Honduras

242200_10150291677863082_4609966_oWhen someone says they are going to Honduras different images appear in my mind.  First and foremost images of Mission trips pop up.  Where church groups went to Honduras and helped build churches or homes,5074995_1435284524.3162  or taught vacation bible school to young children or even brought reading glasses and medical supplies. Unknown

But when we went to Honduras lately it was a magical place that was built by Carnival Cruise Lines for their customers.

IMG_5439Mahogany Bay, Roatan, Honduras 

Let me explain.  Roatán is an island in the Caribbean off the northern coast of Honduras. It is the largest of the Bay Islands of Honduras.

mahogany

Mahogany Bay was built by Carnival Corporation, so there is plenty to do right at the port. How does the saying go? “Build It – They Will Come”  Carnival needed a place to dock so they built it and while they were at it they added a few stores and then a couple more and then how about a restaurant, oh let’s add chair lifts so no one has to walk, hey but if they want to walk, let’s make a really pretty nature walk with lots of flowers and plants.  And that folks is just what they did. There is a man-made beach within walking distance. There are a few bars and restaurants at the beach, but only one closer to the ships: Fat Tuesdays.

There are all the standard shops at the port, including Diamonds International (or Tanzanite International), Harley Davidson, a pharmacy, and several smaller local gift shops and specialty stalls. There is a zipline canopy tour at the port, as well as an ATV tour.

Once you disembark at Mahogany Bay, you will walk along the pier, through the Dufry Store, and uphill to the main shopping area. There is a local marketplace to the far left, while the chairlift and path to the beach and restaurants are to the far right. Diagonally to the left from the central fountain is a red-roofed building – that is your exit point from the port.IMG_5440

If you take a shore excursion or arrange for your own taxi transportation through the sanctioned taxi association at the port, you will exit through that building. To meet any other tours or transportation pick-ups, you will exit that building, walk to the left uphill, and at the bottom on the other side you will find all other tour options. These are tour companies or individuals who do not have contracts with the cruise lines, so they are not allowed onto the pier. Most SCUBA divers will be picked up from this area, as well as island tour companies that work with smaller groups.  I normally use Carnival to book my excursions so everything is covered, but there has been the rare occasions that I have ventured off course and used different sources.  In these instances I recommend researching the company throughly before booking.  Ask all the “what if” questions and be satisfied with the answers.

 

A Parisienne Adventure 

What a day what a day!  At least we started with a good nights sleep, a great cup of French coffee and first time in Paris excitement.  So much history to see.  But the adventure was the subway!  So many different lines and stops and keeping it all straight, thank goodness for Tom, our tour guide.  He even planned for contingency.  You literally had to run, jump, push, and pull to secure your place on each car.  But who knew some took that so literal, we were boarding yet another car when a fight broke out, a real blood beating, fist punching, foot kicking fight.  Of the 28 travelers in our group it was obvious that we couldn’t stay together at all times.  Boarding the subway cars in such a hurry we had to divide and conquer to all get on in the split seconds that you have to board. I personally did not witness the chaos but fellow travelers related the incidenct to the rest of us.  It seems a disagreement broke out between three gentlemen in the car as the door opened and our group was boarding, one gentleman (I use that loosely) pushed the other out of the car as the doors were closing. Thereby preventing a couple of our group from getting on board.  One passenger, possibly one involved, pushed the emergency button stopping the train suddenly.  Let me clarify, stopping the train very suddenly!  Physics came into play as the train was traveling in one direction and then suddenly stops put the many bodies on that train continue to travel in the previous direction. One traveler from our group was holding the pole as we suddenly stopped and she decided to entertain everyone as she did a very artistic rendition of a pole dance all the way around the pole!  As the cops escorted the fighters off we were once again on our way to see the sights of Paris.

Back on the subway we headed back to the hotel, backtracking our previous routes with two stops on the green line and then five stops on the yellow line. Like I said earlier it was a good thing our guide went everywhere with us.  As we stepped off the train to change lines again the strangest looks are received as the doors shut and three fellow travelers are still on the car. At least they were together and we had previously said if this should ever happen to go to the next stop.  That was fine except we weren’t going to the next stop we were changing lines!  Tom, our fearless guide, made sure the remaining group was secure and told us to stay put.  He then got on the next train and caught up with our runaways.  They had to catch another train running in the opposite direction to make their way back to us.

Finally we made it to the Louve to only wait in more..long…lines.  28 of us mixed and mingled as we made our way to the ticket counter.  While in line we were witness to a shoplifter.  The little guy brazenly picked up perfume from La’Occidental and put it in his back pack, another woman brought him yet another stolen package and he hid it in the pack.  We stood there and watched in amazement at the bold brazen acts that were being carried out in front of us.  After the shock wore off the law enforcement backgrounds of some of our group kicked in and two of the guys in the group apprehended and held the culprit until security could step in.  When the heroes returned to the line we broke out in applause. Even waiting in lines are an adventure for our group.