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Things I learned when I lived on Roatan

22 Jul

Living on Roatan (and prior to that, choosing to move to the relatively small island, off the coast of Honduras, Central America) was all about “going with the flow”. Letting things happen if/or when they will. So, today, I’m choosing to sit on the porch, in Ontario Canada: perfect summer weather; flowers in full bloom; birds, butterflies and bees—flying, flitting and buzzing; and really stupid frogs in the garden—repeatedly leaping head-first into the vinyl skirting around the trailer.

Together, we’ll discover some of the “Things I learned when I lived on Roatan.”

$50 anti-aging cream is a waste of money: Advertisements, fancy booths in the Malls, glossy flyers (that come in the mail) try to convince me otherwise. Drinking plenty of water, getting out in the sunshine, eating more “real” foods, and not stressing over stuff I have no control of (I learned that on Roatan) are my preferred. I’m still aging: gravity, genetics, and the occasional not-good-for-combating-wrinkles choices I’ve made will take their toll, but I’ve also still got the $50 in my pocket.

I am the “Supreme All-Knowing-Calming-Force” during power outages: Recently, we had one in Ontario, after a thunderstorm, there was panic in the streets—the people in shock, lost, afraid! Okay maybe not quite that bad. On Roatan, power went out 2 or 3 times a week (no storm required)—I pretty much learned how to deal with it. Kind of ties in with the “not stressing over the things I have no control of thing” too.

I am the “Supreme All-Super-Happy-the-humidity-is-at-100%” for more than a month now: Nonstop heat-wave. Woohoo! While those around me are melting, grumbling, and hiding in: dry-your-skin-out, windows closed, draw the blinds, air-conditioned… ah… bunkers, I turned the trailer porch into the place to hang out.

“Paradise” is inside me: Okay, that sounds a little hokey! Since moving back to Canada, many people have commented: How could you leave Paradise? Thing is, I went there to figure it out—but I learned I can live it anywhere.

It’s okay to be me: Oh, oh, another corny one. I left everything I knew behind to explore the unknown on a little island called Roatan. And while there, I learned “being me” is all I’ve really got, oh sure, I could have ignored it, in favour, of trying to conform to a lifestyle more-typical to where I grew-up. But, even as a kid, my life was far from typical. I used to be ashamed of it, embarrassed by it—big stigma attached.

I’ll always be grateful to Roatan, for teaching me: “Being me is okay”

To find out more about my: be ashamed, embarrassed, big stigma attached, and now I’m okay with it thing, visit CastleMuse.com – Love Ya Mommy!

Roatan North

25 May

Spring has sprung in Ontario, Canada! And just as I took credit for the mild winter (I brought it from the Island with me don’t you know) I am also going to claim credit for the Roatan like weather we are experiencing now!

Warm and gentle breezes, a few fluffy clouds meandering across the sky, no need for jacket or sleeved shirt—tank top and shorts will suffice. And absolute best of all—NO SHOES!!! My toes are happily free to wiggle in flip-flops! My tan has returned and I don’t look out of place anymore as the only one without pasty grey skin-tones. Mind you, there were those who overdid it (kinda like Roatan tourists do) and had a tomato red tinge after the long weekend. The flowers are in bloom, the foliage is lush and green, and eventhough it will have to be brought inside in the fall, the hibiscus tree I couldn’t pass up when strolling through a garden center, is delighting me with its continuous show of velvety red blossoms.

The battle of the bugs has begun! I noticed a couple of “flying ants” they’re huge here, nothing like the wimpy ones on Roatan. Anyhow, the next day I spotted a few more, and in my true form, I set them free. Later that same day when four of them fell on me from the ceiling above, I looked up—ohhh crap! It was like from the scene in “The Amityville Horror” when the bedroom filled with flies (except mine were “flying ants” and they had taken over most of the rooms in my home.) Normally, I prefer to share space with God’s creatures, scorpions being the exception, but this was just too much, I got a can of Raid from my mom, and the carnage began! Fortunately, it was nice and warm outside so I could fog the inside with toxic chemicals and retreat to my porch while I waited…

“Flying ants” aside (well actually dead) the majority of the critters are welcomed. Swarms (or is it flocks) of Monarch butterflies arrived, I think from Mexico, last week. There were so many they were landing on my grandson and me when we arrived to my place. The other day, I sat sipping a beverage on my porch when a hummingbird came by to say hi; he or she returns daily now, as do the fat bumblebee’s. And last night, outside my bedroom window, I watched “fireflies” show-off, turning the dark forest into a twinkling light show.

There are a few un-Roatan things to contend with, for example: not one item I own has gone rusty or moldy, I’m sure you’re thinking that’s not a bad thing, but I’m not use to it, not to mention, there isn’t enough humidity to prevent my clothes from wrinkling—now I know you feel sorry for me. And worst of all—everybody is in such a hurry—come on people—really, it’s not worth it! I thought going out to shop or whatever on Roatan was a challenge—ha. If you drive the speed limit here it’s like you’re a target in some kind of crazy video game. I’ve gotten used to middle-finger-salutes, fist shakings and learned a few new nasty words too. I took it personal at first, but not anymore, I just smile and wave back using ALL my fingers not just the middle one.

***

By the way, my new website CastleMuse is still in development and should be launching soon, I know I’ve said that before, even gave you date. Instead I think I’ll just say, “the CastleMuse Library will be opening… mañana.” tee-hee.

And for all of you trying to find me on Facebook, I’m there, just not a personal page anymore—click here to visit Genevieve Ross on Facebook. You can send me a message, post on my page, read what I post, or whatever. But now that I’m set-up this way I can’t contact you (until you send me a message first) and unless I set up a personal page again, I can’t see what you post on your personal pages.

Castle Muse on Survivor

13 Feb

The popular ‘reality’ TV series Survivor depicts contestants hanging out in the jungle and on a beach enduring the heat and humidity, getting by with limited resources (stuff), and vying for position in a tribe. Although it may never qualify to become a series on TV my ‘reality’ couldn’t be more opposite. Here’s what I’m doing now that I’ve chosen to vote myself off the Island of Roatan.

Lack of moisture in the air and keeping all the windows closed to hold in the heat don’t sit well with me; nor does readopting old, hard to break habits. Implementing and/or installing the following have helped immensely.

Environment /Physical
Portable steamer – You know, the kind you bring out when someone in the house has a stuffy nose and you slather some menthol goop on the vent. Not wanting my home to smell like a box of cough drops I skip that part, but I do have the steamer going all day and all night; whatever room I’m in, so is the steamer; churgling out a warm, humid mist.
Humidifier on the Furnace – that is in addition to (not instead of) the steamer. I haven’t noticed a dramatic result from having this going, but I’m sure if it wasn’t I’d get a static shock when I touched something metal or I’d hear a crackling sound coming from the cat’s fur when I pet her.
Sauna – At least once a day for 30 minutes at a time. This was the most costly (but worthwhile) measure. It takes about the first 15 minutes to get a sweat going while pouring water on the lava rocks and the temperature gage reads close to 120 F. The first time I used the sauna I was disappointed; what the heck good is sitting in an overheated cedar box gonna do me? But, oh my… once I was finished the session, my skin actually felt soft and supple like skin can and should!
Window open, Fan on – That’s right! To ensure a good night sleep I plug in the steamer (of course) at the foot of the bed; open the window—just an inch or so, no I’m not trying to heat the outside; turn on the overhead fan and snuggle down under a heavy comforter. Air circulation, humidity, and warm ahhhh—works for me.

Environment /Emotional
Tropical Plants and fresh cut flowers – Okay, not quite the same as when they grew wild all around me, but waking up to gaze at potted greenery and colourful blooms beats the heck out of glancing at blank corners.
Sunshine – The sun is shining! The sun is shining! I’m not a fan of going out in the cold but do make a point of getting out there on the rare occasions when the sun isn’t hiding behind bleak cloud-cover. Facing the glowing ball of light, my eyes wide open, a silly grin on my face soaking in that natural vitamin D. And even when the sky is grey all curtains and blinds are opened wide from early morning to night encouraging every spec of light to come oooon in!

Diet and Health
Groceries – My favourite place to buy fruits and veggies is at the Asian Market, oh sure, they don’t offer the same vast selection as the large supermarkets do, and an abundance of blemishes and soft spots will be found—but just as I discovered when I lived on Roatan… it’s real food!
Exercise – Not nearly as much as I should, real easy to not bother when every day I’m wearing twenty (okay, I’m exaggerating) layers of clothes and can’t see the jiggly bits.

Attitude – This is by far the hardest to maintain while being the most important. Pretty much every day a stack of flyers (enticing me to buy stuff) can be found jammed in my mailbox. I transfer them to the recycling bin without a glance. I avoid conversations that rate my (or anyone else’s) value based on what my job is, what neighbourhood I live in, or who I associate with. I try to not be late for anything I’ve committed to attend, but don’t book up my schedule just to keep busy.

When I first moved back to Canada, I caught myself flipping through the pages of those flyers pondering purchasing things I in no way needed. I seriously reconsidered that my value was based on external factors; easy enough to happen when taught from an early age these are the things that matter, but I know in my heart-of-hearts Just Being is all that matters. As for keeping busy for the sake of being busy; I may not need to keep room in my day for an impromptu visit to the beach, but I’m not rushing around trying to fill up time just surviving either. A Roatan Vortex state of mind is mine to keep no matter where I am!

Be sure to stop by Castle Muse oh sure, I’m not done building it yet, but worth a peak and while you’re at it how about clicking on the like button at Castle Muse on Facebook staying connected with Roatan Vortex family and friends makes me smile!

:)

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.

Spanish Moss and Alligators

14 Oct

I just got back from a whirlwind visit to Brunswick, Georgia (and surrounding area) and Copan Ruinas, Honduras.

My agenda for each location couldn’t have been more different–Georgia was to visit friends I had met on Roatan, and Copan Ruinas to attend the 12th annual Conference on Honduras.

I have a lot to share about both, so to keep it simple, and stay within an acceptable length, I’ll tell you all about the Conference on Honduras in my next posting, this one’s all about Georgia–with a Roatan Vortex spin on things–of course!

I met Tiffany, David, Cortney, and Lizzie, when they came to Roatan for the first time a few months ago. They were sooo Roatan–go with flow, laid back kinda folks–didn’t even flinch at how many mosquitoes there were, or the always sweating, humid conditions typical to Roatan. I now know why, the mosquitoes in Georgia are as plentiful, and each one big enough to carry away a small child. And although it cooled down in the evenings, most days were almost as warm and humid as on Roatan.

When they offered for me to go visit them in Georgia, I jumped at the chance to experience their world. Now, I didn’t know for sure they meant it; it’s not uncommon to invite someone (you hardly know) to your house, fully expecting they won’t take you up on the offer; especially when they live many hundreds of miles away from you. Noooo… I knew they meant it.

So I went to Georgia. I had been there a couple of times before, at the airport in Atlanta; waiting for a connecting flight, or the one night I had to stay at an airport hotel because I missed a connection. I don’t think those times really count! Here was my opportunity to see more, and clarify my geography misconceptions. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that prior to this trip, I had no idea that Georgia was on the US east coast… really! I thought it was landlocked on all sides. I can say almost embarrassed, because a few of my friends thought the same thing.

Before my first visit to Roatan I had no clue where it was either, and even when I found out it was an Island off the coast of Honduras… I still wasn’t sure where it was.

My first full day at their house (which is really cool by the way) in Brunswick, we went to “Coastfest” talk about a crash course in learning about the nature of Coastal Georgia: Turtles, Horseshoe Crabs, the Intercoastal Waterway, salt marshes, and more. My vision of Georgia (in general) had been taken from stereotypical… I’m almost embarrassed again… movies. I mean really, isn’t Georgia all about: Gone with the Wind, Forrest Gump, Deliverance… oh my, My Cousin Vinny, or one of my favourites; Fried Green Tomatoes. While these movies give tidbits of information, they really must be taken for what they are–tidbits nothing more.

Sure, there was the stereotypical Spanish moss hanging on everything, and yup–I saw me some alligators–and they weren’t in a zoo. But there was so much more to Georgia than any movie could have expressed.

If you’re planning a visit to Roatan, you may think you have a good idea of what it will be like here. You’ve seen the pictures of the azure Caribbean Sea (like in the magazines, it really is that beautiful) the underwater shots of the coral and sea creatures, the white sand beaches, and so much more. You’ve read the posting on blogs, and followed stories on the news; but only when you visit will you meet and appreciate the real Roatan–as I’ve come to appreciate the real Georgia.

My friend Tiffany gave me a souvenir to bring back to Roatan. Two things make it extra special–it was handmade by her, and it is both practical and functional on the Island–I use it every day!

Redneck Water Bottle Koozie! Take two standard size drinking glass koozies (preferably ones that have something you like written on them), turn both inside out, fold down the rim of the top one (to display text), cut the bottom off of that one, and then attach it to the bottom one with DUCT TAPE! Gotta love it!

Visit Roatan Vortex on Facebook to see many more pics, and be sure to listen in to The Roatan Vortex Hour, Saturday October 15, on 101.1 FM Roatan Radio.com for the inside scoop on how easy it was to get from one place to the next and back to Roatan again!

 
icon for podpress  Spanish Moss & Alligators: 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:
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This story can also be read at Honduras Weekly, retitled: The Adventures of Driving on Roatan

The Junk Drawer

10 Jun

You know—that drawer!

Usually in the kitchen, it’s the catch-all for stuff. It starts out harmless enough, everyone has those things that you want close at hand but don’t want to leave them out cluttering the counter, or chancing them being moved and not at your fingertips when you need them.

For my household it has always included: the scotch-tape (I know that’s a brand name, but if I kept Jello packets in that drawer… I’d call it Jello even if it wasn’t the Jello brand.), kitchen garbage bags, scrap paper, a pen or two, maybe a flashlight, batteries, and matches.

Even on Roatan where stuff isn’t as important to me anymore, I do have a Junk Drawer, and somehow it has managed to get stuffed full of stuff! And now that I have sold the cabana and will be moving on to a new slice of Paradise on the Island (not leaving Roatan) it’s time for me to clean out the Junk Drawer.

So how the heck did this happen? I mean really… what is half this stuff? And why did I keep it?

I’ve got Canadian Tire money for gosh sakes! Probably thought if I hung on to it long enough a Canadian Tire would open on the Island… hahahaha! The plug doesn’t fit any of my drains, the push lights don’t work anymore, and the stack of business cards are useless cause everybody changed their phone numbers. The wine bottle corks??? No idea what I planned on doing with those, besides I’m a boxed wine connoisseur now.

So this is it—time to get rid of some junk!

Oh my, did I mention it’s kind of warm today, and well, friends just posted on Facebook that their heading to the beach… maybe a full Junk Drawer isn’t such a bad thing… I’ll take care of it mañana!

That is, of course, after the Roatan Vortex Hour on 101.1 FM Roatan Radio.com starting at 10 AM (Roatan Time.) Be sure to listen in for tips on making the move to Roatan… you know you wanna!

What to Bring – What to Leave Behind

8 May

More often than not when you make the move to Roatan the home you rent or purchase on the island will be furnished; including dishes, other kitchen stuff, and linens.

Chances are though you will have items from wherever you are moving from that you will want to bring with you—those bits and pieces that are a part of your everyday life.

However when you move to Roatan your priorities of what you need to set up house and home will change; some by choosing a simpler, less cluttered lifestyle, and others because… well… chances are it isn’t going to survive here!

A lot of what you may need or want can now be found on Roatan compared to when I moved here. I never realized how important coat hangers were until the previous owner of my cabana took them all with them when they moved out. It took me two weeks of searching every store in my quest to get my clothes hung up. I finally found some in the Fruit & Veggie Market in Coxen Hole. Silly me, I had been looking in hardware stores and at the Carrion—Roatan’s version of a Walmart; which is absolutely nothing like a Walmart. You no longer need to worry about bringing coat hangers when you move to Roatan; there are many places that carry them. If you do decide to bring some though just make sure they are plastic! Guaranteed, metal ones will rust, and that sheet of paper covering the metal frame will go mouldy!

Here is my list of must bring items to Roatan:
• a stainless steel (heavy duty) cheese grater

• a stainless steel (heavy duty) can opener

• those little silica packets in shoe boxes (don’t bring the shoes)

• zip-lock bags in various sizes; including extra, extra large, for storing… everything!

• a Swiffer Sweeper Vac and numerous packages of Swiffer dust clothes and filters

• tri-light bulbs

• a cooling fan for laptop

• crank flashlight

• Yorkshire pudding mix—if you like Yorkshire pudding but not to make it from scratch

• acrylic paints and brushes—or your preferred art & craft supplies

• needles, thread, sewing accessories—that I store in a zip lock baggy with those silica packets from the shoe boxes

• extra batteries, cords, accessories for computer and camera equipment

• An English calendar—not that I worry too much what day it is, but I always have had a calendar on the fridge—habit.

• Feather and down pillows

• bedding / linens—still not much to choose from on Roatan

• Couch (sofa) with springs & frame, and puffy cushy cushions … I haven’t got one yet, but trust me I will one of these days. On those evenings when I want to kick back and relax on the couch, it ain’t gonna happen unless I bring my own!

What NOT to bring
• an alarm clock—being on time for something on Roatan is to be at least a ½ hour late.

• rollerblades—majority of paths are loose stones or sand, not so good for rollerblading

• an iron—the humidity will remove all wrinkles

• metal heirloom picture frames—they will rust through in no time

• any pieces (furniture) made from fake wood—termite candy

• any article of clothing that you never wear, but think you might—it will go mouldy

• chairs or stools covered in plastic—sweaty, sweaty, sweaty

• Leather stuff—I brought one leather belt… anytime I wear it I have to wipe the mould off first!

So what about you? Getting ready to make the move, what would be on your list of must bring?

Just remember when you make the move to Roatan, you’ll be too busy doing stuff to worry about what stuff you brought to Paradise!

Listen here to what DJ Chef Frances – “Live it up, the guide to living the sweet life in Paradise” shared from his list, when he popped in on the Roatan Vortex Radio Show, on 101.1 FM Roatan Radio.com

 
icon for podpress  Bring/Leave: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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!

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