Trip Start Dec 30, 2010
Trip End Jul 06, 2011

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Where I stayed
Hotel Iberia

Flag of Honduras  ,
Friday, April 15, 2011

Day 101 April 15th continued - The school bus takes just over an hour and a half to reach a town called Ocotal. From here we unload our bags from the roof of the school bus and find another school bus that is heading to the border itself. The bus to the border takes another hour. At the border, we are unloaded and have our passports checked to exit Nicaragua but we are not stamped but charged a fee of $2 to exit. This time, I have the correct cash in the correct currency. If not, there is an ATM at the border, though when I was there, it was being filled so 5 guys outside with shotguns and automatic weapons.

It is at the entry immigration hut that Tamara learns the lesson about queuing in Latin America. It does not exist, instead, you push your way in and continue to be physical while holding your place in line. After filling in a form I hand in my passport and the lady is more interested in talking to a colleague, eating her lunch and seeing the queue of three people turn into 15. Lazy woman, her job would take one or two minutes if she just focused. While I was standing there, some guy pushed infront of Tamara, so I grabbed her passport and gave it to the lady. If we had to wait any longer the ginger gringo would have turned into the ginger hulk. I'm calm and patient throughout most experiences, but watching incompetence drives me crazy. Passports stamped, we do pay a small fee, we shouldn't have paid any fee as there is an agreement between Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala that allows free passage between all four as long we you have one stamp from one of the countries. I'm happy to pay $3 US to get another stamp!!

So, onto another bus, this bus is going to a small town called El Paraiso 13 km from the border where we can pick up a 4th bus to the capital. At said bus station, sadly, it was a quicker bus not as comfy as the school buses. Hot and uncomfortable and less leg room.

The ride lasts around two hours. I nod off frequently on the bus and so far, my tummy has survived the journey.

As we get closer to Tegucigalpa, the traffic increases, the spread of huts and homes on the mountains increases and well, being able to breathe properly decreases. Dust, smog, carbon monoxide, you name it, we were breathing it in. If you are looking for a holiday, you need not see any capital in Central America, but I love to see the capitals, get a feel for where the majority of the population of the country live, compare how different the standard of living and the culture of living is to surrounding towns and villages. Plus, the capital city has great transport links.

I have no real idea where we will be dropped off. When we are dropped off, we grab a small drink from a random cafe on the road and I find out we are 5km from the centre. We thought it was maybe walkable, but I'm so glad we grabbed a taxi. It took him 40 minutes to drop us off right in the centre of the city.

The city is packed full of people, cars, buses, smog, steam, smoke, stray dogs, vendors, such a busy city. All guesthouses and shops have a buzzer door to enter, similar to Caracas. We find our guesthouse, drop our bags, freshen up and head out. We have a limited amount of time before the sun drops and we're not planning on spending too much time here tomorrow.

We walk over to the church next to a market and right next to the guesthouse. The lonely planet guide is not so friendly in talking about Tegucigalpa, expect to get robbed, take taxis etc, I feel in daylight and seeing as I'm taller than most walking around I'll be OK, but, during daylight!
I usually take few pictures of myself but Tamara offers, so here is me in Tegucigalpa, the more you say it, the easier it is to remember. I particularly like the sunshine face on the church and the figures that sit just below it. It's these details that you have to be brave and stand there and look for, while also being an easy target to rob. I find having zipped pockets makes robbing the ginger gringo so much more difficult, and a strange smell might help as well!!

We leave this area, and walk east towards the very centre of town where the Plaza sits and where there is a Cathedral plus when we drove by there were crowds gathered in the plaza so something must be going down. Infront of the cathedral, people are creating all sorts of shapes and religious symbols from the long leaves. Some are very skilled to say make a heart shaped figure with a name written on it. Regularly, these examples are put in your face to purchase, I'm good thanks. I'm completely out of cash, so while I queue for an ATM Tamara stands and listens to some Indian dressed musicians strumming and banging out some tunes. This reminds me of the Monument in Newcastle on a Saturday morning and not always so great when you have a hangover.

We headed back west to see some of the centre but being very careful not to drift too far. I can't say I would recommend Tegucigalpa for any friends or family, but I still happy to be here.

It's time for food and the book suggests a busy place. You're not kidding!! This place was packed and I find out why, with every beer you purchase you get a spicy chicken wing! Already I'm considering ordering 6 beers (enough for my daily calorie intake) and with that 6 tasty chicken wings. There is loud music playing, varying between local Latin music and some 60s British pop, awesome! We ended up sharing some vegetable Sopa and a mixto plate of carne, rice, avocado, veg etc. Very tasty, the local beer is also awesome and so were the spicy chicken wings. OK, my new plan is mixing coffee with legs with spicy chicken wings!! Something to think about.

We stay in the bar for a while, watching females bored out of their brains with their dates, he's drinking 8 beers and she's on her phone! Not the place to bring a date. We also witness one middle aged guy next to us order 6 beers, sit there and drink 5 then his date turns up, with her two teenage daughters, who look very unimpressed! The pressure, trying to entertain your date and her two daughters! No wonder her ordered 6 beers!!

We walk back to the hotel safe and sound and tomorrow is a bus to Copan hopefully and a 430am wake up call!

Miles walked 1.25
Temp 31C 88F

Day 102 April 16th - Urgh, up way too early! And then a problem, the bus leaves at 530am and at 5am we remember not telling the hotel owner about our early exit and the place is locked up. No way of getting out! Temptation to go back to bed is strong! We rummage through his desk, try lots of keys and for some reason we are whispering?? We discuss how if I was sick, we'd be shouting to be let out, I guess I stopped whispering and those of you who know, my voice travels, we hear a door unlock and a very tired and confused looking hotel owner pop his head out of his bedroom door!
We still had time! He let us out, we walked east on the main road and managed to grab a taxi on the dead streets of Tegucigalpa. This car was a mess, sounded like everything was
broken but he got us there and then...........bus to Copan Ruinas is full! Crap! It takes me two minutes to figure something else out and we head to another bus station. The plan was to get a direct bus to Copan Ruinas village and relax and see the village, ruins and surrounding area. Now, the plan was to head to Santa Rosa de Copan and travel to the Ruins in the early morning the next day.
We find a bus company that goes directly to Santa Rosa de Copan, but the place is packed, we all squash in and wait in line, then wait in another line, my patience slowly eating away, the line we are in is not moving!! Eventually, after the rucksack straps are digging holes into my shoulders, we get a direct ticket, board the bus and have 7 hours to travel west across Honduras. We are wondering if there is some religious festival going on as hundreds of people are travelling, oh well I guess we will see!
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Pete on

Shame it wasn't the other way around...a free beer with every chicken wing ordered! Happy Birthday Anty!

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