I'm a leavin' da island...

Trip Start Apr 10, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Honduras  ,
Friday, August 4, 2006

Time came eventually to leave the island - although i did contemplate applying for a restaurant manager position that i saw advertised - but nope, decided against it. i got up at 5am to catch the 6am ferry and then realised i was just being ridiculous and so went back to bed and woke up at a much more reasonable time - enought to give me a few last hours on a hammock before i lugged myself onto the 2pm ferry. i have come to realise that i do indeed suffer from seasickness - and really it must be one of the most unpleasant sensations in the world.

Ladled myself and my suitcase into a taxi upon arrival in la ceiba - with a guy who turned out to be a very grumpy taxidriver - funny how people lose their sense of humour sometimes when they realise that you are not a clueless gringo ready to be exploited! anyway, I checked into the Banana Republic guesthouse - fine I suppose as far as hostels go although a bit of a weird vibe but anyway, i was boiling and not planning on missioning around to find another spot! Had a few toots that night with some other guests staying there and then went to sleep early in the dorm - they went out jolling but i was exhausted. Had an interesting view when i woke up though - the ozzie guy sleeping in the bed next to mine was stark naked and he'd thrown his sheet off in the night so... i opened my eyes to hairy morning glory supreme....!!

that shocked me awake rather quickly and i missioned off for a fabulous morning in the jungle - doing a cable ride canopy tour! absolutely loved it! we got picked up from the guesthouse in a big old converted bus truck thing and drove about half an hour out to the sister "jungle lodge" which is perched on the river - gorgeous - and from where the tours are run. Half the group went river rafting - which they said was a blast - and the other half of us - about 8 people i think - got strapped into harnesses (lots of straps like an abseiling harness and that make your bum look horrendous), helmets and gloves and climbed a trail into the jungle for about half an hour with our guide Roberto, who stopped regularly to tell us about the various plants and bugs. apparently, picking up a handful of termites and terminating their little lives by rubbing them all over your skin is the most effective insect / mosquito repellent around. well - i think i can see why that concept hasn't really taken off in the western world! although its something to think about - commercially marketing little tubs full of crawling ants... urgh! paris hilton are you listening? anyway after the little hike we got to the first platform and off we went! hooked up and flying between the trees! you can give your camera to one of the guys that hike with the group and they will take pics for you - my photographer was so gorgeous - pity that i got caught in so many variously unflattering poses! but that was the least of my concerns - i just wanted to keep going - the 12 or so cables didn't seem nearly enough! the last cable is over the river - and i went last with roberto - in superwoman mode - ie head not feet first, arms out flying over the rapids! i can't wait to do it again!

Back at the hostel that afternoon, i made a call to Guillermo Anderson, a musician friend of Lenin's (my friend from Guatemala) but he had plans for the evening and arranged instead for me to meet up with a theatre director friend of his. So Tito picked me up at about 8 and off we went for a few drinks and some great conversation. He actually lives in Tegucigalpa, the capital, but was up in La Ceiba to work on a project with kids from surrounding areas, about AIDS and safe sex (i think if i remember correctly). Once again, I found so many similarities between the situation here (central america) and south africa. We had a great time chatting about the theatre scene in our respective countries, ways of working etc etc. Tito also got me to try Giffity - which is an extremely potent and bitter rum, infused with "medicinal herbs" - whooo! i think its medicinal because you'll cure yourself of anything so you don't have to drink any more of the stuff! ;-) We were in the "party street" of La Ceiba - in the Garifuna area of Barrio la Isla, and I was very glad to be in the company of a man - I'm sure i could have coped on my own but it did have a fairly rough edge to it - and lots of goodtime girls (and boys) and hotels that charge by the hour...

On Sunday i went for breakfast with Guillermo - had a good chat about various things relating to my project and just getting a bit more of a feel for the scene in honduras. I told him what my possible future plans were - since i wanted to experience more Garifuna culture and music etc and he offered to set up a visit for me to a little village on the coast where Mito lives - mito is a dancer / musician who plays in his band. I gladly accepted and will be off there on tuesday.

On monday I was up at 6am to make full use of my last day in La Ceiba - i wanted to go to the Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge and needed to try and get myself on a tour - but hadn't booked a spot in advance. i couldn't get through to the tour company and eventually ended up going with Roberto - the canopy tour guide - who had arrived at the hostel to get his ride through to work but decided he'd rather take me to the reserve! he was hilarious - hungover as hell from the previous night's festivities and so he had a beer at 7.30 am while we were waiting for the bus! It was great going to the reserve with him though - he is from the Mosquitia region on the North east coast of Honduras - one of the wildest and most inaccessible areas of the jungle - and has worked as a guide in the mosquitia and in various reserves for years. We took the bus as far as we could go and then hopped onto the little train that takes you into the actual reserve - so cute, about 3 teeny carriages,but i have no idea how it actually manages to stay on the tracks! see pic~! in the reserve, one has to hire a little motor lancha (very quiet engine though) with a guide / driver (what do you call a person that steers a boat?) and between him and Robert with their excellent eyes, we spotted (and heard) howler monkeys, a baby alligator, various birds, tree bats and iguanas. The reserve has two rivers that meet on the coast in a big estuary and so contains a gorgeous diversity of natural habitats - mangroves, jungle, salt lagoon - and hundreds of species of birds and animals. I was really hoping to see manatees but no luck there unfortuately. we had lunch there and then train-ed and bussed our way back to La Ceiba.

Later that evening Roberto and i hooked up for cheap dinner - baleadas and beers. A baleada is a scrumptious invention: a big flour tortilla, spread with bean paste, cream, cheese (parmasan-y flavour) and whatever else you like - meat, chicken, avo etc - and then folded in half. i love baleadas! they are also super cheap - you can get 2 or 3 depending on fillings - for less than $1 - and I can normally only eat one since they are so filling! we had great chats - he is a really interesting guy . i have really been so lucky to meet so many "locals" - but i have also really made a point of getting out of the gringo spots. they are great sometimes but it would make for very boring travels to just stick to the guidebook! my research has also provided a point of common interest and people have been so eager to share their knowledge and contacts with me - thanks to all!
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