The journey north begins
Trip Start Mar 07, 2009
69Trip End Apr 08, 2010
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Took the 1030am luxury bus (what else, weīre not getting any younger!) to Tegucigalpa, which is the capital of Nicaragua. Customs was easy, though still no stamps in the old passport, but th journey went on a bit, loads of police roadblocks in Nica. Also got fleeced a the border again, gringo tax, but what can you do, they all have big guns! arrived in the city around 1900 and got a taxi as it was after dark and we were in supposedly the most dangerous city in Central America (everyone says that about everywhere though!). Better to be safe than sorry though, and anyway itīs a good excuse to not have to walk! the hotel was full though we were a bit suspicious at first as the bloke was outside the place and we thought it might be the old, this place is full but my best friends place is just round the corner trick. Whether it was or not we went next door where we were furnished with a great en suite room with a huge flat screen TV and cable so we were not complaining
10th Feb 2010:
After the alarm went off at 0530 we decided that we should give the city the benefit of a least one day and went back to sleep. 11ish we rolled out and went to the bus station to get tickets for the following morning. Turned out the bus left at 0545 so we would have missed it anyway. We decided at this point that we wanted to go to La Ceiba and the bay Islands, not Copan as we had previously agreed, starting to feel the time ticking away now so need to make some compromises.
Then took a stroll into down town, was really enjoyable, the city has a lot going for it once given a chance. Lots of cute market stalls, crazy traffic and curious locals, we were almost literally the only tourists we saw all day. I think most people stay in the more affluent areas of town but we were keen to be near the bus stations, especially with the early departure. Grabbed some food at Pizza hut (shame on us) which was nice but made us both a bit sick (the only reason we ate there was because we figured it would be clean, go figure)
11th Feb 2010:
Managed to get up this time, at 4am, and walked the 3 blocks to the bus terminal. Was about a 10 hour bus ride, arrived in La Ceiba at about 3pm. Argued with a taxi driver as we thought he was trying to rip us off, figured out later it was probably about right so we actually ripped him off! Checked in at the Banana Republic Hostel and chilled for a few hours before heading into town for some grub. Managed to get a little lost on the way home but the map was definitely wrong!
12th Feb 2010:
Grabbed a taxi to the ferry terminal about 0830 the next morning. It was cheap but not worth it as we had to share it with a screaming child the entire journey. Got the 1hr ferry to Utila, not a good start when the issue sick bags as standard!
We left our bags in a dive shop while we explored the main strip for suitable accommodation. Found a nice quiet place called Margheritaville after about an hour of looking, quite a few places were full, at least for private rooms. Spent the afternoon exploring and scoping out dive shops ( I did intend to go diving, I just didnīt get around to it), before heading out in the evening to a crazy psychedelic bar called treetonic. A real funky place consisting of weird structures, bridges, walkways, tunnels and swings which has apparently been 13 years in the making, and was voted 4th best bar in the world by Lonely Planet. It was pretty cool. After a couple of shandyīs we had a great BBQ, quite a wait but well worth it for the T-bone steak alone.
Saturday 13th - Wednesday 17th February 2010:
- Swam a bit at local beach
- Hired some snorkel kit and used It at a couple of locations
- Discovered Baleadas, an big tortilla folded over refried beans, cheese, salad, eggs and avocado which was amazing, we had at least one every single day
- Watched a crap American movie about paint balling
- Waited an hour and a quarter for food at the BBQ place, we didnīt go back, that was taking the Michael.
- Took a hike across the island to a place called pumpkin hill, a beautiful beach but not really suitable for swimming as it was shallow and rocky. Had to ask directions of an 8yr old boy who kindly offered his fathers services to take us there on his motorbike, we politely declined.
- Took a hike in another direction to another beach but missed it and ended up more or less in the same place we were before!
- Had a nice valentines Day meal at El Ranchito, a new place that we felt sorry for because they never seemed to have any customers and the couple that ran it were really sweet. The portions were small, pretentious and expensive but it was Valentines Day so we didnīt care, and it was delicious, plus we got loads of free chocolates. And we chuckled at the couples next to us who were rowing all night, about how he doesnīt demonstrate his love enough, I thought taking her to this place would be enough :)
- Got into a routine of having a siesta about 4pm every day, which was nice
- Got excited about going to a curry place, but it was closed so ended up having a crap and wafer thin pizza, then going someplace else because we were still starving.
- Were gonna go on a Whale Shark snorkeling expedition but after some deliberation and research we decided that the chances of seeing any a this time were extremely limited, and so it would most likely just be a very expensive snorkel trip so we knocked that on the head.
- Got invited by another couple to go on a boat trip to a small deserted Island for the day (to half the cost, not just because of our brilliant company), but we woke up and after 4 days of brilliant sunshine it chucked it down with rain for the las 2 days so we canceled that, not that the boat driver turned up anyway. This meant I could go to the pub and watch Arsenal lose against Porto, great! I didnīt even watch it live, there were 2 games on including Bayern vs Porto and "this is a democracy" said the owner and there were some Krauts and Italians in there, and just little old me from Blighty so I was out voted. There were also loads of Americans at the bar so had to listen to a load of nonsense regarding the offside and pass back rule, they need to stick to their own sports.
Thursday 18th Feb 2010:
Up at 0530 for the early bus back to the mainland
we had some lunch, it was set meals which we all ate together, then we went out in the afternoon on a class 3 and 4 White Water Rafting trip, which was literally on our doorstep
The rafting was slightly more sophisticated than the last time in that instead of us all paddling to our own rhythms we shouted 1, 2 as we did it so we were all in unison, and it was more fun as we were screaming our heads off, of course there was a bit of friendly rivalry over who could shout and paddle hardest, needless to say I was victorious. I was also victorious in the falling out of the boat competition, if there was one. I managed to do so 3 times in all, compared to none by the other three, though I do think this was because I was putting more effort into the paddling, I left it all out on the river thats for sure. And I must admit that falling in is the most fun part, unless of course you smash your head on a rock and die, that would not be so much fun. The guide did say afterwards that people only fall in if he wants them to, and I was asking if we could do some grade 5 hardcore stuff so I guess he figured I could handle it, plus we had a safety Kayaker anyway so what could go wrong? We would have done some grade 5 rapids, a least I would have been keen, if we hadnīt had a couple of days of rain, including all day today, which raised the river levels to above safe levels, save that for another time
Had a nice meal in the evening, tried to apprehend the parrot but she kept trying to bite me, though this is not uncommon. The girl behind the bar described her as an evil bitch, a bit harsh I thought but there you go. Also arranged some possible tour guides for New York in Kelly & Anthony, which is always nice
Fri 19th Feb 2010:
The weather was beautiful today so decided to stay and just hang out by the river. Took a walk up to Omega to have lunch in the restaurant, the meals at our place were great but a bit veggiefied for our liking, though despite this we had a couple of vegetarian baleadas but they were awesome as per usual. This also validated our decision to stay at Jungle River as the setting here was nowhere near as good and was also run exclusively by Europeans, Germans mostly. Now I donīt have a problem with that bit itīs nice to be putting money into local pockets as it is at Jungle, not in the pockets of foreigners.
Chilled out in hammocks in th afternoon, was going to do a cliff jump, not a particularly high one, but after swimming out first to check the depth I almost got swept away by the current so figured it was not a great idea. Had a nice relaxing evening and took a early night before getting the 0630 bus the next morning.