Recent Entries

May 09, 2006

Deja Vu and Blackouts Too

Sunday, May 7, 2006

Utila, Honduras:

I'm wrapping up the very last (yes, very last) month of my trip back in Utila, that familiar little island of sun, coral and ravenous biting-insects lying some 20 miles off the north coast of Honduras, where I learned to scuba in October of 2004, just after starting my trip. Oh the poetry of it all. Using an exotic mixture of transportation devices including an over-heated, over-loaded school bus; clunky 7-person plane piloted by a seeming narcoleptic; and a rusting cigar-boat overloaded with cargo (including several ovens) and idiots (including several old Floridian men who were genuinely stupider than the ovens), I barely managed a long-overdue escape from Belize, where I nearly overdosed on a heady blend of boredom, impatience and hot-sauce covered shrimp omelletes (best things about Belize include abundant cheap shrimp dishes and Mary Sharp's "Beware" hot-sauce). The near-final haul from the Honduran port city of Puerto Cortez to La Ceiba (from which I made it to Utila peacefully by way of ferry) involved nearly five-hours wedged with a group of other travelers in the back of a pick-up driven by a very temperamental Honduran man who at one point "joked" to me and my fellow passengers that, at the end of the ride, we had "better" tip him --- while wielding a machete about for additional dramatic effect. The fellow passengers I refer to included two very nice Irish lesbians as well as The Woman Who Knew David Bowie and her 13-year old daughter. Oddly, when I told the Women Who Knew David Bowie --- who seems to have had a wild groupie past that she was not sharing in the presence of her daughter, or because she couldn't fully remember most of it, such as whether John Bonham was present when Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones sang her "Happy Birthday" --- that I think David Bowie is a genius, she assumed that I too Know David Bowie. I had to confess I didn't, evidently deflating her expectations and possibly her impression of me as well.

Now, at the time of writing this, I'm a little more than a week into my divemaster course at Bay Islands College of Diving, the school where I learned to dive in October, 2004. Most of the instructors who were there at that time have long since packed up and moved on to other slices of beach paradise across the globe --- I don't blame them because, pleasant as it might be, I would go insane if I had to spend much more than 4 or 5 months on this little 5,000-person island. But a few people, mainly the more experienced, higher ranking/management staff-members, have held on, their levels of sanity more or less where they last were. Since these people basically gave the dive shop its particular vibe and degree of professionalism when I was last there, I felt very comfortable and familiar with the place upon return. However, as I've now done over 100 dives, I'm no longer interested in quite the same things (learning to dive and just having fun), looking to the school to teach me in-depth about the theory and industry of diving, while giving me class internship experiences. The joy is enriched by the necessary assumption of certain employee-like responsibilities, including hauling air tanks on and off boats, caring for equipment meticulously and making sure oxygen and spare-parts kits, among other things, are on each boat that goes out. Soon enough I'll be leading other divers around underwater and stressing out about whether they will do anything stupid. That comes later, after the instructors determine that I'm qualified enough to be able to do this without doing something overly stupid myself.

The last week and change saw a series of power-outages sweep Utila (for once a good "couldn't do any blogging" excuse). Eventually they just shut down their piece of crap, over-taxed generator altogether, plunging many establishments into the dark for 5 days and closing a number of restaurants down completely (while changing the hours, services, foods, etc... offered by various other restaurants and businesses --- "Blackout Specials" was a common sight to see on the daily menu (at least most places cooked using gas rather than electric stoves)). Rumors circulated wildly, as they do about everything else on an island this small. Some people were convinced the blackouts were a conspiracy to raise rates or otherwise influence business/government. Corruption accusations toward this or that politician (in regard to the power company) made the rounds. Some thought the problem would be fixed quickly while others, more cynical or just plain accustomed to the ways of things, predicted it would be a month or two at best. But Saturday, at midnight, the lights came back on. And although it is more developed and busier than it was since last I was here, Utila is pretty much the same place I wanted to come back to. Complete with baleadas and fresh, cheap seafood. My schedule typically has me up before 6:00 in the morning and exhausted and in bed not long after 9:00 PM. I'm enjoying it but keeping quite busy. In fact, with so many classes and so much studying, diving, test-taking and gear-hauling going on, the levels of exertion applied sometimes seem take on frighteningly JOB-LIKE proportions. Scary, that J-word. Very, very scary INDEED...

Posted by Joshua on May 9, 2006 06:01 PM
Category: Utila Again

Hey Josh!! Nothing more to add, than that. Just a "hey."

Posted by: espressoman on May 17, 2006 07:28 PM
Email this page
Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):

Designed & Hosted by the BootsnAll Travel Network