Thursday, February 19, 2009

Roatan's "Vibrant" Markets

Inside Zenora's little shop

Debi and Amy inside the new mall

calm road before cruisers hit the street

Debi and 2 young followers approaching a shop

Debi and Amy at Sharon's Sweet Shop

Yesterday I joined my friend Debi as she gave her houseguest, Amy, a tour of the markets in Coxen Hole. The cruise ship industry refers to them as "Roatan's vibrant markets". Last week we had visited the markets where the islanders shop; yesterday we focused on the new mall opposite the Port of Roatan cruise ship terminal and on the little shops lining the road.

Debi's friend, Zenora, (in the top photo) has a small shop inside the mall, so we went there first. She's a great resource for where to shop, how much to pay (island price, not tourist price), and where to grab a good lunch later. She also allowed Debi to park at her house, off the road. Nice lady.

As we were walking around from shop to shop, we managed to pick up two little boys who followed us around. At first they offered post cards for sale, when we declined, they just kept following us, asking if we wanted to buy this or that at the various shops. Finally, they asked if they could have a dollar for school supplies. We are opposed to just handing out money; we don't want to encourage begging, but aren't against buying things for them. Debi said she often asks one of her islander friends to suggest a needy family whom they can help. Great idea. The kids here all wear uniforms, even to public schools, and each school has a different uniform, very specific right down to the type of black shoes that must be worn. If the family can't afford the uniform, then the child doesn't go to school. They must also buy their own books and all other supplies. So, you'll often see children outside the shops asking for donations for their school needs.

Zenora had recommended a stop at the sweet shop where one of her church friends cooks island food. We had ice cream first - I had melon and it was yummy. We decided to just order a taco to round out our meal. The "taco" was actually more like enchiladas, 2 corn tortillas filled with a generous amount of shredded chicken, rolled, then fried (!) and topped with shredded cheese, cabbage and a delicious red sauce. All for $2.50! Delicious.

We got so much sun, that we decided that the fair Amy (from Canada) had better find some shade for awhile and I needed to get home to study for Spanish class.

We had our first exam in Spanish class. Leonor awarded us points based upon our dialogue with one another, then our responses to her questions. I got 9/10 and Don got 10/10. Next week, we each have to get up before the class and talk about ourselves - all in Spanish, of course, for the remainder of our grade.

Don just came back from getting gasoline - $3.24/gal.

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