Finally moved the pin on the map
Trip Start Feb 25, 2010
60Trip End Ongoing
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Monday morning we had our neighbors drop us off in town, and then took a ferry to the port. Immediately, we felt like a tourist. There were dozens of white people with backpacks looking around dazed and confused as to where to go, what to pay and wondering if it was safe to leave their bags with the strange Spanish-speaking man. We quickly realized that we were in the same boat just a few years ago on our trip, and that at the very least, living in La Ceiba for 2 months, we have gained much confidence in our Spanish and our comfort with approaching new situations while traveling.
When arriving in Utila, I knew that it was going to be hard to leave in just a few short days. We had told the owner of the restaurant that we would only stay until Thursday, so that we could come back and have the place open for the weekend. But upon seeing the clear Caribbean waters, the streets lined with trash cans and the dozens of available hammocks lining the piers - I was thinking that I'd be putting up a fight come Thursday.
One thing we quickly learned about Utila is that it is an island that caters almost solely to scuba divers. There are plenty of places to stay, but many of them only accommodate those who are taking diving classes through their school. After meandering around the main street a few times and up and down Pumpkin Hill, we finally settled on Rubi's Inn for $25 a night. A bit pricey, but we've been saving our pennies in La Ceiba and working hard. We deserved a treat.
We considered taking diving classes, but we'll have to wait until next time. I have my apprehensions - the whole drowning in big bodies of water still makes my heart race, no matter how clear the water. But after speaking to many people during the week, I feel assured that this is something I need to try in my life; and it seems like they do a lot of hand-holding in the intro classes. Utila is probably the cheapest place in the world to get certified. For about $250, you get your certification with several open water dives, plus they throw in lodging for 4 or so days (and a few meals while they are at it). I would love to make plans to come back here before we leave, spend a week and get certified to dive in one of the largest reefs in the world.
The few days we were there were spent doing pretty much nothing but relaxing. We walked practically the entire island the first day (took a few hours). We found a great little beach and went swimming the next day. We laid in our hammocks at the hotel for hours and hours. We went drinking with some locals on night one, and we recovered on the beach and hammocks day two. We took a kayak out Wednesday. (You'd be amazed at how few places rent kayaks or promote anything at all for non-divers to do for fun! The locals didn't even know where to direct us to go for a good swimming beach - and it's only a 4 minute walk away?!?) Of course, we chose the windiest day to go out in a kayak. So, we were instructed to head east across the ocean, against the wind, and hug the shore line. When we reached the bridge, we crossed under and meandered for a couple hours through the mangroves. We got in some pretty tight spots, a little too close to dozens of crabs climbing on the branches nestled in the water, but we pushed our way through. It was definitely a work out, and we treated ourselves with some cold beers and toasty subs afterward.
We ate out - a lot. We've been cooking a LOT of meals for ourselves the last couple months, and even though we sought out a hotel where there was a kitchen for us to use - we avoided it. Food was inexpensive and delicious. The first night we stumbled upon Evelyn's BBQ - and had a mahi mahi kabob, served with potatoes, veggies, curry rice and coconut garlic bread - all for $5. It was grilled right out front of the restaurant, and it was worth more than every penny. We tried their conch in coconut sauce - also really delicious, but it cost twice the price and wasn't nearly as tender and succulent as the mahi.
We went to Treetonic (sp?) at the Jade Seahorse a few times - I wish I had my camera to take photos (details below), because this was possibly the coolest bar I have ever been to. The owner is an amazing artist who built the entire thing out of glass bottles, marbles, plates, shells and concrete. You'll have to visit their website to check it out - I can't do it justice.
On Thursday, we caught the 2:00 ferry back to Ceiba. We almost stayed another night, but we ran out of money and barely had enough to pay for the hotel.
I'd post more pictures (all photos posted were stolen from google images), but unfortunately, we suffered a major loss on our island excursion. On the first night, Jason and I went out with some locals. We were at the last bar of the night, and when Jason went to use the bathroom, the ladies instructed him that the boy's bathroom was on the other side of the pier. So, he walked around the corner, up two stairs onto the pier....oh, except there was no pier at the end of the stairs. The stairs led to nothing - except a big hole over the ocean. In went Jason - with my camera in his pocket. He came back to the bar, soaking wet, and a bit scraped and bruised. We immediately left. snickering along the way - upset about the camera, but it was pretty darn funny.