“The World I Love part 2”
Roatan (pronounced ‘rower tan’) is an island in the Caribbean that drifts around 40 miles away from mainland Honduras.
It’s a paradise that would arguably make anybody question why they don’t love the world, but aesthetic beauty alone is not enough to merit being the subject of my World I Love features. If anything, I’m usually more taken by the scriff-scraffy places that might seem cold and uninviting on the outside, but which present you with an hospitable warmth or interesting story that take you by complete surprise; and in turn remind you why it’s never a good idea to make assumptions about a place, ever!
Nonetheless, Roatan Island, despite being undeniably beautiful, still managed to surprise me.
I was there on a group trip in 2013, and we had two nights to enjoy on the island, meaning that there was a full day with which to make the most of the surroundings… to eat fresh shrimp, to party it up in Tiki bars, to laze around in a hammock… essentially, all those things you associate with a stay in paradise, and more.
The Utopian surroundings were quite juxtaposed to the atmosphere within the tour group, however. Unlike most of these kind of trips I’ve been on, there was a lot of politics on this one, and whilst there were some incredible people on the trip who I’m still friends with to this day, the underlying atmosphere between a couple of others, which bubbled away in the van we spent most of our time travelling around in, was particularly rigorous around the time we went to Roatan, following a petty argument about dinner arrangements.
So, when the prospect of a free day on the island, with no travel, was presented to us, I immediately decided that I wasn’t going to bother seeing what everybody else was planning and was just going to spend the day by myself. Just me, my MP3 player, my notebook, and silence.
I took a towel onto the beach and lay down for what must have been hours, marveling at the beauty around me. I thought about the contrast of reality – my rainy commute on the train and how hard I worked at a job which wasn’t always sunshine and singing, realising that only through that could I facilitate this.
And then I made a friend. This little bee-themed fish, in the photo above. He was flapping around near to the jetty not really moving anywhere from the undercurrent he was trying to swim against, and he was doing so for a long old time. He was separated from the rest of his shoal (I half wondered whether there’d been a petty argument about dinner arrangements), and didn’t seem to have any intention of finding them.
Throughout the day, I would take a snooze and then walk along the jetty to see him, then take another snooze, and another walk, and see he was still there. Whilst he wasn’t always in exactly the same place each time, he was always close to the jetty, and always alone… and in no apparent hurry to change that, either.
It sounds bizarre, but I became somewhat attached to my fishy friend. Each time I took that walk along the jetty, I became increasingly fearful that he’d have moved on. I wasn’t ready to leave the beach yet and with nobody else being anywhere close by, he was my companionship that day.
So, when I went and noticed him no longer there, I knew it was probably a sign I should get back to my hut, get changed and go and meet up with everybody else again.
There was a lot of laughter, loud music, dancing and cocktails that evening. But if it weren’t for the photos I’d barely remember a thing of those.
My time on the beach, however…
Song of the Day: The Rentals – Elon Musk Is Making Me Sad
The Rentals are basically a tributary of Weezer so if you like either band you’ll like the other. This piece is their latest offering, and I love the tune but having been perplexed enough by the title to look up the lyrics and meaning, I love it even more.
Frontman Matt Sharp, having recently lost his father, has been using his music as a form of escapism for his grief, and in this particular piece has conjured up an entirely fictional tale of childhood competition with science pioneer Elon Musk. It’s music that’s come purely from the heart, and it shows…