Desert Storm Reunion – Day 5 – Honduras

One of the things I noticed is that the ship ALWAYS arrived on time at each of the ports. I woke up on Thursday, looked out my window and could see the port.

By the way, if you’re wondering how I could keep track of each day while I was on the ship, it wasn’t hard. Every day the crew replaced a plate in the elevator with new one with the day. For Honduras, we were cautioned to make sure we were following ship time because Honduras was an hour behind.

Floor plate with the word Thursday
These were changed daily in the elevators.

Today, I had a trip out to Gumbalimba Park. Rick, one of the veterans, kept asking me if the Belize Zoo from the day before had the “bridge”—it was actually this park in Honduras.

The tour started at 11:00, so I checked out the stores on the dock.

Stores on the dock.
The stores on the port. I was actually trying to catch shots of people going down a zipline to that green shore in the background.


I bought some chocolate and also a painting. The artist was selling the paintings at a stand, and most of the works were typical tourist stuff: Beaches, turtles, dolphins. I was looking through stacks of paintings for the right one, though I couldn’t have explained what I was looking for. I found one, which was of a Honduras woman carrying a basket on her head. Close … maybe.

There was a man helping the artist, and he said, “A hard working woman.” He helped me with the stacks, and it was kind of weird because he wasn’t trying to get me to buy any of them. I pulled out another one, also a Honduras woman, similar to the first but different backdrop. Not quite right.

Then I hit the one, and that was it. I had my painting, and I was done.

It was curious because this couple came by at the same time, bought a painting and left. But after I paid for mine, the artist wanted a picture of me with him.

Dropped my painting off in my stateroom, and then it was time for the short excursion. The tour guides piled us on a bunch of buses. I was a solo traveler, and I could see where the guides were suddenly going, “Wait, we have to put this one person somewhere.” So they had me get into the front seat of one of the buses. It turned out to be a terrifying experience. The driver got us to the park in record time, but I kept thinking we were going to hit someone!

The streets in Honduras
This was taken from the front seat of the tour bus.

The roads didn’t have any sidewalks, so people would be riding bikes in the street, or walking, and dogs would come out and watch the world, and everyone was so close to the bus. At once point, where there was a sidewalk, he drove on it. Interesting fact: They don’t have addresses in Honduras like we do. The houses are all painted bright colors to make the identifiable. So your mailing address might be “The blue house behind the rotting tree” in a particular city.

At the park, we gathered in our group. Then we were off to check out the park and get our safety briefing. For the macaws, we were warned not to have any ball caps with buttons. Apparently the liked to eat the buttons. For the monkeys, it was glasses. They really like glasses and will steal them off your face and try to put them on. Of course, the glasses won’t fit, so they’ll get mad and try to break them. If you try to take the glasses away from them, they’ll get aggressive and slap you.

Oh yeah.

First stop was The Bridge:

Rope Bridge
Sorry, but no way!

No, I didn’t cross it. I’m afraid of heights, and I knew I would have had problems with all the swaying. Only two other people opted for the “Chicken Bridge.”

At the other end was the Macaws. They are loud. There were two of them going at each other in case, just screaming.

We all posed with a green one that was a “military bird.” This one man had on a polo shirt with a button on a collar. The trainer set the bird on the opposite shoulder, and suddenly the bird snaked around behind his neck. Its beak went for the button and crunch!   It was gone!

Me with a macaw on my shoulder
No button eating here!

Then it was off to the monkeys. The park had a trainer out there to make sure things stayed under control, because the monkeys actually jumped right on us. I think the monkeys thought of us as things to play with like a tree. One tall, bald guy ended up with the monkeys on him a lot.

The monkey was very light, even lighter than a cat. Long fingers. I couldn’t see him once he jumped on me, but he used his long fingers to comb through my hair. Guess he found that interesting. For good behavior, he got a sunflower see from the trainer. I was picking the shells out of my hair later!

Me with a monkey on my head
The monkey was climbing all over my hair.

Then it was back to the ship.

Cruise ship docked at port
See that first gangplank? The porthole directly above it was my stateroom.  You might need to enlarge the photo to see it.

Desert Storm: 25th Anniversary Reunion

I’ve been invited to a Desert Storm 25th Anniversary Reunion next year.  It’s for vets of the war in general, so not my specific union or battalion.  It’s a cruise, which I wouldn’t mind doing, since I’ve never been on a cruise.  At least, unless you count the Catalina Flyer, which was when I was in the Girl Scouts.  I got terribly seasick on that and spent the entire trip on the stairs, enough below decks to cut the motion and still in the fresh air.

It also goes to Honduras and Mexico, and the only overseas countries I’ve been to have been courtesy of war.

But the cost is making me hesitate.  I think I will be able to afford it at that point, but I’m kind of wishing they’d put this in Las Vegas where it wouldn’t cost as much as this.

It certainly would be a different experience — not like a high school reunion where everyone is comparing everyone else’s success, because most of us wouldn’t know each other and yet we have this unique shared experience.  I think if this had been done on the 10th anniversary, I wouldn’t have done it because I didn’t have enough distance from the war.  But 25?  It would be a very different experience.

What’s your take on it?  Have you been on a cruise?  What was it like?  Did you get seasick a lot?

Desert Storm Reunion October 11-18, 2015
Desert Storm Reunion October 11-18, 2015