Thursday, April 19, 2007

Post-Semana Santa Update

So, I've been MIA recently, and even though I just posted several things about recent traveling, the rest of my life is still a mystery to all but the select few. So here goes.

1. Saul is officially out of my life. He completely disappeared, never again contacted me. I'm fine now, but I wasn't so fine before. Part of me says that it serves me right for putting myself out there like that. For those who don't know me so well, I am generally a pretty guarded person about my feelings. For example, I always say that things are fine, even when they clearly are not. It's the same the other way around. I don't open myself up to love very easily (only ever have one time in my life before Saul.) With Saul, for the first time in my life, I opened myself up completely. So, while part of me says, that's what I deserve, the other part says, it's about damn time. So, regardless of how it turned out with him, I'd rather open myself to love, and be able to say "I've loved and have been loved."

2. Liz is coming to visit July 28-August 5th! Well, she's not exactly coming HERE. She's flying in and out of Belize City, and we are going to be in Belize and Guatemala. I'm really excited, even though this trip will cost me more than I have. Don't worry though, they just upped my credit limit. Again. Like I really needed that $2,000 raise. Thanks.

3. School is going fine. When I got back after Semana Santa, my kids were SOOO excited to see me. They really do make going to school everyday worth it. I didn't wake up today until 7:30. Yep, school starts at 7:00. I got there at 7:45, and the directora was happy to see me! She wasn't upset at all that I was late. But yeah. I was invited to go out dancing tonight, and I shouldn't ... because I have school tomorrow. But I might anyway. I haven't been irresponsible lately, and as long as I show up tomorrow ... it's Friday. Noone expects the kids to learn all that much on Fridays, if we are going to be honest. One of my kids asked me today if I would be there next year. They are already thinking about next year! Wow.

4. When Ingela was here, we went out to that Zona Salva Vida place by the beach that was set up just for Semana Santa. We met some of my friends there. Well, my friends are friends with two super cute brothers, Henry and Leo. They are 20 and 21, I think. They live right near Cynthia, the 2nd grade teacher, and apparently asked about me. So cute. I'm trying to make it so that we all go out this weekend. I need her to hook me up with one of them. But honestly, they were both cute, both nice, and I don't remember the difference between the two of them. haha.

I think that is all for now. My sister is coming in August, and I might be going to El Salvador with her too. I miss her sooo much. My dad finally got a job, yay! I miss the States, but am happy enough here. Just need to get over my little homesick stretch. I think going out tonight and being irresponsible will help with that.

Semana Santa, Roatan

For Semana Santa, Ingela and I spent most of the week in Roatan. Roatan is an island off the coast of Honduras, considered part of Honduras. It is, well ... gorgeous. This is a picture of Half Moon Bay, in West End. (Where most of the bars, restaurants, hotels, etc are.)

This is where we stayed. Despite a minor cockroach freakout, and the TINY room, and the mysterious price change (from $30 to $42), it worked out okay for us.

This was taken on our first full day there at Half Moon Bay in West End. We´re pretty. The beach is pretty. What else could we possibly want?

I'd post more pictures, but the internet is being hopelessly uncooperative.

Anyway, we had a great time. We took a water taxi (Read: Boat) to the West End to go to the beach and snorkeling the same day as the above picture was taken. We went sea kayaking in West End and got stuck in coral (yikes) until we opted for smoother waters on the other side of the Bay. We went out a couple of nights and got friendly with some Roatan locals (who were really nice actually), and we also met a whole bunch of US Army guys stationed at a Honduras airforce base near Comayagua. I didn't know there were US troops stationed here, did you? They were nice though. What else? We went to eat at a restaurant on a dock over the water and had about 4 cockroaches skittering under our feet, not fun at all.

Oh, we went hiking too! I wish I could get the pictures working. We went to the Botanical Gardens in Sandy Bay. It cost $5 to get in, and it was very pretty. There were trails, and we hiked to the top of Carambola Mountain. From the top, you get a view of Anthony's Key Resort (a little resort on a tiny island, you can swim with the dolphins at the resort here. I met a guy named Roger that works with the dolphins there. Not such a good conversationist though, so it didn't exactly work out between us.) It was very pretty and a nice break from being at the beach all the time. (I did burn, yes.)

Anyway, I loved everything about Roatan except the boat ride over. Incidentally, in the few moments of weakness after the boat ride when I was still recovering, we decided to fly back to Ceiba. A much more pleasant, albeit $20 more expensive, experience. It was also quite a bit faster. I really can honestly say that on the boat ride over, I was sick enough to make it one of the worst experiences of my entire life. They say it isn't always like that, but I'm not quite sure I believe them. Will I take the ferry again? Well, I can't afford to fly, and Roatan really is worth it.

Since pictures aren't working properly, it only seems appropriate to mention here that we took the Sambo Creek Canopy Tour and Hot Springs when we got back to Ceiba. It was so much, and I will post pcitures, some day. Eventually, I might even get them up onto my yahoo website! :) The guides were young, and super fun, they took our cameras and took tons of pictures. The rainforest it was through was gorgeous, and you could see the ocean from some of the platforms. To get to the top where the tour started, you rode horses. Ingela almost fell off of hers! It was really steep, and I was honestly afraid that my horse, George, would tumble back down to the bottom of the mountain, but, lucky for me, he didn't.

Basically, it was a wonderful vacation, and I was pretty freakin depressed when I had to go back and teach school the following Monday. Having Ingela here was awesome. But, it made me realize that I really do miss home. It's easy to forget about home (not forget persay, but forget how much you miss it and your friends and family) when everyone else is there and you are here. My life here seems so 100% separate from my life in the States. For example, when I forget someone's birthday in the States, I feel that it is unacceptable. Here though, well ... it's different. My life is different. My friends are different. Another thing with her being here, was that I had forgotten how much I missed having someone around who just GOT me. We just so completely understand each other. I laughed so much in the first 5 hours that she was here that my abs hurt. So, I'm a little homesick now, but I'll be okay.

Semana Santa, Ingela arrived and travel woes!

My Semana Santa (Holy Week) adventures will be in several installments.

Some of you may be asking, "What IS Semana Santa exactly?"
Well, lucky for you, I am going to tell you.

Semana Santa is the week preceding Easter Sunday. Each day is a Holy Day, but Thursday, Friday, and Saturday are the big ones. Offices and schools are generally closed all week. Banks are only open Monday and Tuesday. On Friday, most everything (stores, salons, etc.) closes down. For example, the salon I go to closed on Friday, but was open Thursday and Saturday. On Friday, almost all the stores in the mall were closed too. La Ceiba is where a lot of people go to get out of the cities, to party and go to the beach, so restaurants, bars, and the like normally stay open all week long. While some cities have a lot of traditional religious processions and activities for Semana Santa, CeibeƱos typically prefer to party. In the Zona Viva (the area of Ceiba where most of the bars and clubs are located, down by the beach), a huge area was set up for Semana Santa outside on the sand. Hundreds of tables and chairs were set up, with several bar areas, and a big stage, and this was apparently THE place to be at night during Semana Santa. Ingela and I went Thursday and Friday with my friends. Beer there was also ridiculously cheap. Generally, a beer in Ceiba goes for about 20 Lempiras, about a dollar. In order to get in, you had to buy a L. 12 beer. Then, once inside, you could buy buckets of beer (6 total) for L. 65 ($3) and L. 85 ($4). Since the whole area was sponsored by one of the local brands of beer, Salva Vida, those buckets were cheaper. But, wow, right?! I have a few pictures that I will post later.

So that, for Ceiba, at least - is Semana Santa. Now onto the travel woes.

Despite some minor bag delays, both us and her bags made it safely to Roatan on Saturday (her bags arriving a mere 6 or 7 hours after she landed in Ceiba). Roatan is the island we went to off the coast of Honduras, on Saturday. But barely. The ferry-yacht-boat that runs between Ceiba and Roatan is a very nice, but the waters were very rough on Saturday afternoon, and I was very sick. I didn't think ahead to take any medicine to help prevent motion sickness, and the boat was rocking left and right pretty badly. Therefore, I got very sick. Ingela managed to keep all of her lunch inside her stomach, but well, let's just say that she was the lucky one. Don't worry though, they give out little bags and paper towels pretty generously.

San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize

I pretty much already filled you in on the basic info of my Belize trip about where I stayed and everything, but here is the picture of the main building where the condos are at Coral Bay Villas. I stayed in a condo on the second floor on the right hand side of the building. There are 8 condos in all: full kitchen, full bathroom, bedroom with AC and a queen sized bed, living room with cable TV, and a patio. It was amazing, and just what I needed to escape for a few days.

This is the first thing I saw when I walked around the building when I first got there. There were 8 or so of those beach chairs and hammocks in the shade on both sides. I got to RELAX and get some sun and lay in hammocks. It was the first time I was really able to relax in a couple of weeks. Looks like a postcard, doesn´t it?

This is my view from my hammock. Yeah.

This is the view right out front of the Villas on the beach. In San Pedro, the main pedestrian walkway is on the beach. There is a road that the cars and golf carts use, but the people walk on the beach. This is the dock where I got picked up to go snorkeling!

Snorkeling was amazing! I have only gone a few times in different places, but it was by far the best I've done. The water is so clear. I got to touch these nurse sharks, saw and touched some different sting rays, saw two big green eels, part of an octopus (it was hiding), a TON of fish and schools of fish, a barracuda, and a bunch of other stuff. The sharks scared me though.

Look how happy I am! I was very sad to leave Belize though!