Monday, March 5, 2012

Ain't no tan like a Roatan...

Cheesy? Of course... True? Definitely. Great little dicho I heard from Elmer, part of our pair of hosts at the island this weekend. Oh that's right...I spent the weekend en Las Islas de Bahia, and had a wonderful time. The girls and I have been looking at pictures, and I'm honestly not sure where to start. I guess with how and why. Oh but here's a treat...

So the owner of the school surprised us with a few days in Roatan! In years past they've sent teachers to Copan to enjoy the Mayan ruins. We all agreed that we would rather splurge on a trip to Copan (affordable) than scavenge for a trip to Roatan (not exactly in our price range)! So Roatan is beautiful, and I am so thankful for the few days we got to spend there. We left crazy early Friday morning, drove the 3-3.5hrs to La Ceiba, boarded the ferry and rode about an hour to the island! It's crazy to type about it--I spent the weekend in paradise! The view from the ferry was literally breathtaking. I'm not sure I've seen so many shades of blue all blended together so nicely. The water was this incredible indigo color, which was neat because other than a rainbow I'm not sure I've ever actually seen indigo. I met a sweet 15yr old, her mom and aunt on the ferry-ride. They were very nice, and we chatted for a good bit. They seem happy I´m enjoying so much about their country. I took their picture with the water behind them, so they took one for me!
We arrived at Casa Isabella Friday afternoon, and did a little kayaking and lots of relaxing. We had a heavier lunch than I think any of us were expecting, which led to some afternoon napping. Later we went snorkling! That was too cool. I want to try to work it out to go back to the islands before I leave, because it would be cool to check out a better part of the reef with clearer waters.
Casa Isabella

It's a little unreal to think about how much we crammed into the weekend. We went snorkling, then back to the house to relax, shower and get ready for dinner. Had a huge dinner, and then Maryann, Irene, Josias and I went for a long walk towards West Bay. Or West End. Crap. I think West Bay... I remember the sky was doing this neat thing; it almost seemed like it wasn´t quite black. Again with the cool new shades of blue! It was glowing around the edges, and then deeply darkened as you gazed further up. And you could see so many stars. I guess nature shines in paradise. It was a great walk, and we even stopped along the way to sit at these neat tables. One of the resorty restaurant parts of the beach had a group of trees with tables built around the trunk, and rope swing chairs hung around them. They were awesome and I can´t wait to build one around a big tree at the farmhouse.
Joy to the fishies in the deep blue sea...

Joy to you and me!
Saturday I slept through the sunrise, but made it out to the hammock on the dock in time to still enjoy the calm off the morning ocean. Something about water; so calming, so yo no se que...I like being by the water. I was able to read a devotion and do some great meditating out on the dock, just me and the soft, subtle sound of early morning waves.
the dock!

A little later we had breakfast, then boated to the dolphin show at Anthony´s Key. The sky was once again awesome, and I took an obnoxious amount of pictures. The sky was full of pastel shades of colors I thought only existed in crayons and gel pens. We arrived at the show with a decent amount of time to spare, so a few of us went for a walk around the neighborhood. The flowers that grow here are ridiculous. I swear sometimes they look fake! Some of their petals even feel plastic, so that could throw someone off.
Andrea, Elmer and Chito

The dolphin show was pretty cool. It was neat to see them and hear their cute little dolphin noises, but I honestly don't really get down with the trained animal thing. After the show we had lunch and walked around West End for a while. I loved travelling everywhere by boat or on foot. It was such a nice way to enjoy the scenery, the air and some quality time together. Let's see what came next...Oh! We changed into our suits and headed towards West Bay! There was this artist with all kinds of awesome paintings. He had various scenes and color schemes; each painting was so unique and intriguing. He had one of a deeply vibrant sunset back-dropping a couple in a little lancha on the river sandwiched between a pair of riverbank palm trees. I´m going to try and learn how to paint.
sunset swim in West Bay!

We swam for a bit, and then I ended up taking a nap in the sand. It was lovely. Once I woke up Josias pointed out that there was a wedding a ways down the beach, and the girls and I walked down to check out the flowers, dresses and excitement. Everything was over once we got there, but we ended up scoring a trio of coconuts from part of their altar. I´ll take fresh coconut water over wedding dress scoping any day! We got back to the house with enough time to shower and unwind (sounds silly right? Unwinding from a day of boat riding, dolphin watching, ocean wading and sand napping...I was on vacation! Even if it was only two days :) --we found ourselves in chairs on the front porch, just us girls for about an hour. We went around singing different songs and sharing different stories about our lives laughing and really enjoying the special time.  We were leaving SO early the next morning (again, this was a minivacation) and all wanted to get to bed early. Irene and I weren´t ready to be done with the water and walked out to the dock after dinner. Maria turned in, Josias watched some TV and Maryann was into her Sudoku so it was just the two of us walking down to the dock. Once we got down there we could see the glimmer of lights in the neighbor´s tree. We kept walking by the coolest looking house, and were always so intrigued by it. On the walk home from West Bay we saw they had these awesome lanterns in this big tree down by the water, and the architecture of the house was so interesting. We were debating whether it was a home or hotel, and I think the lanterns were almost dancing in front of us, inviting us to indulge our curiosity...

I of course have no pictures, because we were dressed for bed and just walking out to the dock for a few minutes before bed, but the house is amazing. Come to find out it the Hotel Xbalanque, owned by a North Carolina family who believes in sustainable living, trying to support their resort with crops from their organic farm project. How do I happen to know all of that? The gringas got gutsy, that´s how. So the lanterns were these cool metal shapes with holes punched out in neat designs, and they made the tree look so interesting we couldn´t help but walk down. From the beach you could see their infinity pool, and what looked like a big dining room with a long table and a wall of nothing but windows. We were developing our home/hotel debate when we noticed there was a bar in the dining room! Now, we of course realize it could have been a well-planned family who traveled with a bartender/waiter, or even one of those houses groups of people rent for their vacation that can be reserved fully staffed. But we were curious, and I can be pretty outgoing. We decided to just walk up from the beach and ask one of the (presumed) guests to settle the debate. Irene can get a little shy, so I was nervous knowing I would have to be the one to break the ice. We got to about the edge of their sidewalk and my tummy was suddenly full of flutters. I stepped back and said I just couldn´t do it! Remember I´d said the first floor was basically just a wall of windows? Thinking back it might not have even had windows, and just been one of the coolest porches I´ve ever seen. Well from how much we´d advanced you could make out most of the people around the table, and we spotted a young man in nice jeans who appeared to have misplaced his tshirt. When I told Irene I didn´t think I could do it I´m pretty sure her response went something like, ¨There is a handsome man with no shirt on in there, how do you turn your back on that.¨ Well played, Trujillo.

Mr. NoShirt, Ian, gave us a tour of the whole place and it was incredible. The have a few different sundecks, a few pools, and even a spot on the roof that he claims is perfect for yoga. These people couldn´t have been nicer. Ok, in all honesty it was super awkward for about the first thirty seconds, but it wasn´t long before we were sitting around the table with all the other guests, sipping complimentary glasses of really tasty wine and swapping all sorts of conversation. I look forward to spending a week (or few) in their resort one day. It started to rain, hard, and it was much later than it should have been. We said our goodbyes, and were told to come back and visit one day...yes please! We ran the whole way home, laughing at how awesomely crazy our night turned out to be. Alarms bothered us early the next morning, but we were blessed with safe travels and all enjoyed our time on the island. I´m already looking forward to going back. I can´t get that shade of indigo out of my head...
a pelican for Dad!

Chito enjoying the boatride!

I think Chito had just gotten frighteningly close to the edge...or I was getting all choked up by the view.

a cozy spot in West End!

We all thought this tree was so neatly shaped, so I ran over to check it out. Rule  #whatever, don´t sit on anything you don´t first check for insects. Tiny black ants are mean little biters!!! Notice my face...

Irene was conveniently standing by to capture the charming moment !

Ouchies. But I love the convenience of outdoor showers on the beach!

my post-bite pick me up (should that whole string of words be hyphened together?!)
I am learning that I am a woman who loves to stick flowers in her hair! 

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