Day 10 – Roatán Honduras

So the reason I came down here was for this divemaster internship, and the reason my family came down to vacation this week prior was to set their minds at ease as to where I am going to be for the next few months. I’m afraid it did the exact opposite, at least in my mom's case, because everything that could have happened to raise concerns over my program, happened, and to say the least, it has been a terribly stressful week what with all of her worrying and begging me to come home and whatnot.

This happens every time before I travel, this period of time that never seems to end in which someone, not naming any names, convinces herself that the worst possible things that could happen to me, will happen. And not saying that she’s particularly convincing, but all of the depressed energy gets me to wondering whether or not I actually should go through with what I’ve been looking forward to for so long, when a part of me is exhausted from all of the worrying and just wants to return to the simple life I know where everyone knows I’m ok and doesn’t fret over me. They always tell you to follow your dreams but when those dreams don’t coincide with expectations and start sending everyone into a paranoid frenzy, things get confusing, and frustrating. This week has been fun but it has also been all of that.

Back to the part when everything goes wrong with my internship as far as setting peoples minds at ease. I did all of my research before signing up for this internship program with Subway Watersports, read every page on their website, read all 124 reviews or so on Tripadvisor, signed up for this thing and had been corresponding, via email, back and forth with the guy in charge named Ed. Well at some point I sent him an email and didn’t hear back. Whatever, he’s busy taking care of all the current interns. As the trip got closer I sent him another email regarding my travel plans, how I was vacationing with my family beforehand, and would there be any space in the intern house for me to stay after they left and before my internship started? Again, no response. And again I didn’t worry too much about it, because I would be in Roatan before too long and could just waltz over there in person and sort things out. So we get here, and it turns out my dive shop is about an hour away from where we are staying, over beyond Coxen Hole in Brick Bay (refer to the map from several posts ago). So I guess I kind of procrastinated in getting over there but every now and then would ask around if people were familiar with the place. Actually I take that back, my mom has been going around informing absolutely everyone of exactly what I am doing, trying to glean any ounce of confirmation that what I am doing is indeed safe. Now the owner and founder of the place, Patrick, passed away unfortunately back in October and I had heard about that via facebook. What I hadn’t heard though, but learned from the people here on the island, is that a month or so ago, there was a car accident that took the lives of two more of their divemasters. See what I was saying about setting my mom’s mind at ease?

It gets better.

This morning Bobby, Mom, and I took a cab over to Coxen Hole. First of all, in trying to find a cab, no one had heard of the shop, which someone (won’t name any names) took as confirmation that the place is sketchy and/or doesn’t exist, but in reality, it’s like look, this island is 38(?) miles long, and every second shop along the beach is a dive shop; I mean there are literally hundreds of them here! It makes sense that the cab drivers aren’t familiar with the ones an hour away when there are enough in the area to keep track of. So we finally find someone who knows Subway Watersports, and drives us the half hour past Coxen Hole, over to Brick Bay, and drops us off at a multi-story wooden building with a dive flag and the name Barefoot Divers.

Not quite.

So we talked to the security guy there, who thank goodness spoke both Spanish, to communicate with our driver, and English, to communicate with us, and he pointed our driver back in the direction we came from, telling us it was a block back in that direction. We all climbed back into the cab and started backtracking, only to turn onto a little winding dirt road before too long. We followed this winding road for quite a ways, past large but run-down houses, until we reached the beach: the deserted beach. There was no one there but a large pickup truck from Mississippi, so we asked the driver about the diveshop, and he and his makeup-caked wife pointed us in the direction of the “owner’s condo” in one direction, and the “divemasters’ house” a few blocks farther down. We stopped at the condo first; I never quite caught who the man was - he wasn’t the owner - but he basically told us that the divemasters’ house was the big gray house at the fork in the road, but that the diveshop was another half an hour away, at Turquoise Bay Resort. I don’t know why I didn’t just ask them to take us to Turquoise Bay in the first place, I guess I figured when I asked for Subway Watersports, they would point us to the actual shop and not the divemasters’ house. Remember that scene from It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World, when one of the guys asks the little boy for directions and the little kid keeps saying “This way! This way!” Until they come to a river and the guy’s car starts sinking? Yeah, that was basically our morning.

So we stopped at the large grey rundown house, which I was under the impression was the house for all of the divemaster interns, but seeing as there was a local family standing out front with little naked kids running around naked, I am now assuming just belonged to one of the divemasters and his family. But he had the phone number for Subway so I talked to someone there who said he was busy picking up the other interns all day, but we arranged for someone to pick me up at the airport tomorrow after I say goodbye to my family.

The whole ordeal was rather traumatizing for my mother, who still can’t seem to come to terms with leaving me in a third world country, and granted the whole scenario does sound a bit sketch when I put it down in writing, but it just doesn’t really worry me as much as I’m told it should. I mean we are in Central America, and the potholed-roads, and rundown houses, and natives who don’t speak English are all part of the charm. It’s been awesome staying in a beach house on a perfect beach this week but the truth is it’s all a façade of perfection for tourists. They taught us on SAS to be flexible, things don’t always go according to plan, there’s no way of knowing what will happen, and to just learn to go with the flow. I guess I forget that not everyone had that valuable travel lesson drilled into them for four months.

I collected the contact info for some of our lovely neighbors here on the beach who are staying longer, should anything go wrong, but I think everything that could go wrong for the time being, already has.