Monday, June 28, 2010


Once again our Anniversary rolled around and in spite of all my intentions, we did not get to celebrate the way I had planned. Weather or something interfered and we had to put off the “dining” out thing for a later date.

Finally, however, while a couple we know from Florida was here, Tami and Eric,I suggested they join us for a luncheon. I contacted G&G's Clearwater Paradise (a local diving resort) and made reservations. Yes, you heard me - made reservations for a 7-course meal. Yes, a 7 course meal! George and Ginger need a couple days notice to prepare a meal and the results are very much appreciated once you have partaken of their cooking.

I have reported last year about G&G’s place when we took Claus and Annette there for their Anniversary. We had such a wonderful gourmet meal (flooring you with these words aren’t I?) that I wanted to repeat the performance for our Anniversary.

G&G suggested we stay overnight in their well appointed rooms and have breakfast the next morning, but my husband worries about the fact thatwhe must feed our various pets and, generally, does not like to be gone overnight. So, I arranged a luncheon for the 4 of us on a Sunday.

The weather turned out to be great and we arrived at G&G’s at about 2 p.m. Ginger and George are a very entertaining couple and besides preparing a wonderful meal, the setting is well thought out, the drinks varied, and the conversation delightful.

Ginger started us off with cocktails and a wonderful hor d’oeuvers of stuffed black, deep fried olives! She stuffed the olives with anchoives, basil pesto and another ingredient, rolled them in bread crumbs and fried them to a wonderful golden color. Now, I’m not a fan of anchoives but considering how small the opening of an olive is I figured the taste would not be that strong. It was very, very tasty and I complimented Ginger the patience it must take to stand and stuff so many olives. Meanwhile, George whipped up a batch of his special house margaritias, which were perfect, and even topped off with little paper umbrellas!

We then moved on to a Cesar salad with Ginger’s special dressing accompanied by beautiful and tasty cheese popovers! Following this, we were served a cold corn soup with a sprig of basil and a sprinkling of crab. Lucisious!

Our main course was G&G’s famous lemony green beans and grilled swordfish with a lovely chopped tomato/onion/basil topping (there were other spices but I can’t name them all). The fish was done perfectly and the green beans, as usual, were a hit.

We chatted with George and Giner after dinner, giving our stomachs a rest. A local Honduran couple dropped by and they took part in the celebration.

The piece d’resistance was Desert - a chocolate mousse which was light, smooth and beautifully done.

We relaxed the rest of the afternoon, taking a tour of the premises and chatting with everyone. We finally departed just as the sun was going down and enjoyed a lovely boat ride over a calm sea.

It is always a treat to be treated as special and George and Ginger do a great job of it. Next year, I’m going to get a house sitter and make a day of it and have George take us out snorkeling and then have dinner.

If you ever plan a visit to Guanaja, I strongly recommend visiting with George and Ginger and partaking of one of her gourmet meals. You will never regret it! And, if you like, we would be most happy to join you!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Recycling is something that should come naturally when living on an island. Outside of throwing your waste in the sea, which is definitely a no-no, there is limited land space and garbage is always a big problem. For years the beaches and seas around Guanaja were littered with waste in the form of plastic. The canals of Bonnaca were clogged with waste and people thought nothing about throwing their garbage into the sea.

However, in more recent times the people have come to see that this practice could not continue, especially with the influx of people on the island. Garbage containers starting appearing around the streets of Bonnaca, the citizens were being taught to be conscientious about littering and the beaches were starting to be cleaned on a semi-regular basis.

For the most part I separate my garbage depending upon how one can dispose of it.

Food scraps: composite pile
Paper products: burn pile
Bottles: break them up and dump in the sea for ultimate "sea glass"
Cans: designate for the dump

The rest of the items that fall into the "what do we do with them?" category are old batteries, used motor oil, old electrical items (computers, DVD players, radios, etc.), and on and on and on. I, much to the amusement of my daughter, wash out my Zip Loc bags and reuse them not only because of the garbage they create but because they are difficult to come by and expensive. The items that cannot be disposed of by burning at home or recycling are brought to the dump where fuel oil is poured over the whole mess and burned. Not the most efficient or safe way to handle the problem but with limited resources and no garbage disposal plant available, it is the only solution to an ugly problem. Granted, some items are being recycled; scrap metal to sell on the mainland, batteries, used motor oil.

One of the biggest problems on a daily basis, however, is PLASTIC. There is a Honduran law on the books that plastic bags and plastic bottles cannot be used, sold or shipped to the Bay Islands. Soda bottles are the biggest offenders followed by those terrible plastic bags everyone must have to stuff their purchases into. Of course, as with all laws in Honduras, how does one enforce this one? Is the government going to stand on the docks of La Ceiba when the boats load up and confiscate all the soda bottles being loaded on board? Are they going to search all the boxes to see which ones contain the offense shopping bags? No. So, they leave it up to the citizens to be honest and obey the law!

As an end result, more and more plastic bottles are coming onto the island. While efforts have been made by local grocers to cut down on the number of plastic bags dispensed by encouraging its shoppers to bring their own shopping bags, it has had little effect. The Municipal tried to ban plastic bags from the stores by instituting a fine, but, again, who is going to police or enforce it?

The local stores, for a while, even offered canvas bags for sale to used by their customers. These were a little too pricey and overall the effort was a flop. It would be great if the grocers could get access to these disposable bags (made out of recycled material) to sell as they would be cheaper to offer to their customers, but, alas, there seems to be no such service in Honduras for these type of bags. It is amazing that many years ago, everyone on the island carried their own shopping bag and not one plastic bag was seen. Of course with the advent of the availability of these bags, people thought it was easier not to remember to take their bag to the store and rely upon the seller to provide them as a service.

I and several shoppers on the island have a variety of bags used for shopping. I keep mine by my door so that I won't forget them when I leave home on shopping day. Some bags were "disposable" bags that I acquired while in the states at the local grocery; the red basket was one I purchased last year in Germany.

Another way to combat the garbage that is produced by plastic bottles is recycling. For quite some time people would collect the used "soda" bottles in large plastic bags and the boats that went to the Coast for groceries would take them on board to deliver to La Ceiba for recycling. This was difficult however as a bag full of soda plastic bottles is shapeless and difficult to stack efficiently.

As seen by the photos, my one worker alone had amassed several large bags over a few weeks time just by scouring the beach from our house to his. If this amount could be gathered up by one worker in one small area, you have an idea of what the problem is over the whole island and over time.

So, the foreigners living on the island, lead by Buddy, who found a source that was willing to pay for 1/2 the cost of a recycling machine if we would come up with the rest of the money, managed to spearhead the purchase. Buddy talked to us as individuals, got donations and then approached the Municipal with his plan, which was to turn the machine over to them if they would supply a place to install it and a worker to run it. This was agreed to and the order was placed.

We waited several months for the crusher to get here and in the meantime a site had been located by the Municipal. When the machine arrived it was then a real challenge to get it from the boat, onto the dock and to its final resting place. Also, a hole had to be cut in the roof of the site to accompany parts of the machine. At first, this was a huge success for now the bottles could be crushed and compacted into tidy, squares of plastic which were much easier to load on to and ship by boat.

For a while this venture proved successful; the islanders cleaned up the beaches, streets, walkways and living areas, made some extra cash, the Municipal made money and Guanaja on the land and the water surrounding the island was much cleaner. However, all good things must come to an end and one day we noted that the plastic crusher facility was locked up tight. We tried to find out what had happened and met with several answers:

1. The price offered for recycled plastic had been dropped so low that no money could be made to ship it.

2. The boat owners refused to take the plastic to the mainland (we found this not to be true).

3. The Municipal ran out of money to pay people for the bottles they brought in as the tax applied was not being collected due to people ordering their "sodas" directly from the dealers and by-passing the Deposito where most items were inventoried and a tax applied.

We have heard that once in a while the crusher is up and runnin,g but not on a regular basis. So far the beaches have remained fairly clean as people are not littering anymore. However, unless something is done, I'm afraid we will fall back into the plastic cesspool that once surrounded Guanaja.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


As you will see, my Blog has gone through some "cosmetic" changes and I've made an addition to my sidebar.

I have been blogging since 2007, sometimes with regularity and other times weeks will go by and I have not made an entry. This is not because I have exhausted all I want to say about life on Guanaja! No! There just are not enough hours in the day to do all I want plus thinking up new subject matter for a Blog. I like to add photos to my Blog as it gives those who read it the chance to see what I'm talking about and sometimes this proves to be the reason I do not blog as often.

Recently I was contacted by fellow blogger, La Gringa, who, along with other Bloggers, wanted to set up a new site for people in search of more information about Honduras. I was asked if I would like to take part in this "Honduras Blogs" project and I jumped at the chance. I have added the "Honduran Flag" to my Blog and the name of the new group in order for people to have easy access to this new source of information.

From what I have gleaned, subjects will be about Honduras but varied in nature. There will be blogs in English and Spanish with the capability available for the reader to have the a Spanish blog translated into English (and, possibly vice versa).

I hope that those of you reading my blog and who show an interest in obtaining additional views of what it is like living in Honduras, will check out this new site.

So, here it is, the "updated look" for my Blog. Oh, I wanted to change the photo that has been on my Blog for years, but cannot seem to locate the exact spot wherein I'm allowed that opportunity. So, for this one Blog, I will post a more current photo of myself as I have aged somewhat! I have also taken this opportunity to add one of my favorite quotes on life to my sidebar.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Spring is in the air; Purple Snow, Unusual Sights and a Burnout!

With all the plants and trees growing on our property, this is a wonderful time of year. The wild orchids bloom, the sweet plums come out on the tree, mangoes are falling from the sky (well, from the trees), the Tamarind trees have produced their seed pods and we have collected them to extract the pulp from within for the making of juice and jelly and the Jacaranda tree is in bloom.

The Jacaranda tree produces small purple flowers in May and when they fall to the ground it almost looks like purple snow! The Jacaranda is native to Central and South America and puts on a beautiful display. We have two large trees (about 40’ tall) near the house and although they do not seem to emit much of an odor, their display is gorgeous. Approaching our house from the sea, one views the tops of these trees covered in a light purple-blue color.

Meanwhile, all the flowers are in bloom. We have hibiscus in white, peach, yellow, mango-colored, pink and red. The Ixoras come in two shades of red (that I have seen) and a yellow variety. We have one shade of the red and it is a miniature Ixora which I have developed into a small hedge plant. The pineapples have blossomed and the fruit is developing and should be ready in 2-3 months.

There are several large trees on our property which are in bloom; the Crabo or Nancito (Nancy Tree). Right now they are in full bloom and the drone of thousands of bees can be heard every morning while the flowering lasts. They produce a bright yellow berry which the natives put into bottles with water which they let ferment and then they drink. The texture of the fruit is very dry and I do not find the taste of them particularly pleasing. But, to each their own.

The wild orchids here on the island (the orchid is the National Flower of Honduras) come in two varieties; one has a small purple blossom which blooms late April through May and the other a less attractive white variety which blooms almost year around, depending upon rainfall. We also have many Ti plants as ornamentals and they, too, are blooming with a very unusual looking flower.

This time of year new growth on all the trees is seen and the island is a blanket of various shades of green. The mountains are covered with Caribbean Pines. Although the National Tree of Honduras is the Pine Tree, I am not sure if it is the Caribbean Pine found on Guanaja. One native woman on the island has used the needles to make a living for her family by making baskets to sell to the few tourists that come here.

We also get a large influx of hummingbirds now. We have two varieties that come to the island to breed and feed; the Canivet’s Emerald and the Green-Breasted Mango, the Canivet’s Emerald being the smaller of the two species. Lately, this year, we have noticed a new arrival, a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird. While we have seen only about 4 of the Ruby-throated hummers at our feeders we have since learned that even though we thought they may have been thrown off track by a recent storm, they have been seen on the island before so it may be that they do have a flight route over the island. The unusual sight this past week was seeing some of the Canivet’s Emerald landing on an open section of ground on the other side of our fence. Since it was not one but 6-8 birds landing in the short grass and sitting for short periods of time over several days, we wondered why this activity was taking place. The ground is a dangerous place for small hummingbirds and we have never seen them in this type of activity.

Of course, we are in the dry season and because of the lack of rain our plants are starting to suffer. Luckily for us, however, for the past two weeks we have seen a sprinkling of rain in the evening. This has been just enough to turn the brown grass green, perk up the flowering plants and put water back into our cistern. Unlucky for us, this week our water pump chose to burnout and the other day when I turned on the water to wash dishes it suddenly stopped flowing and I had no water. I knew we have water in the cistern (unlike my February 2008 Blog wherein we ran out of water in the cistern) and called for my husband. A rule of thumb on the island is to have two of everything. He discovered the pump had burned out and replaced it immediately with a back up pump. Now we have to get on the Internet and order another pump to be prepared for another emergency.

So, Spring has sprung, so to speak, and the smell of Jasmine, mango flowers, orange flowers and other plants perfume the air making it a delight for the senses.