You´ll all be glad to know that I had an opportunity to vote the evening before I left on my trip. I had applied for an absentee ballot but was told that it wouldn’t be sent until Oct. 3rd, the day I was leaving. Well, the evening of the 2nd it appeared on my email and I was able to print the ballot, vote, and mail it in. Apparently I had requested it by email. I had been stewing about this for a month!
Starting off on my trip to Honduras, I experienced a few glitches (taxi didn’t come at 4:00 AM, plane couldn’t go as a bird had gotten into the engine) but all finally cleared and I arrived in Tegucigalpa, Honduras on time. I immediately got a bus to Comayagua, the former capital of Honduras where I spent a couple of low-key days looking at churches and museums and getting into the ambience. I was surprised to see several ¨Lady of Guadalupe¨ paintings—such a Mexican icon. And then I saw two Italian crucifixes just like the one you bought in Italy, Marlys and Jim.
I seemed to have arrived with an eye infection, so I went to a farmacia and bought some eye drops containing gentamycin, an antibiotic. Of course there was no information about the strength of the antibiotic or how often one should use the drops, and the box said, ¨Prescription required,” but upon improvising, the infection seems to have cleared up.
After Comayagua I took several buses over the next several days, visiting the area of Lago del Yojoa, the largest lake in Honduras. So far, Honduras seems like a country cousin of Mexico’s in tourist infrastructure, things to see, and food. But the people are friendly and nice, and I’m enjoying it.
On Tuesday I was planning to walk five km, with my backpack, to D and D Bed and Breakfast, near the lake. After walking for 45 minutes in very hot and humid weather, I inquired and found that I was on the wrong road. So I got a bus back to town and then got a tuk tuk (yes, there are a few of them here, too) to take me to D & D. It was superb with jungle flowers and fruit, nice lounge areas and even a swimming pool. The proprietor also brews beer so I had one for lunch—they also had brewed (good) coffee—all else has been instant—and good food.
The next day I copied the map painted on the gatewall and walked to the Parque Archeologico that has Lenca ruins from 700 BC. The book warned that the site wasn’t very interesting as they had not been excavated to preserve the fragile clay from which they were made. The bad news: swarms of ravenous mosquitos that paid no attention to the “Off” that I had applied before leaving; also the jungle trail was wet and slippery from the torrents of rain that fell during the night; come to think of it, it was pretty much all bad news because the wooden promenade next to the lake wasn’t right at lakeside, but in the tall grass that nearly blocked a view of the lake. On top of that, just as I got very near the office and small museum, I could go no farther as there was a foot of water blocking my way. Perhaps the good news was that I seemed to be totally alone in the forest with only monkey howls and bird calls; I photographed a cecropia moth as big as my hand. I retraced my steps through the ruins—yes, one could easily see the tall hillocks covered with trees and grass that was an old Lenca city.
Yesterday morning I went for a local walk while I did my Spanish lessons from my iPod, and then took a series of four buses to get to Santa Barbara, an old fashioned colonial town of 15,000 people. And how do I find the right bus? I just keep asking (in Spanish—there’s almost no English here) until I find somebody who answers assuredly that I can be confident is correct. Even then I always say my destination with a question to the bus driver or ticket taker as I get on. I had wonderful connections and on the three bus changes, I never waited more than five minutes.
The scenery is quite mountainous and sparsely settled; this town is kind of tucked down in a valley. The central plaza is surrounded on three sides with business, several of which are luncheon buffets. I looked quite awhile to find one that sold beer. It tastes so good when it’s this hot and humid.
None of the people wear traditional clothes here, unlike Guatemala where, fellow travelers tell me, about half of the people still do, and in Guatemala they are so colorfully beautiful—I wouldn’t want to give them up, either. So far in Honduras I have not seen much of any crafts to sell to the tourists or for their own use. Maybe I’ll see some later. There are not many tourists in these parts although these are not “tourist destinations.” So far I’m mainly observing and experiencing “Honduras life” which is interesting for me.
My mind is on the upcoming election although with rare access to TV, I’m missing those awful ads, thank goodness!