Well, it’s time to leave. The last 2 weeks have gone by SUPER fast, and we’ll be boarding a ferry to the mainland at 6:10 tomorrow morning. From there we have to wait for our bus to take us to the airport. I’m hoping to be able to check-in our bags and then go to the mall or something since we will have about 8 hours to wait. That is never fun in ANY airport, much less SAP. I’m hoping for not too much adventure since San Pedro Sula has apparently been crowned the most dangerous city in the world. That kind of adventure we don’t need. Then we board a red eye at 1 AM and fly to Ft. Lauderdale in the USA. After being out of the country for 10 months and spending most of that time in known Central American drug countries, I’m expecting a thorough inspection of our gear. I’m hoping Customs pleasantly surprises me, however. It’s really not something I want to endure at 5 AM. Then we have a few hours of wait time until we fly back down south and arrive in Bogota.
We’ve had some minor prep work to do such as buying Tigger shoes. He hasn’t worn footwear in a LONG time, unless you count booties for his fins when he goes diving. We also do not own a pair of pants. Nighttime temps on Utila are around 23-24 degrees, in Bogota 9. Needless to say shorts and thin T-shirts aren’t going to be very helpful there. Tigger is also used to the laid-back Caribbean style. When at a restaurant he’s usually free to walk into the kitchen, climb the building columns, make forts of throw pillows, etc. That kind of thing doesn’t fly many other places, so he is in for a bigger amount of culture shock than even me.
Here are just some of the things I will miss about Utila:
- Diving! Duh! I have been in the water almost every day in the last 8 months. I’m going to miss that big time!
- The aformentioned island lifestyle and attitude.
- The safety. Utila is one of the safest places in the world. Tigger has had unparalleled independence here. He has basically free rein of the entire island. There aren’t many places in the world where I could let him have the run of the place at any time of the day or night and not worry. He has developed a level of resourcefulness that I don’t think would’ve happened in any other situation.
- The people. Okay most of the people, especially the locals. Utilians are a tough breed. While the UNN (Utila News Network, aka every local) is the fastest communication system in the land, they generally have a “let live” attitude. If you aren’t hurting anyone else, then you’re good. Hurt someone and. . . get a quick boat out of here. They’re an awesome people.
- The sound of trash talking and domino slamming as I walk past a local hangout every day.
- The sound of the Utilian (what some foreigners refer to as Caribbean English) accent.
- The way the island suddenly springs to life with a fury of activity when the supply boat comes twice a week.
- Feeling like a local even though we were here less than a year.
- How I can pretty much walk to any place on the island in almost 30 minutes or less.
- Sand flies. Those little suckers pack a mean bite.
- Lack of decent produce. I don’t know why it’s so hard to get good produce on a tropical island, but it just is here.
Surprised at how short the last list was? Well, Utila really is an amazing place. Sure it has its little quirks, but that’s been endearing. It also helps separate the people who can’t hack small island life from the people who adore it. Most of the people you talk to who are transplants here, or temporary transplants, stay because they like it not because they’re “stuck.”
Bottom line: If you’re considering coming to Honduras at any point, make sure you give Utila a visit. Just do yourself a favor and don’t set a departure date. “I’m leaving tomorrow” is one of the most hilarious statements we hear.