Thursday, December 20, 2007

Honduras to Nicaragua, 10 to 19 December

Oh man oh man. I wrote this great little thing about Honduras and then I went to the internet cafe, attached my USB, stolen. I´m not doing so hot with memory keeping devices this trip. First Cuba, now in Nicaragua, and I´m guessing I should just type things when I´m able to send them. Poopy.

So I´ll do my best to re-construct. I left Guatemala City in the middle of the night on the 10th and took a bus to Esquipulas, taxi-ed to the border, taxi-ed to the Honduran side, then got a bus to the border town of Nuevo Ocotepeque...where I thought I was being clever by saving a few dollars, only to discover that I was oh-so-wrong, lost over an hour, and about a dollar too. Oh well.

The ride through the Honduran countryside was absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. It was like a combination of Jamaica, Cuba, and perhaps Chiapas. Jungly, hilly, and verdant green. Rich earth in shades of red and brown scattered throughout the carpet of greens.

Since I had managed to land on a local bus which stopped at least every half hour for no apparent reason, I ended up arriving in San Pedro Sula much later than I had thought. It was already getting dark, and I knew that this was not a city I wanted to be in at night, alone, with all my stuff. So I asked a woman on the bus if she could help me find a clean, safe, place for the night and I would take her out to dinner. She said it was totally fine, and once we were on our way she invited me to stay at her house, that way I wouldn´t spend money and it was easier for her anyway. Wow. Welcome to Honduras. So off we went, we went out for dinner, and I was loving Honduras.

The next morning she helped me get to the junction where the buses pass and we got there around 5am, and a bus passed shortly thereafter to get me to La Ceiba. Made it with plenty of time to catch the 9.30am ferry over to Roatan. On the boat over, I was trying to round up some people to share a cab, and instead met Nick and Caroline who live on the island and told me they would give me a lift to Mel´s house. Yay. So we ran some errands in Coxen Hole where I got wayyy too excited about imported American crap food, and then I was home in Sandy Bay.

The next 6 days were lovely, pure had been a long time since I had just stayed in one place and not done all that much...maybe Mexico City?? So a few dives - unfortunately or fortunately, I´ve dived some of the world´s best spots and so Roatan didn´t wow me too much but it was still nice to get under the surface and just dive...I really do love that feeling... - time at the beach, kayaking, swimming, cooking, sleeping, reading...ahhh. It was great.

Honduras, and in particular the Bay Islands, strikes me for the racial diversity and the laid-back island feel that it has. The islands are historically comprised of English-speaking blacks, and the diversity reminded me of a strange combination of Cuba and Jamaica or something. I don´t really know, but I liked it.

I got to spend some great quality time with Mel and the kids, as well as Jonas who I met in Guatemala, and 2 German girls Lena and Christina that were great company.

I finally tore myself away from the idyllic isle on the 17th and had a big day to get to Tegucigalpa where I met Arturo, a gift of a man, who welcomed me into his gorgeous home, fed me, let me wash clothes (ick, humid island for a week was not doing me any favors) and then the electricity went out.

18th was an early start, and I crossed the borders no worries. As many others had already told me, Nicaragua is a special one. I am finding it remarkably refreshing to realize that I like Central America the further south I get...the people here are so friendly, starting with the engineer that was next to me on the bus from Tegus to Managua. He changed money with me, giving me a better rate than the bank, helped me maneuver the customs people, lent me his phone, and took me to change buses in Managua so I wouldn´t have to take a cab. And gave me his business card saying he hoped I wouldn´t have to call him, being in trouble, but at least I would have it. He had spent 2 months in Japan in 1981 working as an engineer in Fukuoka, Kyushu, and we spent a good portion of the ride talking about his memories in Japan and me speculating on how much it´s changed in the past few decades.

So I got to Granada, got situated in my lodging, and went down to the lake, a brown but pretty spot with lots of volcanoes in the vista. Granada is a nice spot, quiet, cute colonial architecture and not a whole lot to do so it´s been a good spot to catch up on online time and figure out what my upcoming plans are. Looks like I´m flying to Buenos Aires from Costa Rica in January, I am glad that I have finally reached a point where I am ok with admitting to myself that I am done with this trip, not in a bad way but it´s time to just settle and relax and chill in one place for a bit, possibly even work and make some money...wait, work? What's that?...

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