5 June 2023

My best friend in Roatan – Juan

The very first day in Roatan, I made friends with this local security gentleman – Juan. It helped that he spoke in perfect English – often using idioms that had me impressed.

Every day, we would chat for three to four times. From him I learnt a lot about the island, the mainland, the history, the geography and the culture. I got to know about the political system and the educational system. I was stunned to find that the small island of Roatan had 25 public schools and 15 private schools. But all universities in Honduras are apparently private and expensive.

We talked about life in the island, the economy and how people make both ends meet. Unsurprisingly, tourism is the life and blood of this place.

I got to know about his family and his elder daughter who has to live in the mainland with her grandmother since she has damaged kidneys and there are no medical facilities in the island to do her three-times-a-week dialysis.

My father, if he was alive, would have been thrilled to hear Juan’s points of views on education. Both hold/held the belief that education is the only way to freedom from generational financial hardships.

I am going to miss my friend from the island.

5 June 2023

We finally had to go our own ways…

Raj and Viji took the United flight to Houston en route Dallas. You can see Raj way out there pushing his suitcase and laptop completely oblivious of the fact that Viji was way behind (purple top). If 32 years of knowing him has taught me anything, he was entirely absorbed by thoughts of the test cricket that he is going to see in London later this week!!

Sharmila and I hung back for our American flight to Miami and then connect to Atlanta.

5 June 2023

Our guide and driver in Roatan – Darson

One of the two people who taught me a lot about the island in Darson. I will write about the other one soon. Darson was our designated driver to take us from the airport to the hotel. As it often happens in my foreign trips, I start making friends with the driver from the airport and then have them take charge of our trips in the foreign place.

Darson did an excellent job of suggesting some great places to visit – which you have seen the pictures of in my previous posts. Love his sense of time and his care for foreigner tourists.

BTW, I am not sure whether he realizes this – but his T-shirt is very funny. Do you get the reference?

The picture was taken just as I said Bye to him at the airport!

If you ever come to the island, reach out to Darson. He is a great guy.

4 June 2023

Mixologist par excellence

We had sat down for dinner and ordered our wine when I noticed something interesting nearby. It looked like a mixologist’s set up. With a smoking gun.

Walked up there and soon met with the mixologist himself – Kenneth Salas Marin. He took me thru his special for the day. He had a Negroni that he had aged for a month. And before serving, he smokes it. The interesting part is instead of smoking it with wood – like hickory, maple, cherry etc, he burns candied dry fruit !!! Never seen this before.

The drink had a perfect length and palate!!

As we kept talking, I found out that Kenneth is from Guanacaste in Costa Rica. Literally from next door to the JW Mariott we stay in. Turns out he was the FB manager there.

I went back to my blog to a trip and showed him a picture of Sharmila and myself with our friends Sunil and Ananya at Nau Bar in that hotel in 2013. Kenneth immediately recognized the bartender who was serving us drinks!!

Talk about a small world!