Sunday, October 28, 2012

'Helping people help themselves'

As you know, one of my jobs here on the island is working with a Canadian PR firm, who has established relationships for the purpose of marketing, here on the island with dive resorts.  I am currently responsible for the onsite, social media aspect of their agreement.

Hicaco Fruit, Palmetto Bay Plantation
I've been very fortunate to meet some wonderful people, and have had the opportunity to experience and learn about some really great things.

 Touring an old Plantation-turned-resort while learning about the local fruits, by picking them off the trees and tasting the fresh, fresh flavors or Ciruelas, Hicaco, Noni and Mango, to name a few. 

Spendid Flatworm, Tim Blanton

Scuba diving with an elite underwater photographer, Tim Blanton. who has worked with National Geographic and Discovery Channel. 

Photographing singer and performer Brion James (who I think I mentioned in a previous post), Watching TV commercial shoots, touring multi million dollar beach front condo developments.

Shooting the view of the ocean through the trees from one of the buildings at Grand Roatan Resort.

Most recently, we have partnered with a new development called Grand Roatan.  It was actually started by 2 brothers from Oregon, U of O alums.  Grand Roatan is a breathtakingly beautiful multi phase development on one of the best beaches on the island.  Located in the farthest end of West Bay, nestled among the existing landscape of Palms, Gumbalimba Trees and old coral beds.  There are a lot of really near features about the resort relating to their sustainable eco-friendly approach to the infastructure of the community.  Things such as solar power, recycled water run off, solid concrete buildings and insulation intended to work double duty during the hottest months.

But the neatest feature, by far, is the owner funding the project, Dave Dachner.  Dave has incorporated a way to help the local community and give back to the residents of Roatan, while building this new community, Grand Roatan.  In addition to a school that Dave has already had built on one of the neighboring islands, Hilene, the sale of each condo at GR will fund $10,000 towards the construction of a new home for a deserving native family of Roatan.  The land has already been purchased and cleared, and is currently being prepped for construction.  Families who are nominated and eligible for the opportunity will recieve a long term loan, through the Honduran Government, to fund the remainder of the house (an additional 10k) with a generous repayment plan over an extended period of time.
Dave Dachner explaining to the residents of the island what his next plan is, now that the school (in the background) is complete.

The children of St. Hilene Island, sharing their shells with Grand Roatan staff as gifts before they left.

I had the opportunity to attend an imprmptu press conference, and sat next to Dave as he explained his goal and his vision of the project.  In short, Dave has been very successful over the years in the oil exploration business.  His thoughts are that there is no sense in hanging onto the money to save, and keep in his pocket, when it could be doing its job elsewhere in the world.  So, he shares his good fortune in hopes of creating more opportunities and enhancing lives and community ties on this island, and others around the world.  He knows though, that no good deed goes unpunished, as they say, and that you cannot give away these fortunes for free, or the lesson and the lifeskill will not be taught.  You can only offer stepping stones for those people who want help.  And at the end of the day, all he is doing, is helping people help themselves.

I'm excited about the opportunity to watch this beautiful project unfold and enrich the lives of the hard working people here who deserve it.  It truly warms my heart and soul.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Getting there...

The cooking is improving... slowly.  I feel like I am in cooking rehab.  Like I once knew how to cook, but due to circumstances, I've been robbed of my culinary knowledge, and am starting from scratch again.

It's new pots & pans, news heat sources, limited utensils, etc.  I can tell you one thing, I am CERTAINLY missing my Chicago Cutlery set Dad & Barb gave me for Christimas this past year.  I loved that set, and wish every day it would come walking up the path to my house, knock on my door and say 'Sarah!!!  We missed you too!  We're here to reunite with you on this beautiful island of Roatan.  Let's get to work!!!'.  But, I do not think that will happen in the near future...

Tonight's entree, chicken tostada-y thingys.  Mmmm mmm, they were delicious!!!  One of the best meals I've had yet on the island.  There is some seriously great food here too! 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Shipping to Roatan!!!

Alright folks.  You would think that this kind of mystery would be a bit easier to solve.  The thing is, on the island, things have their own way of working.  So often times, you must do your research, talk to more than one person and gather facts from there. 

That being said, I've been asking around for the best way to ship things to the island.  Most people subscribe to a PO box with a Miami address, which then routes to the island.  This makes more sense for business owners who are purchasing goods.  Someone like me, doesn't really need a regular PO box.

RAS Xpress offers service of shipping from the US, to the island for letters and packages.  I think that along with my phone # and email address, they would be able to notify me when the pkg arrives.  My phone # in Honduras is (504) 9779-8045 and email is

If you need ideas of what to send, just ask.  I've been keeping a little list ;)

Settling In

It’s hard to believe another week is nearing an end already!  This last Monday, the 15th, marked my 1 month anniversary on the island.  It has been a really fun adventure so far.  When people ask me how I'm doing and how things are going, I stop and I think about it, and I honestly have nothing to complain about.  Life is good!  I'm meeting new and interesting people every day, I'm diving 3 times a week (wish it were more!), I'm touring the island and resorts, improving my photgraphy skills, eating new food and every time I stop and look around at this island's beauty, it makes me smile. 

I certainly feel settled, looking around my apartment, it’s in a mild state of disarray, and I still know where almost everything is.  There is not a lot of storage here, no dresser, cabinet or linen closet, so storage is a bit tricky.  My bedroom has 4 very spacious shelves that I am slowly sorting out.  

There is a Facebook group on the island, called ‘Roatan Garage Sale’, where people buy and sell things that they think others may use.  We also trade advice from time to time, which is actually how I was able to get my cell phone from home working here on the island.  I will be keeping an eye on that for possibly a dresser at some point.

Something you also have to consider is that people often relocate residences, and you have to be careful that you have the means to move everything you buy or own!  I’m not too concerned about this factor yet, I am enjoying where I live.  I love my neighbors, the central location of the place, and the apartment really isn’t bad either.  I only have a hot plate to cook on, but I think I can manage just fine.  I’ve become friends with the new owners, Joe and Wendy, of the bar near my house, and I would imagine that if I really wanted to bake, they would let me.

I’ve started a list of things I will bring back with me from home, when I visit in December.  So if you’re reading this, and you have any of the items I’m in need of, give me a heads up!  I am certainly appreciating the little things right now!  George Foreman Grill, Good Kitchen Knives, Silverware, Curtains, messenger type bag, sling /hobo type purse/bag. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Things I've learned in the last 4 weeks

When buying things you think look 'American', PAY ATTENTION.
Or you'll find yourself washing laundry in fabric softener instead of detergent.

Everyone you meet, knows someone else you know. 
Choose your words carefully, it may be a co worker, brother, aunt, ex, landlord, best friend...
Or call of the above.  YOU JUST NEVER KNOW.

When your planning to drink a Ginger Ale with your lunch, CHECK THE LABEL.
Port Royal beer can is the same exact color of green.

When the bartender wraps that little napkin around the top of the bottle, USE IT!
There are creepy crawly things that can get in your mouth if you don't.

Don't stalk more fresh food than you can eat in a couple of days.
If the power goes out for too long, it's all gone to waste.
(Luckily I haven't learned this one first hand)

That being said, when you're out of food, and going to the store is an impossible dream,
The occasional Ritz+Nutella entree is an acceptable meal replacement.  Complimented by red wine, of course.

NEVER go to the bathroom in the dark.  You may not be alone...
The geckos like to hang out in the cooler places too!

Bug bites on the elbow are terrible.
Bug bites on your palm are worse.

If you don't learn to load your internet the right way,
3 minutes will cost you $10. :(

DO NOT, under any circumstance, tell your best friend while skyping, you are missing Yumm Sauce.
ESPECIALLY when you're starving.  She will show it to you, and talk about it, read ALL the ingredients and tell you how delicious it is... until your mouth is watering and you find yourself drooling!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Time's a flyin!

So fast, that I forgot to pay my rent!  It was an honest mistake, really, and fortunately my landlord (who is also my neighbor) is a very sweet lady, who has lived here for 17 years.  She understands that new people get 'vacation brain' and that things don't always work exactly how you might want them to.  (There is a limit on the ATM, and sometimes has unexplained outages)

It's been 3 1/2 weeks now since I arrived on this island.  I'm so glad the first 2 have passed.  It's like starting a new job.  There is a huge learning curve and it's frustrating feeling so elementary, in every sense of the word.  Taxis, banking, drinking water, cell phone minutes, laundry... you get the point.

There are 3 prices for most things here.  Locals pricing, Tourist pricing and Cruise Ship pricing.  I've achieved local pricing for beer and diving, what more does a girl need!?

I made the mistake of leaving my small point and shoot digital camera at home, and am regretting it now.  I only carry my camera when I'm working at resorts, but not when I'm out and about with friends.  Hence the fact there are very few pictures of ME and my friends.  Here's one though, the guys at Infinity Bay Resort insisted they take one of me after I took some of them.  I've had a lot of fun getting to know the folks behind the development project.  About half of them are from Oregon, nice to have a common tie all the way down here.

It's 'cooling off' a bit, and rainy season is growing near.  Far as I can tell, it will last into December.  I've heard a lot of things, not sure what to expect!  I brought 2 pairs of jeans, so that's good.  I wouldn't dream of wearing them now though.  I can't even imagine it getting cold enough here...  We shall see!  Speaking of, it just started raining!

I spent 3 days last weekend at Coco View resort, taking LOTS and LOTS of pictures, diving and meeting guests.  They put me up in one of their hotel rooms overlooking the water.  It was very very nice.  Their resort is the one located across a lagoon, so you can only access it by boat.  That being said, the vibe is a little different than other resorts.  Oh, and children are not allowed either, unless they can dive.  I had a great time wandering the property, taking pictures of the orchids growing from palm tree trunks, a very impressive hummingbird 'colony', Monkey La La's curiously lurking around (Monkey La La is a popular drink here, named after a type of little Iguana), and the little Chihuahua puppy, Dino, harassing the rabbits that are twice his size ;)

We had live music Friday night, from a local artist Brion James, who is actually from Seattle originally.  He has a great voice, and skill.  All of his music has a bongo added to its already refreshed version, for a Caribbean influence.  I love seeing him perform.

Here's a pic of Brion playing, with his beer bottle.  ha ha!  Brion played with a band from Portland called the Dan Reed Network, back in the day, and has opened for Rolling Stones, Lenny Kravitz and Bon Jovi, to name a few.  Actually, he told me this night that they're playing a gig @ The Marriott on New Year's in Portland, the first time the band will be reunited in years. 

In his free time, he has also established a music program at one of the schools on the island.  He has worked very hard to gather and maintain instruments and wrote his own textbook for them.  His contribution is 100% volunteer.  It's great to hear him talk about.  This man truly loves music and loves life.

Monday, October 1, 2012


Just a quick post to share some pics with everyone!  Happy Monday!
Palmetto Bay Plantation
This is by far, one of the most relaxing spots I have found yet on the island.  Unfortunately, I was working and could not partake :(  I'll be back!

It's really hard to get over this.  It's real.  And I live here!
 Testing out the new equipment!  It's awesome!
Parrott Tree Resort
In the distance is a man made lagoon, instead of a pool
 My favorite thing to do with the flowers here :)
The guard at Parrott Tree Resort.
Roger and Vern.  Roger is the bartender at a new resort, still under construction, called Grand Roatan.
Vern is the owner/developer.  He is from Eugene, Oregon.
He told me that he tells people he relocated to Southern Oregon.  ha!
Can you see him?  Black Iguana
Coconut Tree seeds.  So pretty!
More R&R at Palmetto Bay Plantation
Gerardo, teaching me how to make a Tequila Sunrise, while I'm working... 
San Simon Beach club
 Infinity Bay serves sushi.  It's always fresh, and delicious!