Tuesday, April 13, 2010

written Sunday morning...

I'm writing this post as I sip coffee in our little apartment on the beach in Roatan.  For the next month, we will be islanders and we are really excited about it.  Yesterday morning, we moved in and I have to say that this was our easiest move ever.  We packed up our bags, walked about 10 minutes, checked in, came into our new place and unpacked.  The whole thing took about an hour which included about 45 minutes of sitting on the beach waiting for the manager.  As we sat on the beach waiting, we met some of our new neighbors...2 guys from the Honduran mainland.  Then, we saw the next door neighbor get off his boat and carry in 2 HUGE Jackfish.  Apparently, the guy is a fisherman, who goes out every morning.  Our goal is to make friends with him and figure out how we can get a steady supply of fresh fish to cook in our little kitchen.  All this before we even brought up our bags.

Our apartment isnt the Ritz but we are very happy with it.  The bed is comfortable and we have more than enough space.  Our little balcony, complete with the requisite hammock, faces the ocean.  If we look closely, we can see a little bit of the brilliant blue Carribbean, but the view is mostly blocked by shady mango trees....I'm not complaining, though.  The mango tree's are full of green mangos which will hopefully ripen as we are here so that at some point we can reach right over from the hammock to grab a fresh, ripe mango.

Yesterday, we went snorkeling with a couple from Illinois that we had met the other night over dinner.  It reminded us of what is the greatest part of this island.  The island itself is gorgeous...sandy beaches, lush landscapes and very friendly people.  The most amazing thing is that you walk to the beach, put on your snorkeling gear, stick your head in the water and you realize the the reef is right here full of all different kinds of tropical fish, corral and fans.  On many islands, you have to hire a boat to get out and see the fish but here, its just not necessary.

I tend to brush over the negative aspects of the places that we go because its just more fun to ignore them and focus on the positive aspects of a place.  I try not to even see the negative things because I came on this trip to be happy and relaxed not to complain.  I dont want to paint an inaccurate picture so here is a list of the negative things here that in no way out weigh the positives.

1.  Sand fleas - there's no getting around it, they suck!  They tore me up in Jamaica but I learned from that experience and am combatting them with plenty of Off.  There is no going outside here without it and I will be honest and say that I do have some bites and they are ugly and itchy but I have always been a biting insect magnet and I dont think that I have more bites than I would have in the summer at home.

2.  Restaurant Prices - They are comparible to those at a nice restaurant at home.  Its not so shocking probably if you come here directly from the states but on a backpacker's budget, they are insane.  Its ok, though, because the prices at the grocery store arent bad and we stocked up yesterday and will happily cook for ourselves most of the time.  We can walk and buy fresh produce anytime from the truck that parks in the West End.

3.  Heat - Its hot here during the day.  We sweat buckets and between the bug spray, sunscreen and sweat, we generally feel pretty grimy between noon and 4pm.  Its ok, though, because the real action is in the water and the Carribbean is always the perfect temperature.  There is also no limit to the number of showers that we can take a day AND did I mention that our apartment has AC?  We will try to only run it in the late afternoon and when we sleep because electricity is outrageously expensive here and even though electric is included in our rent, I dont want to drive these people into the poor house.  Once it gets dark at 6pm, though, the temperatures cool down nicely and its very pleasant.