First, Raphael Colontonio passed away in the U.S. about two weeks ago. Raphael and his wife, Mary, lived in Mangrove Bight for approximately 15 years and had to move back to the States two years ago because of Raphaael's ill health. Our condolences to Mary and his family. Rafael and Mary were the only "gringos" living in downtown Mangrove Bight in a small house up on pilings. Rafael was formerly a butcher and loved making sausages. Mary was into quilting and sewing crafts. Mike was not sure what Raphael meant when he said Mary and he lived in a "cat house in Mangrove Bight" He added to the mystery when he described their house as a veritable "pussy palace." So, we visited them and found they had dozens of cats as pets and took in strays constantly! One could always count on seeing Raphael on Bonacca Cay on shopping day, standing against the wall at Sikaffy's and greeting everyone with a smile and small conversation. He will be missed.
Next, good news. Our local tourist dive hotel, Clearwater Paradise Resort (a/k/a CPR) received two awards for the second time in a row. The first was Trip Advisor's 2014 award for being one of the 10 hotels in Honduras for excellent customer service and the Trip Advisor Circle of Excellence Award. Congratulations to Ginger and George. I must also add that they have finished up apartment above the dive shop, added tank racks to their new 43' Wellcraft Portofino boat and the above-the-ground pool is complete with a deck, solar lights and lounges.
For those of you who want to see more of the boat or an update on CPR, please go to http://www.clearwaterparadise.com/.
Next, there was some excitement on the island about two weeks ago when the anti-drugas, dressed in masks and carrying m-16s, invaded Graham’s Place late in the day, unannounced. They made all the guests move outside while they held guns on everyone and then searched all the rooms and the grounds for several hours. They would not tell Graham who they were or what they were looking for and apparently did not have a warrant or would not show it. Graham found out the next morning who they were. Obviously, the guest were terrified. They did not find any trace of drugs anywhere. There was a panga (name for a local boat) at Grahams that had not run for several months, they said it was probably used to carry drugs and they seized it. Graham was totally upset by this intrusion and is in the process of getting a lawyer and filing a complaint.
We have some people arriving and leaving all the time on the island. Soon several people will be leaving either for the summer, a couple months or 6 weeks. We will miss them and look forward to their return. On the other hand, we have people arriving in June and July and short periods and some in August or September. We welcome Michael Glannegger back to Guanaja. So even though we have departures, we have arrivals which keep us up-to-date with what's going on in the outside world and new conversation!
I recently had to go to San Pedro Sula to see a new internist. My doctor had retired several years ago and the only doctor available to me at the time did not have a good grasp of English. When talking about my heart, even though I can get buy in Spanish, I prefer my native tongue so that I will be totally aware of what is being discussed. I have great praise for Hospital Cemesa and the new doctor, Dr. Jorge Martinez, who has an office in this complex. I was impressed with the doctor's enthusiasm for his line of work, his thoroughness, his excellent English, and the fact that he is well-informed. And, good news, he goes to La Ceiba twice a month so I won't have to make the long trip to San Pedro to see him. He also told me that a new hospital is in the process of being built in back of the present building. If you want to see an architectural rending of the building you can go to: http://www.hcemesa.com/?lang=en.
Dr. Martinez also informed me that they presently have the capability to install pace makers and/or defibrillators, along with other procedures and that they are making advancements all the time and updating their equipment and services.
A group of us are going to a new bar near Mangrove Bight this coming week to check it out. Run by a man called "Bully" it is on the beach and between Mangrove Bight and Susan's place.
The most excitement, however, was the launching of the Soyuz rocket from Russia. On board was a Russian cosmonaut Max Surayev and German Alexander Gerst and American, Reid Wiseman. This took place on Wed., May 28th and we were able to watch it at Manati Bar and Restaurant that afternoon. What was exciting was that the German cosmonaut, Alexander (Alex) Gerst is a childhood friend of Claus and Annette's son, Roland) and they (Claus and Annette) are good friends with his parents in Künzelsau. I had met Alex and his Dad at various times when they visited the island and, so, we have been watching his progress for quite some time while he underwent training for the position. He speaks German, Russian (which he had to learn in 3 months!) and excellent English.
The launch, flight and docking were all totally successful. This is a photo of Alex inside the ISS.
So, congratulations to all the cosmonauts and their flawless journey so far.
Also, I read that the American cosmonaut had to pay $71,000,000.00 for his seat in the rocket. When one considers the expense that is incurred just building a rocket in the U.S., launching it, training, etc., this is probably a bargain-basement price.
I was also happy to see how the three men got along together. They had great camaraderie, seemed very happy and comfortable together and because of their common interest (science) they were able to, in some respects, avoid the politics of this endeavor. We wish them much success. Oh, Roland (Claus and Annette's son) now has permission to e-mail Alex in space! All I can say is WOW!
And that's it for my update.