Friday, August 13, 2021

Made Friends with a Honduran Dolphin

Lydia was still limping along and feeling pretty rough after her Roatan food poisoning incident. The like flagship outing we had planned for the entire trip was booked for today though, so she did her best to pull it together.

We're really riding the razor's edge with these trips. We have to take a covid test and be negative in order to enter the United States. I don't know where we got the confidence to assume that that was going to be the case time after time. If one of us tested positive our options would start looking pretty bad. Wait it out maybe even in quarantine in Honduras or fly to Mexico and then cross into the US via a land border are two possible unfortunate outcomes. The sort of weasel maneuver that the government is doing is saying that they aren't restricting your entry back into the country, but that they are restricting you riding a plane.

Phew. This of all places was not where I wanted to be stuck a day longer than I needed to be. Getting a qtip jammed into my brain was unpleasant but on the bright side a doctor drove to the hotel and we got it dealt with in the lobby. Having to figure this out ourselves would have been unpleasant. I can barely deal with healthcare in the US let alone anywhere else.

Anthony's Key Resort was on the other side of the island, the West End, where all the tourist action is at.

I was surprised that our cab driver had more of a Caribbean accent when I was expecting a Hispanic accent. He mentions seeing a native Garifuna dance thing which we've experienced in Belize.

We were here to see about a dolphin.

Lydia was hurting while we waited at the welcome center for the boat to dolphin town.

Around this point she lost her phone. It wouldn't be here when we got back.

Upon arriving at the little island where the dolphins were... housed against their will, we got our swim trunks on, put our stuff in lockers, and listened to a little spiel about dolphins. One part that was amusing was we did a little anatomy lesson where they taught us where the dolphin's private parts were so that we didn't have to buy the dolphins dinner after we were done petting them.

This was so fun. It was a rare touristy experience that blew my expectations out of the water. For one thing I really got a sense that the dolphins had a lot of personality. They mostly listened to their trainers but they sometimes just did whatever they wanted to. At one point our dolphin had not shown up for her work shift so the trainer told her son to go find her and bring her back. Amazingly it worked. How the heck would you train a dolphin to retrieve another one and the second one know how to participate in the plan as well?

Bailey was our friend for the day. She was fed a lot of fish and when she opened her mouth it was like water tight, like only once she closed her mouth would her throat open to swallow in order to keep the ocean water out type of deal. I also didn't really understand that they aren't vocalizing with their mouths, all of the whistling and clicking and everything is coming out of their blowholes. It was wild to hear them chattering to each other and be close enough to see their little back hole flapping around like a little mouth.

Trainer guy did hand signals and had a whistle to ask Bailey to do a variety of tricks. 

I got some good video how chatty they were. The trainers had them do some more acrobatic tricks which were impressive. Then they showed us her ears, which were like pin holes in the side of her head that I never would have noticed unless they were pointed out.

I enjoyed petting her because her skin was a lot softer than I expected. It's so shiny that I expected it to be kind of firm and rubbery.

I didn't really want to leave when it was over and would have spent a lot more time with them if I could. I think there was like a "spend the day with a dolphin" type more expensive package that I was daydreaming about. They could probably play fetch really well for example. They're kind of like underwater dogs.

When we got back to base camp we went through multiple avenues of tracking down the phone. If memory serves one of the issues was that the "find my phone" search app thing wouldn't work if the phone didn't have cell coverage. Or it was in airplane mode or something. Long story short we couldn't go that avenue, but I think we were able to shut it down remotely and put some sort of "contact me" message on it. We even asked the business next door if they could see anything on their security cameras. I knew Zeus would punish Lydia for making us eat dinner at that horrible restaurant but I wasn't expecting anything like this! We did what we could and then moved on.

My understanding of a classic move in the developing world is illustrated by this building. You build a one story building with the cash you have, but leave it sort of ready for more levels to be added later. Like this staircase going nowhere, or a bunch of areas with rebar sticking out the top, waiting for the next level to be added. Then as time goes on instead of saving money in the bank, you buy building materials gradually for the next level of your house or business. You do this because your money is so untrustworthy and vulnerable to inflation that it makes more sense to save money by stacking bags of cement on your roof. Then when you finish buying your materials you build another floor and repeat.

We had our driver take us the rest of the way over to the West End to check out the touristy areas. The area had like a police checkpoint to lower the amount of traffic, so our driver had to lie to the cop and tell him we were just passing through or something, but we got out and explored a bit.

Lydia admiring her souvenir sand flea bites.

I thought making a big bell out of an old SCUBA air tank was kind of a cool way to recycle.

After our poisoning incident I was excited to have dinner at a place where I could verify my lobster tails were being grilled before my eyes.

Said a big no thank you to the fresh veggies on the plate. Honduras wasn't going to catch me slipping again!

There were crabs using the stairway from the beach to... do their important business I guess.

The pool was really nice at night.

One of the dipper constellations was clearly visible off the edge of the infinity pools. Swimming with the stars!

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