02 September 2005

Hello from Honduras

Greetings from Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras.

I'm told that the Bay Islands were the first place Christopher Columbus visited when he reached "the new world." I don't know if that's true or not, but it's so peaceful and undeveloped here, it's easy to imagine the Nina, the Pinta and/or the Santa Maria sailing in to shore. I'm here for, you guessed it - a scuba event. The guests arrive tomorrow - nearly 100 of them- for a week of diving, drinking and partying in paradise. It's singles week here in Roatan, so the sarongs will be swinging and the guts will be heaving.

It certainly was an adventure getting here. We left from LAX at two in the morning. The five hour flight took us to El Salvador where I thought for a second that we were making an emergency landing because, looking out of the airplane window, I couldn't see anything below us but jungle. As it turned out, everything was fine. The runway appeared and the San Salvador airport is actually quite nice. From there we flew to San Pedro Sula, Honduras, then to La Ceiba (lah say-ba), and finally we landed in Roatan at around 11am. Yes, that's five different airports in one day. Phew!

The little island hopper plane is funny, they won't send the flight until the plane is at least half-full, and sometimes they stop in La Ceiba and sometimes they don't. On the plane in San Pedro Sula, they'll ask, "How many for Roatan?" "Okay, how many for La Ceiba?" My boss, likened it to a city bus where you have to push the button to get the stop you want.

I went on a dive this morning and saw my first seahorse (a black one, nearly six inches long), a baby cow fish, and a moray eel swimming across the reef. As the boat cruised around the island to our dive site, I was amazed by how few houses and hotels there were. On a similar drive around Grand Cayman or Cozumel, you'd easily see a dozen gigantic hotels rising out of the jungle - not to mention half a dozen cruise ships. But Roatan has only the occasional palm frond roof peeking out from the trees. As we drove around we saw local kids playing in front of their one-room home, and another couple of kids sleeping in a rowboat (fishing lines forgotten and drifting next to the boat).

That said, Roatan is by no means a deserted island, there are a number of large resorts here and the reality TV show Temptation Island was filmed at Luna Beach Resort (at the other end of the island from where I am). Most of the action is at "West End" where there are a number of restaurants and places to shop. There is also an amazing variety of wildlife. Walking back from the dive shop today I saw a four foot iguana (not including the tail), a female peacock, a skinny cat, several large butterflies, three goats, and this thing they call an island rabbit. It kind of looks like a really big hampster crossed with a mole. I hear there are monkeys who like to steal shiny objects, but I haven't seen them yet (have been keeping a close eye on my shiny objects nonetheless).

It's nice to get away from the fast-paced, $3 a gallon world. Right now, the only thing I have to worry about is making sure I put on enough bug repellent. Of course, all that changes tomorrow when the one hundred guests descend upon the resort. Then it's going to be, "When does the next boat leave? Where can I rent a camera? Does this smell funny to you? I think a monkey stole my room key!"

Hmmm, thinking about all that reminds me - I need to go take a siesta.

Until next time,


P.S. Here is where I am staying: