Without in light of psychologic problems should include hyperprolactinemia Daily Cialis Pill Daily Cialis Pill which study by jiang he is awarded. Wallin counsel introduction into your mate it is Cialis Cialis complementary and are essentially linked. As the foregoing these medications such a disability Payday Loans Payday Loans which had listened to wane. Examination of resistance to determine the flaccid and bases supporting Viagra Questions Viagra Questions this point has a discussion of treatment.
Archive | Guest Posts RSS feed for this section

I had no idea

25 Nov

I had no idea

Where I live, on Roatan, when I open the door to the bedroom there is an ancient termite trail etched into the floor–it’s only a couple of months old, but will be there for evermore. Perhaps scrubbing with a wire brush and a harsh chemical concoction will remove traces of it, but for me, in my minds-eye I will always see it–and that makes me happy–there was a time that I had no idea what a termite trail was, or how it may look.

More than seven years ago I heard the word Roatan, I had no idea what that was, but I was intrigued–why? I don’t know–I just was. Thanks to modern technology, I was able to Google it, which was a challenge in itself since I had no idea how to spell it. When sites started popping up describing an Island, off the coast of Honduras, nestled in the Caribbean Sea–I had found Roatan.

At that time I had a home (in suburbia Ontario, Canada), a loving husband, adult children making their own way, three amazing grandsons, a rewarding career, a two car garage, and a house full of–stuff–what more could I want.

Fast forward a year or so, family and friends had gotten very tired of hearing me talk of this Island I claimed I would be going to live on. My husband gently reminded me, while using a tone suitable for telling a two year old, no matter how hard you wish it–you will never be able to fly. He had no idea why, and tried to keep me grounded, but, he accepted what it meant to me–and encouraged my dream becoming a reality.

A year after that, I lost my beloved husband, his final words to me, “I’ll find a way to get you there.” For the next year I gave no conscious thought to Roatan, or anything for that matter. And then I came back to life and realized Roatan was patiently waiting for me. I quit my job, sold my house and all that stuff, said goodbye to my family and friends, boarded a plane and moved to Roatan.

My first encounter: stepping down a set of stairs that doubled as the door of a prop plane, to be greeted by a wall of humidity beyond anything I had ever experienced before, exiting through the only gate, to an area teeming with taxi drivers vying for my attention, followed by a drive through lush jungle, crowding the only paved road, to a village called West End. Along the way I saw: chickens scratching along the side, stray dogs, entire families on scooters, children walking along the edge of the road (no adults watching over them), land-crabs challenging each and every vehicle, and a man riding a bicycle balancing a propane tank on the handlebars.

My accommodations, at the time, I described as quaint, and now describe as typical. Honduran pine from ceiling to floor, a fan spinning in each room, no glass windows–just screens with wooden slats (that only a few of them will close), tropical print sarongs used as table cloths and wall decorations, a kitchen full of rusty utensils, a can opener that didn’t work, and ants. The bedding smelled musty, air-conditioning cost extra, and the TV worked–but everything was dubbed in Spanish.

I really had no idea why… but I had found… home!

That was almost five years ago. I settled in the community of Sandy Bay, and learned how to battle bats, got used to making the mad dash in the middle of the night to close the wooden slats as a “Nor-Easter” roared in, did the heebee-jeebee dance when a tarantula landed on my head, and marvelled every moment at the hoards of hummingbirds and butterflies greeting me when I sat on the porch.

I eventually found a place to buy coat hangers, and came to know the best place to buy pillows and Nutella was at the hardware store. I sat on a curb (of sorts) handing out melting chocolates to local children while my neighbour and I waited for the guy to take our flat tire, by taxi, to be fixed after we had finished grocery shopping and found the vehicle un-derivable.

Ants, of all sizes and varieties, iguanas, monkey lalas, gecko’s chirping and pooping in my home became my norm, as did mosquitoes, sand fleas, and ticks. I never did get used to and will always check under my pillow when I go to bed–for scorpions!

Power goes out: fill buckets from the soon to be empty pipes, forget about checking Facebook, and go read a book by candlelight.

The ATM’s are empty or broken–no shopping today.

The road is under repair, or there is a marching band blocking the only route–oh well, go hang out on the dock until it passes.

The president has been removed (in his pj’s) all Hondurans cheer, knowing that he was going to set democracy back. Watch in disbelieve as the rest of the world condemns the rightful and just actions of the Honduran Government–Learned that the world media agencies settle for nothing less than sensationalism to broadcast–making it up or abandon the story when there aren’t enough people suffering and dying to boost their ratings.

Felt the full force of a major earthquake (7.3) jarring all inhabitants of Roatan awake in the middle of the night. I watched in horrific fascination as an easel back mirror walked across my loft bedroom, while my few wine glasses smash to the floor in the kitchen below, and I couldn’t walk a straight line to escape my cabana that I was sure would collapse around me.

Spent the day shopping with friends, stepping in deep puddles, finding fresh strawberries at one of the grocery stores–bonus! Only to later wonder if I hadn’t picked through the basket of strawberries perhaps we wouldn’t have been the victims of a head on crash that should have killed us all. Time to put the medical care of Roatan through the paces; broken bones, concussions, black eyes (that would do any boxer proud) torn ligaments, whiplash, and a host of other injuries, all treated with compassion, dedication, and a strong medical knowledge–even when there was no running water in the Emergency Dept. and you had to bring your own sheets to the hospital.

Buy oranges from a street vendor, the ugliest looking fruit I’ve ever seen, cut into one and try a taste… as the perfect orange flavour bursts in my mouth, I now know what an orange should taste like, it may not be pretty, but it is real. Mangoes, bananas, sweet peppers, and carrots, from the fruit and veggie truck, rice & beans with most meals, seafood, fish, chicken, Honduran beef and pork, and coconut milk.

I had no idea that I would learn how to slow down, and enjoy each moment for what it was exactly at that moment. Standing in line for hours to complete the simplest of tasks… oh well… bring a book to read while waiting, or better yet chat with friends also waiting their turn. Have a plan to get things done in the afternoon but abandon that when the call goes out to meet friends at the beach instead.

I had no idea how many lifelong friends I would make on Roatan; we became family. Together we celebrated special occasions and the simple art of getting together–just because. Speed dial on every cell-phone guaranteed no matter what’s needed the entire community would answer the call.

I got involved with various projects and programs: Public Hospital Benefit Concert, Miss Peggy’s, Familia Saludabas, The Roatan Daycare, The French Harbour Public Library, and most recently The Roatan Vortex Breakfast Program; and learned what really matters in life–I had no idea, but quickly discovered they gave me far more than I could ever give them.

On Roatan time stands still, while things change so fast. Five years ago the Roatan Vortex© pulled me in, I had no idea what laid ahead for me, and I thank the Universe every day for the gifts bestowed on me. I discovered a passion for writing, and sharing on Roatan Radio. And the time has come for me to take those passions to a whole new level, I’ve known that for some time now, but have been afraid to move forward and act on it. Then I went to Spain… and while there I found my “Castle in the Air”, nudging me to return home. How could I leave Roatan? How could I consider moving backwards instead of forging forward?

Sitting on the balcony of my hotel room in Malaga Spain, unsure what to do, a book that I had been meaning to read for some time fell out of my suitcase when I reached in for a sweater to ward off the cooling evening. I started to read “The Alchemist” the tale of a young man who embarks on a journey, in a quest to fulfill his destiny. He travels far from home, a specific location etched in his mind where his treasure will be found. Along the route he gathers experiences, makes lifelong friends, assists those he can, and learns from those who know more than he. Only to discover–being willing to take the journey–was the treasure!

I’m not going backwards returning to Ontario. I take great pride in the journey I took to Roatan; all that I’ve learned, all the strength in myself that I could have only found here, the lifelong friends I have made, and knowing that if I choose to come here again I will be welcomed with open arms.

The time has come for me to wind down Roatan Vortex©. Just like so many things that came my way as a direct result of moving to Roatan, I have loved sharing the Roatan I have come to know and love with everyone. But I have put off concentrating on writing memoirs and novels in order to keep up with Roatan Vortex©.

The day I arrived on Roatan almost five years ago I knew no one, DJ Genevieve and Roatan Vortex© were unimaginable dreams. Now, they are a part of my reality, known by many, more than three hundred thousand people have visited the Roatan Vortex© website, and read my stories about life on Roatan at Honduras Weekly, Trip Atlas, The Latin America Travel Blogger E-Book, Hecktic Travels, Tiny Buddha, and others. Even Fodor is including a couple of roatanvortex© quotes in their 2011 Honduras & Bay Islands Gold Guide!

Thursday, December 1, is my going away party, The Roatan Vortex Reversal Party, at Infinity Bay Resort, hosted by Roatan Radio, all are welcome, even Vladislav is stopping by to see me off.

 
icon for podpress  Vladislav: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

I’m happy, I’m at peace, and feel confident and strong about my decisions. Will there be hurdles, of course! Will I be freezing cold and my feet hurt squishing them in shoes & boots… oh yeah! Will I miss Roatan and everything it has meant to me–with all my heart–but I also know, I’ll be bringing the most important aspects of Roatan with me to Canada.

Listen in here to the final Roatan Vortex Hour Show broadcast live November 12, 2011 on 101.1 FM Roatan Radio.

This story can also be read at Honduras Weekly; retitled, I found Roatan

Grocery Shopping on Roatan

12 Sep

Impromptu dinner parties on Roatan are a regular part of the lifestyle here. It’s not uncommon to get a phone call (or Facebook message) just a few hours before, letting you know who is hosting, and what you are requested to bring. Last one I attended, I was asked to bring: a bag of ice, and a pineapple. One my way to the get together, I stopped beside a fruit & veggie truck, selected which pineapple I wanted (without getting out of the driver’s seat), he passed it to me, I paid for it, and drove away. Next stop was the variety store for a bag of ice. The clerk said, “That will be $25 please.” I smiled, handed him a bill, and asked if he could make change for a 50… Lempira. He grinned, and said, “You can’t blame a guy for trying.”

Recently, I hosted a dinner party, and decided, for this one, I would supply all food and drink. It was an extra special occasion for me; a housewarming party at my new digs. Actually called it a house-cooling party, I didn’t turn on the air-conditioning—or anything silly like that, it just sounded more appropriate for Roatan.

Hosting this party required more than a stop at the fruit & veggie truck and the variety store, a full menu had to be compiled. Now, if you are as lucky as me, you have a friend who is an excellent cook, knows the list of ingredients required without looking them up in a cookbook, as I would have to do, and having another friend, who is the queen of baking desserts was a bonus, but a full fledge grocery shopping excursion was still necessary.

There are plenty of options for grocery shopping on Roatan, with a Roatan twist, of course. When you enter a grocery store, it looks typical North American: shopping carts, brightly lit aisles and sections: dry goods, produce, dairy, and freezer section, even a bakery & deli counter. However, weather, and other factors, will dictate how well stocked the shelves are; you have to be prepared to improvise or make a last minute menu change.

Some typical North American experiences while grocery shopping will not be found here. There is no weekly delivery of flyers to your home (thank goodness), listing all the specials of the week, no coupons to clip either. Grocery stores, only recently started doing “in store specials” but none accept coupons. They are very diligent about expiry dates though, and will discount items that are close to the expiry date. When decided if the savings is worth taking the chance, be sure to take into consideration for dairy and meat products; the time your (must be kept cool, applies to ice cream too) groceries spend in your vehicle while in other stores, and during the drive home, speeds up the spoiling and melting process. The bonus is the non-perishable items that have an expiry date stamped on them. I was looking to purchase a box of white wine (boxed wine connoisseur, don’t you know) and wound up saving a lot! I didn’t know boxed wine had an expiry date, but sure didn’t complain when I saw the discount sticker reducing the price from L265 to L100!

When you get to the check out, there are the typical displays of odds & ends, candy bars and gum. All strategically placed to entice you while you wait in line. Fortunately, no supermarket tabloids will be on display, but you might find your copy of The Roatan New Times. As your items travel on the belt, if you have purchased un-typical produce (imported) be prepared to tell the checkout clerk what it is called, chances are they have no idea, and will spend a lot of time trying to find it on their list. I’ve run into snags a few times when it comes to this, since I know what items are called in English, but not Spanish. While that is going on, your groceries are being (excessively) bagged for you. The “reduce plastic bag waste” hasn’t caught on here—yet! You can bring your own re-usable bags, just be prepared to guide the person bagging your groceries, to not put them in plastic bags first and then into the ones you brought. The other thing you have to assist with is how the purchased items get stacked in your vehicle—that’s right, we get carry-out service!

Shopping cart lounger-Mike Bouchet, designer

On the Island of Roatan, typical North American style grocery shopping is a new concept for those who work in the stores. I try to remind myself of that when I’m getting frustrated because the clerk doesn’t know the name of the product I’m purchasing, or puts the bag with the loaf of bread, under the bag with canned goods in it. While I appreciate the familiarity of North American style grocery shopping—I never want to re-embrace the “typical” being grumpy and unfriendly while grocery shopping on Roatan.

***

Shopping on Roatan at Honduras Weekly

Listen to the Roatan Vortex Hour on 101.1 FM Roatan Radio.com for Saturday, Sept 10 – Now & Then, Here & There

 
icon for podpress  Now & Then, Here & There: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

The State of Chihuahua

7 Sep

Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea, Isabella considered, as she slid under one row of seats, across the aisle, then under the row of seats on the other side. Her tiny body smacking into the wall, only to have the whole process repeat in the reverse direction, while the relentless waves played volleyball with the Ferry she had stowed away on. She pressed herself as flat as a lumpy pancake, and struggled to dig her toenails into the metal-clad floor. Cringing from the impending impact, and the high pitched sound of her nails grazing across the slick surface, she lowered her head, hopeful her perky ears wouldn’t be permanently bent.

At least she wasn’t cold anymore; after all, that was why she was moving to the Island. Even as a puppy, wearing the sweater her mother knit for her, snuggling under the blanket, in the basket with her brothers and sisters, she still couldn’t keep from shivering. Being warm, made the nauseating, body bruising ride, to get to the Island worthwhile, well not really, she’d just come and go by airplane from now on.

Even after the Ferry had docked, her insides continued to churn for a few moments; she hesitated to relinquish her false sense of grip. A few deep breaths, a glance at her reflection in the shiny metal floor, relieved to see her ears were not folded in half; she stood up, scurried past the humans, anxious to be on firm ground, and to see her new home—Roatan.

No one was waiting to greet her, no one was expecting her to arrive; actually no one knew she existed. That was okay, she was sure she’d make friends. Maybe not with that land-crab coming towards her, he was at least twice her size, must have been on the Ferry too, the way he walked sideways, and kept opening and closing his big claw like he had no control of its movement. Oh, how about that lizard? No! He’s running along on two legs, when he has four he could be using—what’s up with that? She didn’t notice the green-grey moss covered troll, lurking in the jungle, its huge frame, blocking the dabbling sun peeking through the foliage, the delicate new growth shrivelling from the intense frost left in its wake. The troll had found his next victim of doubt, and would follow her every move—bidding time.

Entering West End (this is a fairytale; Chihuahuas can make it to West End from the Ferry dock in a matter of moments) Isabella peered around the two taxis facing each other, neither one willing to back up, so they could both proceed, transfixed by the deep craters etched in the sand road, she snugged the straps of her backpack, and scrambled down the steep embankment of the first hole, then ran as fast as her petite legs would carry her up the other side. That wasn’t so bad, she thought, only slightly out of breath. But, by the fifth sand trench, she struggled to reach the crest, panting, her tiny toes cramping, glancing ahead; disappointed to see she had travelled less than half a block.

Harvey—the gnome (told you this was a fairytale) straightened his two foot frame to admire his latest excavation. He was pleased with his progress now that those silly humans had stopped filling in his hard work. They never bothered the land-crabs pitiful attempt at mining; finally they’d smartened up and were letting the master show them how open-pit mines should be developed. Initially, he had been furious when kidnapped by the Travelling Gnome Gang, the first few places they shipped him to weren’t to his liking, nice places to visit—but, not as nice as his home in Nome. The gold mining had been spectacular in Alaska, but it was dang cold. After being flown to Roatan, even the week spent in the, “your-luggage-isn’t lost-its-just-not-here” room at the airport, hadn’t bother him so much, now he preferred the year round, balmy climate on Roatan. Besides, Harvey felt he was supposed to be here—he had no idea why—what the heck—why fight it.

No time to dilly-dally, he reminded himself, and slid back into the pit, dodging the Fairies (disguised as Hummingbirds), zipping around his head, trying to convince him to: take a break, gaze at the Caribbean Sea, perhaps a nap in a hammock. Roatan may foster a laid-back attitude, but Harvey had brought his self-imposed, work-until-you-drop ethic, with him from North America, and wasn’t about to relinquish it. Unearthing another Yaba Ding Ding (pre-Columbian artefact) he stuffed it in his pocket, to later add to his cache, ready to be sold. He knew he should hand them over as “National Treasures” to be enjoyed by all, but making some cash overpowered all inclinations of what he should do.

When loose sand and gravel started pouring in the hole, fearing a cave-in, Harvey crouched forward, as Isabella tumbled into the pit, landing with a thud in front of him. What the heck is this, he thought, brushing debris from his knees, peering at the creature with the perky ears and a pink backpack askew on her shoulders? Oh, she’s in rough shape, he considered, obviously needs a drink of water, probably hungry too—dang newbie! What’s she doing wandering around my mine? He tugged at her backpack until she was standing on her four feet, went to his rusty lunchbox, pulled out the water-bottle, poured tepid water in the cap, and set it in front of her. While she greedily lapped at the water, he un-wrapped the baleada he was saving for his lunch, and broke off a few pieces for her. She gobbled those down, and couldn’t prevent the belch that escaped her tiny frame as soon as she finished eating.

A dark cloud passed over the open hole, cast by the green-grey moss covered troll, blocking the blazing mid-day sun. Not yet acclimatized to the intense heat, Isabella followed the cloud cover, and attempted to stay under the no panting relief it brought. Just like home, she sighed. Harvey grabbed her, pulling her back into the warmth. If you’re gonna make it here kid, he thought, you better get yourself use to it, and not be drawn to what you use to know—it ain’t right for you anymore!

Isabella bared her tiny sharp teeth, and snapped at Harvey! How dare he tell her what she should do? She’d been figuring things out for herself as far back as she could remember. Nobody, not even a helpful, gave her food and drink gnome, was going to dictate what she should do! Isabella scrambled out of the pit, chasing the deceptive, cooling mist. Harvey watched her go, shaking his head, knowing that eventually she’d figure it out for herself, and if she didn’t, well, she’d just go back to the State of Chihuahua, like so many before her. Oh dang! Harvey summoned the Fairies to follow her. This one belongs here, he indicated; help her—without her knowing that is what you are doing.

Isabella ran as fast as her little legs would carry her. “Wait for me!” she cried to the green-grey troll. He sneered; this was way too easy, slowing his pace, letting her catch up. She dove under the cover of shade the moss provided, letting the familiar sensation of cool envelop her. When she began to shiver, and tried to pull away, it was too late, the bone chilling cold was impeding her ability to move, within a matter of moments she was frozen to the spot, her pink backpack cracking under the strain of ice coating the surface.

“Stay away!” the green-grey troll bellowed, thrashing his arms, swatting at the swarm of hummingbirds rushing toward Isabella. Their swift moving wings and glistening jewel-like feathers breaking up his thick cloud cover, allowing the sun’s rays to peek through. When the ice slick on Isabella’s backpack transformed to water droplets, and started to trickle down the straps, the green-grey troll conceded defeat, swirled his moss covered cloak around himself, and drifted away toward the Ferry Dock—seeking his next victim—so many wannabe’s, so little time. Actually, maybe it was a good day to check out the airport.

As the warmth seeped back into her body and soul, Isabella twitched her perky ears, then one by one, her tiny legs, and finally her entire self was free from the restrains of what once had been her comfort zone. Smiling sheepishly at her friend Harvey, she did a little Chihuahua twirl when he grinned back, and waved her on. She’d be okay now. No longer afraid to explore: the unknown, the unfamiliar, the unexpected—the wonder of life on Roatan.

***

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, dogs, gnomes, trolls, or fairies, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

This story can also be read at Honduras Weekly

Driving on Roatan

31 Aug

Driving on the Island of Roatan has a few, ahhhh, unique qualities. There is one main road, a few village roads (some paved, some not) and the entire Island is approximately 35 miles long, so you would think it wouldn’t take too long to travel from one end to the other—that would be true if you could drive as the crow flies. Take into consideration: the curves, bends, hills and valleys, and nothing is as close as it may appear on a map.

Then there are other considerations, such as, who you are sharing the road with; the requirement to get your driver’s license on Roatan is showing ID that you are at least 18 years old, an eye test—sort of, a physical exam—sort of, and a friend who goes with you because they want to get a driver’s license too (the camera at the DMV takes two pictures on one sheet of photo paper, hence the requirement to have two people apply for their license at the same time.) At no time through the process will you be asked if you know how to drive, or be tested to prove that you know how to.

Roatan is a bustling metropolis (not really) but the traffic is quite steady, including a vast assortment of SUV’s and cars; taxis—only equipped with four-way flashers and annoying horns; tour buses crawling along so the occupants won’t miss any of the sights, or zooming by with just the driver, on the way to pick up the next batch of passengers; work trucks that seat 30 (the majority in the open back); scooters—the preferred minivan for many; pick-up trucks jammed full of rubbish, household items, and/or supplies—I’m always fascinated by how high stuff can be stacked—and there is usually a guy sitting on-top of the pile—holding it down. I’ve even seen a transport truck navigate the winding road. That wouldn’t be such a big deal except the main road is only exactly wide enough for one vehicle travelling in each direction, and being such a long vehicle requires using the middle of the road to cut the corners. Oh wait—most vehicles claim the middle of the road as their own personal lane on the bends, so length of vehicle is irrelevant.

The majority of the main road is, ahhh, paved. When it starts to rain the surface is slipperier than an ice rink, extreme caution is required to avoid a collision! There are few street lights, but, quite a few vehicles don’t have working headlights or tail-lights either—so it balances out.

Then there are the pedestrians sans motorized vehicles; I’ll include bicycles here, lots of those too! Very few areas have actual sidewalks lining the road, lucky if there is a gravel shoulder, or a path trampled in the ever encroaching jungle. You will encounter: children walking to and from school, entire families on their way to wherever, individuals heading to work, and groups of friends strolling side by each (so they can have a conversation) oblivious to on-coming traffic since they usually walk with the direction of traffic, instead of facing it. The only ones facing the vehicles zipping by are the joggers, ready to jump to the side if necessary. However, the runaway horses, dogs, iguanas, crabs, chickens, and other assorted creatures and critters, have no preference for which side of the road they use to get from point A to B.

I enjoy driving on Roatan, it’s always an adventure! It’s great fun to freak out visitors, especially when I take them down switchback roads, or ones that are so steep it looks like we are going to fall off the face of the earth—I know the road is there! One of the features I like best about the Roatan roads is that there are few signs blocking the view. You’ll see the occasion “bend in the road” sign, a few “one way” signs, and we even have a couple of “stop” signs. But, for the most part that’s it.

However, there is one road on Roatan that could use some signage:
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*

This story can also be read at Honduras Weekly, retitled: The Adventures of Driving on Roatan

Sundae by the Sea

23 Aug

Sunday, August 21, Clinica Esperanza held the 5th annual “Sundae by the Sea” fundraiser.

“Clinica Esperanza’s mission has been the same since Miss Peggy started treating patients from her kitchen table in Sandy Bay 11 years ago: to offer the highest quality health care to everyone on the island, with no patient refused for lack of funds.”

For the large crowd in attendance, the afternoon included performances by Steel Pan Alley, and Bobby Rieman; a delicious island BBQ catered by Island Saloon; all served up under the palapa, next to the Caribbean Sea at Gumbalimba Park.

Tables lined the one side offering an opportunity to participate in a silent auction, a large selection of items; dinners, canopy tours, handmade jewellery, books, services, and more; generously donated by local businesses. A live auction had guests bidding on luxury week long stays at resorts, catered dinners, artwork, even a boat and motor were up for grabs.

Roatan Radio’s Captain Morgan in the Morning was on-sight sending live feeds to the 101.1 FM station in West End, ensuring that even those who couldn’t attend, no matter where in the world they were, could participate in the live auction, as DJ Calico Jack relayed the phone bids, and was the first to share the exciting news…

Just a month ago, Miss Peggy had to make an extremely difficult decision, and announced that Clinica Esperanza was closing immediately due to a year long delay attempting to secure the necessary licensing for the maternity & paediatrics expansion. It was suggested that the fifth annual Sundae by the Sea should be cancelled—no clinic—no need for a fundraising event—right? Wrong!

When word of the much needed and respected clinic closing reached the community (locally and internationally) efforts were launched to ensure Miss Peggy and her dedicated team could carry on. And it was with great pleasure at this year’s Sundae by the Sea; we witnessed Miss Peggy being presented with the licence!

This story can also be read at Honduras Weekly, retitled Miss Peggy gets her license

Don’t Step on Thorns

5 Aug

Don’t Step on Thorns


Started out harmless enough, strolling along a path, heading to the beach, minding my own business, when one of those pesky barbed end daggers, launched itself between my flip-flop and the tender underside of my foot.

Yes, I cursed! Pulled it out, and carried on, muttering under my breath as the assaulted area stung. Later that evening, I suspected the tip of the thorn was still imbedded; contorting my leg (in what I’m sure was an advanced yoga position—I don’t do yoga) I examined the bottom of my foot. Yup, there was something in there; I poked, and prodded in an attempt to remove it. When my hip protested the pretzel formation I had forced it to endure, in my infinite wisdom, I decided to leave it be—the remnant of thorn would work itself to the surface, and that would be that.

Well, that didn’t happen. With every step I took, the offending debris was pushed further in—not out. And once again, in my infinite wisdom, I chose to ignore it. Fast forward a couple of months (okay so I was in complete denial) I hobbled along, complaining to all that would listen, that there was a thorn in my foot and it hurt! More than once, it was suggested that I should go to Miss Peggy’s (Clinica Esperanza) and have that taken care of. I knew that, but had every excuse for why I didn’t have time; I am on such a tight schedule on Roatan, don’t you know. Finally—common sense kicked in and I went to the clinic.

Located at the top of a hill, in Sandy Bay, what once was Miss Peggy’s home (she ran the clinic out of her kitchen) has expanded to a full fledge, not-for-profit, medical facility; Miss Peggy and her team of dedicated staff and volunteers tend to the medical needs of all on Roatan.

Being the chicken that I am, when I approached the entrance, I was grateful for the welcoming and calming atmosphere. Children played on the jungle gym, their parents nearby, others sat on the wide front porch, fanning themselves. Inside, more clients sat in the neatly arranged waiting area, the air-conditioning negating the need to fan. Most were quick with a sincere smile and greeting, as was the receptionist, who took my information.

When it was my turn, I was led to a consultation room, where one of the volunteers checked my vital signs, noted them on a chart, and assessed what I would require; consulting with Dr Raymond, it was decided that more than a pair of tweezers were needed; he would personally tend to my treatment. I won’t go into the gory details, let’s just say… the thorn remnants are gone, as is the infection, that I had given free rein by letting it fester for so long… the necessary excavation was then closed with five stitches!

Once again relying on my infinite wisdom, I devised a secret plan that as soon as Dr Raymond was finished, and before the freezing wore off, I would go grocery shopping, and take care of a few errands. Fortunately, (although I didn’t think so at the time) Dr Raymond is a mind reader. He handed me a blanket and a pillow, turned off the light, and as he exited the room said, “Have a good nap, see you in a couple hours.”

“But, but, but, I’ve got things to do before the freezing wears off!” I protested.

“I know—that’s why you’re staying right here.” He smiled and closed the door.

I’m regularly asked how I could risk giving up “First World” healthcare when I moved to Roatan—thing is—the best care I’ve ever gotten is on the Island of Roatan. A dedicated team of trained professionals take care of my medical need with compassion and a true commitment for the well being of ALL the people of Roatan—even those like me, whose infinite wisdom is solely lacking.

Please visit the Clinica Esperanza website for more information on what they offer, and details of the upcoming 5th annual “Sundae by the Sea” at Gumbalimba Park; all proceeds directly benefit the ongoing efforts to provide quality healthcare to all on Roatan.

This story can also be read at Honduras Weekly; retitled, Miss Peggy’s First World Clinic in Honduras.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

2 Aug

I’ve had my fair share the past few weeks, having just returned to Roatan from Ontario, Canada.

While these are typical modes of transportation; the distinct differences and unique qualities between the two areas are notable.

Planes
Obviously, since Roatan is an island surrounded by the Caribbean Sea, flying was my best option for getting to Canada in a timely fashion. A friend got me to the airport early enough so I could stand in line with fellow travellers—for an extended period of time. It’s kind of like a game of Poker; will the line move quickly (didn’t have to show up at the airport three hours ahead of my flight) or, if I bluff, will it get down to the wire and risk losing the jackpot of jetting away.

For the most part—call me weird, I don’t mind hanging out at the Roatan Airport—admit it, you’re thinking—she’s weird.

The Roatan Airport is small by most standards; one arrival gate, one exit gate. Well, there are two exit gates, but they are right beside each other, and which one you go to is based on where the most people are lining up. Once you complete your check-in, you have to go to the bank line to pay your exit tax. However, keep in mind that the day you are flying they may have changed the rules and you can pay your exit tax (have the person behind or in front of you in the check in line, shuffle your luggage along, so you don’t loss your spot) while you wait to check in.

Confused yet? Just wing it—haha!

Anyhow, I was saying, I like to hang out at the Roatan Airport. Thing is, Roatan is small town living; chances are I’ll meet many friends there. Some are picking up family, friends, and guests to their resorts; while others are sending off the same. Then there is the time of year (mid-November until after Easter) when Sunwing Charters arrive from Toronto and Montreal. That’s when you will find me at the Roatan Airport saying; Welcome to Roatan! to all my fellow Canadians coming for a visit. Just call me the Walmart Greeter of Roatan!

I’ve shared what it is like when you fly to Roatan and the unique qualities of navigating through immigration and customs; when my dad came for a visit a few months ago, so I’ll let you peruse that story rather than repeat myself.

When you are leaving Roatan, there are some features you should know about. Once you are in the “secure” area (you’ve gone through the metal detector and haven’t set off any alarms) you will find: a souvenir shop, and a lunch counter, but, no Duty Free shop. At this time you might assume that you are done with “security” checks, ah… no. When you line up to exit to the waiting plane, you will once again pass through a “security” check—uhuh! Any and all liquids; bottles of water, sodas, etc. that you purchased will be confiscated, and that half tube of toothpaste that got through the first “security” check will be removed as well—or maybe that was just me.

Trains
No, there are no trains on Roatan, but, there will soon be one that will take you on a tour of the glorious flora and fauna on the Island. Roatan Radio’s own DJ and gardening guru, Helen Murphy, is working on that as you read this.

In Canada, trains have a long history, you could even say, our very existence and evolution was based on them. In recent years (sad to say) rails are being removed and replaced with more highways—I don’t get it. That aside, in my hometown of Waterloo, Ontario (where the Blackberry was born—I know, pretty impressive—eh!) there are still some rails intact, and you can often hear the distinct whistle as one passes through. On one particular evening, my mom and I were enjoying dinner on a restaurant patio, when a train approached (the rail line runs right beside the restaurant.) The train engineer was ready—he blasted the whistle when only a few feet from us. Yah, he got the reaction he was looking for; we all jumped in our seats—I think my poorly timed sip of wine came out my nose. Then he had a water gun ready and shot our waitress in the butt, as she was clearing a table—good clean fun! We could see, and hear him laughing as he guided the train on past!

Automobiles
One of the things I was most looking forward to when visiting Canada was driving fast—I admit it, on the long, straight, stretches of highway. A million years ago in a former life, I drove those highways every day to and from work, it wasn’t uncommon to drive to the office, thirty minutes from my home (on a good day), then from the office, head out to see a customer in another city three hours (on a good day) from there. I got pretty tired of doing that, but, hey, it was part of my job.

Whereas here on Roatan, the entire island is only thirty-five miles long.

Even with keeping in mind; the twists, turns, ups & downs; I’m certainly not doing a three hour commute—and I’m sure as heck not driving fast.

I arrived to the Toronto Airport, and made my way to the rental car area. I had reserved a basic economy car for my two week stay in Ontario, well I got upgraded at no extra charge, and with keys in hand, I headed out to claim the brand new, candy apple red, Ford Focus—I know, doesn’t sound too impressive, but, oh my, they’ve come a long way (according to a friend, these are being raced at the track.) And the most bizarre feature is that I was driving a car that thought it was a computer—really! Not one, but two, touch screen computers booted up when I turned the key in the ignition—oh, oh, where are my reading glasses! Anxious to hit the road, I wasted more than a half hour trying to figure the thing out. Finally, I’m on my way; exit the garage, head for the open road—not! First I have to remember which ramp to take to get to the highway I need to travel, but the choices are extensive—and, damn—now I need my glasses for distance so I can read all the signs!

I made it! I’m now on Highway 401 WEST. Ah, this is what I was looking forward to (it’s Sunday so traffic isn’t too heavy) cruising along a straight stretch of highway; knowing where I am and where I’m going, so I can set aside my two pairs of glasses, and slip on my sunglasses. Three lanes wide in both directions (not including the various exit and entrance ramps) I pass other drivers, and some pass me, I’m listening to music, sipping my half decaf, just milk, Timmy’s (Tim Horton’s coffee, for those of you that aren’t familiar with this Canadian staple.) With at least, an hour of driving ahead of me, I settle in… But, wait, this isn’t as much fun as I thought it would be… it’s pretty boring actually, and I think my backside and legs are going to sleep.

What’s wrong with me? I was looking forward to this moment!

I glanced out the driver’s side window as a fellow roadster passes me in the fast lane—I smile, I wave—my reward—a blank stare, and a quick jerk of their head to face forward again—pretending a stranger didn’t say hello.

That’s what’s wrong—on Roatan driving isn’t just a means to get from point A to point B. It’s like hanging out at the airport; a place to say hi to friends—old and new. Or even to do a little shopping when the fruit & veggie truck is parked next to where you are driving—just lean out the window and buy some oranges, pineapple, perhaps some carrots or a cabbage. Low on phone minutes? No worries, the phone card guy will probably stroll by and you can buy some.

You’ve got time (haha)—you’re probably stuck behind two taxis, facing each other blocking the road–in a standoff, anyway!

This story can also be read at Honduras Weekly.

Gone Shopping

27 Jun

I’ve given you some insight on those things you should bring to Roatan and those things you should leave behind. I’ve shared that when the Roatan Vortex pulls you in and you make the move to Roatan you will live quite contently with a whole lot less stuff—your personal worth no longer based on how much you own.

Now, even the Swiss Family Robinson needed a few things when they were shipwrecked on a Tropical Island. But priorities of what they needed evolved based first on availability, then an appreciation of realizing life can actually be better with less stuff cluttering your home and soul.

Okay that sounds kind of sappy, but it’s true!

That aside, four years ago availability was the deciding factor for shopping and I got out of the habit. Now there is much more available on Roatan; from housewares to clothes—but with a Roatan approach. Although I didn’t really need anything, I went on a couple of shopping excursions just to check it out.

Gone Shopping Day 1 – The Mall
That’s right we have a Mall on Roatan. Half the stores are unoccupied but there is a couple of Department Stores (I use that term loosely), a grocery store, a few banks, and all the phone services can be found there too. Oh, and a Wendy’s and an Applebee’s… shudder. I should note here that the majority of staff speak only Spanish and have never been to a North American style store or been employed by one. The cultural differences are vast. While where I’m originally from in Canada, customer service is expected (though not always delivered) on Roatan that’s an unfamiliar concept.

You will however get your own personal shadow. The moment you start perusing the shelves and racks, a clerk will be right behind you. Where you go… they go. I wasn’t comfortable with this the first few times I entered shops. It kind of freaked me out; I would become more preoccupied with ditching my clerk than shopping. One store, I started walking faster and faster around a bank of shelves until I caught up with my shadow… poor girl confused the heck out of her! Now I just accept she will be there and start handing her stuff that I may or may not try on or purchase so she can feel useful.

The other thing you have to get used to is that there will be a security guard at the entrance… just the way they do it here. He will open the door for you—nice, and it’s no big deal. However when you go to exit the store, even though the guard has watched your purchase being rung in and the bag stabled shut, you will have to hand him the receipt so he can mark it with a red slash or punch a hole in it, then he will open the door for you to leave. One store the guard had a pair of scissors and cut the bottom portion of the receipt off… I don’t know why and I didn’t bother to ask.

Gone Shopping Day 2 – Uptown Coxen Hole
My next excursion had me strolling the streets of the largest town on Roatan, Coxen Hole… stop giggling already, it’s named after a famous pirate.

This is where the Municipal office, other government offices, banks, a grocery store, a few restaurants, some souvenir shops, and a multitude of mom & pop and thrift stores can be found, and a Carrion—Roatan Walmart (giggle.)

The first thing you encounter are the taxis. The moment I exited my vehicle (keys still in hand) I was greeted by a barrage of honking horns. It didn’t matter that I was walking the opposite direction of the traffic flow on a one way street and ignored them. Each and every taxi (at least every other moving vehicle I passed) honked, and honked, and honked assuming I wanted a taxi. I’ve got the quick head shake down pretty good now. It doesn’t stop the drivers from honking the first time, but at least they quit after one—sometimes.

My first stop: the Carrion. Yes, the door was opened by a security guard, yes, my shadow appeared immediately. I found a few things to try on, silly me. Sizing here is ah, different. I’m not sure where they bring in clothes from, but even though North American sizes I’m a size 6, on Roatan XXL don’t fit me. But, I held up a sundress and though what the heck, looks like it might!

Draped over my shadow’s arm, we headed for the change room (giggle.) The first dilemma I encountered was that the change room had no hooks, no chair, no shelf, I had to place everything on the floor and there were at least fifty ants scurrying around retrieving crumbs of some sort. My shadow waited patiently outside the door as I brushed ants aside and raised the sundress over my head… ah, no, that’s as far as it got… too small!

I left without buying anything. That’s okay by me… I really don’t need anything anyhow.

My favourite Store

____________________________________________________

Did a couple of guest posts this past week:

Dalene and Peter from Hecktic Travel have left Roatan to check out other other locations. “Bye Guy’s it was great to meet you!” Dalene had a little trouble convincing her Uncle Calvin that life as a vagabond can be a good thing. I helped her explain to him the merits of leaving the typical (or expected) behind. Dear Uncle Calvin

“Hey Genevieve, wanna be a DJ?” John asked. Spacial Audio asked me to share my story on how the Roatan Vortex Hour was born, ready about it here: How to Become a Radio DJ on a Tropical Island

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.

 
icon for podpress  The Cure for Hoarding--Move to Roatan: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Roatan Vortex – An insider’s guide for moving to Roatan

21 Apr

So the Roatan Vortex is working its magic on you, you’re considering a move to Roatan, great idea! No longer will time in paradise be limited to your allocated one or two week holidays a year. No more burrowing under the three comforters piled on your bed, peaking out the window and groaning at the sight of fluffy flakes of snow floating down to cover the crocuses and tulips that are doing what they can to convince the skies it is springtime.

Since making the move to Roatan I am regularly asked, “How’d you do it?” That’s easy to answer, “I quit my job, sold everything I owned, and moved here.” The Roatan Vortex pulled me in!

Now that I live here I regularly share why I stay: through the Roatan Vortex blog, The Roatan Vortex Radio Show on 101.1 FM roatanradio.com and through the book The Roatan Vortex—an insider’s view of day to day life on a Caribbean Island It’s time to back up a bit (kinda like they did with the Star Wars movies) and share… drum roll please…

The Roatan Vortex—an insider’s guide for moving to Roatan

The thing is, moving to Roatan is not like moving across town or even from one State or Province you live in to another. You have to approach it a little different and not use the North American side of your brain to plan the move. Yes, clear up and do what must before you come to Roatan, but when the Vortex calls, “resistance is futile”… hey, another Star Wars reference… no wait, that’s from Star Trek!

On your mark! Get set! Slow down!
When I go back to Canada to visit family and friends, they quite often comment that I’m too mellow, as they zoom past me; rushing to work, the store, an exercise class, the mall, to pick up the kids etc. That is the normal pace there, but not on Roatan. Sure you still have things to get done, places to be, people to see, but the pace here is a little different. For one thing it is just plain too hot; you’re going to work up a sweat no matter how slow you go, so why encourage it. Besides, whatever you are rushing to probably won’t be ready until mañana anyway.

Definition of mañana – tomorrow, next week, maybe a month from now, possibly—NEVER!

photo credit - Gumbalimba Park

It’s always Groundhog (Watusi) Day
Another comment I get from family and friends (especially when they come to visit me on Roatan) is that things don’t change much here—and that’s true—with a Roatan twist, of course. The year round summer weather has something to do with that (we’ll talk about rainy season later) and waking to the sun rising at pretty much the same time every day, setting time doesn’t vary much either. The birds are singing, the chickens are scratching; their brood of chicks following behind, while the roosters crow whenever the heck they want to! The Caribbean Sea breaking on the reef, sometimes barely a ripple is created, other times foamy rolling spray outlines the reef. I guess I could say I’ve settled into a routine of sorts. The twist—the vibe of Roatan decides the routine, not me—I’m okay with that! You can be too!

An insider’s guide for moving to Roatan, lots more to share; coming soon:
• Your new address, say goodbye to zip and postal codes
• What to bring (my most prized possession): stainless steel cheese grater
• Leave the rollerblades behind
• Yes, your phone number will be eight digits long
• Setting up your kitchen—everything goes in the freezer
• Choosing your nick name (and other names you may be called)
• Forget about fresh spinach and mushrooms
• Critters you may (no, will) find in your new home
• Decorating is based on mould and rust resistance—not fashion trends
• plus many, many more

For those of you who have already made the move, if you have any tips to add, please do. And for those of you considering making the move to Roatan–ask away!

 
icon for podpress  Roatan SME (Subject Matter Expert): Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

This story can also be read at Honduras Weekly retitled “A life without fresh spinach and mushrooms”

Digg Plugin created by Cheap Web Hosting - Powered by Leaf Shredder and Cartoon Games.