Beach, Bike and Hike

Trip Start Sep 10, 2006
Trip End ??? ??, 2007

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Flag of Honduras  ,
Thursday, January 11, 2007

Our first evening in Tela, a "beach city" in northern Honduras, was no more than shopping around for an affordable hotel, checking out various disappointing book exchanges, and eating dinner at a restaurant oddly called the "Luces del Norte" (Northern Lights) where on their sign is depicted a scene of green blobs over a tropical beach. We liked it so much, we went back for breakfast the next morning, then spent the fabulously hot and sunny day relaxing on the beach. The next morning we were up early for a boat tour of Jeanette Kawas National Park, and it was downpouring. We were dreading going on the tour in the rain and joked about it getting cancelled, and overjoyed when it actually was. Shortly afterwards, it turned into a clear sunny day so instead we rented bikes (in the typical sketchy condition of rental bikes) to get to the recommended Lancetilla Botanical Garden. On the way there, my sandy rusty chain not just fell off but jammed in the rear cogs, which Matt had to seriously yank on to set free. We made it none the less, and wandered around the area in a state of semi-boredom. It was beautiful in a semi-manicured sort of way, but nothing was really gained from the experience. We did however, get to try a crazy fruit called "rambutan" that grows wild in the forest that some girls were selling at the entrance. The bright red hard outer shell, which is peeled off, has bright red thick hairs sprouting off of it. The inside is like a grape with a big hard pit. I think it is one of my favorite fruits, too bad we discovered it at the tag end of its season... From the garden, we biked out  along a coastal dirt road to some Garifuna villages where we had lunch and observed locals going about their everyday life, which in passing is not so different from non-Garifuna villages. It is not like they are constantly drumming and dancing and eating traditional food, so there wasn´t a whole lot to see or even strike up conversation about. "´re Garifuna huh?" Anyhow, it was a beautiful bike ride and our butts really hurt by the time we got back to Tela. We ate dinner, icecream for dessert (there is an icecream shop on almost every corner here in Central America), and spent some time on the internet before heading back to the hotel for the night. The next morning was sunny, so we went on the re-scheduled tour, beginning with an hour long boat ride across the bay to a place called Punta Sal. The larger area is named Jeanette Kawas National Park after an American activist who fought to protect the area from luxury resort development interests and was assassinated in her home by those same interests for her efforts. We went on a disappointingly short hike through the rainforest with the highlight of a couple of howler monkeys asleep high in some trees, and a sheltered lagoon where pirates historically hid out. We had some time to snorkel, but the water had very poor visibility, so that wasn´t so great. Next stop was a fried fish and plantain lunch prepared by one of the two families allowed to live inside the park. Of course, thick clouds covered the sky just when the relaxing-on-the-white-sand-beach portion of the tour came around. We took the hour long boat ride back to Tela and upon arrival it got hot and sunny, perfect beach weather! Another routine evening for Casey and Matt: dinner, icecream, and internet. Our last morning was just packing up and eating breakfast, during which I announced that I really needed to take a break from "desayuno tipico" as I could barely get down another plate of eggs, beans, fresh cheese, and tortillas. And that was our time in Tela, kind of a low point only in that it wasn´t great, but we´re not complaining...really.
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