Homesick and a Private Island


9am — I am sitting on the edge of a deck by a small river. Over my head is a roof of palm fronds from which three hammocks hang. The hammocks were our bed for the night. My back hurts from the sleeping position; my body itches from all the mosquito bites; and the smell… it’s making me nauseous. The water reeks of pure sewage. Perhaps it is only the mud. I sure hope so.


I am proud to say I survived yesterdays ride. The ride itself was an easy one but the state of my stomach challenged every mile as much as the mountains of Copper Canyon. The uphills in the beginning made me faint and, later, I would need to stop to lie on my back in misery. But, I made it.

Lucky for me, the pooping basically stopped. My stools, as of late last night, are pure liquid. The frequency reduced to a few a day. The urgency is gone as well. I can now poop at my convenience. Almost.

Enough of my poop. An old and wrinkled man in a boat whips a lure into the water. He allows it to sink a moment before retrieving the line by hand. The line goes taught and moves slightly side to side. He’s caught a tiny fish.


Watching him makes me long for home. Its the end of April: trout season. Were I home, I may be on the water at this very moment. Floating around the lake in my kayak dragging two lures through the water waiting for my dinner to bite.



10:15am — We board the blue, flat-bottomed boat with the hotel owner, her father, her sister, and three dirty dogs. The old man takes position at the back and, with a pole nearly twice the length of the boat, pushes us through the water towards our beach-front home.



The ride is short lasting perhaps 15 minutes. It was not long before the crashing surf entered our ears to spur our excitement. I have not seen the ocean in months.

We round a bend in the tributary. The women seated on the bow of the boat announces that our house is in sight. It’s the last one on the island in front of us. The old man beaches the boat in the sand and we walk to the house.




Last night we were told of others already staying here; Italianos and Gringos. It turns out they are the very same ones from Merlin’s house. Our friends.


I have not looked around much but from the little I have seen we are in for a very special treat. Hammocks hang from covered gazebos of palm fronds. A small shack serves as the bedroom; another, smaller and of concrete, serves as the kitchen. The toilet leaves something to be desired: a lidless bowl manually flushed with sea water stored in a blue plastic 55gallon drum. It is our chore to fill the barrel from the ocean.

I am in a hammock now. Laying and writing listening to the surf behind me and feeling a cooling breeze blow across my skin. I have not eaten in a long time and have little energy as a result. Otherwise, I’m on top of the world. I’m on a practically private beach in Guatemala near the border to El Salvador.