A tourist’s paradise no doubt is how I would describe West Bay in Roatan and in particular today’s activities. The prices are higher here of course as it’s tourist prices and in all likelihood you’re paying bit by bit with a little of your soul. However, undoubtedly, if you want to lay around on a beautiful white sand beach, swim in turquoise waters or better yet scuba or snorkel in them and parasail above them, get your hair braided like a silly girl, drink overly priced pina coladas or daquiries, eat overly priced and bland American nachos, have a crappy massage on the beach, be approached by vendor after vendor selling cheap bracelets, sunglasses and hats for ungodly prices and never leave your resort then you have hit the jackpot in Roatan. I think I even overheard someone say there was a casino.
Today Sinda and I took the water taxi which is supposed to be $3/person but ended up being $5/person to Infinity Beach and Spa Resort where we got a discount of $15/person rather than paying $19/person for a day pass as Sinda lives in Honduras and negotiated a deal with a little name dropping – Rick the manager who we actually never met. Here is where we actually tripped over the American dream by definition – not my definition but most people’s i.e. if you kill yourself and work 60 or more hours a week and save up your money and your 2 week vacation time, you and your friends or you and your family can earn a vacation to a beautiful island getaway where you can expand your mind and your spirituality and your soul NOT in the least essentially meeting people you would meet in your own neighborhood, eating food you would eat at the Bennigans on the corner of Suburb X and Suburb Y, and swim in a pool just like the one you have in your backyard and then rush back home to start the grind all over again so you can come back the following year.
Now, there is nothing wrong with this choice and right up most people’s alley it is and since it requires a passport to come to Honduras and since 60% of Americans don’t even have that, I consider a trip to Roatan a really good start. However, I do pray you will move on from vacations like this and expand your horizons a bit. I mean really experience the world (not just observe a fake representation of it from a lounge chair) and really experience the people in it (not just get served by them). Or, at a minimum, at least leave the resort and see what it is really like outside America’s various play pens…whether that is here in Honduras or somewhere else. If you need to take baby steps, then at least start with a salsa dancing class like Sinda and I experienced today which was a lot of fun and enhanced our knowledge of Honduran culture not to mention our butty shakin’ WOW factor with the guys 😉
On another note, you should know that tourism in Roatan is having a deleterious impact on the locals. We learned today that Roatan’s mayor is preventing locals from going to the beaches now unless they have special permission to be there to service the tourists so that Roatan remains what you might refer to as “tourist friendly”. The building permits for foreign investors are also very lax and land is easy to purchase in Roatan whereas the rules are different for the indigenous people of the island. The mayor, according to some locals and some research done by Sinda, said that if the locals don’t like it, he will provide them with a boat to ship them to the mainland. I tell you this just so you can keep it in mind when choosing your vacation spots as this type of treatment of the natives can’t be good. Moreover, I didn’t find this type of displacement in other countries like Nicaragua and El Salvador so in these Central American countries you get a good balance of locals on the one hand and tourists and foreign investors on the other.
Regardless, heed this if you will, if you don’t try something new or step out of your safety zone, hear me when I say you are missing out. If you are afraid it’s not safe outside the walls of a resort, hear me when I say it is. Just be cautious. The saying “Trust God but Lock Your Doors” holds just as true in foreign countries as it does in America or Western Europe. Nothing is going to happen to you here or in one of the other 194 countries that couldn’t just as easily happen in America perhaps even in your own neighborhood and right under your family’s nose. If you don’t leave the resort, you won’t meet the Sinda’s of the world or hear the legends from the locals or stay in a place filled with spirits (more on these things later) or enjoy Honduran baleadas for $1.00 or experience a Temazcal where real shamans conduct a cleansing ritual or find out about the Mayans written by them on the actual steps of the Copan Ruinas. In essence, your perspective won’t be altered. Your mind won’t open. Your heart won’t really beat. And your life won’t be forever changed. You might get a good sunburn and a not so good hangover but how on earth can you possibly grow spiritually or otherwise from that? The answer is you can’t.
That’s all for now with love from Tourist Heaven at West Bay, Roatan where I beseech you to step out of the resort box and learn something different and become someone new.