Thursday, August 21, 2008

You Gotta Have Patience

Living here on an island, one must learn patience! Well, if you lived first in the Good Ole U.S. of A. before coming here, it is something that requires some doing.

Back in the U.S., when I worked as a legal secretary, everything had to be done on a schedule and there was no room for errors or excuses for being late - with anything. Filing papers with the court meant extreme deadlines and if you were late, why you could lose a case! When computers were introduced into the office, we were expected to now produce twice what we could before. When pleadings were mailed out we used expedited mail systems along with hand deliveries of the papers to opposing counsel as well as the mail. When FedEx came on the scene we had to send the pleadings out U.S. Mail, FedEx and still hand deliver them. Then they discovered the FAX and now it was mail, FedEx, FAX and hand delivery. Overkill, well maybe but you could never convince a lawyer of that!

When one had a doctor's appointment one never, never was late - as a matter of fact, you usually arrived early.

When an invitation was received for an event, you arrived on-time.

We planned our vacations a year in advance to take advantage of any special prices.

You always had plenty of any one item on hand so you didn't run out and have to make unnecessary trips to the store or were not caught unable to entertain at a moments notice.

Then I moved to an island in a third-world country. Out the window went any semblance of meeting deadlines, being on time or expecting to get things when you want. The people here live day-to-day, and I mean with everything.

They buy enough food that morning to get them through the day. They buy 1 aspirin at a time, 1 cigarette at a time, 1 rib of celery.

When one is invited to a party which is indicated to start at a particular hour, you'd better not be on time. If you arrive 30 minutes to an hour after the stated time then you will catch the host/hostess in the shower. Usually here they expect you to show up 3 hours after the posted time. This is even true of weddings - they don't even start on time.

If you have a doctor's appointment, don't worry. If you get there at your appointed time, someone will have gotten there before you without an appointment and be seen before you. Many times in some businesses, they don't make appointments. And, they never, never, never call you back if they say they will.

If you make a reservation on a flight don't be surprised if you arrive at the airport and they do not have you on their passenger manifest. Even though you have the ticket in hand and they know they sold it to you, if they forgot to put your name down you are out of luck.

If you order something and state you need it the next day and when can they deliver said item, they of course state "you can have it tomorrow." But if you forget to ask which date, month or year, it may come anytime they feel like sending it.

The same holds true if you hire someone to do work for you. Don't expect them to show up on the day they say they will.....they will probably show up 1-2 days later, if at all.

As for being prepared, I went into our local airline office the other day to buy two round-trip tickets and they could not sell them to me because they were out of the form! Now, why in the world did they not see they were running low? I mean, there is only one airline servicing this island now and you'd think they would hire enough people to have the office run smoothly. If you don't get to the office before the plane is scheduled to come in don't expect the office to be open. Even if they tell you their office is manned at all hours, don't believe's not true.

So, you'd better have patience and forget the stress of doing things on a schedule, on-time or in a timely manner because it ain't going to happen here. Heck, that's why they invented the siesta and close all businesses from noon to 1:30 p.m. or 2:00 p.m.

Forced relaxation!


  1. Forced relaxation?! Sharon, you're being too kind. Forced laziness is more like it. Forced incompetence, perhaps, where anything at all is "good enough" and there is no striving nor even motivation to do a "good job." Seeing that they were running low on tickets and ordering some more from the mainland? That would take maybe an ounce of brainpower and initiative. I'm sure that a thorough search, both high and low of Guanaja *might* have turned up someone with both. But there I go dreaming again...

    Hondurans settle for mediocrity or worse and just don't care.

    With the obvious lack of work ethic of its citizens and their casual, shrugging acceptance of horribly low standards for everything, Honduras is just one big country circling the drain. There is no hope. The only thing that could conceivably save Honduras is if the U.S. annexes it and replaces that corrupt government with one that can actually be held accountable.

    On another note, there's only *one* airline serving Guanaja now? Which one? What happened to the other two? I thought everyone's flights went out pretty full?

  2. Sharon,
    Do you mellow with time and go with the flow with this?


  3. I chanced on your blog as I was trawling the net trying to find some information about Dunbar Rock, which I understand is for sale. I didn't mean to, but I read every entry avidly! Your blog is so evocative I feel that Guanaja will seem very familiar when I eventually get there.

    Do you know anything about the house on Dunbar Rock? Is it an enchanting place or just a rich man's folly?

  4. Mike:
    Don't know what your interest is in Dunbar Rock but, yes, it is an interesting building. Quite nice looking but it has it faults, as many buildings here on the island do. Because of the lack of building codes and proper education of "builders/architects", one must be very wary of buildings on Guanaja. You should have a good knowledge of construction before making any decisions when buying already built establishments here, plus you should talk to someone with experience in building or who has seen the past construction of any individual place. Enchanting but nothing here is as it seems!
    P.S. We have many foreigners named Mike on the island and, at first, I thought your comment was from one of them, but guess not!

  5. Dear KMan:
    You really don't have much time but to go with the flow! As they say, "You can't fight City Hall" and when you are in "siesta" country you are wasting your time trying! But then if you can learn to not expect a lot, you won't be disappointed! Isn't retirement about relaxing and not being stressed out anyway?

  6. Sharon
    Your comments hold true here in Mexico as well. Even in a rather large city like Merida.
    My husband and I have been to Guanaja about 6 times; we are divers, and the diving off Guanaja is awesome. We were last there in 1999, under extremely unfortunate circumstances and unfortunately have not been back.
    I enjoy reading about your life on the island, and remeber our visits quite fondly.

  7. i just want to know why boy's of age group 21-30 don't have patience for anything?