Trip Start Mar 23, 2007
137Trip End Sep 15, 2008
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Where I stayed
Getting to the answer to that requires a trip back in time. First there were jeep rides, shark dives, and Mayan ruins to explore.
July 16 - 2007 Roatan, Honduras
The whale shark experience kept us thrilled for days, still does really. Every time I think about it, I involuntarily suck my breath in remembering how surprised I was by the graceful behemoth. Our next adventure was an island excursion. We rented a red jeep and with the top down we flew wind through our hair east along Roatan's only road. We flew by Coxen Hole and went onward past French Harbor until we were climbing Pumpkin Hill - Roatan's only "mountain". The view from the top was grand. To our east we looked out at endless sea, we could clearly see the reef, and the boats looked so small we could crush them between our fingers. To the west more ocean and in the distance mainland Honduras, which on a clear dry morning is an impressive sight with it's green steep mountainous terrain. It was easy to imagine this once pirate haven of the carribbean.
There were quite a few developments along the way and even more land for sale, however the area was far more remote and less crowded than West End. We pressed on to where the road nearly ended, which was a 1950's style resort called Parrot Bay. At first we thought it might not be open anymore; no one was around and this place was truly away from it all. The wind was blowing and the sun was shining - it was the perfect spot. We lunched on the patio which we had to ourselves. We lost track of time along the empty beaches where we searched for pirate treasure, and before we knew it the sun was falling low in the sky.
We picked up a hitchhiker, a young woman all duded up going into the local town a few km away, she was in her early 20s and talked a bit about growing up on the island, especially this end of the island where it is still possible to envision how it was 10, 20 years ago when it was dotted with local communities, banana trees, parrots, and monkeys, and tourism was still just a gleam in the eye of a few enterprising locals.
Our days are slower now, we dive once, or twice a day. On our off days we walk down to the beach at West Bay, it's especially fun on "cruise day". The whole place changes. Music fills the air, locals don their spiffed up outfits, there are free beach chairs, and waiters crawl out of the woodwork happy to offer you an umbrella drink. The local peddlers are out in full force and prices all take a 30% hike on Wednesday mornings. It's a strange phenomenon. Ben and I always hit the beach on Wednesdays - yes, for the free chairs. But also cruise Wednesday was just a localized cultural phenomenon, an interesting yet somewhat disturbing contrast to the largely unknown villages and remote places on the other side of Pumpkin Hill.