Still Here in Roatan, Honduras
Date: 19 December 2007
Well now, we have been receiving many emails lately saying that we haven't been heard from in a year; I was surprised to realise that they were right. Certainly it would be better manners on our part to keep you abreast of our latest struggles on the beach of West Bay, Roatan. ;-) Up until about a week ago, we had been managing Island Pearl Resort, 4 villas and a 'penthouse' apartment planted firmly 100 feet from the water's edge of the crystal blue Caribbean Sea. The resort has a new owner now, so we are making arrangements for the next thing.
A couple hurricanes came close by this season -- Dean gave us some rough weather but not too badly -- it hit our former town of Corozal, Belize rather hard. Felix, however, was barrelling straight for Roatan prompting an evacuation of the island. We stayed and battened down the hatches in preparation for a direct hit. Then Felix turned south a couple degrees and ended up hitting the mainland (to where everyone on Roatan had been evacuated) leaving us high and dry. It was interesting being the only people here -- I had never seen the beach so calm and quiet. Oh well, we were ready never-the-less. Right now we are in the midst of rainy season, and our road has been completely submerged in water. All the developers here take no care in planning proper drainage which is resulting in an environmental nightmare with rivers of mud, sewage, and garbage being dumped onto the reef. Former wetlands are now filled with condos to the brim, and the water has nowhere to go. The rain water used to sit in a marsh and gradually drain into the sea fairly clean -- now it is rolling down red scarred hills and pumped from one construction site to the next until a river of mud pours into the sea by Foster's. It's a damn shame.
We are in the process of buying a waterfront lot on the iron shore near Turtle Crossing in West Bay -- away from the commercialism of the condos and cruise-shippers of West Bay Beach. After receiving rave reviews for our managerial services at Island Pearl (Lila deserves all the credit), we hope we can make an intimate guest house on this lot with a 180 degree southern view. The pink moonrise over the sea is magnificent, and the black iron shore looks like the surface of the moon with white orchids tucked into the craters. The sea is deep and blue, and a 'secret' cave-like keyhole in the iron shore is simply magical -- when we clear out some of the brush, we can make a path down to this private oasis.
Of course the thought of designs, permits, construction, etc. does make life a bit 'exciting,' but we will manage. We hope to pool together the many wonderful nooks we have found in our travels over the last 20 years into a workable design.
I am still sushi chef at Mangiamo's, and I may start doing it full time if I can find a suitable location. For the time being, we are packed with a reservation-only crowd of dedicated sushi fans. Cheyenne's responsibilities have expanded to waitress and cashier, and Lakota helps with bussing tables. Lila will manage Mangiamo's through January while the owner, Danielle, takes a couple months off to travel.
Cheyenne is homeschooling herself these days with the help of her new laptop and an online class with other homeschoolers from the local hemisphere. The software is pretty interesting -- it allows classmates to raise their hand, ask questions by text messaging or voice, and post 'emoticons' to indicate mood. The teacher speaks and teaches with presentation software while the class follows along. They meet for an hour and a half a couple days a week -- the students must do the rest of their work on their own. Cheyenne is mastering the various Instant Messenger programs (MSN, Yahoo, Skype) to stay in touch with her many online friends. She has even gotten into YouTubing and posted a few videos. I would post the URL, but she has asked that I don't because she wants to make them better first. Never-the-less, I think she has done a magnificent job and has been learning how to set up the digital camera, capture video, edit it, dub in music, make a web version, and post it -- wow, we never had any of this stuff when I went to school -- and she is learning it all on her own (at 12 years of age). I'm impressed!
Lakota is still at Miriam's Home School -- which is currently called the Sandy Bay Alternative School as the classes have been getting bigger and more teachers have been hired. He may switch to full homeschool later in the year or next, but it is going well right now in his little class of 6 children. Cheyenne got a laptop, and Lakota got a Nintendo DS Lite -- it's like a Game Boy but more advanced with touch-sensitive screen and stylus. The game cartridges cost about $40 each, but I have 'hacked' it with the M3Simply card and micro SD memory chip so that we can download every game into the chip. So we have hundreds of titles and Lakota has completed most of them. We will try our hand at making some of our own 'home-brew' games as I get up to speed on the programming language. With the recent heavy weather here, we got a few waves, and Lakota loves to body surf on the rare occasion when 'the surf's up' here. I think he goes in the water almost every day, rain or shine.
We took the family to Canada for June and July and had a wonderful time camping and visiting family and friends from Quebec City to Toronto. We bought a small RV and used it while we were there -- it was a lot easier than bringing up the bus! I won't burden you with all the little things that went wrong with it, but suffice it to say that the adventure continued! Even though it was July, I found it quite chilly -- it rained a lot and the temperature was often below 15C/60F -- I suppose I have acclimated to the 35C/95F and higher temps because I was cold up there! ;-)
After returning from Canada, I have come to realise that not only do we live on a relatively unknown tropical island far away from the 'civilized' world but that quite simply we live in a very small town without even a single traffic light on the entire island. One main road winds through the jungle hills with a couple of bypasses. The rest are unpaved roads leading to small villages or homes. The electricity goes out for hours on end regularly here, the phone system is gradually becoming reliable, internet service is expensive and is as slow as molasses running uphill in January. Roatan is just a blip in the world, and we are in a tiny corner at the tip of it. All in all, I enjoy the rough and tumble nature, the intimacy, and the sanctuary it has become to us. Life is simple, incomes are modest, food is fresh, weather is beautiful most of the time, we have no television service so no daily 'programming', no fast food chains, no cinema, no malls or gigantic stores, everybody knows everybody ... it's taken time to get used to -- I didn't know how many things I was addicted to until they were unavailable. It's been a liberating experience. It's all so familiar now. Then before you know it, a year goes by and nobody has heard from you in months. ;-) That's 'island time' for you!
Here are a few links:
Google Earth - Island Pearl Resort, West Bay Beach, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras
Island Pearl Resort
All the best to you and yours,
Eric, Lila, Cheyenne and Lakota
10 August 2009, What's Shakin' the Schaub's in Roatan
Read Past Newsletters
Spending Canada Day on Parliament Hill
|Roatan Sushi Guy|
Eric serves up fresh sushi.
|Orchids on the Moon|
White orchids grow on the 'iron shore' on our lot.
|Waterspout off West Bay|
Like a tornado, waterspouts can lift a boat 100 feet out of the water.
|Surf's up in West Bay Beach|
Storms bring waves during hurricane season.