog!

Incredible restaurant, hotel, bar..Jade Seahorse on Utila

Took 15 yrs to build...this is full of shells, bottles, etc.
The detail work on this place is stunning
Jade Seahorse rooms...enchanting, would love to stay there
Has to be seen in person to really appreciate
Beautiful arch

So many nooks and crannies at the Jade Seahorse

HH cooks, Zeidi and Mirna with Mgr. Loretta

HH employees Tammy (we had lots of laughs, thanks for the lobsters Tammy!) and Ellen
Simba a cutie patootie. sorry for the sideways pic

HH employees, Ellie and Lori, twins that I can never tell apart!
View from the HH Internet Room, nice, eh?

HH Internet Center, where I was most of the time
Beautiful sunset coming back from Utila to the Cay, for you Joann!
Yes, a real beach! But on Utila, none on the Cay

Delicious Cantaloupe Juice, Zanzibar Cafe, Utila

Very nice place to stay on Utila called Lighthouse

Getting towed to Utila after breaking down

Stranded after breaking down on Mr. Donald's water taxi

Licsy and, come rescue us!

Maybe we don't want to be rescued..we're in paradise!
Pam and me goin' with the flow after breaking down
Jade Seahorse
Kelly at the Jade Seahorse Inn

Feeding apples to the horses
Kelly at the caves where you can swim

Beautiful ocean view from Pumpkin Hill
Local Cayon woman salting fish which they sell to visiting Catholics for lent
Me at ML which I was marketing to sell land

Doing my fave hunting
Henry with HH in background

Garifuna cleaning a Black Fin Shark

Well folks, it's finally time to say goodbye to the wonderful Cayons, divers and tourists I've met along my interesting journey to the Utila Cay in the Bay Islands of Honduras. I leave tomorrow morning for an uncertain future back in San Diego, California. Not sure what I will be doing there for work, but I am open to almost anything. I'm going to stay with a firefighter friend of my sons. All I know is I will be closer to Ocean Beach which is my dream place to live. Someday...and soon I hope.
I have had a lot of fun with my new roomates of the last few weeks, Kelly and her Dalmation, Basil. We went horse back riding on the most beautiful trail on Utila at Red Ridge Stables a few days ago..and I've got some sore thighs to prove it. She said horses always looked so emaciated in Guatemala, but they were well fed here. I might have mentioned this before, and am too lazy to look back...but her and her husband Dave are cruisers and live on their boat. He's got it up in dry dock on the mainland repainting it while Kelly has been working with me here at HH doing marketing. She's a tech whiz compared to me on the 'puter. But having her live in the house with me has been one of the bright spots on my journey. We have really had fun bonding, telling deep dark secrets (ha!) to each other and cooking together. We're damn good cooks if I do say so myself. And once Basil warmed up to me, she has been a total cuddlebug. I'm gonna miss her...ok, and you too Kelly. Thanks for turning me onto Maya-Ik hot sauce...gotta find me some of that stuff back home.
I am really going to miss the employees I worked with at Harbor House. Didn't get pics of them all, but thanks for making my time there that much richer, and teaching me about your culture, a little Spanish, absolutely fascinating. Antoinette, Tracy, Tammy, Loretta, Zeidi, Mirna, Janis, Ellie, Lori, Nicki, and new girls Ellen and Erin, thank you all.
All the locals have been so incredibly sweet. When I would tell each one I was leaving, they all said, "You're coming back, ya?" And Sheila, one of the market owners told me that I'm now a Cayon..that pretty much brought a tear to my eye. I guess I do have to come back now.
My only regret was not seeing that giant leviathan of the deep, the whale shark. Even though I went out on the dive boat to snorkel several times, I always seemed to just miss seeing them by a day. One day they saw 5 of them. Another reason to return.
Several of my friends have asked what did I learn about myself while I was here. I think I might have to digest that first and do a bit of hindsight introspection. Kind of hard to see it while I'm still here. One thing I can say though, I did find out that I'm a pretty good creative writer. Victoria really was pleased with a lot of the marketing material I wrote. Most of it was quite humorous, which I wasn't sure she would like, but she certainly did. I'm now applying for creative writing jobs, relating to marketing, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and entertainment reviews.
The horse back riding trip that Kelly and I went on was fun. I used to own a horse, but haven't ridden in over 15 yrs..and man, are my thighs sore today. Two hours in the saddle is a lot when you haven't gone out in a long time. But what gorgeous trails we were on. Mostly very lush, green and shady. We did one full out gallop and I almost felt like I was going to fall off the saddle..shows how long it had been for me. I'm a little ticked off that Kelly's thighs aren't sore..must be the luck of youth I guess. 2 hours for $25...much cheaper than anything back home.
Actually, everything here in Central America is very cheap. You come here with US dollars and it can go pretty far. But if you work here....not so much. I was offered a bartender position on Utila, but at about $15 a shift plus tips, which usually aren't much, I wouldn't have been able to save a dime. But rents are fairly cheap, especially if you have a roomate which you pretty much have to do. 1-2 bedroom places go for $250-350. Man, wish I could get that back home.
I think it's significant that when I would tell everyone that I was going home and it was too remote here for me, they would never feel the same way...they loved that about the Cay. People seem to love traveling through Central America...after all, it is quite affordable, especially if you are very young and don't mind giving up things that you were used to back home. In the long run, it is really not for me. I miss being able to go out to great restaurants, buying anything I want to make that special meal with, the creature comforts I've grown used to and am spoiled by. I'm a TV, I miss a lot of my shows back home. Maybe insignificant to some, but it's what I enjoy. I can still be near the ocean back home and go snorkeling if I want to. I know I will miss the color of the waters out here though. I could
never live in a land locked to have that sea...for some reason I just can't live without it.
So, it's been a lot of fun sharing my Caribbean adventures with you all. Thank you for your personal emails to me, your support when I got lonely, and for your comments on here. I hope to have another blog posted when the next story unfolds. Life affords us so much if we only open our arms, reach out, and embrace the great adventure.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

New Year's Eve 2008

My new roomate's dog, Basil

Two bunnies that live on the Cay..cute, eh?

Cassandra and Toby emerging from their NYE night dive

Toby, Anka, Jerry and Renee gettin' down to Michael Jackson

Jerry, Anka, Cassandra dancing the night away

Anka, do ya bend like that?

Cassandra kickin' it

Doin' the Swedish Hokey Pokey?

Jerry and his Dad Jim, trying to follow Renee

Renee and boyfriend Oscar leading the Swedish hokey pokey?

17 in our motley crew on New Years

Kingfish feeding the masses...yummmm!!!!

Jim and Lighter laughing it up over homemade hootch

Anka, me and Jerry welcoming in the New Year

Chowin' down

Curtis trying to fan the flames with an air tank!

Had another great party with all my diver friends on New Year's Eve here on the Cay. We stayed and partied at the Hotel Kayla where they all stay. I gotta tell ya, it is SOOOO cheap to stay there. It's very basic, backpacker's kind of hotel. $10 a night..and if you get their dive package...only $5 a night! Wow.

Alex, who made our fish feast on Water Cay on Xmas Eve, was the chef du jour again that evening and made a big Kingfish that you can see above. That along with some veggies and papas..and LOTSA rum, we were fueled to the gills..pardon the pun. There were 17 of us, and at one point, one of the Canadians pointed out that I was the token American. I reflected on that later as I was three sheets to the wind at the time she mentioned it. It is kind of cool making friends from all over the world...most only stay for a few days and then move on. You almost feel like you're saying goodbye to old friends. Some of the divers are instructors or staying to get their dive master certs, so those are the ones I know the best..they stick around longer. Either way, ya gotta move on at some point.

The pics where you can see us all around the table, standing on chairs or on the floor was a really fun thing that I thought was going to be stupid. As we sat around after finishing our meal, and looking like stuffed pigs, our Swedish friend Renee said..c'mon, lets all stand up, I have something fun for us to do. I thought..oh she going to make us do the hokey pokey or something?? Well, my worst fear was realized, but it turned out to be quite a laugh. She did do something similar, but she would hold her hands up and make funny sounds, or non sensical words and had us repeat them..we were laughing our asses off and as she got us up off of them (our asses that is) and it really energized us all...for more drinking and dancing!

I brought my iPod and speakers and you can see us all dancing, mostly to Michael Jackson songs..and I just love the pic of Toby, our friend from Germany doing his best MJ. I hear there is a pic floating around of me grabbing my crotch, a la Jackson style, but I have yet to actually see it.

At midnight, we all went out to the top deck of Captain Morgan's dock and I had one bottle of champagne for us all, poured a few sips for everyone, and we celebrated with fireworks going off all over the Cay. We could even see big ones in the sky from Utila. Toby and Cassandra went diving at midnight to share a cerveza a cool pic of them coming out of the water above.

A great time was had by all. It reminded me of the old days when I was younger and partied like crazy on New Year's Eve...usually I have a pretty quiet one the last few years. Ah youth....nothing like hanging out with them to make ya feel young again. Who am I kidding? I don't do most things someone my age would do. Like my 26 yr old dive master friend Frederick said the other don't look 54, you don't talk like you're 54 and you don't act like you're 54. I know it's a good thing not to look 54, but is the rest ok?? Or am I in arrested development? Who cares. I'm in the Caribbean, I have two weeks left before I go home and I am richer for the experience. Life is good..turned upside down the last 6 months, but good.