Monday, October 24, 2011

Vacation! - Roatan

I've mentioned our camp in Maine a few times in relation to my homesteading idea. The thing about having land and a cabin is that you end up putting a lot of time into it. Dad and I inherited the camp in 2002 and since then its pretty much taken up all our vacation time. Twice a year my parents and Angie and I go up there and spend a week basically working on the place but also relaxing. Dad and I usually go for another week in November to hunt deer.

This year is Angie and my tenth wedding anniversary so I figured it was time for us to take a "real" vacation that didn't involve us staying in a little cabin with my parents. So I booked us a week on the Norwegian Star out of Tampa.

This is Roatan, its a little island off the coast of Honduras. If you look behind us you can see a bunch of trash on the ground, thats pretty much what Roatan is like. What you can't see, off to the right of the picture, is a number of old bums drinking rum. Roatan is poor, like dirt floor, no door, back is sore, nobody's sure, nothing is pure kind of poor. It reminds you how much you've got.

The boat docked at Roatan as it did at all our ports except Belize City. Just off the dock theres a big shopping area. Considering how poor Roatan is you quickly realize that most of the people that live there never get to buy anything in the shopping area.

I wanted to get out of the tourist trap so we headed out on the street and Angie was quickly grabbed by Jeff who got her to take him on as a guide.

Here's Jeff and Angie on a little ramshackle dock out in front of a bar. Jeff took us into town where Angie shopped some, then he lead us around a little loop into a brutally poor section of town. I presume he did this because its where he lives and the area he knows best. I wouldn't have gone into the area on my own as I'm generally the wrong color and I don't speak any Spanish which would generally be a problem. Toward the end we had a quick lunch of Iguana which it turns out are endangered. Knowing that now I realize we shouldn't probably have been eating it but its legal, or at least not a problem, the restaurant had a sign proclaiming iguana...
After Angie overpaid Jeff we found the "Made in Roatan" shop which is run by a Canadian couple Debi and Bob. Bob is a pastor and they're using this shop to give back to the community. You can find out more about it on their Blog Probably the best thing about buying stuff in the Made in Roatan shop is that you know the items were actually made in Roatan and not in a Guatemalan sweat shop or worse in China. Many of the knick knacks we found were labeled with "made in China" and some had spots where the label had clearly been removed. Plus this benefits the community more directly since Bob and Debi don't make money off the shop.

After spending three days worth of money in three hours we collapsed back in our state room. I couldn't believe how little time had gone by.

Originally I was going to make just one post about this vacation but I've quickly realized I have too much to say so I'll break it up by our ports of call. As always I'll label my posts, just search for "vacation" to find them.

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