I had planned to spend at least my first night in Copan Ruinas at a hostel as I was traveling into the town alone. However, I met a British doctor who was sight-seeing before a volunteer stint so we decided to share a room. Even though I had this roommate, I asked our tuk-tuk driver to first let us see the hostel that had been recommended. It was nice, but the people there didn’t excite me, nor did the prospect of another top bunk, so we moved on to see the hotel our driver was recommending. I stayed at the Hotel MarJenny, a family-owned and run hotel with much promise on a nice street just two nice blocks from the town center. My hotel (on the left) when walking from the town square:
I had planned to take the Hedman-Atlas bus from Copan Ruinas, Honduras to Antigua, Guatemala ($43). Their busses are so comfortable and fabulously safe. In Copan though, I kept seeing signs for the $20 van (micro-bus) and was told they were safe and didn’t stop to pick up other passengers so baggage was safe lashed to the top of the bus or inside. So, I decided to book a seat on the van. When I went to book my seat at the place Lonely Planet recommends, where many of the travelers hang out, Via Via or something like that, the girl told me it wouldn’t go without two people. That remained their story for the days I was in Copan. After a couple of days I inquired across the street at another place that did van bookings, Don Moises Guest House, a father-son business. There, the father called the van […]
My new adjustable length turquoise teardrop and seed necklace and the man who made it. (150L, US$7.50. I did not haggle.) Friends and I stopped to look at some of the work if the fine local artisans that have tables in one street by the central park of Copan Ruinas. I loved much of what I saw. I don’t mean string brackets. Real jewelry My necklace is on string but is not one you tie forever, then cut off. As I am allergic to metal clasps, I love this.
Are you are traveling to one of the Bay Islands (Roatan or Utila) by ferry and need to spend a night in La Ceiba? Backpackers tend to stay a night at the Banana Republic Hostel. It is right by a good part of town and a great dentist! — and is safe, but it definitely third-world backpacking. Forget the kitchen. The pots lacked handles. There weren’t 4 forks or spoons or knives. Knives were broken, the kitchen was filthy. Don’t count on water for your complete shower or an odor-free bathroom. And the bus out of La Ceiba info that the staff gave each of us was very wrong and problematic. A private room for 2 or 3 runs 450 Limpira, US$25 at this time, which you can split 3 ways. The dorm there runs 150 Limpira as well. (The dorms have backpack-sized huge, amazing lockers though, with electricity for charging!) From […]
I was worried about being able to buy batteries in Central America, especially AAA batteries so here’s a report as of June 2012 in case you wonder the same. Batteries in Honduras In an upscale department store in Honduras, I easily found Maxell AAA that are dated January 2016 in a 2-pack for just 29, which is US$1.50. In a same-mall electronics store batteries were 39L or $2. I forgot to check the price of AA batteries. Batteries in Guatemala In Guatemala the AA were a bit over US$3 wherever I saw them. Batteries in El Salvador San Salvador, the capitol city, has plenty of upscale stores and I am sure you can trust the batteries you buy there. But when I needed batteries I was in a small, out of the way beach town. There, the batteries were a brand I hadn’t ever seen and the AA batteries didn’t […]
Tonight I was with a new travel friend, Hannah, in the supermarket at the upscale mall in Honduras’ third largest city, La Ceiba, when Benjamin Rockwell called me on Voxer to tell me the evening’s recording schedule. Hannah and I decided to stay at the mall and enjoy it a while longer, so I did my segment from an electronics store in the mall. Hannah has been on the road for a while, covering two hemispheres, so she did the 10 minute segment as my guest, sharing her travel technology experiences with our listeners. Hannah’s stories: 1) Her PC died in Tulume, Mexico. A local computer tech found the issue to be a damaged RAM. This is a common issue, he said, due to humidity. It took three days for her new RAM to arrive so three days later, For 400 pesos (US$33), she had new RAM and was happily […]
This morning my Copan Ruinas companion and I took a short walk down a few Cobblestone streets and had a walk through some Mayan history. Copan was the Mayan’s southern-most city. Our guide, Antonio, at 75 is the most knowledgable of all guides one can wish for. We had an amazing day. More later, photos below. The ball field: Down the road 2k you can visit the ruins of actual homes. There are three sections: the wealthy, the Scribes, and the rest of the people. Having heard how amazingly enlightened the Maya were for all these years, it was a reality check to learn that not everyone was educated and that there were definitely classes. This is me in section of the Mayan Ruins in Copan Ruinas, Honduras where the scribes lived. I am shaking hands with a fellow scribe. Well, the depiction of one. Other details of the day: […]
Just some photos. A peek into my backpack (which is simply a suitcase much of the time). Coming soon: Me with my backpack as I leave this hostel to head to the ferry. Note: I am actually posting this July 17 as I sort through and backup photos. Thus, no location.
May 28, 2012 It was difficult to choose to leave Roatan. I knew I would be packing up my snorkel for quite a while. I would be going far from a family, from people, I came to love. I was leaving a place of beauty that was comfortable and relaxing. But many more places remain for me to get to know so it was time to move on. I believe I will return to Roatan so that makes it easier. It was simple to walk from Mel’s place to the main road, stand a moment, and have a taxi turn around for me. The driver had a friend riding along who spoke English well, having been teaching himself since his arrival from the mainland just 3 months earlier. I forgot what they charged me, but it was exactly what Mel said it would be. the ride was easy. So was […]
Here is a great clinic I want to share with not just backpackers and travelers who may come to Roatan, but with all people who like to see or support good deeds. Clinica Esperanza – an excellent project doing much good in Sandy Bay on Roatan. You can read all about it on their site, ClinicaEsperanza.com but first I must add my own personal kudos to them. I have been there and seem the excellent way they treat their patients. There is even a great play set to entertain the children as they wait as you can see in this photo of the clinic. Play things like this are not at all common for the people of Roatan. Here is a photo taken on the main road so you know what to look for. The clinic is a short way up the hill so you need to watch for the […]
I walked to Anthony’s Cay to learn about the Dolphin show. Flagged down a bus from there to the end of the bus route in West End. It was hard to resist getting off to buy some of the fresh fruit being sold on the street but I wanted go beyond where I had been before. (I also noticed there were few people i the streets. Most guests there are there to dive and were out.) I am glad I stayed on the bus. I was let off near the water taxi and I walked further down on the fairly empty beach. This is where the sailboats anchor out. There were 4 or 5 boats but I couldn’t read their names. I kept walking and got to another dice resort. I had a few good conversations there, learning more about diving and diving in Roatan. I was thinking of continuing […]
If you have an unlocked iPhone or other smart phone, you can purchase and use data cards to get Internet as you travel. You can also use these sim cards in USB modems that connect to your computer. In Honduras I used data cards in an unlocked iPhone 3GS. Claro is the less expensive of the two Honduras cellular carriers. I was given the sim card free at the Claro store, a proper Claro shop, not local, small shop reseller. You can buy 1 day, 7 day, 15 day, or 30 day cards. I paid 290 Limpera for a 15 day period providing me with 5 Gb of data. For 490 you can have 1month and 7gb. An additional week will be 140 for another 7 days, 3gb. My first card was TIGO. I paid 45 Limpera for the sim card. I paid 150 Limpera for a 7 day card […]
Each morning I awake to the sound of a bird that repeats the same call over and over, in exactly the same pattern. I recorded it and played it to Terry to learn what it is. He said it is a type of Thrush called the Bobo or something like that. The other sound you’ll hear is, I think, a Gecko.
I am told you can find some guest houses that have dorms around the West End where the dive shops are, but that they don’t have websites. I didn’t find anything about one online. I did see a sign for a hostel when I went to the West End while on the sailboat but I didn’t see any place that looked like it was the hostel. Looking online, I found a listing with reviews and a website for Roatan Backpacker’s Hostel and decided to go there. The reviews said Mel, the owner, was very nice and helpful. This is true. She gave me plenty of information about this area — how to walk down to the beach, where to eat — and also answered every question I had for my articles about Roatan. It is a small two story building on a dirt road. It is easy to walk from […]
Just briefly for now… This morning, with a sad heart, I left my Oakridge neighborhood to see more of Roatan. More came to the local bus stop with me and then rode the first bus with me to make sure I would find the second bus as this bus driver speaks only Spanish. I was so sad leaving him. I cried as i got off the bus and as he continued down the road to return home Then, waiting for the next bus to depart the station, I cried again. And on the bus as I told a woman how much I would miss him and miss his cousin. I had a nice afternoon at CoCo View. I got to see it, snorkel there, and relax. Then I had a nice ride into Coxen Hole and got another bus to Sandy Bay. But sunset I was at my next home-for-a-few-days, […]
On the Bay Island of Roatan, there is only one main road which runs across its length.
At one point it crosses from running on the north shore at the west side to the south shore on the east side. From that main road, you will see offshoots that lead to the various towns and resorts. These tend to be marked with large signs. You will not find signs marking street names; there are no street names or street addresses on Roatan. Instead, you need to know landmarks.
There are busses on Roatan, but they — and the bus stops — are not easy to spot. Tourists tend to take taxis. The busses are actually mini-vans. From what I have seen, they are white and rather unmarked. A bus will go all over, off the main road into the various neighborhoods, so it can take a couple of hours to get across the island.
May 19 A slice of life among my Roatan friends. I am with my friend, a few sisters, brothers, husbands, and various children. We are at a home that is down the road a short walk from her mother’s over-the-ocean home, on the other side of the narrow road. As with the homes over the water, these homes are built on stilts. However, these homes are cut into the jungle. Several homes sit side by side. Yes, like in an American suburb. Each home has a good chunk of cleared land for the home, side and back yards. Yes, like in an American suburb. But behind the back yard clearing is jungle. Lots of jungle! No other backyards like in American suburbia. In fact, there is no other home, no other yard. Not a freeway either. If you were to manage to walk — to cut your way — through […]
Friday May 18 It just finished raining but the clouds are still a bit gray. They still carry water. A fuzzy haze sits atop the green jungle-covered mountains in the nearby distance. Birds sing. I recognize several of their songs. There must be ground creatures calling as well, but I don’t know their calls yet. I only know that I love the sounds.
Thursday, May 17, 2012 A rainy day. I wanted to go to Delia’s mom’s house to visit some of the kids as this was to be my last day in this part of Roatan. Hopefully I would see Delia too. I needed to get some work done first. The internet signal wasn’t great. The hard rain seemed to block it, preventing me from communicating but at the same time it also prevented the dorries for, running so going up to socialize was nixed too. With perfect timing, one of Delia’s sisters stopped by and offered me a ride. I happily stepped out the front door and into the motorboat. Another woman was on board — a very nice American woman We talked as we rode. En route we stopped at a waterfront home. Our hostess/driver got out and returned with a clear bottle of liquid and a plastic funnel. Gasoline […]
My friend Moorie turned 11 a week or two ago, before I met him. Today was his birthday party. His first. Birthday parties aren’t common on Roatan.
Tonight I did my segment for Computer Talk Radio (on the air, syndicated radio show) via Skype as usual, but used my new Claro data card on my unlocked iphone 4GS. The Skype Voice call for 24 minutes was about 10mb sent and 10mb received. I thought it would be much more data! Claro, in case you are interested, is the less expensive of the two Honduras cellular carriers. I paid 290 Limpera for a 15 day period providing me with 5 Gb of data. For 490 you can have 1month and 7gb. An additional week will be 140 for another 7 days, 3gb. My first card was TIGO. I paid 45 Limpera for the card. (There was no charge for the Claro card.) Then they get 500 Limpera for a month and it gives you 5gb. The exchange rate is 19 Limpera to a dollar but we all round […]
Yesterday was a lazy home day, at home at Yolanda’s with her little girls, Amy and Adrie. The plan was for Dalia to come and work with me on some writing but she got busy with other things and never made it. A couple of their other sisters came over, and a couple of cousins. My major activity of the day was scratching or trying not to scratch the various bites that cover my arms, back, and lower legs. In between I had some fun with the kids and digital camera.
Today Moorie and Sharia came over and the 3 of us walked to a nearby beach-ish waterfront and swam. Moorie saw a couple of lobsters and dove for them one at a time. The first was a baby. He brought it up, showed me, then put it back. The next was larger and as he was showing me it squirmed out of his grasp and back into the water.
May 12 Moving day — from a fantastic Eco lodge to a stay with a fantastic family. A large family with lots of adults and kids to get to know.
Walking down from my room in the Mango Creek Lodge hillside lodge I was thinking of my recent crab sighting at closely watching the crab holes in the ground that I passed. This time I noticed one crab hiding within his hole. I wasn’t about to scare it. I walked past it and then stayed very still just to see if I could see it come out. That’s when I noticed another crab right there beside the other crab’s hole. And… I got a photo of it. After I took the photo he raced into his own hole. I resumed my walk so they could relax.