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Current Location: Utila, Honduras… still.

03.19.07

Price of beer in a bar: in this bar, probably US$1.30
Song stuck in my head:

This was a productive morning.  I went to the bank to get a cash
advance so I could pay my dive center.  This is usually a 3 or 4 hour
errand, mostly spent in the sun on the street waiting in the portion
of the bank line that doesn’t fit indoors, but today it was quick and
easy.  Then I did all of my book homework for my advanced dive class,
turned it in, paid, am now certified as “advanced” by PADI, got some
breakfast, spent an hour talking to a real estate agent here (a gringo
from Minneapolis, no less), got some sun at the Mango Inn pool, and
now I’m sipping rum and tapping away on a borrowed laptop with my
friends Maggie and Chris in a cafe.  The weather is beautifully today
and everything seems pretty close to perfect.

Chris and I have had class for the last two days, culminating in 3
dives yesterday which has left us a bit exhausted today.  Yesterday we
dove a wreck (a large-ish tanker named the Haliburton) at about 30
meters.  It was my first experience with nitrogen narcosis (or “gettin
narced”), a common and not altogether unpleasant state that occurs at
such depths.  the wreck was amazing, giving scale and reference to the
depths that I’d been floating through obliviously until then.  This
felt much more like flying (Chris descends much like a sky diver,
which adds to the effect) than the more vague drifting of my other
dives.

Then night fell.

I can’t begin to describe our night dive in text.  I’ve been trying to
think of a way since it happened and there just isn’t anything that
does it justice.  All I can say is that it was the most surreal thing
I’ve experience awake and just about the coolest thing I’ve ever seen
(I still rank “women” above “night dive”, but talk about a close
second).  Having been diving for the last few weeks I was completely
unable to imagine the night dive, so if you’re trying to imagine it at
home without even my limited dive experience, I have to tell you…
it’s futile.

We still have 4 dives to do in the next couple of days.  After that
things are open.  I’m tempted now to chop South America out of my trip
and instead visit Thailand after Panama.  Many people here are talking
it up, and the things they say are incredible.  I know some of you
have been, so feel encouraged to weigh in with your opinions.

Also, the bars here sell pot in their drinks and snacks and nearly
everyone that I know here is also my bartender.  The woman who runs
the grey market MP3 shop?  My bartender at Dave’s.  Monique, bubbly
dutch girl/my dive master/one of my favorite people here is also my
regular bartender at Treetanic.  So is Bruce, her boyfriend and an
instructor at my dive center.  So is Russel, another UDC instructor.
Even the guy who knocked my drink out of my hand at Coco Loco’s, and
who turns out to be the owner, is also my bartender.

There’s less and less to talk about as I stay in the same place for
longer and longer, but this is likely to be my last update from Utila.
If you see “Utila” in the first line of the next “Monday or
something”, you can start to question if I’ll ever leave.  My loose
thought is that we’ll go to Antigua (Guatemala), then I’ll push
through directly to Panama (with a possible stop in southern Costa
Rica) and spend a month or so there before deciding if and how to go
to Thailand.

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