Saturday, March 21, 2009

cars, planes, planes, planes, cabs. and feet.

We just didn't go to sleep Thursday night, at all. We had to leave for the airport around 12:45am, so why bother? We got to JFK and our flight seemed to be carrying the Wheelchair Brigade. They had to take the wheelchair-bound people in three groups, there were so many of them. Old women, mostly, old black women mostly, some with fantastic hats. We finally got to board and the plane left mostly on time, I think, 3:45am or so. It's all a blur.

So the airline, Taca, had been adamant with Marc all along, as he tried to rearrange our flights when we figured out that we'd have all those hours sitting around airports. No, that was their response, no matter what he asked. But when we got to San Pedro Sula this morning, he took off and found that the ticket agents were much more flexible. He got us on a little flight to La Ceiba without too much waiting around.

When I say "little flight," this is what I mean:

The La Cieba airport is really pretty nice, and the view is amazing. Mainland Honduras is gorgeous from the air: lush green forests, beautiful forested mountains with clouds hugging the tops, farmed land and rivers, and oceans on both sides. Here's what you see from the airport gate area:

And here's the view from my window as we took the 30-minute flight to Roatan:

The taxi driver who took us to Luna Beach had quite a speech, about the political economy of Honduras. The government takes all the money and gives the people none. The rich people keep their money and don't put it out in the economy. People are so poor, they don't share with each other. Old people beg and die in the streets, they don't have retirement homes like in Florida. After each sentence, he'd say "That's a wha happen."

We got to our room and crashed, oh so tired. I kept hearing all this squawking through my exhaustion, squawk squawk squawk. When we woke up we walked around the hotel grounds and I found the source of the squawking. There are huge cages filled with birds, parrots and macaws mostly. I stood in front of a cage watching the parrots perch and stare at each other, and all of a sudden I heard a strange voice say HOLA. And then whistle the cat call whistle. I looked around, weird, and then figured out that it was one of the birds.

But there was this very insistent and loud squawk that was coming from another cage, and I couldn't see the bird. Finally I glanced over and saw this head peeking down:

Maybe it was trying to tell me why the caged bird sings, I don't know. There are huge and brilliant red macaws I'll photograph tomorrow. It is a tropical island, with bougainvillea everywhere, and hibiscus and coconut palms. So pretty.

Here's our room, it's like a tree house:

And this is our porch, with chairs and a huge hammock:

We walked about 3/4 of a mile up the beach to West End and saw so many restaurants we'll try while we're here. It's really a wonderful place, we are enjoying it. The people have all been very friendly and kind to us.

Here we are:

For dinner, we walked a short way up the beach to the Lobster Pot. We'd planned to have breakfast there tomorrow because they have coconut bread french toast that is apparently amazing. We're kind of tired, so we just decided to have dinner there tonight.

The tables were outdoors under the palm trees (in the sand) and some were on a deck. We opted for the deck, thinking there might be fewer mosquitos. We'd read that the service was s-l-o-w, island time, but actually, it was just right. And the food was absolutely wonderful. We shared an appetizer of conch fritters, then I had coconut fried shrimp and a salad, and Marc had grouper and garlic mashed potatoes. It was as delicious and perfectly prepared as you would find in any fancy restaurant. The sweet waitress asked us if we would like a piece of house lemon pie; we said no, we're too full, but she pressed a little and said that they just give the guests a piece. So we decided to share, and it was ice cold lemon pie, like key lime but lemon. My eyes kind of rolled back in my head a little.

Tomorrow: snorkeling and eating and lounging and walking and napping. Sounds like a vacation to me.

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