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Thursday, July 15, 2010
Yesterday was my friend Giampiero's birthday, and to celebrate he organized a trip with friends to Utila (one of Roatan's sister islands). We departed from West Bay aboard the Mama Iolanda in the early morning of what promised to be a day full of fun and adventure.
Giampiero (left) and other friends catch some rays during the one-hour run from Roatan to Utila.
Land ho! Utila is a relatively low-lying island with one hill. It's called "Pumpkin Hill," the reason for which is not immediately obvious to me. This is but one of the quirks of this quirky little island about 20 miles to the west of Roatan.
East Harbour, Utila's main town, has grown substantially since the last time I visited twenty years ago. The economy now depends primarily on tourism, particularly young, budget-conscious travelers seeking a cheap place to become Scuba certified and dive.
A charming (and very clean) island town with narrow streets and a fascinating blend of locals and tourists, old and new structures, as well as friendly, smiling people, East Harbour reminded me a bit of Provincetown, Massachusetts. Like P-Town, I would even go as far as saying there is something "European" about this town's energy.
Golf carts, motorbikes, and bicycles are the locals' preferred mode of transportation. Here "granny" maneuvers her cart as close to the "curve" as she can to leave space for other vehicles on the narrow street. So sweet and hobbit-like!
A senior Utila dog naps on the porch and dreams of bygone days.