Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Carnival de Caracol

Hondurans love to celebrate and usually do so with scheduled Carnivals or parades. Some events, like Independence Day (Sept. 15th) are regularly-scheduled affairs and include the whole island of Guanaja. This year the City’s Fathers decided to coax tourists from the coast with our own Carnival de Caracol (Conch). Activities were scheduled for all week beginning with the crowning of the Island Queen on Monday, July 28th. There were boat races, parades, lots of food and drink, dancing contests and even artistic presentations (whatever that meant)!

While we did not attend the crowning of the Queen or, for that fact, some of the other festivities, we did manage to make one of the celebrations held on Josh Cay a/k/a Graham’s Cay.

The weather was splendid – clear skies, sunny with a slight breeze. The festivities started at about noon (or thereabouts if you know what I mean) and went on well into the evening. There was barbeque with chicken and pork and lots of refreshments.We had an efficient, friendly bartender who made sure that everyone had what they wanted. He worked hard and had a smile the whole day. There was a backup bar just in case you encountererd a line at the first bar!

A one-man band consisting of a gentleman from Roatan who played the keyboard and sang was clearly a plus. One of the favorite pastimes of Hondurans, I truly believe, is dancing, so music is a very important component to a festival!

Besides dancing, there was swimming, impromptu soccer games, sand castle building, relaxing, eating, drinking, visiting - heck, you could even take a siesta if you wanted to!

The host, Sr. Graham, was busy making sure everything went well and, as you can see from the photo, added a bit of color to the festivities.

Young and old alike attended and from all observations, a good time was had by all. Heck, even the parrot looked like he wanted to get out and dance!
There were even "future" Caracols there!

Here's some more of our lovelies!

The festivities were watched over by several policemen who were friendly and alert. It took some convincing to get this gentlemen to almost smile he was so serious about his job.

We saw babies, young people, older people; well, just about everyone. Beads were worn and colorful T-shirts and hats were observed. There was a lot of time to soak up the sun and just have a pleasant day with your fellow islanders.
I got a kick out of what people will wear, i.e., T-shirts and hats and the phrases:

There are a lot of activities scheduled for the rest of the week and I hope that all goes as planned because a lot of effort was put into this celebration. The festival is to culminate with a re-enactment of Columbus’ landing on the island being greeted by the native Indians.

It is going to be a lot to pull off in one week especially since this is their first Carnival. I wish the best to all those involved who worked so hard to make this a success. Hopefully we’ll have another Carnival next year and it will be better than the first!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Goals and Life

Over the years I have had many people tell me that I should write a book about our move to Honduras. I would never really consider it because I don’t think that 1) there would be that many people interested in buying it, 2) I think my grammar would need a lot of help and 3) I have too many projects going to even consider it.

One thing I do have and I find interesting (for me at least) is a book my brother put together for my Mother of all the letters I wrote her the first year or so after we arrived on Guanaja. Reading those old letters over are great but, again, there aren’t many people that would be interested in our day-to-day goings on, so the thought of publishing it has never entered my mind. I am presently occupied with creating a “family album” composed of photos of my ancestors/family for my children. I have spent hours and hours scanning photos for the book along with a lot of research which will give my children and Grandchildren at least a look into their background.

I do know that I have experienced a lot more than I would have experienced otherwise if we had not moved to the island. It has been a great learning experience, albeit frustrating at times. I also know that people who are looking to retire should have some sort of hobby or goals to commit to so that when they finally leave that “rat race” they will understand why we smile when people say “What do you do all day?” I do know people that have no hobbies or any direction for their lives to take once they do retire and I feel bad for them. I truly think these people will become bored and frustrated very quickly.

Before we came to the island, I had many interests; sewing, crocheting, stamping, cooking, diving, reading, traveling – well, you get my point. My husband loved to be in the out-of-doors, did some diving and fishing and fix-it projects around the house, but that was the extent of it. He never did much reading, for example, because he was too busy with his job and various activities around the house to take time out for books. He loved to watch football and sports (especially the Olympics), but that was it. Well, moving to an island changed his idea of what he wanted to do with his time. With no T.V., watching sports was out. He is now an avid reader; we both are. We have all types of books and swap them with other foreigners on the island. He doesn’t do much diving or fishing anymore but does putter around with various “maintenance work” around the house. He is handy when it comes to building things I require (a garden house for example) and is always busy with the two boats we own. He loves photography and has a fotolog site on the Web.

I don’t do much crocheting anymore, but do sew occasionally and stamp cards or make books for gifts. I do a lot more cooking than I did when I was busy with an 8-5 job in the U.S. and when I’m not tending to the housework or yard work I manage to snorkel, go for walks, read, and I spend a lot of time on the computer.

I don’t feel that my life is “unfulfilled” for I strongly believe you get out of it what you put in. So, if you are thinking of retiring, no matter when or where you plan on retiring to, get yourself a hobby, get an outside interest and know that you can enjoy your “leisure” years.