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Roatan Vortex State of Mind

1 Feb

Okay, so I had said my previous story here at RoatanVortex.com was going to be my last posting, but what can I say… a wave of homesickness washed over me the other day.

It had nothing to do with the fact that the temperature read as a negative number or hearing the sound of tires spinning, outside my home, on the snow, compressed to a layer of hard packed ice on the roadways.

It had nothing to do with getting ready to go out for a while and having to pull on a bulky jacket, scarf, gloves, a toque to swaddle my head, or sitting on the bottom step in the front hall tugging boots over thick socks entombing my protesting toes.

It had nothing to do with moving the portable humidifier from room to room trying to maintain at least a hint of moisture in the air, or the stockpile of lotions and creams stacked on the bathroom counter that I need to slather on dry and chapped skin—in spite of the claims made by the manufactures that if I use their product my skin will never go flaky.

And it had nothing to do with noticing the weak sunlight emitting from the hazy orange ball suspended in the frosty afternoon sky and wondering—what’s that? Or realizing that I am gazing longingly at the potted herb plants on the kitchen counter not because I’m trying to decide what will go best in an omelette but solely because they’re green and alive and… plants.

I was homesick for my Island family and friends!

Since moving back to my hometown in Canada, I’m learning to cope with the conditions that I have no control over; weather, sleeping vegetation and minimal sunlight. And I’m appreciating advantages I haven’t experienced for a few years. I haven’t had to wipe mould off of anything, there is nary a hint of rust on the fridge needing to be hidden with a fresh coat of primer and none of the door knobs have fallen off because the lockset has crumbled away. There is no need to check under my pillow for scorpions, flick gecko poop off the freshly made bed or swat at the sand-flies nibbling on my ankles.

I’ve had the greatest pleasure of my son and grandkids stopping by and together we watch ‘Planet of the Apes’ on Netflix, getting together with my mom to work side by side on the book we are co-authoring, and spending an afternoon with my daughter when she drives down from Hanover and we go for lunch and shopping at the most exclusive boutique—Value Village! And most evening after a delicious home cooked meal, courtesy of my Steven, we snuggle on the sofa (yup, a real one) to watch a few episodes of our favourite HBO series, ‘Mad Men’.

Regardless of all that, I settled into my feeling homesick and longing for Roatan, wrapping it around me like a much needed fleece blanket to ward off the cold, at the same time the Roatan Vortex began pulling at me; warming me from the very core of my being. Now before you get any ideas, no, I’m not moving back to Roatan, but rather, re-embracing what I thought I had to give up. When I made the decision to move back to Canada there were many reasons (and there still are) but I thought I had to completely say goodbye to the Roatan Vortex; it had consumed an extraneous amount of my time when I lived on the Island and became a chore, a job, a, I thought I had to turn it into a business thing.

But, the thing is–the Roatan Vortex was never intended or destined to be any of those things—the Roatan Vortex is a state of mind!

A bunch of years ago I coined a phrase, “the Roatan Vortex—it pulls you in and you’ll never want to leave!” and I’ve come to realize that I don’t have to physically be on the Island to feel and share the positive effects—to stay connected with my Roatan family and friends. Although I won’t be posting stories nearly as often as I used to I still will be occasionally stopping by to say hi and satisfy my craving to blog. Time permitting I will also be re-launching the Roatan Vortex Book with a new look but exactly same content as I originally wrote it, plus additional bonus features! The RV Book will be available at my new website CastleMuse as a FREE downloadable ebook format and the book (paperback) edition will be available on-line to purchase at cost plus (of course) shipping. I also will bring books to the Island and donate them as prizes for various fundraisers—Clinica Esperanza Sundae by the Sea, Familias Saludables Sundays at Bananarama and others.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery
If you’re in no hurry and can wait for my re-release of the Roatan Vortex Book… please do. I’ll announce it here at Roatan Vortex.com You may find (what appears to be) the book in its original state available for sale on the Island and floating around cyber-space. Thing is, even though it’s all my content and my name is on it—it’s not the real deal!

Now I’m not asking you to take sides or anything, heck, I’ve got a couple of ‘knock-off’ outfits in my closet, have watched a few illegally copied DVD’s and the sunglasses I bought on the beach may have the ‘Gucci’ logo embossed on the rim… but they sure aren’t ‘Gucci’.

On page 265 of the Tiny Buddha, Simple Wisdom for Life’s Hard Questions—by Lori Deschene, she asked: “What can we control in life?”

My answer: “The absolute only thing we can control in life is how we respond to everything we have no control of.”—@roatanvortex

I’ve got a lot of great things going on in my life that require my full attention right now, and other than the couple of weeks I’m going to spend (with Steven) enjoying the glorious warmth and sunshine on Roatan this month, I plan on taking full advantage of the cold dreary weather to keep me focused on writing content and recording audio books for my new website CastleMuse; that’s where I’m building the foundation for my ‘castle in the air’ while maintaining a Roatan Vortex state of mind.

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.

 
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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

Thank’s for asking

23 Sep

I’m frequently asked for suggestions when visiting Roatan: accommodations, dining, attractions and entertainment. I even get asked about diving and snorkelling, which I’m not too helpful with, since I don’t do either. But, I have many friends on Roatan who do, and will gladly direct visitors to the people who I think can help them the most.

More often than not, I’m also asked—how can we help?

There are many opportunities to participate in helping the people of Roatan—help themselves. It can come in the form of: donating much needed supplies, volunteering your time while you are here, and/or, sharing your expertise: medical, technical, creative—whatever!

Living on Roatan, I’ve had the good fortune to get involved with various initiatives and see firsthand the positive impact they are having:

Roatan Daycare Center
Mission of the Daycare Center.
“Our purpose is to help children of working families learn and thrive, mentally, physically and emotionally.
Our program combines bilingual early education and nurturing childcare, with play, social skills, and a dedication to community. We provide a healthy environment within a safe and comfortable facility. This gives parents the ability to work with peace of mind, knowing their children are receiving the best of care. These parents work full time, as most live near or at the poverty level.”

Familias Saludables
“Familias Saludables is a non-profit, non-denominational organization devoted to fighting the AIDS epidemic on Roatan and the Bay Islands. Our major focus is on reducing the incidence of mother-to-child transmission of the virus both at birth and via breast milk. We run testing clinics for pregnant women, assign trained home visitors for mothers living with HIV/AIDS, provide education to the public, provide palliative training services and, when available, we provide infant formula, medications, and a host of supplies to support families struggling to cope with this disease. All of our services are free of charge and our staff consists solely of volunteers, both local and international.”

Clinica Esperanza
“From the apartment beneath her home – to donated space in the Son Rise Calvary Church in Sandy Bay – Peggy Stranges has given her life to building Clínica Esperanza, otherwise known as “Hospital Ms. Peggy.” Together, with Honduran physician Raymond Cherington, M.D. and Arizona-based physician Patrick Connell, M.D., and through the generous support from Roatán’s community leaders, Ms. Peggy has realized her dream of building a first class freestanding hospital.”

Roatan Vortex Breakfast Program
This one’s brand new, and I am thrilled to share with you! In conjunction with Familias Saludables (couldn’t do it without Val) and Louisa Trundle School—Roatan Vortex has launched a breakfast program for all the students at the school. When they arrive each morning, the first thing they are greeted by is a table (manned by the grade 7 students) where they are offered: a glass of milk, fresh fruit (of the day), and depending on the day: a healthy cookie, or toast with peanut butter, or perhaps a hardboiled egg.

I have so much more I want to too share with you about the program—it warrants a story all its own, and information on how you can participate. That will be coming soon; in the meantime here is a couple of: “Musings from a Breakfast Program.”

Positive reports from parents, teachers, and students. A hug this morning from a little girl who ate three eggs, but I know she doesn’t get food at home. She hugged me, and said, “breakfast was Delicioso!”

Today one of the grade six students had a seizure, and I took her to the hospital (don’t worry she turned out to be okay, she has epilepsy and missed her medication.) At the hospital, the nurse and the doctor asked her three times if she’d eaten breakfast. She kept saying yes, and I then asked why they were asking. They told me that almost every day they get some kid form school that faints from hunger. I was so proud to say our School had a breakfast program.

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There are many other on-going programs on Roatan and the mainland that are worth checking out, but finding them can be a daunting task—that’s where Project Honduras can help you out.

“projecthonduras.com is an alternative concept for development of Honduras based on using information and communications technology (ICT) to identify, mobilize and coordinate all the available human capital in Honduras and around the world. By “human capital”, we mean resources such as time, energy, expertise, experience, talent, and contacts… things that really only gain value when people become personally engaged.”

In addition to on-line support, and information; there is the annual Conference on Honduras:

“For the past eight years, Copán Ruinas has served as the site of an annual pilgrimage by people from all walks of life, various faiths, and different countries. The purpose of the pilgrimage has been to come together as a community to find ways to become more enlightened and learn how to work as One. The ultimate aim has been to better support the poor and underprivileged within Honduran society by empowering them through education, healthcare, and a variety of community building projects. And to do so in a positive spirit of compassion, harmony, and joy.”

Read the full story at Honduras Weekly – Pilgrimage to Copan.

I look forward to attending this year (October 6-8) where I will get the opportunity to meet people I greatly respect, to hear about their programs, and present the Roatan Vortex Breakfast program. I also will be reporting details back to 101.1 FM Roatan Radio;—Bringing Roatan to the World and the World to Roatan.

Perhaps you’re think you can’t offer enough to make a difference? Check out this story about Bennett; a five year old boy, who lives in Canada. He asked his friends coming to his birthday party to not bring presents for him, but for the children at the Roatan Daycare Center.

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And remember… “If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.” – Anita Reddick

 
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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.

Lots Going On

15 Jul

I’ve been pretty busy the past while, and most has been very enjoyable, mind you… being busy isn’t a way of life I’m accustom to anymore since making the move to Roatan.

Speaking of moving, recently I’ve done just that. I’m still on Roatan (of course I am) but I’ve changed things up quite a bit—hey a change is good. Mona’s okay with the new digs, settled in fairly quickly, Baby on the other hand is not so sure, he’s trying to decide if he should risk using up one of his nine lives to go exploring.

One of the best things about living on Roatan is meeting new friends, and sharing all Roatan has to offer with them.

We went on a day trip to the east end of the Island, celebrated a marriage vow renewal, let the guys cook dinner, and got donations (from ECR4Kids, distributed by the Roatan Daycare) delivered to the Luisa Trundle School.



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Speaking of the Luisa Trundle School, I’m ecstatic to announce that the Roatan Vortex Breakfast Program was launched this week!


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Celebrating Canada Day, and the wild and wonderful antics of another Sand Road Hockey Tournament added to the fun! Video of Hockey Tourney coming soon.

Once again a great time had by all, with proceeds going to Sol Foundation.

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Somehow I managed to push the right buttons to record my most recent Roatan Vortex Hour on 101.1 FM Roatan Radio.com

 
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And the ultimate spectacular keeping me busy was when my son Jeff, daughter-in-law Jumana, and amazing, super-duper grandsons – Zain, Aaqil, and Kaisan came for a visit!!!


Yah, there has been a lot going on and each warrants a full story here on Roatan Vortex, and time permitting I’ll get them posted. In the meantime you can check out pictures on Roatan Vortex on Facebook.

Take your time… I’m going to go on a little vacation of my own now, I’m off to Canada for a few weeks to visit with family and friends, catch a movie or two with my mom, hang out with my sister, and relax… I admit, I’m a little tired, but I’ll be baaack!

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!!!

Total Nonstop Wrestling Action (Forum) on Roatan

27 Apr

No wait… that already exists. Good thing I created the Roatan Vortex Forum instead.

Now, so far I am the only member (compared to the Wrestling Forum which has over 170,000 members and close to 5 million posts) but hey, you’ve got to start somewhere.

There are forums out there that include discussions about Roatan, so why the Roatan Vortex Forum?

Some are geared toward vacationing on Roatan, or at least sub-categories are: Trip Advisor. Others focus on the life of an Expat Abroad: Expat Forum, again, you have to search for a sub-category specific to Roatan (good luck finding Roatan.) And then there are those that are for a community of people who share a common interest: Diving forums.

The time has come to pull them together in one really simple, easy to use, minimal rules (don’t even like the word), location.


Visitors, Newbies (recently moved to Roatan), Expats: Roatan SME’s (Subject Matter Experts) unite! Let’s talk about Roatan!!!

Who Can Post?
Everyone! Just remember to keep it about Roatan—except for the “Just Because” category. You will have to register to contribute; if you’d rather not add your two cents worth, you are still welcome as a Guest and can peruse the forum all you want.

This is where I’m supposed to give you the rules of posting, but, you’ll know if what you posted wasn’t acceptable (rude, crude, nasty, or possible infringement of copy-right material etc.) because as the Moderator, I’ll delete it.

Questions? Don’t be shy, ask away!
So it’s happening… the Roatan Vortex is pulling you here! You are very excited, but wait… Where should you stay? What about the snorkelling and diving? Will you see Seahorses? Dining options? Transportation? What cruise port will you arrive at (there’s more than one?) And the ever popular: are there bugs, is it safe, and will it rain when I’m there? Go ahead ask all you want! The more specific and the less likely a crystal ball is needed to answer, the more responses you will get.

Write a review! We want to hear all about it… really!
You visited Roatan, and had a blast! Be sure to share with everyone; what you saw, where you stayed, and how much fun you had!!! If something wasn’t to your satisfaction we want to know about that too.

Roatan SME’s and Newbies, you know best!
Living on Roatan? Want to share a great place to dine, a business that we should know about? Tell us all about it. Feel free to share your Roatan businesses and links here too.

Please note: Specific details or names of individuals involved; surrounding dissatisfaction are best shared via direct email contact, rather than on this forum (sorry, another rule.)

Coming soon: There will be a handy dandy form for sharing your Roatan experience; in the meantime just tell us all about it right here!

Roatan – Home Sweet Home
So you want to move to Roatan, great idea! I’m sure you have questions: What are the educational options for my kids? Can I buy lactose free milk? Can I bring my pets? What about volunteering? The sample questions I have included are pretty vague… remember, the more specific, the more answers you’ll get.
And if you’ve made the move to Roatan, you can answer some of them. You’ve already started sharing on “The Insider’s Guide for Moving to Roatan” which if any of your suggestions are used in the soon to be released book: your reward is my undying gratitude… only! :-)

Just Because!
Do you ever wonder why? I have questions about those truly important things in life; what’s in marshmallows that make them taste like—well—marshmallows? Are hermit crabs born with a starter shell? Why are there speed bumps on bumpy roads? And why the heck can’t I snap my fingers?

Sometimes I just want to know; what was your favourite toy when you were a kid? What makes you smile? The name of a book that you think I might enjoy?

This is the place to ask and answer those important questions. You can even talk about wrestling here… if you really want to!

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!

Roatan Hospital Update

4 Mar

There is talk on the Island that a brand new Hospital is in the works, on this, I have no knowledge. I can however, update you on the on-going improvements to the existing Public Hospital in Coxen Hole.

I had the great pleasure of participating in coordinating a Benefit Concert to raise funds for specific improvements.

Thank you to all the sponsors, volunteers, and those that attended the concert… what a fantastic time we all had!

Click on letter or picture to enlarge.

Here are some examples of the difference your generous contribution have made. The examination (clinic) rooms are now complete, and the improvements to the Emergency Department are underway!

Before and After

Before and After

Before and After

Thank you for helping the Roatan Hospital help the people of Roatan!

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