[private] What transpires on Utila during Holy Week is not always altogether holy. For the churches of course – and there are definitely an abundance of them here, from about a dozen different denominations – it’s a big time. Six-a.m. prayer meetings all week and Easter Services in nicely decorated houses of worship are the tradition. There is also a sunrise service, usually on the bridge, which has been freshly painted and looks good, although the infrastructure underneath is crumbling. But as locals turn out in their Sunday best to go to church, some of the hardcore all-night party crowd are just staggering home.
Semana Santa is also the time when we get an invasion from the mainland of Honduras, as well as Guatemala and El Salvador. They come by the hundreds, bearing coolers loaded with food and drink. Two ferry boats run numerous daily trips to cater to the beach-happy crowd. The airlines are also extremely busy during this time. Hotels are booked out in advance, and quite often they are ill-prepared and run out of beer or food.
UPCO (Utila Power Company) usually presents the town with a blackout due to overload of the electric system.
Our public beach is cluttered with dozens of champas (contraptions made out of poles covered with tarp or palm leaves selling the usual catracho or island cuisine). Every 20 feet is a sound system blaring at full volume, dishing out rancheros, country, reggaeton or punk rock, depending on the clientele. Since for many it is the only time they go to the beach, some end up with nasty sunburns. And if the “no see ums” (sand flies) show up, it can get pretty itchy.
The nightlife during our so-called Holy Week is in overdrive. Some “devoted” party animals go non-stop for days, or until they pass out on some beach.
For those who prefer a more quiet beach, there is always the north side, anywhere from Big Bight, Indian Cove, Pumpkin Hill, Rock Harbor, Turtle Harbor and Don Quickset, and of course the cays, mainly Water Cay. The dive boats cater to us underwater aficionados who would rather escape all the relajo (ruckus) for the peace and quiet of our breathtaking underwater world.
Easter Monday, which is not celebrated here as in Europe, sees hundreds of sunburned tourists, some bleary-eyed from non-stop reveling from bar to bar, making an exodus for the ferry dock or airport, hopefully with fond memories and perhaps a plan to return next year.
Sadly, the party and celebration mood this year was dampened by several tourists getting robbed during the celebration. One case in particular stands out. Judy, the owner of the Funky Fish Gallerie, who left Roatan because of the crime there, got robbed at gunpoint by an individual on a white motorcycle on the old airport road on Palm Sunday. Police would not investigate because she did not have three witnesses. Other victims also reported being robbed by the same suspect. So remember the next time you get robbed, say: “Please mister robber, can I get three witnesses first, then you can rob me?” Or maybe to be safe, next Semana Santa, keep three witnesses on standby just in case. [/private]