Unlike Camping…We Have Cable TV.

January 28, 2010

Some blogging housekeeping before my post on Cable TV.

If you have signed up for email notifications, thank you. But please click on the title of the posting (in the email) and view it from the site. If you access my blog by keying in www. please remove the www. and replace it with http:// or just key in gennyca.wordpress.com. If you have set up a link to my blog, mucho gracias. But also please remove the www. I am trying to track traffic to my blog…silly me (not being a computer programmer) I gave out incorrect info. 

Enough of that, on to the story!

I am often asked what TV and movie services are available on Roatan. Most are here…some with a Honduran twist.

Our choice has been to subscribe locally. The twist is; we pay a monthly fee to a Cable Company, and in-turn they provide satellite TV. No Canadian stations, but we do get HBO, SHOW, NBC, ABC etc. We also get quite a few Spanish stations and on most channels, (even if it is English) there are Spanish sub-titles. We have no say in what channels we receive, and it is not unusual for a few of them to disappear for a while (days, sometimes months) or they move to a new channel. When watching a program, I’ve gotten used to a box appearing frequently, stating that I need to call the number on the screen to continue receiving service. The notice blocks my view for 5 minutes or so, and then goes away.

Commercials add a whole new dimension. You know how annoying commercials can be. Well, dub them in a language you only understand bits of, and have them offer products and services that are no longer relevant. Not much use for moisturizer to combat dry and cracking skin caused by the chilly winter winds. And there isn’t a Wal-Mart, Starbucks or even a Super Lube in range that a commercial can entice me to go to.

But what the heck…we have cable.

The one thing we don’t have is a movie theatre. When I first moved here there was one. They rarely posted what was playing or when. The whole premise of sitting quietly while watching a movie never caught on. Some friends tried going once; the distraction of fellow patrons chatting (in Spanish) on their cell phones during the movie made them decide to not bother anymore.

When I was in Canada, for Christmas this year, my daughter told me about a website that offers a great choice of TV programs and movies. www.tvshack.net  I was sceptical if it would be worthwhile to try on Roatan (our high-speed internet isn’t always…high-speed.) But TV Shack works great…most of the time! I even have the right cable to connect my laptop to the TV.

I can choose from hundreds of movies to watch at home. My only problem is that I’ve been out of the loop for so long; I can’t figure out from the titles, which ones to try. I catch a movie or two when I’m in Canada, and I’ve seen commercials for new releases. But knowing they will be long gone from theatres by the time I go back—I don’t keep track.

This is something you can really help me with. What movies have you seen and enjoyed lately? I’d love some ideas. Older movies and documentary suggestions also appreciated. Let me know by commenting to this post…I’ll go make popcorn while you do that.

Baroness Ravioli

January 23, 2010

Living on a tropical island isn’t always beach and sand, sometimes we do normal stuff; like get into character at a Murder Mystery Night.

I was given the task of transforming myself into Baroness Ravioli. Her mobster son Jimmy had bought the title for her. My character was positive that she was better than everyone else at the party, set in a 1920’s Speak-Easy nightclub. Assembling a suitable costume (to truly get into character) proved challenging. Baroness Ravioli’s tiara and jewelry were contructed from a glittery christmas gift bag. She needed to have a feathery fan. Hunting in souvenir shops in West End, I found a fan, but it had pictures of Snoopy all over it (not sure what that has to do with Roatan.) She still needed feathers. Stopping by Cocolobo to borrow a fedora from Ron (for Dave’s character as the inspector) Ron informed me that their cat had recently caught a bird and he hadn’t buried it yet…Baroness Ravioli got the needed feathers.

Properly attired and in character, the party got going. What a riot…Baroness Ravioli was aloof, and nasty–actually a downright bitch. The only picture of her was snapped after the Murder Mystery was over (trust me she never smiled.) Anyhow, during the course of the evening, Baroness Ravioli’s son Jimmy got murdered and she was going to have to share her inheritance with his second wife (of two weeks.) Baroness Ravioli found a weapon and was going to snub her out, but the second wife had an immunity card. The only other person that Baroness Ravioli had reason to eliminate was her granddaughter (who she would also have to share her inheritance with.) But…come on she couldn’t do that to her granddaughter. She SHOULD HAVE though. Turns out it was her granddaughter who had killed her son Jimmy. Dave’character, the Inspector, was to busy to figure it out.

When it was all over, we were given cards to fill out. Who we thought committed the murder and why, best costume, best Performance. To my absolute surprise I took home the Oscar for best performance as Baroness Ravioli…you know how it goes in the biz…the best actors can transform themselves. Well maybe I’m not ready to head to Hollywood yet. I just hid behind a Snoopy Feathered Fan.

Cast of Characters:

Our Hosts, Joanne and Mark, at the Oasis, Guava Grove.

Baroness Ravioli's granddaughter (murderer!)

 

Pauline, winner for best costume.

Jimmy's greedy second wife (seated.) Don't let the grin on her face fool you.

Roatan Vortex

January 20, 2010

Did you ever see the movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind?”

When I saw it (a million years ago) I found it quite humorous when the character played by Richard Dryfuss became obsessed with recreating an image of a mountain that consumed his every thought. He started sketching what he saw in his minds-eye, from there he moved on to building it out of mashed potatoes, and ultimately dug up his back yard to construct the mountain out of mud, chicken wire, and just about anything else he could find around his yard. To the complete dismay of his wife, he built it in the kitchen. He had to understand the vision and ultimately get to this mountain.

While I never went that far…I did become obsessed with Roatan. One day, in late 2004, I was sitting at my desk (at work, in Cambridge, Ontario) when one of our Company sales-reps came in and mentioned that he was going to Roatan for a diving holiday. I had never heard of Roatan, and I’m not a diver. That should have been the end of it. But I couldn’t get the word Roatan out of my head.  Thank God for the internet. I started googling every possible way to spell Roatan that I could think of.

R-O-A-T-A-N; that must be it! References to an Island in the Caribbean Ocean and the quality of diving offered there started popping up. Once again I need to stress that I’m not a diver…heck, I can hardly swim. And if I’m going to be totally honest…I’m AFRAID of water. I had visited other Caribbean Islands before (enjoyed them all) but never felt the draw to them like I did to Roatan. Within minutes of hearing “Roatan” I knew that someday I would live there…I had to.

For the next few years’ life carried on as usual. But every chance I got I continued to research Roatan; the exact location, the towns and villages, the people, the history, etc. etc. I intrigued and bored family and friends with my obsession. And then in July 2006 the most tragic event imaginable happened and for the next year I didn’t give Roatan a thought. As my soul healed, my obsession resurface…I had to go to Roatan. Once I made it here in August 2007, I knew I had found home…the Roatan Vortex had sucked me in.

So is that the end, was getting here the culmination of my obsession; sit back and relax, I’m finished. I don’t think so. Since moving here I have encountered (and become good friends) with many people who felt the same pull to the Island. From all over the world we have been drawn to be here; just a coincidence. Again, I’m not sure about that. But I do think it has great potential as a novel…hmmm; need to sign off for now…I’ve got some writing to do.

Where the Heck is Roatan?

December 29, 2009

Where the Heck is Roatan?

Answer – Between Utila and Guanaja.

At least that is what the very popular tourist t-shirt has printed on it.

Without making you feel like you are back in grade school geography class, (I would get pretty glassy-eyed in that class). I will keep the explanation simple.

Roatan is an island off the coast of Honduras, in the Caribbean Ocean. On one side is the even smaller island of Utila, and the other side is the island of Guanaja (hence the t-shirt). All three islands are part of the chain of islands known as the Bay Islands. Roatan is surrounded by the second biggest barrier reef (Australia is first). The beaches are soft white sand. The foliage is lush and tropical (yes, bananas and coconuts grow here), starting from the beaches rising toward a central ridge of foothill’s. I don’t think they qualifies as mountains—okay, so not boring you with geography isn’t my only reason for keeping the details simple.

When I stand on our dock looking to the North, a few hundred miles away (I think) is the border between Belize and Mexico. To the West (when watching the fabulous sunsets) I am facing Guatemala. South is mainland Honduras, and to the East is the Cayman Islands and Jamaica. I should mention that Honduras (which Roatan is part of) is in Central America, between Mexico and South America. I’m not trying to be condescending; before I came here I didn’t know where Central America was, let alone Honduras.

With great pleasure, I could tell you so much more about Roatan; the ocean, teaming with coral and marine life, the jungle landscapes, the glorious year round tropical climate, the diverse cultural mix, tourist attractions, etc. etc. etc. But there are many sites offering much better information on these kinds of details.

What I have to share is a firsthand account of living here. And through that I believe you will come to love it as much as those of us who have chosen to call it home. Roatan is a hidden gem worthy of exploring. But be warned: Once the Roatan Vortex sucks you in…You will never want to leave.

I’ll elaborate on that in my next post.

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