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Sand (Road) Hockey on Roatan

23 May

Sand (Road) Hockey on Roatan


So I moved to a tropical island and a hockey game broke out! As the temperature hovered close to 90 F with nary a cloud in the sky and the humidity around one hundred percent, the spectators filed in, some had paid extra for box seats, and/or to watch on the big screens at the bar… not! The team members donned their uniforms and took to the… sand!

The ice… I mean, sand had been diligently prepared by dedicated volunteers for the first annual hockey tournament on Roatan; boards in place, the surface raked and watered down to cut the dust, state of the art goals (nets) assembled, and one red traffic cone at each end of the rink to discourage vehicles, pedestrians, and scooters from coming through, which helped somewhat, but there were game interruptions when somebody would yell… CAR!

The penalty box (also known as the public washroom) was only called into use once during the entire tournament; I don’t think there was anybody who wanted to be a referee. Of the six teams that played, one team consisted of female hockey players (the Lil Puckers), and although they didn’t win the cup, they sure gave the guys a run for their money, and had the best, original uniforms too.

Speaking of cups… one incident did indicate that the guy’s uniforms (or lack thereof) should have included some form of protection, other than that though, pleasantly surprised there were no serious injuries to players or spectators. The slap shot from John C that bounced off my head while I was taking pictures doesn’t count since I was stupid enough to get to close for the perfect shot… literally. And the players, well, they were looking a little scraped up, noticed a few duct tape bandages by the end of the day, and the majority of them were moving a little slower as the tourney wound down.

All the great action of sand road hockey aside, the highlight of the day’s events was when the Zamboni (Sandboni) took to the ice, I mean, sand… you know what I mean.

But just like the players taking a dip in the Caribbean Sea between games, there wasn’t much typical about Hockey on Roatan, other than it brought together good friends, to have great fun… and that’s definitely typical of Roatan!

Congratulations to the winning team: The Cocolobo’s

Lots of pictures of all the action can be seen here: Sand (Road) Hockey Tourney
Proceeds from the Tournament went to SOL Foundation—Developing Nations, one child at a time.

Special thanks to Bonnie and Ron, Lisa and Stu, sponsors: Cocolobo, Sundowner’s, and 101.1 FM Roatan Radio.com. Hockey sticks and replacement blades donated by: Toni, John, and Mary Mollica, Donna and Ed Cotnam; which were shipped to Roatan courtesy of Sunwing Charters, and thanks to Larry Avery (please confirm I got your name right) for donating road hockey ball for the tourney, poster design courtesy of PhunkiMonkey Designs.

The next Sand (Road) Hockey Tournament will be July 1st, Canada day, in front of Sundowner’s, West End, Roatan… you’re not going to want to miss it!

More teams, sponsors, equipment (specifically more hockey sticks and Gatorade drink mix powder) and prize donations, and spectators welcome!!!

Roatan Kids

19 May

We all want to give our children access to the best opportunities in life. For most parents it means sourcing the best schools, involvement in sports and/or the arts, commitment to social causes, close contact with extended family; a combination of many factors really.

When my kids were growing up I chose the neighbourhood we would live in based on what schools were nearby, I supported their passion of the week; buying the equipment and attending every sporting event from: basketball, volleyball, track & field, rugby (freaked me out that my son had to tape his ears down though so they wouldn’t get ripped off!) to my daughter’s rowing regattas at 6 AM. I was always grateful that neither of them was interested in playing hockey (too expensive for me) but the year my daughter was four, I did faithfully take her every Saturday morning, regardless of the weather (that means a lot when it is winter in Ontario) to her ballet class. When it was time for her recital I sat in the front row, watching my “little teapot” throw a temper tantrum while all around her the other “little teapots” showed off their handles & spout. Santa arrived with a snowboard and season’s pass to the local resort for my son one year, the snowboard season can last four or five months where we lived; for my son it was one day, when on his second run down the hill he broke his collarbone.

My daughter Rosie & her partner Gup (at least that's what everyone calls him.)

I bought the Girl Guide cookies, and followed discreetly behind when it was time to go door-to-door getting pledges for the upcoming Walk for MS. Every occasion warranted inviting grandparents, aunts, uncle, cousins and friends over to the house to celebrate. Quite often, an event wasn’t required to call a meeting of the clan—we just liked spending time together. Yeah, I wanted to give my kids a good shot at developing into well rounded, socially conscious, productive adults. I’m happy to report we survived the teen years and they are happy healthy adults living full lives with their chosen partners, and I even have three awesome grandsons in the mix now.

Jumana (daughter-in-law), my son Jeff, me (yes my hair goes very straight when not in the tropics, note snow out side the window), across the front, my grandsons; Aaqil, Zain, and Kaisan

The thing is though—there is something I didn’t expose them to that I wish I had—experiencing life from a broader perspective.

Canada is known for welcoming people from diverse culture around the world, so my kids were fortunate to have many friends from many backgrounds, they were exposed to differences, but at the end of the day they returned to their own niche, a somewhat typical, middleclass, North American lifestyle. And while there was nothing wrong with that, anything outside of their norm was out of their comfort zone—mine too for that matter.

*

Science Fair
Not until I moved to Roatan, Honduras could I appreciate how much breaking out of the norm could have enriched my children’s developmental years. There are many Expat kids living on Roatan who are benefiting from a diverse perspective.

This past Friday the kids who attend Sandy Bay Alternative School held their Science Fair at Lands End Resort West End, I very much enjoyed their presentations; the range of topics covered many of the typical Science Project stuff, but with a Roatan approach. One involved studying how deep light can dive; of course it involved the student actually going diving to confirm his results. Another surrounded the properties of cooking oils and which are best for local foods such as plantains (sorta like a banana) which are a staple on Roatan.

Some studied the effects of using organic soils avoiding chemical fertilizers, and others focused on the effects of the sun, or participating in outdoor activities as appose to indoor activities—kids don’t spend much time indoors here.

More pics of the Science Fair can be seen here: Science Fair

*

Two Julia’s
On Saturday morning I had the great pleasure of interviewing two of the kids on the Roatan Vortex Radio Show. They shared their views of life on Roatan. One is eleven years old, originally from California, and has lived on Roatan for more than 6 years now. The other is also eleven years old, originally from South Africa, and has lived on Roatan for just a few weeks. You can hear what they had to say here:

 
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Here’s what they were doing right outside the studio at Half Moon Bay Beach after the show!

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May the Best Duck Win!
Sunday was the First Annual Duck Races at Infinity Bay Resort West Bay Beach. Oh my, what fun that was. The kids were raising money for the grade six graduation party and other school activities. The Roatan community came together to join in and support their efforts, local businesses sponsored prizes, and Roatan Radio broadcasted live from the event.

More pictures of the Duck Races can be seen here: Duck Races

*

Yup, my kids would have benefited greatly from experiencing a Roatan way of life!

Tour Guide and Tourist

5 May

My dad came for his first visit to Roatan.

Prior to his arrival he took advantage of my years of living on the Island to enquire what his best flight option was to get here from North Battleford, Saskatchewan.

With complete confidence I explained his possible routes and airline choices. The ease I felt in rattling off the details reminded me of the difference from my first few trips to Roatan when I didn’t have a clue how to get here (and neither did the travel agents I had contacted.)

The night before his scheduled arrival I got another question from him regarding (sorry dad, hope you don’t mind me sharing this stuff): what should he write on the Immigration Form as to where he would be staying on Roatan? Oh yah, I hadn’t told him my address. Not because I didn’t want him to know it (or anything like that) I didn’t tell him because we don’t do addresses on Roatan. “Just write down Sandy Bay,” I assured him that would be sufficient. While we were on the topic of arriving to Roatan, I let him know that he would also be given a Customs Form, which he could choose to fill out or not… since nobody would ask him for it, but his luggage would have to go through an x-ray machine. And no worries about finding each other at the airport… there is only one arrival gate.

Again, I couldn’t help but think back to when I first started coming to Roatan. I was convinced alarms would sound if I left the luggage area still clutching the Customs Form I had so painstakingly filled out on the plane. I was confused why my suitcases that had already cleared security in Houston were being x-rayed on Roatan, and I was terrified that the scheduled to pick me up person wouldn’t be waiting for me at the correct gate when I arrived.

Oh my, how things change when you do them enough times. I’ve flown to and from Roatan so many times now that I even felt qualified to write a story about what to do when your luggage doesn’t arrive with you.

I left home twenty minutes before my dad’s plane was due to land, traveled a familiar road (there is only one), greeted the parking attendant, and parked in the lot facing the Airport. When I went inside I didn’t bother stopping at the coffee shop… coffee machine’s been broken for a while now. I nodded and waved at familiar faces, I said goodbye to recent visitors I had met who were now standing at the check-in preparing to depart on the plane my dad was coming in on. I made my way to the arrival area, again waving and nodding at people I know, and took my place next to the others expecting a visitor or two. We chatted about how business was at their restaurant, did I know that the grocery store had fresh strawberries this week and how booked up all the resorts were for Semana Santa (Holy (Easter) Week.)

I glanced at the arrival board overhead, scrolling flight details. I didn’t pay much attention to it though… even if a flight is delayed nobody updates the stats. Dad did arrive on schedule, and so did his luggage, he crumpled up the Customs Form and tossed it in a nearby garbage can on the way to the car. While driving to my place I was the Tour Guide pointing out the highlights of the interesting features of Roatan between the airport and Sandy Bay. We chatted about all the places I would take him: the beaches, restaurants, resorts, the attractions and events we would attend. He promised to follow the 10 Tips to Not Get Treated like a Tourist but did admit he had considered wearing shorts with white knee socks and dress shoes when he arrived to tease me. Very funny dad!

I showed him which room would be his for the next two weeks, and while he unpacked I told him which beach bar we would be heading to so he could watch the final round of the Masters Golf Tourney. On the way to West Bay Beach, I couldn’t help but notice him clutching the OMG handle as I wove around sudden stopping taxis, chickens crossing the road (haha), on coming vehicles in our lane on most curves, and around the barrier set up at the top of one of the ridges to keep drivers and passengers from free falling where the road had been washed away by the big rain storm six weeks previous. (Dad stopped reaching for the OMG handle after a couple of days when he realized this was how all our road trips were going to be.)

For the duration of his visit, I introduced him to many friends, suggested where we should dine each day, and what attraction was next on our agenda. And while I was the Tour Guide, the coolest thing was I also got to be a Tourist! You know how it is… once you’ve lived somewhere for a while (even if it is a Tropical Island nestled in the Caribbean Sea) you don’t see it the way you did when you first visited—enthralled by all that unfolded in front of you.

For two weeks I got to enjoy Roatan with my dad as he did, marvelling in all it has to offer while at the same time being the Tour Guide sharing the inside scoop on Roatan.

For a review of some of the places we dined, and what we saw and did, be sure to visit: Roatan Vortex Forum – Tour Guide and Tourist.

The best cure for hoarding—Move to Roatan

29 Apr

I’ve always viewed moving from one home to another as a great opportunity to clear out that stuff I tucked away in the back of the closet, in the garage, in the basement, and even under the beds when I first moved to the house I would be leaving. You know, those boxes of unused fancy dishes, the objects-d-art and nic-nacs that (I have no idea why I ever bought them in the first place) won’t match anything in my new home, and then there was the stuff that I knew I would never use: the handy-dandy hot dog cooker my cousin gave me as a Christmas present (I swear, I never bought one of those), my collection of side tables and lamps (couldn’t leave a thrift store without buying at least one or the other), and of course the fondue pot with enough forks for a party of twenty.

I would promise myself, this move will be different, but more often them not, I’d convince myself, if I don’t bring that to my new location—guaranteed I’ll wish I had! A blank wall or a bare space on a shelf will glare at me, letting me know that if I’d only brought (insert whatever here) that spot wouldn’t have to endure being empty, or my cousin, who never visits me, might show up with a package of hot-dogs for me to cook for lunch.

I would force myself to give up at least a few items, dropping them off at the local thrift shop, proud of letting go—while I paid for the new-to-me lamp I bought while there! Alas, the majority of the junk moved with me.

And then there were clothes! Oh my! Tons of clothes that I never wore!

That outfit I saw in that Boutique window, tried on, and was sure I looked fabulous in until I got it home, put it on, looked in the mirror, and said, “huh?” I swear they do something to the mirrors in the try-on-rooms in stores. There were the clothes that I did love, but (for some reason) were snug in the waist now—I know, I’m just retaining a little water—they’ll fit again soon. But even when I separate my delusion of runway model vs reality, my clothes closet was jammed full of stuff that even if I changed my outfit 10 times a day… I still couldn’t manage to wear them all! I haven’t even mentioned the: shoes, belts, leg warmers (they might come back in style don’t you know) and other accessories necessary to complete—the look!

Then I moved to Roatan

Can’t move to Roatan with a U-Haul! Actually, I do know a few people who did, and quite a few had their stuff shipped down, but I had no idea (at the time) of how to do that, and besides, for me it was a new start—an opportunity to finally let go of all that—stuff!

Note: It is not cheap to ship your worldly possessions to Roatan. On top of the shipping charges, duties and taxes will have to be paid. Make sure it is really, really important to you before sending it here.

So I moved to Roatan with one suitcase jammed full! I guess I should mention that to get rid of what I had previously owned I called a local auction house and had them cart it off—yup, even my prized collection of side tables and lamps. As it turned out, there were a few things I wish I had brought, a few that I shouldn’t have bothered bringing, and many more that I now know—I will never need (or want) again!

The first year I lived on Roatan I kept a running list of must get items. I kept this handy so if family or friends were coming to visit I could rattle off what I needed them to bring. The list would get extra long when I was planning a visit back to Canada, and once I got back to the world of Box Malls and specialty stores on every corner, I’d spend the majority of my time there (when I should have been enjoying time with family and friends) wandering up and down the aisles drooling over all the stuff I was going to bring back to Roatan with me! It would take me the entire evening before I returned to Roatan (again, I should have been visiting family and friends) to strategically pack my new treasures.

Since year one, increasingly more is available on Roatan. There are still some things that I know it isn’t worth driving around to try to find because it’s not available here: art supplies, books by my favourite authors, or a decent cheese-grater, but for most stuff I need, I can now find it right here on Roatan. No wait a minute… I didn’t say that right…

Now that I live on Roatan, I’ve come to learn and greatly appreciate… I don’t NEED the vast majority of what I left behind… besides, most of what I did bring has either gone mouldy or rusted away to nothing!

This story can also be read at Honduras Weekly Retitled The Tropical Cure for Hoarding

For the list of what I brought to Roatan, what I continue to bring to Roatan, and those things you are better to leave behind—listen in to the Roatan Vortex Radio Show (tomorrow) Saturday, April 30, starting at 10 AM Roatan Time. Kind of short notice, sorry about that, you’ll also be able to find the list on the Roatan Vortex Forum, and on the Insider’s Guide for Moving to Roatan page, after the radio show. I taped copy of the show will also be posted on the Roatan Vortex Radio Show page.

 
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Smiling on Roatan

3 Apr

Some things that make me SMILE!!! What makes you smile? Let me know, and I’ll share on the next Roatan Vortex Radio Show, Saturday, April 9!

Friendship Ball from my friend Ruth

Dog on Roof

Leg Lamp Night light

Bee in the Cashew Tree Blossoms

The Upcoming Hockey Tournament

Mangoes Ripening on the Tree

Sun-boy Dancing in the Tiki Torch at Infinity Bay See him?

Grape Jam & Jelly Selection at Grocery store

Note I Received at Roatan Vortex Contact Me
“We decided to go with the Mayan Princess and it surpassed my expectations. We were married in January, 2011. We loved Roatan so much we are headed back in March, for a one week honeymoon. I can understand why you moved there, its a little piece of heaven – JoeAnn”

Hibiscus Flower Blooming on Front Porch

Painting by my daughter Rosie. Happy Birthday Rosie!

… and one more! This funny video shot by Glen Osmond when he and his wife Mandy were visiting Roatan!

Bananarama Sundays on West Bay Beach, Roatan

30 Mar

A good friend shared with me a fable of—“A laughing Child of God hides in a Tiki Torch, while the Sun Family should be getting ready to go to bed.”

On Roatan there are many hidden children who you can join in on helping support; every Sunday, at Banarama, West Bay Beach! And you’ll have a heck of a lot of fun too!

Proceeds and donations support the efforts of Familias Saludables; a non-profit, non-denominational organization devoting to fighting AIDS on Roatan. Their major focus is on reducing the incidence of mother-to-child transmission of the virus both at birth and via breast milk. To help achieve this goal, Baby Formula is provided to the new mothers, thereby reducing the odds of transmission.

Every day of the week is fun on West Bay Beach, just be sure on Sunday to stroll across the warm sugar soft white sand to Bananarama for 4 PM when Kristofer and the Kultura Band perform an eclectic selection of songs that celebrate the Island of Roatan, and classic tunes that will have you on your feet dancing (or at the very least tapping toes and singing along.) Later in the evening, George Adams will start playing and singing for your listening pleasure.

Watch a sand-sculpture masterpiece being created, or perhaps create your own!


Enjoy some ice-cream, grab a burger and beverage!

And when someone comes by your table with a bucket of Hermit Crabs be sure to buy a few… don’t worry you don’t have to keep them as a pet; giving them a cute name… like HERMY, or anything like that!

Just choose the ones you think will be the best racers, and you could win some great prizes!



Once the crabs are done racing; the garland of roses has been placed around the winning crabs necks (kidding, they just hide in their shells when anybody tries to put it on them), the photos have been taken, the prizes have been handed out; it is time for more spectacular entertainment when…

the Fire Dancers take to the beach!

What a fantastic way to spend a Sunday on Roatan. Not only do you get to join in on the fun, and (maybe) win some great prizes… you get to help Familias Saludables help the hidden children of Roatan! Additional donations of Baby Formula, newborn diapers & infant clothing is always appreciated and distributed to those who need it most.

More pictures of Sunday at Bananarama, West Bay Beach, can be seen: here!

This story can also be read at Honduras Weekly!

What I’ve learned on Roatan

11 Mar

I learned a bunch of stuff this week, and want to share! Some of it directly relates to first time visitors to Roatan, some came from friends on the Island that I’ve known for a long time. There is a tidbit or two from new friends who have contacted me here. And then there is the profound insight I got from watching a classic movie the other night (that I haven’t seen in many years) called, The Stepford Wives.

First Time Visitors
More specifically—first time Canadian visitors. Every Monday until mid May, the Sunwing charter out of Toronto arrives (Montreal just finished for this season); I hang out at the airport, not because I have a job with Sunwing or anything like that, but just because I love meeting new arrivals to Roatan, especially my fellow Canadians! Now before you starting fearing being accosted by the crazy lady, smiling at you as you come through the (one and only) arrival gate at the Roatan Airport, don’t worry… just think of me as your Walmart Greeter on Roatan!

On occasion I’m meeting people I know. Most recently it was a family member and friend, who were staying at my place for a week. Prior to the visit they were hesitant to travel to Roatan. After all, it must be dangerous to go to Honduras! I’m happy to report that they found out that not only are they as safe here, they also discovered that Roatan is a pretty cool place to hang out!

Thanks to their keen observations, I have to up-date 10 Tips to Not Get Treated Like a Tourist. #11 Don’t wear sunglasses! I know, I never noticed this before, but the vast majority of people wearing sunglasses on Roatan are tourists.

I also learned something about the Sunwing charter. This weekend Daylight Savings starts. We don’t do Daylight Savings on Roatan, there will be no moving our clocks ahead one hour, but Toronto does! That means everyone who is leaving this Monday (March 14) has to be at the Roatan Airport one hour earlier than they originally thought!… I’ll give you a few seconds to figure that one out… Still unsure what I’m talking about? Try this… when you arrived this past Monday (March 7) there was a one hour time difference between Roatan and Toronto, but when you leave Monday, March 14, there will be a two hour time difference.

Should keep that info handy for the cruiseship schedules too! Ship time is not Roatan time!

Island Friends
I recently started Roatan Vortex on Facebook. I share lots of pictures of day to day life on Roatan, articles about Roatan that I find around the web Hecktic Travel, and updates of the Roatan Vortex show on Roatan Radio.

Me

I was at Infinity Bay, West Bay Beach on Sunday, and met up with a friend who I had requested to be a Roatan Vortex friend on Facebook. I asked why he hadn’t accepted me as a friend.

What I learned? He didn’t realize it was me! Here is a list of my aliases to help out: Roatan Vortex, DJ Genevieve, Genevieve Ross, (formerly) Genny Ross-Barons and Gennyca.

Me

New Friends
Some I have met through Trip Advisor, Frommer, Fodor, Lonely Planet, and more often than not through Roatan Vortex. Got a question about visiting Roatan? I’ll do my best to answer… or make a suggestion of where you can find out what you want to know. One of the questions I was recently asked requested I give some inside info by comparing two Roatan resorts. It was suggested however, that since I “did business” with both resorts—it was okay if I preferred to not reply.

What I learned? I need to let you all know that I am not affiliated with any businesses on Roatan (or anywhere else for that matter.) Any and all inside information I share is based solely on my personal experience and/or knowledge of the location or service. I just love to share Roatan from an inside point of view—ain’t nobody paying me to do this!

Profound Insight
I watched The Stepford Wives, the 1975 movie on TV the other night, adapted from the novel by Ira Levine (not to be confused with the 1994 remake with the same name—that one was just plain dumb.) I hadn’t seen the movie in quite a few years, and thoroughly enjoyed watching it again. The suspense, the drama… would Joanna escape before it was too late!?

In the manner I’ve become accustom to since moving to Roatan I couldn’t help but glean out the veiled message, the profound insight, the truisms about life on Roatan… oh-oh… I’ve surpassed the word count I like to stay within for the stories I post here on Roatan Vortex! I think I’ll save this one for the next one I write…

To ensure you don’t miss out!

Enter your email address:

When a new story is posted at Roatan Vortex, you’ll be one of the first to know about it. Don’t worry I won’t pass your email address on to anyone, I just love to share Roatan… and I’d hate for you to miss out!

Just one more thing I want to share today! The Roatan Daycare Center website now includes a BLOG! That’s right we be blogging! The first story is now posted, be sure to check back often for more!

Stormy Weather on Roatan

18 Feb

The weather has been a little out of whack around the world recently; record cold and snow across the US and Europe, and more snow accumulating than my home province Ontario, Canada is used to handling. Even Roatan, Honduras felt the brunt this past week… No, it didn’t snow here!

It RAINED! RAINED and RAINED some more!

Word had gotten out that a system was moving in, when exactly it would arrive and duration could not be pin-pointed, but we knew something was coming. I was hoping it would change its mind, or fizzle out to a (much needed) spring shower. I had assured visitors coming on the Sunwing Charter out of Toronto (the following Monday) the weather would be great! Even if it did rain, it wouldn’t be much, or last very long. I had consulted my crystal ball don’t you know! I think I need to trade that puppy in for a new model… sheesh!

The mayhem started Saturday morning just after 10 AM. I’m not great at keeping track of time on Roatan (three months ago) but this day I remember well. As is typical when the first mists of rain begin to coat the road, someone will lose control—and bounce off a hydro pole! Power went out! I was on-the-air, at 101.1 FM Roatan Radio, broadcasting live to just myself! Power and internet were restored shortly after 11 AM in time to catch the next show on Roatan Radio.

The rain continued to fall throughout the day and into the evening… but no big deal. If anything I was glad that it had started already, perhaps it would be long gone before the Canadians arrived on Monday. It rained all day Sunday, sometimes heavy, other times I was sure I saw the blue skies peeking through… trying to convince myself it would pass over soon. Ah, NO!

(Not so) bright, but definitely early Monday morning, I was being picked up by friends to attend a “Life Celebration” for another friend’s much beloved mother who had passed away in the UK. I waited on my porch for them to arrive, it was raining pretty heavy, and it was only 5:30 in the morning! When the call came that they were waiting in my driveway, I flipped up the hood on my raincoat and made a dash for the vehicle. Silly me… why run to get out of the rain… the vehicle we were taking (down Mud Hole Road, no less) was a Jeep… without a roof! We were off, the rain had downgraded to a mist, and at times nothing at all. Not too bad, except for the mud splatters on my side (no mud guard on the left back tire.) Oh well, we arrived, we were given towels, the Celebration began.

Then it was time to return home…The gentle mist had resumed being a torrential downpour!

I climbed aboard the Jeep, and couldn’t help but laugh the whole way home as floods of water and mud drenched me. I felt like a little kid jumping in puddles… and nobody was giving me heck!

It was now close to the time to meet people at the Roatan Airport, and the rain continued to pour! I heard what sounded like the plane arriving 20 minutes early, and a few minutes later, what sounded like a second one coming in. This didn’t make sense, there should only be the flight from Toronto at this time of day. Rushing to the airport (in the still pouring rain) it was discovered that the flight had tried to land not once, but twice. Due to the weather conditions the pilot had aborted the landings and had flown to Belize with the visitors to wait it out!

(With great sadness (that same morning) at the Roatan Airport, we heard that a small regional flight on the Mainland had succumbed to the weather conditions when attempting to land in Tegusigalpa, all lives were lost—my sincerest condolences to all family and friends. I have also heard (but not confirmed) there was a young soul lost, on the Island of Roatan, as a direct result from the storm.)

A few hours later the visitors from Toronto arrived from Belize, and the rain had slowed down again, yeah, maybe it was done now. Ah, NO! Late Monday evening it started to rain again, and through the night… it rained and rained and rained! A steady hum, as sheets of rain, pounded down, it didn’t stop for even a moment.

As I hovered between sleep and wake—I wondered how much this little Island could absorb, I considered those living in less than adequate shelter and how well were they fairing, I pondered how much of the hillside would lose its grip and slid down to the road below, in-turn, how much of the road—would slip into the Caribbean Sea?

Like the cows in the above photo, I stayed under cover until the storm had long passed. Only venturing out to take photos of my own, once the repairs had begun! Thank you everyone (who was braver than I) for sharing what you captured on your phone cameras. There was also extensive damage to other areas of the Island that I don’t have photos of, all repairs are in progress and/or completed.

Late Wednesday afternoon, I sat on the balcony in front of the Cigar Bar, West End, watching the bulldozer push the truckloads of sand to fill the gaping holes where the road had once been.

The sand and soil that had been there before the rains came… is now a sandbar, just off shore!

While I’d wait for another load of dirt to be dropped off… I took a few shot of the sunset!

Yeah, the storm has passed!

More pictures of the storm aftermath and repair can be seen here: Roatan Rain

Super Bowl Sunday at Infinity Bay

10 Feb

This is one of those postings that instead of me babbling on and on trying to find the best words to describe another spectacular day on Roatan… I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves… sorta. You know, “a picture’s worth a 1000 words” and all that!

The one thing I will preface the pictures with is a little intro into Infinity Bay Spa & Beach Resort located on West Bay Beach, Roatan, Honduras. When I first moved to Roatan in 2007 I really didn’t need a calendar to keep track of day to day happenings… as they came up they got included. But if I did have a calendar I would have noted every Sunday as “Infinity Bay Beach Day!” This past Sunday was Super Bowl Sunday… check out the place to be to watch the game!

Perfect Weather... of course!

2CANDU plays!

Pregame bench warming

Tommy chatting with a guest!

The Buffet is Served

Steve warming up the crowd with a shadow puppet show!

Perfect Sunset!

Standing room only at the Bar

Bar or Pool Side?

Sun's Down!

Game's On!

Click on this last picture to see full-screen size!

That's what I'm talking about!

To see more pictures of this fun day at Infinity Bay, on West Bay Beach, Roatan click here

Making new friends is a way of life on Roatan

6 Feb

It’s that time of year when the snow is piling high on sidewalks and roadways, drivers are playing bumper cars as they skid on the ice while commuting to work, it takes longer to get the kids ready to walk to school (piling on the layers to protect against the bitter cold) than it takes them to walk there. That time of year when the next noteworthy time off is not until Easter week, when the crocuses are pushing through the remaining crusts of snow—that is determined to keep the ground asleep until the sun’s rays are warm enough to get things growing. The lack of a good dose of natural Vitamin D, has people getting a little testy with each other, and in some cases can be downright debilitating. So what is a person to do?

Come on down to Roatan!

Snow? Ice? Cold? No, no, and no!

White sand beaches? Yes! Ice? Only in a tall frosty drink! And as for cold? Does a low of 24C (75F) count?

Now, this is pretty much Roatan all year round, but, at this time of year more than any other, visitors flock to this little Island gem, grateful to make their escape from dull grey skies, and a dormant landscape. I have the great pleasure of connecting with many of them as they plan their trip to Roatan. Some, I have been in contact with for more than ½ a year. I meet them through Roatan Vortex Click here to Contact Me! or through sites like Trip Advisor, or other blog sites that I write for, and occasionally they are friends of friends back in Canada, looking for a little inside info… always love to share!

Through the modern technology version of “pen pals” I have made many new friends that I quite often have the pleasure of meeting when they come to Roatan.

Most recently it was Norm and Carol Udeschini, and their entourage of family and friends: Owen & Louise, Tony & Ange, Denis & Denis, Ron & Mona, from Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. We chatted back and forth for months, and when the week came that they would be here, we arranged to meet at Henry Morgan on West Bay Beach. I watched their expressions when they got their first glimpse of West Bay Beach, that Lonely Planet rates as one of the top 10 beaches in Central America. I marvelled at their looks of awe, and amazement, taking in the glories of the Caribbean Sea gently lapping at the sugar soft sand beach.

In our correspondence during the previous months, it was agreed that on one of the days of their vacation, I would arrange and accompany them on a tour of the east end of the Island. Made sense, they were quite content to hang out on the west end for most of the week, but, throwing in a day exploring the east end was of interest too. Since there were ten of them, I arranged for Juan Carlos of Islander Tours to provide the transportation and to be their guide. I went along to hang out with my new friends, and to beguile them with my stories of Roatan… from a fellow Canadian’s point of view, of course.

What is that saying about, “the best laid plans?” While the weather was picture postcard perfect 6 of the 7 days they were here. The one and only day it POURED RAIN all day, not stopping even for a moment, was the day of the east end tour! What troopers they all were! We made it all the way to Camp Bay, but, not being able to find a dry place to stop for lunch, we had planned on brunch at Hole in the Wall, I did what every good friend (and tour guide) does, I called my friend Kent at Blue Bahia in Sandy Bay. By the time we arrived—a soggy bunch, he had everything ready to ensure my Ontario friends had a great meal, on the covered deck, with a great view of a churning sea, not quite as pleasant as it usually is, but still beautiful to be near.

A slide show of their week on Roatan can be seen Here

I want to also thank Norm & Carol and the Cotton Candy Daycare Center in Sudbury for the generous donations they brought for the Roatan Daycare Center.

Everything was graciously received, and will all be put to good use… thank you!

There are many more queuing up to make their journey to Roatan: my “kindred spirit” friend and his young daughter, from Texas—we chat on-line frequently about education options and volunteer opportunities. The couple from North Carolina, who visited Roatan on a cruise ship and are now making plans to come hang out on Roatan for an extended stay—we chat about ocean view vs beach access, and I’ve assured them that (most of the time) cream cheese is available to purchase at the grocery store—Can’t wait until they get here, so we can chat in person, sitting on the deck, eating homemade cheese cake and sipping wine! There is my good friend from South Africa and his lovely young daughter, who will be returning soon—we met for the first time (virtually, not literally) when I was on-air for the Roatan Vortex Show at 101.1FM Roatan Radio sharing the exciting news that “Nutella” was now available on Roatan!

There’s one more encounter that I want to share; met a group of cruisers, one afternoon when I was hanging out at “Tita’s Pink Seahorse” (next to Sueno Del Mar) with a few of my expat Island friends. We started chatting, and were thrilled to discover—most of us were from Canada! As the conversation carried on about the wonders of Roatan, another round of exotic cocktails were set in front of them. When one of the Canadian cruisers went to take a sip of his—the tall frosty glass base stayed behind on the bar—sending the contents gushing through the now gaping hole! Glad I had my IPhone handy to capture the moment!

Welcome to Roatan my new friends—I’m looking forward to meeting you all! Gotta run now, it’s time to go meet my new friends from Saskatchewan, who arrived yesterday!

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This story can also be read at Honduras Weekly retitled, ” White Beaches, No Snow on Roatan”

And until we can meet in person (if you haven’t already) click here to become friends on Facebook!Roatan Vortex | Create Your Badge

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