One of my fondest and most vivid memories is of me and a childhood friend playing in the heavy, cool rain, on a warm summer day. It rained all day and it never got old. We only threw in the towel when my mother forced one around us.
Several years later, I found myself in what would become another fond and vivid memory of a rainy day.
I had been looking forward to our stop in Roatan, Honduras for months. I knew we only had one day there, and I wanted to make the most of it, but the rain just poured and poured with no signs of stopping. My high hopes of exploring beautiful Roatan were dashed. That is until my travel companion Kim Mance took the bull by the horns (the bull being a very grumpy, heavy set fellow working for a tour company). Everyone was lining up for personal van tours, as just about all other activities were canceled due to the downpour. Explorers, we are! Tour people, we aren’t. It took some scaling language barrier walls, but Kim finally got “the bull” to agree to just drive us wherever we would like, and forego the actual tour. Genius!
Our main mission that day was to leave the tourist town and stop over at the Elfrida Brooks grade school. When Kim realized we were stopping over in Roatan, she took up a very successful fundraiser through Galavanting for this tiny school.
The kids—who had come for miles to see us and get some new school supplies—were fantastic! They were all polite, grateful and energetic, as was their teacher, Darla. It was very plain to see that Darla cared about each and every one of her students. It was really refreshing to see such a dedicated and hard working teacher. We sang songs, played with the kid’s new supplies, read books and toured the two room school (it was a short tour). We were headed out when we learned that two of the children, a brother and sister, lived five miles away! We couldn’t let them walk, so they were along for the ride and more than happy to jump in the van. I should add that we don’t usually pick up little children that we don’t know and take them in our van. This was a special circumstance.
Now, to embark on our exploration of Roatan. Shacks lined the dirt (now mud) roads, and the plant life had a mind of its own. There is green everywhere you look. The colors of the mountainous terrain, the lush forestry, the pink, green and blue homes, were so vibrant in the rain. Color popped everywhere, even the fruit was a feast for the eyes. We spotted a little boy on the roadside with a rabutan stand. Having never tried this crazy looking fruit, I was anxious to grab some. The little boy ran up to the van in the rain and took $1 for a huge bag of rabutan fruit. We sat there in the van munching on my new favorite fruit, talking and laughing with the sound of rain outside and the palette of colors all around us.
As the day went on, we stopped at a few roadside stands, gazed at an eerily beautiful ship wreck, and got out and walked in the rain. In search for some authentic Honduran cuisine, we stopped at a local restaurant. When we were presented with the “white people” menu, complete with cheese burgers and buffalo wings, Kim commandeered that ship and we were out of there.
We drove a while before we spotted a small hut by the shore. This is where we’ll get some real Honduran grub! And sure enough, this was the place. We all waited patiently with grumbling bellies with the smell of some kind of goodness in the air. When the food arrived, it was like nothing I’ve ever had before. It might have been because we were starving, but the food was simply amazing. Coconut stewed chicken, fried plantains and red beans—to die for.
It was time to get back on the ship. Yup, I threw that in there at the last minute. We were on a cruise. A lot of people think that cruising is an inauthentic way to travel. I never would have been able to afford a trip to Honduras, in addition to all the other stops we made, both monetarily and time wise. I do agree that one day isn’t enough time to experience a place, but it’s better than not having seen it at all, in my opinion. I would like to thank Princess Cruises for their hospitality in sponsoring us on this trip. I was able to see some really beautiful places and I consider myself lucky to have gotten to explore them in my own way. It was the best rainy day I’ve had in a very long time.
You can also check out our visit to Roatan on Galavanting.tv.