Sunday, July 25, 2010

Back from Roatán...without pictures

Kristen says...

Hello blog-fans! Sorry for the hiatus, but we were off and away to Roatán for nice 5-day 4-night all-inclusive restfest. We had a really wonderful time, full of sun, surf, and lots and lots of food!

We stayed at the Henry Morgan Resort, which was on the West Bay, and it was very nice. The staff was nothing but nice and helpful, and spoke enough English that I didn't feel like I had too much trouble. Actually, if anything, it was detrimental to my Spanish-learning, because I didn't have to speak Spanish all week. Most of the people born on the island actually speak English as their first language, and most of the schools teach in English, so I was told by the woman who braided my hair (yes, I had my hair braided the first day I was there...I wish I had a picture of it! It looked good when I was in my swimsuit, but a little weird when I was in "regular" clothes).

We arrived on Monday after taking an early flight from Tegus to La Ceiba (about 45 minutes of beautiful, cloudy, mountainous flight), had a 20 minute layover during which we passed the time with an interesting gentleman from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Then we got back on the same plane for the 15-minute flight to Roatán. We had to wait a bit in the airport to get a ride (provided by the resort) and then we went to Henry Morgan. Unfortunately, we got there around 10:30 AM, and we couldn't check in until we spent the next few hours sweating in our street clothes, wandering the resort, seeing the pet parrots, snacking at the snack bar, drinking free drinks, learning to dance (I had video of that!), and did I mention, sweating in our street clothes?

FINALLY our room was ready (emphases because I was hot, not because I thought it was overdue--they actually gave us a different room than we were supposed to have because the room we were given was ready first) and we got to swim in the sea!

It was BEAUTIFUL!!! and very salty. The water was so clear we could see our feet and below. I felt very dumb after about 30 minutes in the bright sun that I hadn't brought my sunglasses, so after a while I went back to the room to rest my eyes, then got my hair braided, then played Bingo, then had dinner, then finally we walked down the beach and I bought some "Oakleys" from a very nice sunglasses seller who I hope made a nice amount of money from my stupidity :) Of course, that wasn't the only stupid thing I did that dinner that night I brought the camera with us (for some reason) and as I was juggling plates full of Henry Morgan food, the camera slipped from my fingers (why, oh why didn't I put the wrist strap on?!) and fell heavily to the floor. Ouch. I took it back to the table and it turned on, but it had an ! next to the SD card, so I opened the side panel and...water...inside the camera :(. Both the SD card (not so much) and the battery (very) were wet. By the end of dinner, the camera was dead. Sniff.

On Tuesday we rented snorkels and went out with a dive tour to see the reef. It was very lovely, with vivid colors, although with less actual animals than I thought I would see. I also had a lot of problems with my mask, it was continually filling up with water and it kind of made me dizzy. After a while the gentlemen who had taken us out asked if we wanted to go see some dolphins that were swimming off shore. We did, of course, and we spent 10+ minutes racing the dolphins with our boat...and the dolphins were winning! (We found out later that these weren't wild dolphins--they were actually owned and kept by another boating operation that brought them out periodically, but they were still cool!)

The rest of Tuesday we basically just snorkeled around the Henry Morgan beach area (we saw more wildlife, like starfish and manta rays) and relaxed. It was nice. We went to bed pretty early that night, because we were tired from all that sun!

We got up early on Wednesday and took the first tutorial class for scuba diving. It consisted of watching a cheesy movie that we thought we were going to have to take a test on, but we didn't end up having to. The sea was really "rough" on Wednesday (it had been like blue glass the other days) so we had to postpone our actual dive until Wednesday afternoon. Once we got out there, though, it was really awesome! I wasn't originally going to go, because I have sinus problems and I had gotten a headache from the snorkeling the day before, but I figured I would regret not going more than the headache I might get, so I decided to just suck it up and dive. And it was GREAT, for me, anyway. I got a different mask that didn't leak, and our guide was really good. My ears popped just fine, and it was very beautiful (although again, less wildlife than I thought there would be). Chris, on the other hand, didn't have as much success...he had a lot of trouble popping his ears, and is still struggling with it right now, poor guy. We decided not to finish the course because Chris wasn't feeling up to it. Maybe we'll try again on our next trip to the coast.

On Wednesday night Chris went to bed early because he didn't feel well, and I went to watch the nightly entertainment, which was some local children doing folk dances. It was really a neat thing to see, and I enjoyed it a lot.

On Thursday we split up for a bit--Chris went ziplining and I went...back to bed. I LOVE to sleep in, and Chris is an early-riser, so I was zoning out on the bed when he got back. He said he enjoyed it, but it went fast. For the rest of the day we just kind of hung out, swam, layed out in the sun, etc. Total relaxation. In the late afternoon we showered and took a water taxi over to West End, where we went shopping, had ice cream, etc. We met some interesting ex-patriots, one originally from Iowa who owns a t-shirt printing shop, and one from the Seattle area who owns a restaurant.

One of the things that surprised me was how many people who looked like they were from the US were living on Roatán, but how few were actually at the resort. Most of our fellow "resorters" were from Spain, Honduras, or Italy (there were quite a few Italians there, one of which we had a lot of fun talking to--he was there for 2 weeks to dive and fish--his job in Italy (we think) was to sell Swarovsky Crystals).

There was one rather large exception to this, however, which was a large group of teenagers from the US. We had run into them off and on all week, and so finally I decided to see what they were all about. We'd seen them with drills, so we thought they might be on a mission-type trip, but we were surprised they were staying at an all-inclusive, so I just went over and asked one of the adults in the group. Turns out they were on a mission trip, to put bunk beds in the homes of some of the people on the island. They were working through Softly International, and the adults in the group felt the students were learning a lot. One of the kids had actually spent that day (his 16th birthday) putting in beds on the island. We spoke with the CEO (he was there with the group) and were very impressed with the company and their mission. I've hyperlinked their website above, if you're interested in learning more.

Anyway, we slept in on Friday morning (like, until 10:00!) then relaxed in the air conditioned room until we had to check out at 12:00. Then we went back to the airport, caught our flights home, and here we are! We spent yesterday relaxing and grocery shopping, and today we haven't even changed out of our PJs yet! This week is the last week before reality starts and I go to school and Chris goes back to work, so let the relaxation continue, for 7 more days!!


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