Monday, March 22, 2010

Utila town

We arrived for the ferry early, so we had plenty of time to experience ferry envy.  The Bay Islands of Honduras is made up of three separate islands.  Roatan is the more upscale, Utila is more backpackery, and the other one is lightly populated with super fancy resorts, and basically no casual travelers go there.  The ferries for Roatan and Utila were sitting side by side.  Our little blue boat sitting next to this gigantic ferry that just dwarfed our poor little launch.  Ah well.

As we waited David caught a group of young European girls making eyes not at me, but at all the patches on my backpack.  I played it cool though and pretended not to notice. Secretly though, showing off your travels brings the sweetest kind of enjoyment any backpacker knows.  People often ask how long we are travelling for, and knowing we are American are always surprised by our answer of "Six months, more or less".  The ones only out for a few weeks (or months) without fail express envy, which we eat up like the sweet nectar it is.  Then there are the ones like a girl I met yesterday from Norway.  At my "six months" answer, she nodded approvingly, but didn't say more, knowing that the next step in the protocol is for me to ask her back, which of course I did.  "Well," she answered as non-chalantly as she could muster "I've been out for about eight months already, and probably have another eight before my money runs out."  Now it was my turn to be envious, her slight smile betraying her inner pleasure at trumping me.

Utila is a small-ish place, with the main town situated around a circular bay.  As it was not created for tourists, but instead discovered by tourists, it is not particularly ideal for showing off what it has.  The main road is separated from the water by a thick line of buildings.  Many are now dive shops (the reason most people come here) or restaurants with decks that extend out over the water.  But many are homes, shops, or worse empty half demolished buildings that serve no purpose but to block the view.  There are only a handful of trucks on the island, most people get around by scooter, golf cart, bicycle or ATV.  The road however is extremely narrow, with just enough room for two golf carts to pass each other.  Add in the vehicles parked on the side, not to mention all the people wandering around on foot, and you have a very uncomfortable situation.  Especially since both local and tourist alike find no greater thrill than to riding down the crowded street on a motorcycle as fast as they can go.  I have yet to see an accident, which is a constant surprise.  A scooter will scream by with two adults, each holding a toddler in their laps.  In the states the feds would take your children away for doing that, but here they are just going to the store and would surely be offended at the suggestion they were acting as unfit parents.

From the main road a low hill rises up inland, and it is up one of these roads where our hotel is.  The walk isn't far, though is somewhat tiring when everything else in town is so close together.  However we can't move.  Our mattresses are old and both have body sized depressions in them, however we are both sleeping just fine.  But, importantly, we each have a powerful fan, and the icing on the cake is the shower that has water in three temperatures to choose from.  Cold, warm, and hot, and with water pressure to spare!  This is a rarity here, and we are making the most of it.  The weather here has been varied, with cold rainy days leading into hot sunny ones, so we have enjoyed all three settings.  The water heater, which is an electric device stuck onto the end of the shower head, doesn't even have any exposed wires!

We are also enjoying multiple showers a day, as we have run out of deoderant.  The supermarkets here only carry antipersperant, which we reluctantly tried using, but both of us developed ugly itchy rashes.  So until we can find a place with plain old deoderant, we are both on the stinky side.  Island life is better suited to this than city life, so at least we are in the right locale.

The backpackers here tend to be on the young and foolish side, with a surprising number of spring breakers thrown in the mix.  For St. Patricks Day one of the restaurants hosted the "Beer Olympics", which somehow David and I ended up missing.  However, as with any place, we are good at finding our niche.  While the food in the restaurants has been largely expensive and disappointing, we found a guy who operates out of an empty lot who makes the most amazing tacos.  He even has David salivating over the smell of the roasting onions!  We did find a place last night that is only open three days a week, but we both had huge plates of carbs (mashed potatos, rice, corn on the cob and garlic bread) and then I had a huge tuna steak and David went for marlin.  It was so good we didn't even have room for the chocolate cake, which is saying something.

We have been waking with the sunrise, and generally go for a walk every morning.  Though the island is far more rocky than beachy, there are small beaches on either side of town and we usually spend an hour or two just wandering around.  The pace here is just right, a perfect spot to slow down and chill out.  There is the issue of the spiders.  Fortunately they tend to keep to themselves, spreading their webs up between the trees or tall bushes, occasionally in the power lines.  There is a fantastic restaruant here called the Jade Seahorse, which has been decked out with fantastical sculptures and twisted pathways and treehouses, every surface a mosaic of glass or beads or bottles.  It is fun to walk through and we'd love to go at night for dinner, but with all the trees it is infested with these spiders.  The spiders are large anyway, but they also seem to be communal, building their webs in huge sheets connected to each other - a single sheet between two distant trees might be made up of a dozen individual spider lairs, and these webs can easily encroach into the human living space.  As much as I love the look of the place, no restaurant is worth getting a spider in the face.

1 comment:

  1. first... i throw the st pattys day party... and it is awesome... second.... i agree with you... the food here is monotonous...BUT... that is not to say .. if you havent tried it you wouldnt love it.... though, mostof the local restaurants have the same menu ...if you know where to go ... there are many local recipes that would knock your socks off... however... being here 9.5 yrs... it pisses me off that there is not more diversity in the resto food here...since i am one who loves to eat out a lot...
    my bar...trudy's... the bar that throws the st pattys day party... is best between friday and tuesday ... fri- pizza night... and , honestly... our pizza is fucking awesome... and cheap as shit... you may think me biased... but try it and tell me im wrong... its my favourite... sat. - bbq... our bbq is awesome... its hard to say who has the best bbq on the island cause there are so many...including RJ's ....the one you had talked about... however... living here so long... and as we were speaking of the monotony of the food... i am certain we have the best side dishes... can get sick of mashed potatoes and green salad... so we change it up... sun - recently started sunday brunch ...with gourmet item such as ....chicken, spinach and basil quiche... crispy bananas foster french toast and chicken and eggnog waffles... as well as mimosas and bloody marys.... our food menu changes every sunday ... and our sunday brunch drinks vary steadily.... monday ...we have a new projecctor which displays an 8 foot screen for our TRUDY's DINNER and A MOVIE...which has become a big hit... seeing as how i am an avid movie pirater.... the real clincher is that we serve gourmet burgers every monday with the movie...always one beef one pork one chicken and one seafood burger.... for instance... sesame crusted tune with lightly pickled ribbon zucchini,crispy shoestring zucchini and a ginger wasabe aioli... with fresh baked buns... its a big hit... and the burgers are fucking awesome... really... and if you were here for any amount of time... you would have heard of our wing night... every tuesday ...which has been a big hit since it started about four years ago... i spent a very long time perfecting the recipe we have....and we sell roughly 1100 wings every wing night on average... which is amazing for such a small island...anyway...the point of this msg was to letyou know.. that... there was a time when i felt the same way as you ... and... at times... i still do ... but since i started this business... my goal has been to stir the pot a bit... offering good food that separates itself from the rest... and much ofmy time is spent organizing events that keep the travelers entertained.... feel free to come back ... we'll go out tie one on.... drinks are on me...
    just happened upon this blog...
    not sure if we;ll ever cross pathes again..