Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Utila, Honduras, el 28 de Febrero, 2017

These signs must be a Honduran thing-

Utila differs a lot from Caye Caulker and Little Corn.  First, the streets are mostly paved and smooth!  There are many small restaurants and shops lining both sides and there is little, if any garbage lying around thanks to the many garbage cans.  Scooters, golf carts and tuk tuks provide transportation but they aren't annoying.  There are no Chinese running the shops and it seems more of a place to 'live' rather than simply a place for tourists to abuse.  English and Spanish are spoken - NO creole!  It has a really good vibe and I like it already-

Breakfast was a super baleada with onions, beans, chicken, cheese, eggs, avocado, lettuce and tomatoe.  It was delicious-

Utila is Robinson Crusoe's island.  He was shipwrecked and washed onto shore at "D".  He built a tent over a cave and called it his castle until it collapsed from a tremor.  He walked up to "F" - Pumpkin Hill to look for ships.  Eventually he tired of that futility.  He spent 3 months carving a hog plum tree to use as a boat but couldn't drag it to the water because it was too heavy.  He thought about digging a canal to the sea but figured that would take 12 years!  The Carib Indians inhabited mainland Honduras and brought their prisoners to Utila. At "L", Crusoe rescued one of the prisoners who was going to be eaten by cannibals.  Prisoners were only eaten after a fight, a fight I guess that they lost!  Crusoe called his new friend Friday because that was the day he rescued him.  Finally, a Jamaican ship was passing by and Crusoe and Friday helped stop a mutiny.  For this, they were given passage to England December 19, 1686.  Robinson Crusoe spent 27 years on Utila!

Blue Bayou, M, is where Crusoe found a small skiff.  With it, he headed inward, always exploring-

The scooter allowed us to explore but having 2 of us on it was kind of difficult.  Not only was it old and a wreck, the throttle and steering were very stiff.  We toured around for a few hours without an accident so that was the main thing-

The south east corner of the island is not inhabited.  The waves crash in pretty hard, there's a lot of garbage, lava and dead coral-

Some of our route was a little primitive-

We stopped at the Texas Saloon for a couple beer.  We started sitting outside, right above the water, but it was too windy so moved inside to play crib-

I love the English or whatever it is-

Lunch was at this hole in the wall.  It was only average-

Our cook had to go to the neighbouring comedor and borrow our French fries-

We took the scooter back, even though we still had a few hours left because we're going to the north shore diving at 7 tomorrow morning and won't be back until noon. Hope to see some whale sharks!

Monday, February 27, 2017

San Pedro Sula to Utila, Honduras, el 27 de Febrero, 2017

We had some time to kill before our flight so went to a couple nearby malls.  We could have been in Canada they were so similar, however, apparently they are still celebrating Valentine's Day.  I asked a woman walking by to take our picture - she shook her head no.  I told her it was simple and showed her how to just point and shoot-

She tried again-

Carolyn was pissing herself laughing.  The woman gave back the camera saying she was 'loco' so I finally asked a security guard who did a better job-

While waiting at the San Pedro Sula airport for our flight to La Cieba and then on to Utila, I heard a very quickly spoken announcement saying something about Utila and Roatan.  All of a sudden,  boarding started.  There seemed to be A LOT of people going our way but we noticed everyone had 'normal' looking cardboard type boarding passes and ours were just slips of paper.  We were only a few people away from the attendants checking passes when we realized the flight was going to Miami.  I know we wouldn't have made it on the plane but we got a good laugh out of it.  Soon it was 10 to 3 and no one was at our gate.  I got worried that they had changed the gate and we had missed that announcement and now it would be too late, the gate would be closed, blah, blah, blah.  I started going to other gates and ran into a pilot who turned out to be our pilot.  Oh ya, island time.  I forgot.  Eventually we boarded, flew to La Cieba, changed planes and 15 minutes later we were in Utila-

There were only 4 of us on a very small plane.  They aren't too worried about security - the cockpit was wide open -

Hotel Trudy's is fantastic-

We have air conditioning, fridge, microwave, ceiling fan, tv and HOT water in the shower!

100 people can stay, mostly in dorms.  There's a great dive shops with really friendly staff, the grounds are very nice, there's a bar and lots of chill spots-

There's a sand volleyball court-

and a great view of the water-

Tonight was 'movie night' so we watched Hacksaw Ridge on a gigantic screen in the bar-

Looking forward to renting a scooter and touring some of the island tomorrow!

Managua, Nicaragua to San Pedro Sula, Honduras, el 26 de Febrero, 2017

I like travelling by land.  I guess my 2 overlands and plans for a third attest to that.  There is just something about driving through an area that for me is super interesting.  It's the ability to interact with the people and see how they live that I like-things you never see in an airplane.  So this morning we left Managua, Nicaragua for San Pedro Sula, Honduras - 14 hours and 601 km away-

Thankfully we were on a very new Ticabus with wifi, at least while we were in Nicaragua, excellent air conditioning, movies and a toilet, which was only to be used for peeing-

Not sure what you were supposed to do if you had to go because we only stopped 3 times: twice at borders and once in Tegucigalpa!  I chose front seats because I like to look forward but the blind on the windshield couldn't be raised so I had to slouch down.  Eventually I moved to the back.

Southern Honduras is dry and poor.  Kids run out onto the highway begging for money and food-

I haven't seen much harvesting equipment until today-


Thinking of Nico#1-

I don't think we'll see this gaseosa anytime soon in Canada-

The landscape is mountainous and polluted-

The further north we went, the nicer it got.  Tegucigalpa is the capital of Honduras and has a population of 1.2 million-

We drove past Lago de Yojoa which was lined with close to 50 restaurants, all open to the street and to the lake.  It's so hard to imagine how they can all survive.

Finally at 7 pm we arrived at the gigantic bus terminal in San Pedro Sula.  It's like a shopping mall - there are many store fronts selling bus tickets and lots of small restaurants and convenience stores.  San Pedro Sula is Honduras' second largest city.  We're only spending the night because we're flying to Utila tomorrow.  Upon arriving at Los Dos Molinas B and B, the woman of the house told me her husband died this past Tuesday.  He dropped dead in the bathroom of a heart attack.  She has 3 sons: 16, 10 and 7.  As is normal in Honduras, his funeral was the next day.  She has to just carry on with her 6 room hotel.  Luckily she has family living close by to help her through this difficult time.

Looking forward to Utila tomorrow!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Little Corn Island to Managua, Nicaragua, el 21-25 Febrero, 2017

Little Corn is pretty laid back-

but sometimes there is work to do.  Paving stones are brought to the island in boats and men haul them on carts to build walking paths.  It's hot, hard work-

Lobster fishing season has ended so all the traps are coming in.  They too are hauled on carts and stored until next season-

There is one sidewalk that makes up Main Street and almost everything is along this street.  Homes-


 the police station-

and the school-

are along the street.  There's a lot of garbage, mainly empty pop bottles and junk food wrappers that eventually get raked into piles and burned.  The garbage is supposed to be hauled off the island but rumour has it that it's just thrown into the water a few miles from shore.

Laundry is done by hand and most homes appear to have a well so at least they aren't just relying on rainwater-

Food includes bruschetta, sopa maruchin and huevo tacos-

I only dove three times: 2 day dives and a night dive.  I was really lazy and maybe should have done a bit more, but there is still a lot of diving ahead.  I wasn't that impressed with my first dive but the second one was better because we dove through some canyons.  I liked that.  The night dive was good but there were 7 of us with one master.  He would show us something by drawing circles around it with his flashlight and by the time I got there, he was long gone and so was the fish!  I did see lots of plankton, huge lobster, 2 turtles, an octopus, a large grouper, sea cucumber, a snake and millions of orange eyes staring out from holes in the coral.  We shut off our lights and saw strings of Pearl - it looked like small Christmas lights hanging vertically.  I don't like night diving, mainly because there is absolutely no communication.  Before I knew it, the group appeared above me and they were already finishing the 3 minute safety stop!  I think it will be quite a while before I do another night dive.

This morning we took a 20 minute boat ride to Big Corn Island, then flew 55 minutes to Managua.  On the way to our hostel, we passed this revolution statue.  His right foot was blown apart with a bomb-

Large metal trees are along the main boulevards.  They are lit up in the night for 3 hours-

9 heroes are honoured in this park with their pictures on large banners-

One of the many traffic circles with an image of Chavez and more metal trees-

We're staying close to the Tica bus terminal because we have to be there by 4:30 to catch our 5 am bus to San Pedro Sula, Honduras.  We paid an extra $10 US for air conditionning in our room and it is soooo sweet!  Should get a great sleep tonight!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Little Corn Island, Nicaragua, el 19-20 Febrero, 2017

Things are pretty slow here, almost stopped!  Carolyn is taking her open water so I've just been hanging out.  

Sunday was the final tournament for the local baseball teams.  Four teams were playing, including two from Big Corn Island.  It's only for fun of course but the best entertainment is listening to the fans.  They speak some of three languages: English, Spanish and Creole.  It's a unique language, special to Little Corn-

Beer flows but is expensive at $1.78 and admittance to the bleachers-

 was 90 cents.  I sat on a pile of paving stones, right beside the home dugout.  Uniforms don't match and any ball hit into the long grass is just 2 bases-

There are no home runs.  The base ump is blind and gets a lot of flack!

Walking around the island is possible on one sidewalk.  There's a very small cemetery-

This restaurant was closed but looks interesting, made out of glass bottles-

This cutie was hanging out at her mother's restaurant

Looks like I'm finally going to go diving tomorrow!

  Cancun, Mexico to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan,     December 31, 2023 I was up at 4:30 and walking to the bus depot by 5:30.  I wore my headlam...