When the Roatan Vortex pulled me in… Without hesitation I made the move to paradise!
That was more than 3 years ago, and yup, I’m glad I did! But like all good-for-me-choices, even Paradise has a few less than “paradise like qualities.”
Some, I’ve had to accept; no movie or live production theatres. I love a good movie, sitting in a comfy seat, surround sound engulfing me, munching on popcorn, chewing Red Twizzlers, and gulping a large Coca-Cola. As for going to a LIVE production… you can’t beat them, I’m partial to plays; drama, comedy, musical—they all work for me. But alas, those aren’t available on Roatan.
Then there are those things that are a part of living on Roatan, I’d rather weren’t, but I’ve gotten use to them… more often than not… they involve… BUGS!
WARNING: The following information is not for the squeamish or faint of heart! Graphic descriptions of bugs (and other critters) wreaking havoc is described in great detail. The information within this commentary is based on fact and may cause nightmares, or worse yet… scare you off from visiting and/or moving to Roatan.
Kidding! It’s not that bad… actually pretty funny stuff… a few encounters did require doing the “heebee jeebee” dance before I laughed though.
Lizards (including Geckos)
They are everywhere! Once I got used to them, I realized it was a good thing that they like to hang out in my cabana! They are faster than any flyswatter I can buy. It is quite entertaining to watch them stalk their prey… then lunge… the flies don’t stand a chance, as the lizard chomps on their tiny wings and body.
As for my personal encounters with lizards: When I opened a kitchen cupboard, and unbeknownst to me there was a gecko on the back side of the door, I definitely did the “heebee jeebee” dance when the gecko flew through the air (I had no idea I opened cupboard doors with such force) and wound up… going down my shirt!
The only other issue I have with lizards is that they poop everywhere! Now, their fecal matter is not that big, and it doesn’t smell. But, sheesh… why does one always come by (after I’ve made the bed) and poop on my freshly laundered sheets!
Did you know that 9 out 10 ants prefer FreshMint Pepsodent over WinterFresh Pepsodent? I do, when I have to rinse them off my toothbrush, and from around the edge of the cap. What does that tell you about how much sugar’s in toothpaste!
Army ants are my favourite; I never know when they will arrive, but when they do… what a show! They march (of course they do, they’re army ants) up the stairs by the thousands, then break off into numerous lines, the scouts in the lead, as they enter the cabana. Please don’t try to stop them with bug spray, leave the chemical warfare to eradicate the odd scorpion that may wander in. We’re too big for army ants to bother with anyhow. Just stay out of their way and they will (within an hour or so) hunt down, and cart away EVERY bug in your home! Then, as orderly as they came in… they leave!
I’ve got enough material and photos to do an entire story on bats, but for the purposes of this one, I’ll keep it brief.
Bats are good! They do a mighty fine job of keeping the mosquito population down. But, the bats, that we have many of on Roatan, are also partial to fruit. So when they’re not winging around at night, swooping in and catching mosquitoes, they are snatching fruit from trees and bringing it to my front porch, where they hang upside down in the rafters to dine. Bits and pieces of peel and pulp are carelessly dropped. The big finally is when they have nibbled away as much as they can… the bat drops the pit, which lands with a loud “clank” then rolls around for a while. Sweeping up after them in the morning wouldn’t be so bad, except they also (frequently) use their dining room as a bathroom too!
I have done battle with the bats for a long time, trying all kinds of contraptions to encourage them to roost elsewhere… nothing worked, until about ten months ago when I devised a plan, assembled the necessary tools and products, and now I can say the rafters above my cabana porch are BAT FREE! Okay, except for that one little guy, that I still have to do something about. Stay tuned for the complete story on how to get rid of the bat in your rafters.
Bugs in my Pasta
It’s warm on Roatan pretty much all the time (of course it is, being in the tropics), an ideal climate for bugs to do their thing—and they like to hang out in sealed packages of dry pasta! The pasta I purchase at the grocery store I inspect for signs of the beasts, more often than not I won’t see any. A dead-giveaway that they will appear soon is if the edges of the noodles are whitish grey, with a chalky dust settled in the bottom of the bag—I’ll put that package back on the shelf and hunt for a fresher one. But, even when I choose one that appears to be bug free, by the time I dump the pasta into a pot of boiling water… there they are, hundreds of them… floating to the surface.
It has been suggested that I should skim them off at this point… I don’t know about that! Once I’ve seen them cooking along with my pasta… I kinda lose my appetite. Instead, I’ve gotten into the habit of dumping the dry pasta into the strainer (that I’ve got ready in the sink) and shake out the bugs before I cook it, watching them scurrying around, as I turn on the tap, and flush them down the drain. Works for me!
Roatan is not swarming with bees, if anything efforts are in progress to encourage more. Bees are definitely good, and have a very important role when it comes to pollinating plants. I’ve not had any trouble with them nesting in my cabana, but I did witness what was done when a large nest was discovered behind an outside wall at the Municipal Office in Coxen Hole.
I was there bright and early Monday morning to pay my property taxes (that too warrants a story of its own.) While I stood at the counter… waiting, and… waiting, and… waiting, I glanced toward the (glass doors) entrance. The people outside preparing to enter the Municipal Office were frantically waving their arm, swatting and shaking off BEES, that I caught glimpses of through a cloud of smoke that was wafting by.
Oh my God! Is this it… Have African Killer Bees made their way to Roatan? Are we under attack?! Or perhaps there is a film crew outside, and the bees are just prop-bees, the people trying to enter the building are actors in a movie being shot about what would happen if African Killer Bees DID make it to Roatan!
And then I saw him—an empty onion sack pulled over his head, a bucket of smoking coals clutched in his hand. He climbed the ladder, propped against the outside wall, fighting his way past the tangle of electrical lines strung between the hydro poles. In preparation for his attack, a 4×8 section of wall had been removed, exposing a massive bee’s nest! “Onion Sack Head Man” did manage to retrieve chunks of honeycomb (using the smoke to calm the bees) before he switched to a can of RAID!
Getting out of the Municipal Building to return to my vehicle proved to be quite the challenge—dodging angry bees, and other frantic pedestrians anxious to get where they had to go without getting stung!
I made it to the Municipal Parking Lot, and before I drove away, I took a moment to wander to the far end of the lot to gaze at why I choose Roatan.