are turning blue. After two and a halfrnhours, we reach the very same cay wernstopped at on the journey to Belize—rnhalf-way cay. We cruise up to the beach.rnEl Capitan shuts off the motor and announces,rnFIgolfo es un penal (The Gulfrnis a bitch!) Nos esperamos aqui. (We’llrnwait here.) Que largo? (How long?)rnAmanana. (Until tomorrow.) Never inrnyour life could you expect to see 25 peoplernhappier to be stranded on a desert islandrnovernight. We drag our stuffrnashore. We climb out of our wet clothes.rnWe build a huge fire.rnOut of nowhere, a funny little blackrnman appears and asks us what is goingrnon. We tell him. He jumps for joy. Hisrnlittle fishing boat is on the other side ofrnthe island out of gas. The captain cuts arndeal: feed us some of the conch you havernbeen catching all day and I will take yournto Puerto Cortes in the morning. I’llrnbring you and some gas back on my returnrnto Dangriga. We stoke the fire,rncook a ton of fresh conch over the coals.rnWe lay down on the beach and try tornsleep. It rains periodically. And theserntiny land crabs pester me all night. Butrnat least there are no insects.rnEveryone is up before dawn. We loadrnour stuff into the boats. By 6;00 A.M. wernare off. The sea is calm. Both enginesrnon both boats arc running at top speed.rnIt’s smoother going than yesterday, butrnstill a butt-killer. Within a half hour werncan see the mountains behind PuertornCortes. An hour after that we are enteringrnthe harbor.rnWe stop off at the naval base. Wernunload our stuff, and the local officerrnon duty starts shaking us down for “importrntaxes.” We all growl at him. Whenrnhe demands 100 lempiras tax for an ancientrnghetto blaster that is obviously thernpersonal property of one passenger, thernpassenger tells him to stuff it and tossesrnthe thing into the drink. Bravo! Thernnaval officer quickly surmises that wernaren’t in a mood to be screwed with, andrnhe reluctantly sends us on our way tornthe local immigration office.rnI ride the urbano, or little city bus, tornthe immigration office. I surely mustrnsmell like hell. I know I look like hell. Irnget my soaking wet passport stamped. Irnengage in a bit of small talk with thernimmigration officials. Yes, I did leavernthe country. I am a tourist. They kid mernabout my poor Spanish. You need a girlfriendrnto help you learn, they say. I agreernand mention that she could also washrnmy socks. They nod approvingly.rnI head home to my tiny cold-waterrnflat that I share with cockroaches, lizards,rnand huge spiders. I turn on my fan—myrnHonduran air-conditioner—and grab arnbottle of warm beer from the ice chest—rnmy Honduran refrigerator. I lie down inrnmy hammock, stare contentedly at thernceiling, and wonder how I could everrnhave felt homesick when I have all ofrnthis.rnRay Lowry writes from the island ofrnRoatan in Honduras, where he is arnteacher at a bilingual primary school.rnLetter From thernLower Rightrnby John Shelton ReedrnThe Honorable GentlemanrnFrom New YorkrnIt shouldn’t be news to anyone that conservativernmiddle-aged professors are rarernbirds. Until recently, right-wing academicsrnhave been almost as rare as blackrnones, and for pretty much the same reason:rnbright conservatives could generallyrndo better elsewhere. So it didn’t go tornmy head a few years ago when I learnedrnthat the Reagan White House was thinkingrnof nominating me for the council ofrnthe National Endowment for the Humanities.rnI mean, how many Scholarsrnfor Reagan-Bush were there, after all?rnStill, I was secretly a little proud—rnthat is, until someone showed me a listrnof Jimmy Carter’s appointees. And whenrnthe Reagan folks withdrew the nominationrnof a worthy fellow nominee whornhad, over the years, guarded his tonguernless assiduously than I, I recognized thatrnthe Democrats were not uniquely political.rnCall me naive, but I was disappointedrnto learn how much politics affectsrnpolitical appointments.rnIn my case, the White House sure wasrncautious. If the Reagan administrationrnhad been half as careful with its Cabinetrnofficers and Supreme Court nominees, itrnwould have been spared some embarrassment.rnI had to fill out forms listingrnevery organization I’d ever belonged to,rnevery place I’d ever lived, and every timernI’d left the country. (The dates of a triprnto the Bahamas with my fishing buddiesrngave me trouble, until my wife remindedrnme that it was the weekend of Mother’srnDay, 1976. What a memory she has!) Irncalculated my net worth for the first timernin my life—a depressing exercise—andrnstarted hearing from old friends I hadn’trnseen in years, who wanted to know whyrnthe FBI was asking about me.rnNobody asked me whether I’d everrnsmoked marijuana, but this was beforernthat question became de rigueur forrnfolks of my generation. I wonder, couldrnI have come up with anything as classy asrnBill Bennett’s answer (“If I have any confessionsrnto make, I’ll make them to arnpriest”) or as bewildering as Marion Barry’srn(“Not to my knowledge”)?rnAnyway, in the fullness of time, a pressrnrelease came from the White House, announcingrnmy nomination. Its threernparagraphs contained three errors of factrnand a couple more of implication, butrnconservatives aren’t surprised whenrngovernment screws up. I wasn’t upsetrnuntil the last line, which read, “Mr. Reedrnis a native of New York.”rnWell. Norman Podhoretz wrote oncernabout the dirty little secrets that we allrncarry around with us. His was his lust forrnpower and fame; mine (one of them,rnanyway) is that I was born in New York.rnAt the French Hospital. In Manhattan.rnThis was embarrassing. People Irnthought were friends, men and womenrnI’ve known for years, came up and saidrnnasty things like “I didn’t know you werernfrom New York.” It did no good at all tornexplain that my dad was just workingrnthere temporarily. It didn’t even help tornquote the Duke of Wellington, who saidrnabout his Irish birth, “Because a man isrnborn in a stable, that does not make himrna horse.” My supposed friends just snickered.rnI think they’re still snickering, behindrnmy back.rnIt’s not fair. I could change my religionrnor my politics at will. I could, withrna little trouble, change my name, or myrnwife. Even at my age, I could take up arnnew profession. But I’m stuck for lifernwith my place of birth.rnYou may find it hard to imagine howrnawkward, how shameful, it is for a semiprofessionalrnSoutherner to have beenrnborn in the north. And not just in thernnorth, but in the very belly of the beast,rnin the Big Apple, Noo Yawk itself. Forrnyears I have downplayed this fact, goingrnso far as to omit it when filling out forms.rn42/CHRONICLESrnrnrn