So, five days into our trip, we had our first casualty. My co-planner, who spent 6 months help planning our excursion to Utila, left today. Major dehydration was the major symptom, but he was sick to the point that he paid godknowshowmuch to get off the island and head back to the States. The best laid plans…
[To apply the classic joke punchline, “So other than getting a stomach parasite and leaving eight days early, how was the trip…”]
The food on Utila is incredible. It’s less expensive to eat out here than to buy groceries, so we’ve hit at least eight restaurants so far, though I have cobbled together a couple of damn fine meals. Among the spots we’ve hit so far are Driftwood (twice, probably our favorite place here), The Dive Bar (which serves great pizza), Munchies, El Picante, and The Mermaid, to name the most memorable.
Three of our house leave Sunday, and two are coming in tomorrow. As is appropriate for life down here, everything moves slower, time included. Although I scoff at the notion that time is a construct, an hour down here feels more like five. My friend informed us at 7 a.m. that he was bolting, and by noon he was gone. It feels like it stretched out over a series of days. I feel awful for him, but what do you say, really?
We took the cart into Bush’s Grocery this morning to get him some Gatorade, and I inquired as to what to do about heat sickness. “What’s heat sickness?” the girl asked, and I told her never mind.
Utila uses the Lempira, the Honduran currency, and your money goes far here, though not nearly as far as we expected. 20 Lempira equal a dollar, and when you go out to eat, dinner usually costs about five or six bucks, beers about a buck-and-a-half. Our six-seat golf cart, rented for seven days, ran $500, our only real extravagance on an island that has almost no extravagance. We go through about two gallons of bottled water a day, a pack of Tang, a 2-liter of soda and so forth, and the groceries – while expensive – have been fresh and great to cook with.
Other than limes, fruit seem to be a luxury good here.
We got here on Monday, and having been here for the week, it is – for me at least – a surreal experience. I’ve been to the Caribbean before, I’ve been on several “once-in-a-lifetime” type trips, but this one takes the cake. I write this from our back deck, and when I look up I see the Atlantic ocean calmly lapping against our private white beach with the Honduran mountains on the horizon, and I pinch myself.
Although it’s doubtful my friend will ever come back here, I’m already visualizing my next trip down here, and a move after that. For me, this has been paradise, easily my favorite place I’ve ever been. So far so good on my end, eight days to go.