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An insider’s view of day to day life on a Caribbean Island

26 Jan

There are obvious benefits to living on the Island of Roatan: The tropical climate, jungle foliage climbing to the highest peaks, sugar soft white beaches, all surrounded by the crystal clear Caribbean Sea. Then there are the less obvious benefits that come to light when you hang out here for a while—they too are worthy of recognition! What started out as a list of Roatan Vortex things that pulled me in, transformed into—Drum roll please!

The Roatan Vortex… An insider’s view of day to day life… on a Caribbean Island was born!

A celebration of those everyday moments that make living on Roatan extra special! From an insider’s point of view, you too will experience: Watching the sun set while watching the moon rise ***** Not having to know how to drive to get a driver’s license ***** An afternoon nap is encouraged ***** Mangoes, lots of mangoes ***** No worries it will snow in October or April ***** Talking to a gecko in the kitchen ***** The art of eating ice cream on Roatan ***** and more!

77 tidbits of information that only an insider would know. With the bonus of 13 FULL stories that delve a little deeper into the Roatan Vortex experience!

The Roatan Vortex… An insider’s view of day to day life… on a Caribbean Island is now available to order at Lulu and in a few weeks will also be available from Amazon–they need a little extra time to get the cataloging done–I think they operate on “Island time.”

The Roatan Vortex… An insider’s view of day to day life… on a Caribbean Island will be available for purchase on Roatan too! I’m in the process of having books shipped in–but, I know Roatan is on “Island time!” I’ll keep you updated as to when The Roatan Vortex… An insider’s view of day to day life… on a Caribbean Island will be here and where you can purchase your copy.


Roatan Vortex now on Facebook too! New friends always welcomed!

Just CLICK here: Roatan Vortex | Create Your Badge


And be sure to listen to the Roatan Vortex Show, every Saturday starting at 10 AM Roatan Time (CST) on 101.1FM Roatan Radio Live streaming around the world!

If you are currently on Roatan be sure to come out this Sunday (January 30) to the Grand opening of the new studio on Half Moon Bay, next to Sundowner’s, West End, from 1-5 PM. Meet the DJ’s, hear some great music, hang out on the beach, and okay… maybe stick around to catch a perfect sunset too!

I’m Baaaaack!

18 Jan

Will wonders never cease… my checked luggage made it too! Mind you, a bottle of a favourite hot sauce (that isn’t available on Roatan) and containers of shampoo & conditioner that were in my bag at the Harlingen Airport had to be left behind. I was 5lbs over the weight limit—and wasn’t prepared to pay an extra $50 to bring them with me—oh well.

Home Sweet Home!

From the moment I stepped off the plane—my Roatan way of life greeted me with open arms. Although overcast and excessively windy, my skin was thanking me as it started soaking in the moist, Caribbean sea-salt tinged air, and my exposed, flip-flopped toes, weren’t cringing, anticipating biting arctic blasts, like the ones that visited Texas (from Canada) regularly during the 5-1/2 weeks I was there.

I didn’t get much done towards settling back in on the day I arrived home thanks to the power outage while I was unpacking, courtesy of the high winds taking a few tree branches down. That’s okay though, a good dose of “slow down the pace, now that I’m back on Roatan” is always welcome. Besides, the only priority is reconnecting with friends.

Mona and Baby were looking for some undivided attention from me too!

Friday evening, first up, the Blue Parrot just a short stroll from home, for Captain Ron’s send-off party… he has to go to the States for a while, I’m confident he’ll be back… he always comes back to Roatan. So many friends were there, most of my time was spent saying hello to each and every one! From there, off to Besos in West End. Besos is a fairly new restaurant & lounge that I had not had the pleasure of visiting before I went to Texas. When you come to visit Roatan (or if you are already here) you are definitely going to want to check this place out! The food, service, and atmosphere are divine!

Saturday afternoon, time to head to Cocolobo where good friends brought the main-course and the rest of us contributed appetizers and sides. Sushi, curried chicken, fab salad, BBQ wings, and more. Again, time spent reconnecting with friends, and making new ones too!

Sunday afternoon (beach day),the sun made its first appearance since my return… perfect timing! Hanging out at Tita’s Seahorse Beach Bar & Restaurant at Sueno Del Mar was great fun. (click on pic to enlarge)

Baby Genevieve… that’s right, her name is Genevieve (since she lived in the condo below me after she was born, and I shot her first official “welcome to the world” pictures, I’m thinking we’re like kin.)

From there a stroll to the other end of West End with my girlfriends (we stopped to greet many friends along the way) to Sundowners, where Sunday Football had the place packed with even more friends.

How lucky am I to be a member of the Roatan Global Village!

And one more bit of Roatan life to share. While at Sundowners it was also a great time to check out the new 101.1 FM Roatan Radio broadcast booth, where the Roatan Vortex Show will be coming to you live (streaming around the world) starting this Saturday, Jan 22, 10 to 11 AM (CST), with your host—me—DJ Genevieve!

It’s been a while, but I’m baaaaack!


This story can also be read at Honduras Weekly retitled, “Roatan Homecoming”

A Canadian from Roatan in Texas

9 Jan

My time in Texas is winding down, in less than a week I will be back on Roatan. I can already feel the Caribbean sea-salt tinged, gloriously moist air, replenishing my parched, okay… downright flaky skin. I’ll, once again, marvel at the lush, every shade of green, jungle foliage crowding the roadside, and climbing to the highest peeks of the central ridge. I’ll watch the sunrise, peeking through the cashew tree leaves outside my home, and the sunset on the Caribbean Sea from the dock–with a glass of wine in-hand.

I’ll spend time with my Island family & friends enjoying their company and catching up on all the Roatan “coconut-line news.” I see a turkey dinner in my near future (we had ham and scalloped potatoes for Christmas Dinner in Texas–hint, hint, Bonnie.) I’ll visit the new library in Sandy Bay (take lots of pictures at the grand opening Cam, so I can include them in a story I’ll post here soon), and I’ll visit my good friend Joan at the library in French Harbour. I’ll check out the new location of 101.1 FM Roatan Radio at Sundowners and prepare for the relaunch of the Roatan Vortex Show, with DJ Genevieve (I’ll tell you more about that later, and the The Roatan Vortex Book coming soon too!) and I’ll get back to helping out with the Roatan Daycare Center in Coxen Hole. I’ll feed the hummingbirds, pet my dog Mona, and get tripped up by Baby (my cat) winding between my feet.

And, of course, I’ll also return to swatting mosquitoes, checking under my pillow for scorpions, and drifting off to sleep to the sounds of dogs barking, roosters crowing, and all those other night sounds special to Roatan. Ahhh… Home Sweet Home!

Right now though, I’m in Harlingen Texas, having a great time visiting with my Mom and step-dad, and I want to share a little of that with you. The last time my mom and I spent time together was over a year ago, lots of catching up to do–and in these past 5-1/2 weeks we have!

Playing “Scrabble” is our quality time of choice. So far we have played 24 times, and won 12 games each! The most interesting pattern has emerged; one of us wins by a fair margin, the next game the other one does. But, more often than not, the final scores are within 1 or 2 points of each other, and four have even ended in a TIE!

We caught a few movie:
“You Again” –cute. “Afterlife” –good premise, fall asleep yawner (Robert Redford directed, need I say more.) “Burlesque” –loved it! “Skyline” –the worst acting award belongs here. “Gulliver’s Travel” –ah, No! “Burlesque” –went to see it a second time. Still to see, “Black Swan.”

We’ve done some shopping, and dining out–of course we have! Mom introduced me to a couple of great Thrift Stores, a book store, and an art supply store. We explored a few Dollar Stores, and found some treasures at the mall. The one thing I was most intrigued with at the mall had nothing to do with making a purchase though. It was a glass booth you could go inside and experience–hurricane force winds–huh? We ate at a few excellent Tex-Mex restaurants, “Olive Garden” twice, and the “Texas Roadhouse” was also worthy of a couple of visits.

The only time I had spent in Texas (before this visit) was waiting for connecting flights at the airport in Houston. So, in-between quality time with my mom, she and Ron have been my tour guides, taking me to the places unique to this part of Texas. Among other things, we checked out the local flea market, and made quite a few day trips to Progreso, Mexico, and South Padre Island.

Did I mention–I’m having a great time in Texas? –oh ya, I did! Did I mention–I’m also looking forward to going home to Roatan? –of course I am!

Flea Market

Progreso, Mexico

South Padre Island

Seasons Greetings

23 Dec

It’s that time of year to wish one and all a Safe & Happy Holiday, and a prosperous New Year! I sincerely offer you all the same.

I have the good fortune to be celebrating Christmas with my Mom this year, in Texas, so this greeting does not come from Roatan.

But, I couldn’t resist sharing this photo I shot (with my Iphone) while grocery shopping on the Island one day… in July!

Pick a Holiday, any Holiday!

Click on picture to enlarge details

Roatan Signs

12 Dec

I’m “off Island” right now. Which of course quite simply means I’m somewhere other than Roatan. Until mid-January I am hanging out with my Mom and step-dad Ron In Harlingen, Texas. True “snowbirds” they spend their summers in Canada and their winters in Texas. I’ve never been to Texas before (other than the airport in Houston) so this was a great way for me to check it out, and to spend the holidays with family I don’t get to see very often since moving to Roatan.

I’ll post some pictures and my thoughts on “A Canadian from Roatan in Texas” at a later date. In the meantime, knowing that I was going to be away from my beloved Roatan for a while I still want to share some Island life with you. Here are some of my favourite Roatan Signs:

Camp Bay

Coxen Hole

West End

Between West Bay & West End

Peace Rally, Coxen Hole

Only street address sign I've seen on Roatan

across from Sundowners, West End

Camp Bay

Could be more of these!

Hockey Night on Roatan at Sundowner's

American Thanksgiving Day on Roatan

25 Nov

Today, in the USA it was all about getting together with family and friends to give thanks and EAT!

On the Island of Roatan, off the coast of Honduras, surrounded by the Caribbean Sea, it also was a day to get together with family and friends to give thanks and EAT!

Last month was the Canadian Thanksgiving dinner served up at Blue Bahia. Friends from many countries were in attendance for the Canadian Thanksgiving Day, and in-turn many countries were represented today…after all, this is the Roatan Global Village!

Infinity Bay, West Bay Beach...Rick's ready!

Infinity Bay, the Macy's Parade is on at the Palapa Bar

Infinity Bay, start carving the Bird!

Bananarama Thanksgiving Day menu board, West Bay Beach

Blue Bahia, Sandy Bay, service with a smile!

Oasis Lounge, Sandy Bay, Turkey Day Menu!

Oasis Lounge entrance, Sandy Bay

My Social Network

23 Nov

Sharing stories about Roatan is what it is all about for me. I coined “Roatan Vortex” to describe my personal experience with what drew me to Roatan. It has since morphed into a phrase used by many to express the way they feel about Roatan.

Before I launched the Roatan Vortex website less than one year ago, I did a Google search to see if anyone before me had combined Roatan and Vortex. At that time—one result came up referencing a sailing log from 2002, about reaching Jonesville Bight and Hole in the Wall.

Today I did a Google search for Roatan Vortex (roatanvortex) and more than 3000 results were displayed—Holy Crap!

Now, I haven’t written that many stories yet, mind you the visit counter on the Roatan Vortex website does read more than 53,400 visits and still counting—thank you all for stopping by!

Of the more than 3000 Google search results I found, even the article for USAToday by Laura Bly (that I did a phone interview with), that article has been shared extensively by other news agencies), and many others are popping up referencing contributions the Roatan Vortex has made to the world wide web.

Most recently:

The Roatan Global Village

* A Guest Post for Expat Focus Blog A classic Roatan Vortex story.

*****View and/or Download Here***** The release of an E-Book Celebrating Latin America at Ground Level. Very excited to have been asked to contribute to this one!

Coming Dec 1, my first story for Pocket Cultures will be posted. I’m looking forward to sharing more details about this one with you! Insight to the Cultural Diversity–from a Canadian’s point-of-view.


Not to be forgotten about here is a few more that have contributed to the Roatan Vortex becoming a well known phrase.

***Interview at Be More With Less***

***Guest Post at Tiny Buddha***

***Guest Post at Unpaved South America***

And last (but not least) here are a few other websites that the Roatan Vortex appears on:

Honduras Blogs An excellent site brought together by LaGringa A well respected blogger in Honduras.

***We Blog the World*** A great site to visit with the emphasis on “bridging travel, culture and ideas.”

***TripAtlas *** Another great source of information on travelling the world. This one pays its contributors a little bit too when anyone clicks on and reads my stories posted there! Nod, nod, wink, wink.

And to think they all got rolling because I wanted to share with family and friends (old and new) where the heck Roatan is and to help you out when the Roatan Vortex pulls you in!

House Hunters Int (sort of)

18 Nov

My favourite TV series is House Hunters International. I started watching it when I still lived in Canada, scrutinizing every exotic (to me) location. I was looking forward to continuing the trend when I moved to Roatan, but, initially, although we have cable TV on Roatan, a channel broadcasting that show wasn’t available.

When I went to visit family and friends in Canada this past Christmas, in-between watching re-runs of Classic Christmas movies (without Spanish dubbing or sub-titles, a real treat) I caught up on some episodes of House Hunters International. I got to visit homes for sale in Costa Rica, Spain, Italy, and even one in Vancouver British Columbia. Thing was though, I knew there had been some filmed on Roatan and I was anxious to see one, especially now that I lived on the Island. Heck, I’d probably recognize the actual house or at least the community (in the grand scheme of things Roatan is a fairly small Island.) No such luck, I returned to my Island home not having seen an episode highlighting a property on Roatan.

About nine months ago, the cable company switched things up again (they do that fairly often) and some channels were lost, replaced with different ones. To my surprise and pleasure one of the new channels broadcasts House Hunters International, Mondays and Wednesdays, two episodes each of those nights.

Lawson Rock

So now I’ve seen the ones that were filmed on Roatan! I enjoyed seeing inside homes that I recognized in West Bay, West End, Sandy Bay, Flowers Bay, and one on the east end of the Island. The most fun was one of them in West Bay that was directly across the road from where the Roatan Radio station used to be. I could see that house from the “crow’s nest” when I was DJ Genevieve on the Roatan Vortex radio show. Another one was at the Lawson Rock Condos, Sandy Bay. An easy walk on the beach, and visible from my dock where I live in Sandy Bay.

Turn left to go to Lawson Rock

As well as enjoying watching TV shows like House Hunters International, it also (about every two years when I lived in Canada) inspires me to want to sell my home and find a different one to transform into my own. I thought I got over that habit when I moved to Roatan, but obviously not! Mind you, I did hold out for three years instead of just two. But the time has come to move on. I’ve added all the finishing touches, including a few faux painting techniques that I’m real happy with.

Hand Painted Reverse Aquarium

Faux Painted Backsplash

Sunset from Dock

And for those of you who have seen the MLS listing at Roatan Life Real Estate you have expressed concern that we are leaving the Island. I assure you we are not, there’s even a good chance we’ll continue to live in Sundancer, Sandy Bay. I may be in need of a new home project but I’m not giving up these sunsets and sunrises!

Sunrise from Loft Balcony

Oh, and to the couple who came to view the cabana a few days ago…as you walked through you commented, “I feel like I’m on House Hunters International!” YOU SOOOOO MADE MY DAY!

French Harbour Public Library

13 Nov

The Grand Re-opening of the French Harbour Public Library was a huge success!

Thank you everyone for coming out and supporting Joan, and her hard working crew of young helpers. For hours open, and information on programs starting soon, contact Joan at 445-5260

A Common Connection

4 Nov

I got a little caught up in a new project recently and in-turn I haven’t been as visible as usual. No new postings at Roatan Vortex since Hurricane Richard. No visiting the travel forums and sharing my ideas on where to stay or what to do when you visit Roatan. I’ve been zipping through reading the latest stories at the blogs and websites my cyber friends post—but I’ve haven’t been leaving comments like I usually do. It’s been so long since I updated my profile on Facebook or tweeted anything, that I can’t remember what profound (yeah right) words of wisdom I had shared.

Holding back from writing a new story at (first and foremost) Roatan Vortex, with the other sites I contribute to taking a close second, has been a real test of my convictions to stay focused on learning a new skill set for sharing travel adventures and applying it to the project at hand. I am happy to report that I have completed and submitted what was required (a few days ahead of the deadline) and hope to share with you next week that my efforts have succeeded. The video above is an example of what I’ve been learning how to produce. I have a whole new respect for the Oscars for; editing, cinematography, set design, etc.

I am in awe and humbled. During my absence from the social media, many of you sent me a quick email or message on Facebook, asking if I was okay, concerned that I may be ill, or have a problem preventing me from sending out to cyberspace my usual offerings. Thank you all! I truly am blessed to be a member of such a global village of friends.

So, without further ado here is a story I have been tardy in sharing, actually it is a few stories rolled in to one—they all has a common connection.

The more you read, the more things you know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go. ~ Dr. Seuss

I had heard (a while back) that there was a Public Library in French Harbour. And that was only because, through no fault of their own, the library was being moved from a spacious second floor location, in the Jared Hynds Community Center, to a main level, much smaller room.

Now, when I say, “being moved” I actually mean, “being told to move”—there is a big difference. While some assistance was provided, it was minimal, so Joan the librarian, set out to make it happen. The majority of the work was accomplished by: Joan, her lovely daughters, parents of the children who use the library, and the amazing children themselves.

I got to watch them in action when I joined in and got some painting projects going. Every day I spent at the French Harbour Library, I learned so much about a community of people I previously knew nothing about. I’m very happy to now call them family and friends. We’d work away at our appointed tasks, and take a break at noon to enjoy the fantastic lunch Joan would provide. More children would show up after school let out, and do their homework, once completed, they would head upstairs, making numerous trips down to the new location with books cradled in their arms or balanced on their heads—this is how the shelves got stocked. As the children brought them in, Joan organized them.

While all this was going on, I got an email from my sister that a group from the Christian Record Services for the Blind (CRSB) was visiting Roatan on the Carnival Valor and were bringing a substantial donation of books, school supplies, and treats for children of Roatan. Making arrangements to meet with them and assist with getting the donations to the intended recipients proved quite challenging (that could be a story all of its own.) But ultimately everything was in place. Unfortunately, a hurricane that really wasn’t a problem for any of the Islands, caused the ship to be diverted, and I never did have the pleasure to meet the group. Arrangements were made to keep the donations on the Valor, and I would pick them up the next week, when the ship returned to Roatan. That too could be a story of its own.

I do want to share that I got to back my vehicle down the length of the massive dock, after dark, as the two ships in port sailed away. What a surreal sensation driving on a road that extended out into the Caribbean Sea. Knowing that if I didn’t keep the vehicle centered on the path, going in the water was a real possibility.

Fortunately, the donations, my vehicle, nor I, got wet.

The next day with great pleasure, a bag of treats, a toy turtle (hand made by children in North America) and school supplies were presented to each of the hard working kids at the library.

The remaining donations were dropped off at Cocoview Resort where they will be sorted and distributed by Roatan Children’s Fund, including a large quantity of books for the Roatan Book Mobile


Now for the final note of this multi-faceted story.

The French Harbour Public Library is pleased to invite you to the Grand re-opening Celebration, Friday November 12, from 2-4 PM. http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=121340957926479

If you are on Roatan, please come and check it out. Joan will be sharing ideas and plans for various programs to best serve the children and adults of the community. If you are not on the island, still take a look at the Facebook page and add it to your Page Favourites—your support can make a world of difference! http://www.facebook.com/pages/French-Harbour-Honduras/French-Harbour-Public-Library/168854916464161

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