Rain, Kate´s Attack On The Yanks & Randomness
Trip Start Sep 29, 2007
215Trip End Dec 20, 2010
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Where I stayed
I spent two hellish nights and days staring at the dormitory walls with a spiking fever whilst Nadine finished off a week at the Utatlin Spanish School. I shivered and burned and counted knots in wood on the panels in the ceiling of the room. I wore all my clothes and thermals and wrapped myself up in the below zero sleeping bags. Nadine caught a taxi to a pharmacy to get me some medicine and i self medicated through meditation, fruit juice and large amounts of water. Today, i have only a chest infection and the after math of a cold.
Spanish school is important as at the moment we feel like a tourist spending money. We would like to feel more like visitors conversing with the amazing people we come across. On the last day in Xela, i saw a man walking down the main road in the middle of town with two sheeps heads. Nice!
The elections were to be held on Sunday night in Guatemala and were likely to cause dramas with civil demonstrations, traffic disruptions and whatever else may erupt so we decided to tail it out of there. Vans with megaphones cruised the streets spruiking their respective politician and playing James Blunt?? music. We made our way to Antigua and checked into The Black Cat Hostel there before catching a 4:00am shuttle to Copan, Honduras the next day. The hostel was full to the brim and we got the last two beds in a dorm with some very tired people. The election voting day meant no alcohol served the night before so a few Americans and a couple of Latino girls decided to smash down a few bottles of tequila among other drinks and party outside our room. Really bloody loud and we had to get up at 3:00am. No-one could sleep and the party got rowdier and more spread out throughout the hostel. The poor Guatemalan night worker couldnīt control the action and was cleaning up their mess. Rude and disrespectful kids. The kids were doing my head in so i ventured down from my top bunk in my pyjamas and gave them all a piece of my mind using Australian slang and all. Hilarious stuff. i went back to bed and they moved the party upstairs. The Guatemalan night manager gave us a sandwich for our 4:00am journey to Copan and we said good-bye to the lands of perfect rum and beautiful people. The border crossing was easy with exits at one window and entries to Honduras at another next to it. There is an agreement with Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica that means we donīt need to show luggage or get stamps or tourist visas for all of these countries. There goes our stamp collection in the passport. A street dealer changed our remaining quetzales for Honduran lempiras at a good rate. Itīs not really a black market and thereīs no reason not to change money with these guys.
Question of the day which i have been pondering- When the stray dogs walk across the border lines, do the guards chase them over the border to make them the neighbouring countries problem or back into their country of origin? I want to know, do the dogs walk freely or not? There are some organisations who help the street dogs but they pretty much just survive on their own. We sometimes slip them snacks. The morning we hiked the volcano, i slipped a dog half a biscuit and it followed me up the volcano for one hour.
The morning shuttle was gold and we slept part of the way. A couple who looked like they were competing in The Amazing Race TV show were on the bus awake and ready to go, they didnīt want the driver to stop for coffee. I used monkey as a pillow and slept. When we woke up in daylight we found ourselves seated next to a lovely chap from the UK named Chris who is studying Spanish and trying to help at a ground level the heavily infected HIV communities of Honduras. We had an interesting chat with him and parted in Copan.We decided to skip the ruins and travelled on to Tela all the way over to the Carribbean side of Honduras in one day. Tela is a Garifuna seaside town a little of the beaten track Raining all the way. We had an awesome journey all the way on various chicken buses via La Entrada and San Pedro Sula costing total of AU$7.50 compared to US$29 for a shuttle. We went on some hairy roads with muddy landslides and cliff drop offs on the edges. We scored a good look at the Honduran people. A very adventurous bus ride it was with three to a seat. The chicken bus action was wild. These buses are not spruced up like the Guatemalan ones. Instead they are the yellow school buses in raw condition. We enjoyed a stint on a seat which the bottom kept falling out of as kids had picked all the stuffing out of the cushion. The walls were scratched and dented and the windows were all broken and cracked. The back door didnīt latch so our backpacks were at risk of falling out the back at every bumpy moment. A large speaker box hung loosely on the wall behind us and we clenched our bum cheeks at every screeching turn. A green radioactive looking fly kept attacking me until a Honduran man saved the day and squashed it. The buses were hectic with conductors pushing us this way and that to get on and off, all the while hollering at the food and drink sellers to get off. The roadside food sellers chase the buses and get on and off with baskets of bad chicken, bread and random dried fruits. At one point a preacher got on with a bible and praised his beloved lord while praying to the ceiling and then asked for money in envelopes. Most people donated money. On another leg of the journey a woman fell asleep on my shoulder and an old Honduran man with a large white cowboy hat on my other side smiled with kind, warm eyes and a happily wrinkled face while playing with my pet monkey who rides on my pack. We spoke in sign language. We gave him a packet of lemon flavoured peanuts which he distributed to his family then heartily munched the rest away. No bus has been as bad as our first rogue trader shuttle company from hell.
Honduras is the country of random things. Items seen in strange places. Here is some. A man with no legs in a wheel chair, miles from anywhere sitting in the middle of the highway with an orange witches hat cone next to him and traffic swerving around him. How did he get there and what is he doing? Our very straight hotel in Tela has a fun house mirror. A man at the bus terminal tried to sell us a single stapler and some earbuds. There is a chewing gum called Bubbaloo Gum which is one piece of chewing gum that looks like it has been already chewed then re-packaged and re-sold. The company which makes scented air freshener trees that you hang from your car rear vision mirror also makes giant trees for busses and they stink out the whole bus. Some trucks are named after the truck driverīs girlfriend or wife. The shop exteriors are painted with images of exact replicas of what the shop sells, even if it is tombstones. Here is more. I miss the Tugun fish and chip shop and i am still on the same bar of Pears brand soap that i left Australia with. Either i donīt shower enough or it is good soap. Oh! and i thought i saw someone with a chico roll today.
Honduras is not as colourful as Guatemala and the landscape is flatter. There is loads of rubbish littering the roads and people are not engaged in traditional ways of living. We miss Guatemala so much already. The Honduran people are made up of all kinds of races. There is Spanish and indigenous. Garifuna are a mixture of African, Caribbe and Arawak. Other black people on the North and in the Bay Islands are descendants of Jamaicans and other West Indians who came to Honduras with the British or to work on the banana plantations. La Ceiba where we are now is a springboard to the Bay Islands whose coral reefs are a continuation of the Barrier Reef off Belize. La Ceiba is also the start of the trip to The Mosquito Coast however we tried to arrange a tour to the Mosquito Coast which is pristine jungle and the rivers are too high to cross today. Bugger it! It is too wet for the islands too so thereīs not much to do. We walked around the town with broken umbrellas and wearing the beloved poncho. The boats for the islands didnīt leave today because of bad weather. We are cruising with a Canadian guy called Jake who caught the bus with us from Tela. Jake is a well-travelled, highly intelligent guy who works on human rights missions and is waiting for an assignment to some dangerous country where other organisations donīt go. Very interesting chats with him about American politics, entheogens and herb research among other things. We are all staying at the same hotel, Hotel Caribe which has big rooms, big rolls of toilet paper, a TV with Spansih subtitles for us to practise our language and a room key as big as your hand which you could possibly use to fix a carīs mechanical parts. You have to carry this big metal key around in your pocket. We will re-assess in the morning as to whether we wait it out on the islands and risk getting stranded or if we get to Nicaragua early. We would prefer to go to Roatan Island to get our PADI diving certification.
In Tela last night we ate at the best seafood restaurant in town, Cesar Mariscos where we ate fish, banana chips, breaded coconut conch (like calamari and abalone) and the best seafood soup ever which was a bit like a mild laksa with a whole crab and fish tail floating in it. The soup was filled with seafood and tasted divine. We ended up with double the food we wanted as we ahd trouble ordering in Spanish.