Caribbean Contrasts – 24th November 2011 – 9th December 2011
Sunday 4th December
Honduras. Roatan Island
Raining again. Today’s programme: Roatan Island in Honduras. Bus tour of island, Botanical gardens, monkey farm, beach and swim, then back round the other side of the island to the ship.
The bus picked us up at 9.00am. In the pouring rain we were driven through small towns and villages. The poverty surprised me because I didn’t expect it, not here. The towns, no more than villages as we know them, are muddy and dirty, drab washing hangs out in narrow alleyways, limping dogs and miserable people go by. The houses are poor, mean looking things on stilts many of them. This is for when the hurricanes strike; they must be more windproof that way.
There are lots of churches, mainly Baptist and Seventh Day Adventist, and as we passed the mayor’s house we saw it was very large and beautiful. Our guide was proud of the fact that we were on a metalled road, she said it was tarmacked in the 1980s and that they will be getting another one surfaced soon. Other than that they are just dirt, which becomes churned up slippy mud, heavily rutted in the teeming rain.
Our trip to the botanical gardens was uneventful, just more dense jungle trails but slightly manicured this time, and it was still raining.
We visited the monkey farm, which is not a farm as such but supposedly a sanctuary. The animals are in large cages in the open and I am not sure what the idea of the place is; they say it rescues monkeys from research labs etc. but it is a poor place, although the animals look well enough. Two of us were invited into a cage and the tiny monkeys landed on our heads and arms.
There are parrots and huge beautiful Macaws in cages and again a couple of us went into the cage. The Macaws landed on Stewart’s shoulder and my hat and were quite scary, though actually they were very good and soon flew off again. Don’t know what I think about that place.
Our next stop was a beach, here we had a picnic lunch and a refreshing swim. By this time the rain had long since gone and the afternoon was hot and sunny. The beach was lovely fine sand, warm blue sea and swaying palms, however there were bars playing rap music and many of them looked a bit tacky; not quite the image a ‘Caribbean Beach’ conjures up. After the beach we took the south road back to the ship
Evening was as usual but no less enjoyable for that.