We didn't take a lot of photos, because nothing had changed since our last trip, photo-wise. There were significantly fewer tourists, maybe because of the world economy and/or maybe because of the political situation. We didn't really notice anything different politically except for the evening presence of national police driving around. One local guy with a gun strapped to his calf. Nothing more.
One night while we were eating a truly crappy dinner at Eagle Ray's, Marc noticed a lot of airplane traffic flying into the little airport on the other side of the island at Coxon Hole. The Roatan airport has 2 gates, one runway, it's TINY. But this one evening, Marc counted approximately 5 per minute, coming in to the airport. One every 20 seconds or so. That made NO SENSE. The runway and gates couldn't handle one minute's worth, and this went on for our whole meal. We thought of a dozen scenarios, but none made any sense. What in the world was going on? It couldn't have been, but it was.
The bars all seemed to play music from the 1980s, which was hilarious. The lone exception: LADY GAGA. Everywhere. The incongruity of it made me laugh out loud every time I heard her.
The Lobster Pot was as wonderful as ever; we ate coconut bread french toast for breakfast, or pancakes. Dinner, huge fried shrimp. Huge. Everything we ate there was simply perfect. There are 3 sisters who run the place; their mother returned to their island (we don't know where). One sister, Elizabeth, has a little girl named Brittany. One sister is named Lorna. The other stayed in the kitchen, maybe she was the primary cook. For dinner, they bring out a basket of warm homemade coconut bread, then the meal, and then a slice of lemon pie. It's the best place to eat on the island, by far. One night we ventured to the other end of West End to eat at the Lily Pond, which was pretty good too. But my heart belongs to those sisters at the Lobster Pot.
While we were at Luna Beach, the place was overrun with divers. It's a funny thing, being the snorkelers on a boat full of divers. There's a very real sense of us as the babies, we're not "real" in the same way the important divers are. They were always perfectly nice to us, patient, nothing at all negative. It's just the vibe. We saw the big schools of brilliant blue fish, and I could just follow them for the rest of my life. We saw sea urchins, with such long spikes they looked like porcupines. Regular fish we saw last year, nothing new.
For two days of our visit, a tremendous storm raged. The weather those days was supposed to be partly cloudy with a 30% chance of thunderstorms. Instead, rain slashed and wind howled. Beach washed into the ocean and disappeared. Trees danced with the wind. It was absolutely WONDERFUL. We just stayed in our room and watched it rage outside, while we were cozy inside. We couldn't even stay on our porch or lie in the hammock, the wind and rain were too strong. The only real downside to the storm was that we were stuck eating at Luna Beach, where we were staying. Nearly everyone else spent the evening sitting around the bar (well, they spent most of their non-diving time there, anyway). We crept out to the bar - not our scene, for sure - and ordered hamburgers and took them back to our room. I think we both felt our outsider status pretty intensely; the crowd was all friendly and laughing together, strangers who had come to know and enjoy each other's company. We are both so shy and don't know how to do that easy comfort with strangers, but at least we had each other, both in the same boat.
The trip itself was so easy, especially compared to last year! This year, we just fly from Newark directly to the airport at Roatan. Approximately 4 hours, bang we're there. A 20-minute cab ride to Luna Beach. Marc booked our trip 10 months ago, and he had requested a particular cabin, E. When we were on our way to the hotel, Marc said he expected something to go wrong, that even though we requested (and confirmed) E, something would go wrong. And it did. Sonia, the desk clerk, said we had to take a different room because the people in E had just disappeared, no one knew where they were, she was really worried about them and hoped they were ok. (An obvious, very very obvious lie.) We'd have to stay in A for the night, and tomorrow when the people checked out of E (if they returned, she hopes they're ok), we can move into E. Marc was angry, and insisted and reiterated that we'd confirmed the room. We finally went to A, and Sonia accompanied us. Marc walked over to E and the people were just sitting on the porch! So Marc and Sonia went over to E and it was really unpleasant all around. The people acknowledged that they'd known they were supposed to change rooms this morning, but it was still kind of awful. They quickly packed and moved, and Sonia Herself cleaned the room (after having argued that one reason we couldn't take the room was that the housekeeper was already gone for the day). Sonia was extremely sullen and always treated us with a hostile attitude. Whatev.
So anyway, it was just a fantastic trip all around. I really wish I hadn't had to come back. We're daydreaming about our fall vacation.....Laos, we think. Something to look forward to. We aren't sure we'll go back to Roatan next spring. Another Caribbean island may get our attention, we'll see.