El estomago de Centro America

Trip Start May 07, 2003
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Trip End Sep 05, 2005


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Sunday, August 31, 2003

Thought I'd better check in wi you feckers sometime, it's been a while. Been living pretty much in complete isolation in the mountains and the jungle
for the past month or so. Grew a huge beard, my hair has changed colour from the sun and people who knew me in Tegus from when I was here before, no longer recognise me at all! - he he -much fun has been had!

So, I stayed in the botanical garden in the rainforest in Lancetilla for 3 weeks, until my tolerance for the utterly rank food had finally given in. We had eggs, beans and tortillas every single day, every feckin' mealtime for 3 LONG WEEKS!!! My god, never again will that shit pass my lips! At times I'm sure they recycled the food and gave us yesterday's disgusting unfinished scraps! Living in a place like that, in the middle of a vibrant jungle, miles from anywhere, was a real interesting experience however, and the gardens were at least situated close to the beach with some very cool seaside Garifuna villages. We often went there to get away from the heat and the mossies. It wasn't so bad really as the surrounding mountains were covered in fruit plantations. We spent many afternoons hiking up the hillsides with our rucksacks, returning with sackfulls of beautiful mangos, lychees, mangusteens, we even found pinapple bushes. Then gorging ourselves on them after the foul mealtimes! The "volunteer" work was terrible though, no organization whatsoever, we ended up either weeding in the nurseries or monotonously pulling nails out of literally tons of timber - with the aim of building a house - alas we never got that far as they couldn't be arsed to give us the work.

Myself and buddy Nick who I've been living with now for over 2 months headed south from the coast towards Tegus. Stopped off for the weekend at this beautiful lake, Lago Yojoa, stayed in a pretty nice hotel with a pool over looking the water.
Met the August i-to-i group (the only people who seem to be traveling in Honduras are volunteers who are few and far between) who were a real cool bunch of folk. We'd all heard about this spectacular waterfall nearby, Pulhapanzak.

So the next day we all headed up there. It was a magnificent sight, a huge volume of water cascading down over 150 feet to the bottom. We slid down this muddy rockface, stripped off and dived off the rocks into the churning whitewater at the foot of the waterfall. It was like the most powerful jacuzzi known to man, the air was full of rainbows from the heavy spray. We could jump from so high as it was so deep, no matter how you landed, all was good, as the bubbling water had no hard surface to impact. Needless to say somersaults were done off the highest rocks we could find with this mental South African guy! Unreal.

Went on a cruise round the lake on a wee boat early the next morning, did a spot of fishing and caught a Talapia. A scary fish with spines that was very nice for breakfast! Got the bus outta there to try and get to Tegus later that afternoon. The bus we got was the most clapped out heap I had seen yet, it broke down several times on the way and there were no spare seats. The choice was standing or sitting in the isle between the seats barely able to move with head between the legs. I started to feel really ill, at first I thought it was the foul stench ejaculating from the fat sweaty Honduran next to me. As the journey progressed however, the searing waves of pain in my stomach were getting more and more painful. So bad I was actually groaning out loud. I didn't know what to do with myself, there was no way the bus was going to stop for me again and I just has to hold out till we reached the city. When we finally got to the bus station in Tegus I made a hasty beeline for the bogs. My god, if you remember the scene in Trainspotting with "the worst toilet in Scotland", just imagine how bad the Honduran equivalent is! I sprayed the liquid contents of my bowels round the festering toilet bowl, then staggered out the door, nearly fainting. I said to Nick, "I think there's something seriously wrong with me mate", to which he replied "oh dear, you have turned a decidedly strange shade of grey mate". At that moment my hands and arms seized up, I couldn't move them at all, it was like I had been electrocuted. I couldn't even pick up my rucksack. Thank god Nick was there or I would've been left a gibbering wreck on the kerbside, in this: one of the dodgiest parts of one of the dodgiest cities in Latin America. We managed to get a taxi and tried to get to a hotel but the idiota driver didn't have a clue where any of the hotels were, only a few brothels. Normal in Honduras I had come to find. It was then I started seeing double, my vision was blurring - I started to get worried. We decided it probably best to head straight for the i-to-i folk, the Diaz's, who could get us a doctor - pronto! The taxi driver then proceeded to take us on a wild goose chase tour of Tegus, not having a Scooby where anything was, it cost us a fortune. Just to thank him for his stupendous ignorance I duly projectile vomited several times out of his car window and gave a posh office block a nice new paint job. Got a few strange looks from bemused pedestrians but never got lifted by the polis and I felt infinitely better so all was grand. We finally got to the Diaz's and they kindly let us stay the night as there was no docs available.

The next day I was surprisingly healthy considering how seriously close to death I was the day previous, so we decided to head for the mountains and our next placement, La Tigra - the oldest national park in Honduras. Had another nightmare bus journey to a village at the foot of the mountains and had to hike up this horrendously steep road to where our dorms were for the night. After over two hours lugging our heavy rucksacks up this vertical mountain road, we made it to the Centro de Visitantes. Knocked on the door, no bugger in. It was dark, we were in the middle of nowhere, miles away from the nearest town/water/food and we didn't have a clue what to do. Then luckily this park ranger guy came over and in my knackered Spanish, realized we had made it to the wrong side of the bloody mountain!! Aaaagh! "No hay dormitorios aqui" the geezer explained to us as we nearly burst into tears! We mananged to negociate a space on the concrete floor of the visitor centre and pledged to hike over the mountain the next morning. I guess the good lord must've finally taken pity on us that morning as two minutes after we had started the daunting walk up to 2700m thru the cloud forest to the other side (with 25kg rucksacks and a gallon of rum!) this huge pickup came roaring up the hill and took us vertically thru river and gully all the way to the top! What luck indeed!

It was all worth it in the end, La Tigra, was without doubt the nicest place I have been to in mainland Honduras. It was an old gold mining town set high up on the mountain side and our dorm was perched at the top with amazing views down the valley. Had some more great walks through the dense cloud forest, (at times hacking thru it) to really picturesque, flower enshrouded mountain villages, explored a few of the many Goldmines and seen more really cool waterfalls.

Back in Tegus again which is strangely starting to feel like home as I've gotten to know so many people here over the two months in Honduras. Got another weeks Spanish next week then off to El Salvador at the weekend to start teaching English. How that will go
is anyone's guess...

Hope you're all well, or at least faring better than I, drop us a line wi' all yer criac.
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