Saturday, August 20, 2011

You bought land.......WHERE??

"People who think too much before they act don't act too much"   Jimmy Buffet

Tom is a fanatical scuba diver.  He instructs SCUBA part time and lives, eats and breathes it the rest of the time.  Our friends Jim and Jan are great divers too.  I, of course, am not.  But - I love white sand and I am always ready to hold down the beach with a margarita and a good book while the clan is diving.  We're very compatible this way!

Jim and Jan told us about this wonderful dive trip they had recently won at a SCUBA trade show event.  They went to the island of Roatan, Honduras and they fell in love with its charm, simplicity and gorgeous natural reef.  We were having dinner together and sharing the pictures and stories of their adventure when suddenly Jim asked, "Would you be interested in buying property on that island?"  Tom and I looked at each other and said, "Sure, why not?"  We had no idea what that would entail and thus - the adventures began!

We invited our grown children to come along, bought airplane tickets, booked an "island house" through VRBO, found a realtor on the island that hailed from Colorado - and on August 7, 2004 we flew to Honduras to start our adventure. 

So imagine this - there are eight of us on this trip and at least 16 bags of luggage, not to mention carry on items.  We had pre-arranged for a van rental at the airport and when the van showed up we all were a bit surprised.  It was almost like reliving a 60's experience with the "love van" - but no flowers, just a scuffed up white exterior and green vinyl row seating.  But it was big enough (barely) to fit all of us and our luggage and with some creative packing by Tom, Jim and Orlando, the baggage attendant at the airport, we managed to squeeze everyone in and off we went to find the island house!  As we began weaving our way around the one narrow paved road on the island - dodging bicyclists, vehicles, pedestrians and dogs, we quickly discovered that our KIA van had a very noisy engine that squealed loudly with every shift and turn, causing everyone around us to stare and laugh as we drove by.  Of course, they could have been laughing at our piles of luggage atop the van, the arms and heads of all of us hanging out the windows of the van as we strained to see everything around us, and just the sheer absurdity of seeing eight American jet-lagged adults navigating through their narrow streets with no clue of where we really going.  Fortunately, we were laughing too and my daughter brightly came up with a new name for our van - the SQUIA (squeaky KIA).  The name stuck and the adventures continued and by the end of the week the entire island knew who we were, why we were there and most certainly, they always heard us coming!

We finally found the island house (trust me - no easy feat!).  The directions we had been given said simply, "leave the airport and head towards Sandy Bay, turn at the cemetery and follow the dirt road to the ocean.  The house in on the left."   Sounds easy enough, right?  After all, there's only one paved road on the island so how can you get lost?  What we didn't realize is that there's more than one cemetery and most certainly, more than one dirt road that leads to the ocean with a house on the left! 

We tumbled out of the van - we were a big, sweaty heap by that time and the adventure was starting to wear a bit thin, but we were here and had found the house - it was time to unpack!  The house was right on the ocean as the owner had said and the views were beautiful.  What the owner didn't say, however, was that there was no air conditioning and we were visiting the island during the hottest August on record.  The house turned out to be four bedrooms, each with a rustic bath, surrounding an open covered deck and a fifth room that served as the kitchen.  All living took place on the covered deck, facing the ocean.  Since it was so hot, that was okay and we quickly delegated bedrooms.  We couldn't wait to get into that ocean and cool off!  Steve, our realtor, was waiting for us when we arrived and we liked him immediately.  He told us of several properties he had lined up for us to see and we agreed to meet at 9 the next morning.

Let the fun begin!

Travel Tip:  VRBO (Vacation Rentals by Owner) is a great website that lists vacation properties around the world.

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