Thursday, September 20, 2007

Home Again!

Well, I'm home again. Yup! Back on the island and what a trip.

My original return date was scheduled for August 12th to give me ample time to complete all that I had set out to do.

My son was established in a new apartment with sufficient household items to start him again in his new life after a harrowing experience with a former girlfriend. Needless to say, the relationship has been broken off and my son is now safe. He has a job that he loves and wants to make the most of his life from this point onward. It may be an uphill battle for him but I am sure he can conquer his problems and move on, make new friends and gain his confidence.

I was in Orlando visiting my husband's daughters and our grandchildren with my son when my husband sent word that he really needed me back home to prepare for Hurricane Felix. The key word in his phrasing was "damn the expense, get home as fast as you can." Now, my husband is not exactly a tightwad, but he does watch his money carefully and very little is purchased for our home, our life, our existence always with alot of thought. At that phrase I knew I was needed!

My children/stepchildren and friends tried to dissuade me from returning at the chosen moment as this was a Sunday and Hurricane Felix was slated to hit the island on Wed. I felt if I could get on a plane Monday I stood a chance of beating the storm. While everyone was fleeing the island I was trying to get to it.

So, I called American Airlines, explained that I had to get back to the island promptly and since I mentioned the Hurricane, they said they could get me out and would not charge me a penalty! Hooray for them and me.

We left Orlando promptly on Monday morning and I left the Tampa airport around 1:30 in the afternoon to fly to Miami to change plans to head on to San Pedro then LaCeiba and then Guanaja.

Our plane was delayed leaving Tampa because of a lightning storm and could not take off until there was at least 5 minutes without a lightning strike after the last strike. We were delayed about 1/2 hour and finally got off. The flight went well and no problems were encountered.
We landed in Miami and then I began the long walk from one terminal to another to leave for Honduras. I was carrying a rather heavy carry-on (as usual) and this particular walk is not a favorite one of mine. I reached the terminal and joined the throng awaiting boarding.

It was not to be! The plane going to Honduras had not arrived from Columbia yet and when it did arrive, we were told, they would have to clean the plane and run a security check on it. Our flight would be delayed about 1 hour.

Time went by and the plane finally came in and we were boarded. Alas, again, we were not to take off on time. It seems the "little black box" was not functioning and they had to get a crew in to repair it. Another hour went by on the tarmac and finally it was announced we would be leaving the gate. Our flight would arrive in San Pedro at 7:30 p.m. not 5:30 p.m. as previously scheduled.

I had arranged to take a taxi from San Pedro to LaCeiba to be at the LaCeiba airport bright and early so I could leave on the first flight. As it was, my taxi driver (photo of Mario at the left)suggested that I spend the night in San Pedro as it was not a good idea to be driving to LaCeiba at night. I agreed with him and he agreed to pick me up at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday morning for the drive to LaCeiba.

Our drive, which normally takes 2 1/2 hours, went by quickly as the driver felt it was necessary to drive as fast as he could to get me there promptly. We made it in 2 hours and there were several occasions where I had to hold my breath when he was passing on a curve and would see another car/truck approaching. Of course, this ride will be detailed in another blog.

I was at the airport at 7:30 a.m. and checked in at the counter. They had no idea if they were flying to the island as word was that the hurricane would make landfall that afternoon. The skies were partly cloudy in LaCeiba and the sun was out and they could have made it to the island and back with no problem. However, I understood their hesitation and waited. It was announced at 9:30 a.m. that all flights had been cancelled and you never saw people pack up their work-related equipment so fast! Everyone was anxious to get out of there. I retrieved my checked luggage and found there were no taxi cabs available. Some kind man offered to haul one of my two suitcases to the main road which I could flag down a cab. Half way there a cab came up behind us and I engaged him to take me to the hotel.

I was lucky enough to get a room at the hotel and after leaving my luggage in the room, I returned to the front desk to send my husband an e-mail as I was not getting a response to my telephone calls. While there I learned that the government or the U.S. (I'm not sure who) had evacuated the tourists from Roatan and some of them were in the hotel I was staying in. A woman, who evidently was the leader of the dive group evacuated, was badgering the hotel receptionist to call the airlines and see if there were any flights returning to Roatan as word was out that the hurricane had changed course and was headed in-land and we were not in harms way. The poor receptionist kept telling her all flights had been cancelled but the woman wanted her to call the airport. I stepped in and announced that I had just come from the airport and it was closed and there would be no flights out for that day.

The woman looked at me like I had fluff in my head for brains and continued on in her quest. She finally gave up but 20 minutes later returned saying someone had called her on her cell phone and told her the airport had been reopened. Now, anyone living in Honduras knows that once these people take off and the airport is closed they cannot be reached until the next day and with a hurricane approaching who could blame them. She wanted the receptionist to call the airport and I decided to keep quiet as I would not be believed anyway. The long and short of it was that, indeed, no flights were leaving that night.

Now all of this would have not had been too bad but the hotel was filled with divers who wanted to dive and if they couldn't, they wanted to drink. WRONG. The government, or so it was reported, outlawed the sale of alcohol during the hurricane. So, no liquor or beer for sale in the hotel. Now, one could go to the local grocery store and purchase beer and liquor and some people did that. Needless to say this group was not happy.

I met some friends at the hotel and we planned to go to Pizza Hut for supper, about 4:30 p.m. Pizza Hut had been opened all day so we figured since it was down the street from the hotel, we would go there. WRONG. Place was closed when we approached it. Nothing to do but eat in the place where I had promised myself I would never eat again. The last time (a few years back) the food was terrible. Well, I wasn't disappointed. It was just as bad, if not worse and I, who usually clean my plate, left over half my food. Never again I promised myself once more.

There were a few thunderstorms that night but no more rain than we usually get during the winter months. The next morning I was at the airport and told that there were no morning flights to Guanaja as all of the planes were busy taking the tourists back to Roatan. So, I sat all day at the airport waiting for my 4:00 p.m. flight.

The flight was fine, a little choppy with gusts of wind on landing, but, we made it and I was home.

How wonderful to see my husband and our home. Well, the house was boarded up because of the pending storm and things were in disarray. But, I was home. My dogs, cats, birds and husband and property were all fine just waiting for me to pick up where I left off with cleaning, laundry, shopping, cooking, gardening, etc.

As the movie statement went: There's no place like home.


  1. As I was reading this I found myself holding my breath. Wheew! Glad you made it back.