Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Just a fun day!

The ocean is out there somewhere.

It sure does rain here during rainy season. Rain during the night, rain off and on during the day. There is apparently a weather system sitting right on top of us. It's bad enough that the cruise ship elected to go elsewhere today. I don't think the passengers would have been too thrilled to be here today. It has rained so much that many of the roads are partially flooded as we discovered when we attempted to go into Coxen Hole this morning.

Our adventure started when we decided to spend the morning at the bank. We need more money, and the car license must be renewed by the 31st of this month, and in our case, before we leave on the 25th. The late fee is rather steep, 500 lempira per day ($26.). You may remember from an earlier post that car license renewals are paid at the bank, as are certain other bills. So, what better way to spend a rainy day?

We didn't get very far down the road, only a mile or two, when we came to a stop. There were a couple of vehicles sitting kind of sideways in the road as though they'd had an accident. There were a couple of other cars off to the side and a big group of people standing in the rain by the one pickup. That seemed very unusual. Then we saw that there was a tree across the road. We had also noticed an awful lot of people walking along the road in the rain. We didn't know how long it might take to clear the road, so we decided to turn around and go through Flowers Bay. We are on the northwest side of the island and we have to cut across the island to get to Coxen Hole which sits on the south side. There are only two ways to do that and we were now taking the second one. The road through Flowers Bay runs right along the ocean and sits quite low. There were a number of flooded spots (which only hide the potholes), so we had to drive carefully. But traffic was light, so that was good. It was raining, of course, so we couldn't tell if the cruise ship was in until we got right up to the pier. By then we were thinking it must be in because there were taxis and vans parked all along both sides of the road and even up on the sidewalk, which did seem odd, but as we passed the pier, there was no ship in port.

Suddenly, we came to a stop again. The road was blocked up ahead by several vehicles and there were people in the street holding a blue tarp over their heads. We wondered if they were trying to work on one of the vehicles. Then another gringa walked up to check things out and as she came back by us she said we might as well turn around, it was a RECO demonstration.

If you read my Day of Reckoning post you'll understand this more. The people were protesting the huge increase in the electric rates. The bills had just been delivered a few days earlier and the protesters were trying to keep people from paying their bills (which must be paid within 6 days or your power is shut off, period). They had all the roads on the island shut down. No one could get to Coxen Hole or to French Harbor. The schools had been forced to close for the second day in a row. No one could get to work or to the airport or bank or grocery store or doctor. They won't even let people walk past the protesters. The police aren't doing anything.

Here's one example of how much is affected by this: one of Merlin's friends has a grandson who will graduate this weekend (school is almost out for the year and won't reconvene until February), but she must first pay the remaining 2000 lempiras of his school tuition (not all schools are free). She won't have enough money to pay it because she was not able to work today. She depends on the cruise ship passengers for much of her income. Part of the reason for the cruise ship diverting may very well have been this protest.

We were forced to turn around and come home. This is another example of how things don't always work the way you think they should. You have to be flexible. We didn't get to spend the morning in the bank, but there's always maƱana.

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