Monday, August 27, 2007

semifinal dives

This morning I did my semifinal dives toward my dive certification. Ben, our awesome dive center manager and dive instructor, is certifying me. My sister and I went through the process of being certified as teenagers, but we never got the official document. I figured I should go ahead and take care of that little detail now that I'm living on Roatan and managing a beach and dive resort. The diving here really is great! Tomorrow I wrap up the process.

a chef? moi?

So, I've been advertising an internship position for a chef here at Paya Bay. We currently have local cooks in the kitchen that do a decent job, but my goal is to dramatically improve the quality of our food. Well, our friend Ben (who is a chef) found out what I was doing and insists that the person who should learn how to cook is me, and --listen to this!-- he has offered to teach me. He argues that if I know how to prepare excellent food I will "have command of my kitchen" and will be able to (a) teach my staff how to do it properly and (b) insist that they produce the quality I want. He wants me to read Julia Child's very first cookbook as he says it teaches all the basics about food preparation. He will then he train me in "cheffing" on weekends. Who would have thunk?! I love learning new things, so I'm very excited about this! Meanwhile, the internship position is still available.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

new stuff

These cool little shade canopies have just been added to the Big Beach. They were constructed using primarily locally obtained materials. Don't you agree that while they are rustic, they're also quite original, hip, and cutting-edge? I designed them and they were built by our resident carpenter, Miguel. Eat your heart out Philippe Stark!

Paya Bay as I see it

Rooms 8A and 8B

trail to Secret Cove

This past week the trail to Secret Cove was completed. This tiny cove is located at the tip of the Alligator Head rock formation and is very private. It's a great place to snorkel from as there are many coral heads nearby. I've snorkeled in the area and I can sincerely rate the snorkeling as First Class.

Paya Bay as I see it

The trail to Secret Cove.

Friday, August 24, 2007


Boys and girls, today's word is "SCARY." Can you say SKA-HAY-REE? I knew you could!

Fortunately, despite the fact that the hurricane came so close to the Honduran coastline, the only effect we had from it was some high surf. We barely even got any rain.

Our good wishes go out to our Mexican brothers.

Holy sh*t! Contact

Just came in from walking on the beach. Tonight there is a a half moon. The breaking surf reflects the moonlight and looks like frothy candy on the beach. I feel like Jody Foster in that scene from the movie Contact where she has traveled through space/time and has ended up on this beautiful beach that is bathed in ethereal blue light. The one where her Daddy comes to talk to her. Remember how she reaches up and tap's the sky as if it is merely a few inches away? We're having that kind of beautiful sky here tonight. Jody calls it "Pensacola," if I recall correctly. I remember thinking during the movie, "Gu-hurl, Pensacola don't have no pretty coconut trees like that, Ms. Foster. That's Paya Bay!"

Sunday, August 19, 2007

kayaking with dolphins

Just after the Universe has given you a rough time (e.g. this past week) it can turn right around and give you a peck on the cheek. I just got back from kayaking with a pod of twelve dolphins that came in to Paya Bay this afternoon. They mostly kept their distance at about 10-15 feet from the kayak, but several times they swam under it and did the the old 'sideturn' to check me out. It's was pretty amazing to be so close the these 400-500 lb wild animals. I would have loved to take photos, but didn't want to risk taking my nice camera out in the kayak. I made a note to myself, tho, to get some kind of waterproof camera to capture these moments. How can you beat that?!


Tonight my mom said a very beautiful thing to me. She said, "You know, you seem lonely and I don't like to see that. If you want to bring "a friend" to stay with you, that would be perfectly okay with me. Whatever makes you happy would make me happy."

I came out to her in '95. It's taken her twelve years to get to this point. But she got here, nevertheless.

Let's give Mom a big hand.

resort 2.0

The Web 2.0 concept is based on the idea that "the people" create the content of the Web. In this "universe of content" certain particular ideas, concepts, ways of thinking, and/or approaches stand out. These "bright spots," in turn, attract the interest and input of observers who can understand and/or can relate to them, making them even more complete and brighter.

So, I'm thinking why not apply the same concept to resort building. Have "the people" (the masses, dahling) tell me what their concept of the perfect resort is and then observe which of these ideas and concepts attract the most attention. In other words, which ideas become centers of gravity that coalesce the most interest towards them.

resort 2.0 is the cherry-picking of the most brilliant concepts from this process, combining them (where possible) and making them into reality.

So, I'm planting this seed in the universal consciousness.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

wow. what a Mom!

I'm in awe of my mother. While I was flaking up under the pressure of the week, she showed an amazing inner strength and just continued to face every moment with courage and resoluteness. I told her how impressed I was with her tonight. She said, "Aye, son, sometimes you just have to persevere to get through things." I replied: "I hope I will learn to be as strong as you." I really do. She's an amazing woman.

wow. what a week!

I just got through what must have been one of the most stressful weeks of my life. We had a full house here at the resort and had problems with the RECO (Roatan Electric Company) power supply. We had brownouts three nights: Sunday, Thursday, and Friday. Thursday nights was the worse as the power went out from 4pm until 10am the next day. When the power goes out, the water system goes shortly afterward, as we have an "on demand" system that pumps water directly from the well as needed with very little storage space. The group that was in was from California, and they seemed to take things in stride. One couple told me, "We're from California, we have brownouts there, too. We're used to it." Regardless, however, it sucks to have to deal with this MAJOR INCONVENIENCE when you are on your vacation.

Just so you know, we usually have a back-up generator to deal with power outages, but our generator had a melt down a few weeks ago (salt from the sea air eventually got to it, it seems) and it's currently in San Pedro Sula being repaired. So Murphy's law: no back-up generator, full house, power outages.

Anyway, by Friday morning, the long hours (I had been working from 6:30am to 10pm everyday this week) and the stress of the electricity/water problem had taken a major toll on me. I was wiped out physically and mentally. I hate to admit it, but I got a major whipping from this Life situation. Wow. And up until this point, I had the illusion that nothing in Life could whip me.

But, I'm up again to fight another day.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Way More Than I Expected

I knew returning to Roatan was going to be a dramatic change for me. I would be going from living in the Big ATL with its 4 million plus inhabitants to living on an island with something like 45-50,000 people. I knew I would have to make some cultural readjustment in order to get back to the rhythm and pace of the islands. I knew being an out gay man could probably rub some of my small town fellow islanders "the wrong way." I knew I would have to make some compromises and do without a few things I had become accustomed to.

HOWEVER, I'm realizing now that this could very well be one of the richest and most amazing experiences so far in my life. For example, here are some of the items on my Roatan "to do" list:

>> take Paya Bay to the "next level" of development. really understand how to maximize its potential, and courageously take the steps needed to unleash its formidable potential

>> do my utmost to connect with my uber-introspective father and try to develop a healthy, happy relationship with him

>> join the battles my parents has been fighting for over ten years now with two evil Americans who are attempting to do us wrong

Saturday, August 4, 2007

It's been six months

It's been six month since I arrived back in Roatan, Honduras. I say "back" because this is where I was born and grew up. I left for the U.S. when I was eighteen to attend university at LSU in Baton Rouge, LA. After school (undergrad and graduate) I moved from Louisiana to Atlanta, GA and spent the next 10 years in the "capital of the South."