Friday, March 4, 2016

Time to Post Again

I recently received a comment on my blog posted a year ago when I became a Great Grandmother from, of all things, an individual in India! That individual has inspired me to update my blog with the happenings in the past year.

I kept this Blog going from 2007 when I described what it was like living on a somewhat isolated island.  After 5-6 years there was not much more to say so I weaned off writing and last year only made the one post.  So, here I am again, to bring you up-to-date.

This is my Great Granddaughter, Charlotte Rose, celebrating her 1st birthday this March.  Charlotte was a premature baby weighing in at under 2 lbs.  She was a fighter and survived and is now 12 lbs. 5 oz., has 7 teeth and looks like her Daddy, Joshua.  She is the happiest baby I've seen in a long time and just a little miracle.

Next, Roland and Annette Rumm became Grandparents in February, 2016, when their son, Roland, and his wife, Julia, were blessed with a beautiful baby boy, Santiago.

Santiago and his parents should be returning to the island this week after a rest in La Ceiba.  Congratulations to all!

I have reported on all the pets we have had over the years and we are still going strong with 3 dogs, 1 cat, 4 birds and a huge flock of hummingbirds at about 8 feeders!  Our one cat, Ivey, is 18 years old and going blind.  I decided I did not want her roaming the area at night (she has always been an outside cat) and, so, brought her into the house to live.  That meant training her to a litter box.  Ivey was use to relieving herself anywhere so this was a monumental task, but I was up to it.

For the most part, but not always, Ivey uses the litter box but she still manages to relieve herself on my rugs.  I finally decided that she would have to be confined to the front porch with a litter box.  Surprise!  She uses the one out there all the time, well, with a few mishaps.  We bring her in during the day for a bit of loving and it seems to be working well.

We have a new full-time vet on the island too: Dra. Julia Rumm.  She has been practicing for over a year and we welcome her services.

We are presently in the process of re-painting the inside of the house.  It is about time!  After 19 years it needs some brightening up.  We've completed the bathroom, are tackling the floor in their and will move on to other areas.  I figure it will take most of this year to complete the task as it is a lot of work clearing out all the "stuff" we have accumulated.

I don't know if I mentioned it in the past but the island built a new and more modern airport terminal.  We once had a grass shack for years (very original and unique), the ultimate site of "Concourse B".   A few years ago a concrete building was put up with the "thought" of using it as a terminal and ticket counter.  Never took and the whole place ended up being storage for various construction materials.  

 This is a photo of the old airport - pretty neat!

Finally, a new terminal was built which is very spacious, complete with bathrooms (!!!) and seating for passengers.  A building was added to one side to be used as a tourist center but, unfortunately, we must have an influx of tourists to use it to the best of its ability.  So, that sits unused as there are not funds to man the facility nor pay for the electrical power.  Then, they decided to build a building on the other side, I guess to balance the structure out (?) and no one knows exactly what the purpose of that building will be.  As yet it is not complete and if someone comes up with a use for it, maybe it will be finished.  Meanwhile, one can wait in comfort now in the Harry Hunter Airport Terminal.  Unfortunately, I cannot locate a photo of the new airport in my files, so you'll just have to come and see for yourself.

There is a new DAN building near the airport terminal being outfitted with a decompression chamber.  We don't know the completion schedule of this project nor who will man it but it is a much needed addition to the area.

As it goes, we have limited restaurants here on the island.  Manati is still in operation with wonderful German food.  Graham's has expanded their outdoor experience with a larger restaurant and a good menu.  Some restaurants on the Cay (Bonacca) have come and gone and Nona's changed hands with Nyoon being the new owner.  He made several changes in the outside dining area, closing it in and adding new furniture.   A new eatery just opened; Rosalinida's which we hope to check out this week during our weekly shopping trip to the Cay.

We still have Bo's Island House Bar out on the water on the North side of the island and Shawn and Lisa Holder's "Mi Casa Too" high up on a bluff overlooking the water on the bight.

Mi Casa Too has wonderful island fare served in a beautiful atmosphere.  This should not be missed but I must warn you, it is a long walk up many 127 steps to reach this great view - but well worth it.  There are so many photos of this really unique place and the two I have below don't do it full justice - you just have to go and see it in person.

Over the years Guanaja has improved.  The people are more conscientious about the garbage and the island is cleaner because of it.  We have a new library and computer center (computer center is aimed at the children) and our vegetable stands have increased considerably.  We now get more types of vegetables than ever before and this past year we finally received fresh mushroom, leeks, snow peas and we have available quality lettuce from Roatan grown hydroponically.  This may not seem earth shattering to those who live in the "land of plenty" but believe me, it is a big thing here.

We also were graced with a visit from Robert Gallardo who, after years of research and live study, created a book: "Guide to the Birds of Honduras."  If you are a bird lover, it would be a wonderful addition to your library.  Just Google Robert Gallardo and you can order a copy.

Robert and his lovely wife are shown in the middle of this photograph.

Our internet service is more varied now with availability through a Tigo "stick" (Tigo is one of the local phone companies) which is inserted into the computer for those within range of the towers.  A Mexican firm has recently offered service and, as always, we have the Hughes Network.  Those in the more advanced countries may not be happy with the slow service we get but, hey, at least we get internet and we are happy!

More attention is being paid to conservation and the protection of our reefs.  We now have areas where no fishing or spearing is allowed and they are regularly checked by locals and/or the Honduran Coast Guard which now has a base here.  Guanaja is going green and we are really trying to improve our island and make it more beautiful.

We were hit with a blight on the hibiscus bushes over the last couple of years.  It is airborne from what I read but we are not sure of the exact  cause; insects or some or air borne bacteria.  Either way, a white mold develops on the plant and the leaves and flowers are diminished in size with the leaves curling up into tight fist-like appearance.  We understand that this "blight" was not confined to just Guanaja but has appeared in several places around the world.  We fought it for about two years and finally gave up and cut down the hibiscus plants in our front yard (saved two of them) and replaced them with minature Ixoria plants.

The bushes removed are the green ones you see directly in front of the porch.  They were not flowering at the time but when they did we had white, pink, red and peach colored flowers.

We now have two dentists in Guanaja; Dra. Jill Haylock and the most recent addition, Dra. Andrea LeviaM Wood.  As Dra. Jill is only here part time so I recently went to Dra. Andrea with a problem.  All my life I have had relatively small teeth - the size of teeth children have before they get in their adult teeth.  Over the years the top teeth have worn down to the point, last year, that I didn't like to smile for photos.  I went to Andrea to see about laminates and/or crowns for my upper front teeth.  She took an impression of my teeth and between her and a dental technician in Tegucigalpa it was decided that I am too hard on my teeth and laminates would not be the way to go.  So we went ahead with crowns.  A month later I had a new smile, at a reasonable cost I might add, and am very happy with the results.

Above, in 2013, you can just see my empty mouth and what appears to be a big hole in the top.

Below you can see my new smile!  Quite a difference!

The clinic on the Cay (Bonacca) has been updated and reorganized to work more efficiently.  Banco Atlantida (the only bank on the island) revamped with new counters, new paint job and now chairs in the lobby for seating.  Unfortunately 2 of the 4 tellers are gone and for a while we had only 1 teller which made for several hours of waiting in line!  They have added a temporary teller bringing up the total to 2 but it still means long waits in the bank.  We are hoping that they will find at least 2 tellers to bring the compliment up to 3 so that the work among them is more evenly distributed and the wait is less.

Roland Rumm has added a beautiful bed and breakfast at Roland's Garden House on the island.  He and his lovely wife are great hosts and there is a variety of things to do with Roland: repealing the water fall of Guanaja, kayaking, snorkeling, bird watching; hiking and fishing and diving can be arranged.  These are a few photos of Roland's lovely place:

 One of the views from Roland's porch

Guanaja has gone "green" meaning that the residents are being more conscientious about garbage, waste and disposal.  The result is that there is less trash on the beaches, the streets of the Cay are kept swept and cleaned and there is an effort by the Municipal to eliminate plastic bags from the island.  It is against the laws in Honduras to ship plastic bags and/or containers to the islands but everyone seems to turn a blind eye to that law.  The Municipal has tried, unsuccessfuly, in the past to ban plastic bags but maybe this new effort will prove successful.  

The reefs are under a stricter control and attempts to curb harvesting conch and lobster around the island are being enforced.  We hope this effort will bring our conch and lobster population, not to mention turtles and fish life, back up to good levels.  Many volunteers around the island are keeping a lookout for illegal fishing/netting/spear fishing and have been successful in warding off would be thieves of the deep!

I am sure there are things I have missed in this update but just wanted to post so everyone know that I'm still around and report on all the changes to the island!