Friday, November 21, 2008

I think the warranty just ran out!

Well, I’m at a crossroads of life, at least I think that is the wall I’ve run up to.  

This month I turned 65.  Yow!  When did that creep up on me?  The last thing I remember was standing over the crib just before the birth of my youngest daughter (who is now 36 years old) thinking, “The next time I turn around, she or he will be in college!”  Well, she was born, she did go to college, she graduated, she had children and I’m still wondering “What happened to yesterday?” 

Not that I mind being 65.  You see, I’ve never thought of myself as old and age never really bothered me all that much.  To some extent, living on the island has made me feel younger.  I get sufficient exercise, I eat less “junk” food, I expand my mind with tasks like reading, sewing, and cooking, yard work, blogging and creating “published” works.  Of course now the exercise includes mainly just a lot of walking and the yard work consists of telling my workman what I want done.  Oh, occasionally I pitch in with the planting and pulling of weeds, but those occasions are getting to be less and less.  And, I must admit, if I lived back in the States, I would be spending more time at a desk and/or, ultimately, in front of a T.V. and being a lot more stressed.  So, while we have frustrating moments here, they are moments that can be dealt with without going into orbit.

I have always looked forward to birthdays.  I mean, as they always say, it is better than the alternative.  I fully subscribe to the “You are as old as you feel, not as old as you look” theory.  I once read a quote by Emily Dickinson who said “We turn not older with years, but newer every day.”  And this is so true of my life these past 11 years on Guanaja.  Regardless of my age, I have had many adventures and will continue to do so.  These will bring unexpected joys along with unexpected sorrows, but that is life.  I have never thought in terms of “Boy, is he/she old.”  Rather, people were either on an equal keel with me in life, ahead of me or behind me.  

My Grandmother was never old – she was what a Grandmother, in my mind, was supposed to be.  A heavy-set woman with lots of folds to cuddle in, a handkerchief in her bosom, a stick of gum to give the little ones to keep them quiet in church and funny-looking supportive shoes.  She had gray hair, always wore a dress and always had a smile for me.  Of course, when I look at that definition, I don’t have any idea what my Grandchildren (all 6 of them) think of me! 

Age never meant much to me.  Now, health was a different matter.  Young or old, when a person is sick they are in their own category.  They all need to be taken care of, loved more and more tolerance shown.  I guess some people feel that same way about “old” people.  But, hey, when do you get old?  I have run up against people younger than me who don’t have half the stamina I have.  I have seen “old” people (in their 80's) who do more than my Mom did in her mid-60's.  Sometimes I wonder if happiness consists primarily of an attitude toward time.  If you dread the years slipping by and can find little happiness in where you are at any given time, then you are truly not a happy person.  Some people meet the day with a smile and positive attitude while others grumble and complain never wanting to see the good around them.  So, how old would you be if you didn’t how old you was? 

But back to the celebration!  My female friends on the island and I got together to toast my 65th birthday.  It was a wonderful day and, in spite of the rough seas, we all forged ahead, climbed in our respective boats and made the wet, rough trip out to a small Cay off the island which is owned by a lovely German couple.  We were joined by two women from Germany who had just arrived on the island and came along to have a good time.  We had appetizers and champagne punch.  We had champagne, ribs, coleslaw, potato salad, baked beans and fresh bread and wine and cake for desert!  

They sang the traditional Happy Birthday song and they even put up decorations in my honor.  

We laughed talked, enjoyed each other’s company and took pictures.  For posterity, I turned to the young German woman of 20 and told her “When you celebrate your 65th birthday, please think of the crazy American woman you met on Guanaja on her 65th birthday.  Even though I will be dead, remember I wished you a happy birthday!”

Hey, the best thing about growing old is that it takes such a long time!

Happy Birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday ----------------- heh, heh, heh.



Sunday, November 9, 2008

Final Report on Copán

As the title says, this is my final report on  my vacation to Copán with my son.

If one checks up on information concerning Copán,you will usually find this: "The Pre-Columbian city today known as Copán is a locale in western Honduras, in the Copán Department, near the border of Guatemala. It is the site of a major Maya kingdom of the Classic era."  Most information will proceed to tell you all about the ruins which, of course, is the main reason one goes to Copán
However,not much is said about the town and I love the town!  

The cobblestone streets, the quaint buildings, the open market, the enchanting look of the whole area brings me back again and again.
The area is built in a valley and the town is situated on rolling hills which wind through the town and expose untold views. You will find splashes of color everywhere with interesting touches in the architecture by the way of decoration.

I love the "adobe" look to the buildings, especially when some of the outer stucco chips away and you get a look at the original brick construction. The homes and businesses are painted in Caribbean colors and tropical plants abound.

In the center of town, as in most towns of Honduras, there is a park constructed in spoke-type fashion with various buildings and offices of the local Municipality, some shops and always, the Central Market.  How I love markets. We get such limited types and quantities of vegetables on the island that whenever I go to the mainland, the Market is one of the places I love the most. 
Such abundance and variety available in Copán. Foods are brought in from nearby Guatemala and I saw, as pictured in the collage, huge radishes which are one of my favorite vegetables.  In 11 years on Guanaja I've had radishes about 8 times! There are pots and pans, shoes and clothing being sold and a small open air eating place. The photo showing the display of shoes indicates the patience one must have shopping in a Honduran market! I think one would have a hard time finding the mate to the shoe they sought to purchase.

As I was walking the streets I found a shoemaker plying his trade beside a building.  One finds these masters all over Honduras and 
for a few Lempira you can get your shoes repaired as good as new. Evidently he felt more comfortable in his stocking feet at the time.

Another "Kodak" moment presented itself in the doorway of a shop displaying hats.

The inside and outside of buildings present unusual photo opportunities, especially in the hotels, of which there are many. Like all of the town of Copán, everything is kept very clean. Every hotel I looked into was tidy and pleasant looking. Only one hotel that I visited had a pool. The Marina. although we had the availability of a hot tub at Don Udo's where we stayed.  At the Marina Hotel I found some really interesting lamp covers made of shells.  

They had a beautiful, mahogany, curved staircase that presented a beautiful play on light and shadows so I just had to take the picture of it.

There were some unusual sights; a fence surrounding a home was made of woven palm leaves.  The interior of a building had been decorated at once time with hanging paper decorations which are finally falling into disrepair but attractive none-the-less.  There was one yard where I saw corn laid out to dry in the sun and, of course, there is always the local dog.

The other plus of Copán are the varied and excellent restaurants.  We had wonderful meals wherever we went with excellent, friendly service. One such place was the "Twisted Tanya", a local restaurant owned run by a Brit who was a former owner/partner at the restaurant "Twisted Toucan" in Roatan. She became disenchanted with Roatan and moved to Copán.  The food is outstanding; the salads unlike any other and the drinks - well, the drinks are amazing.  We spent a wonderful evening at the restaurant visiting with the owner, her daughter and staff enjoying the ambiance and food.  We left late in the evening but had no fear as the hotel was only blocks away and the streets relatively deserted. We were surprised to find our hotel door locked and after calling out to the night watchman, we were allowed entrance. 

We were very lucky as the weather was beautiful and cooperated fully. There was rain late one afternoon, but other than that the temperatures were mild to cool.  Of course during the rainy season I would not recommend visiting the area.  Roads are washed out, streets are flooded and viewing the ruins would be a disaster.  So, December through mid-February is not the best time.  The rest of the year is wonderful; the tourist "season" is April through July, so judge your vacation accordingly.

So, if you like variety; horseback riding, hiking, hot springs spa, bird parks, fine cusine or just taking photos, Copán is one place you will not want to miss!