San Pedro for the Last Time

Trip Start Feb 08, 2007
Trip End Feb 22, 2007

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Flag of Honduras  ,
Thursday, February 22, 2007

As a result of our harrowing ferry experience, Martin and I opted to fly back to San Pedro.  At USD $106 per person it was well worth it and saved us quite a bit of time as, besides bypassing the ferry crossing (which I understand is rough even on good days), we didn't have to travel overland from La Ceiba back to San Pedro Sula.  (Steve later informed me that he insisted on flying back to the mainland as well.  I don't blame him!)
We parted ways with Steve and Karen when we left Roatan.  We had a wonderful time with them and enjoyed their company so much, particularly when we like to travel in a similar way (off the beaten track) and have common interests.  Half the fun of traveling is meeting people.  We used to joke that the only other travelers we met were "newly weds or nearly deads", but that has changed since we've become closer to the "nearly dead" age!
At the airport in San Pedro Sula, we caught a taxi driven by a man named "Sobrino", a real character who did a little shuffle-jig out to his taxi once he'd secured our business.  He was certainly a slow driver, though I wouldn't have described him as careful or particularly attentive which was a little concerning at times.  He took forever to change lanes, didn't turn off his signal for blocks and honked at everyone who got within honking distance of his vehicle.
Thus started the expedition to find a hotel room!  Apparently, there was some sort of exposition on in San Pedro Sula and all the hotels were booked.  After trying the Gran Hotel Sula and virtually every other hotel within walking distance that was listed in our guide, we ended up at a place that was a bit grim, but for one night we'd survive. Guess we should have been more organized and booked ahead.
Once we'd checked in, we had time to visit the craft market or Mercado Guamilito which was within walking distance from our hotel. There wasn't much for sale that was made in Honduras; much of what is available, as we noticed in our places, are items brought in from Guatemala.  Worthwhile made-in-Honduras souvenirs included wood products and pottery.  After the long day traveling and even longer day attempting to find a hotel, we abandoned our shopping and decided to return tomorrow morning.   
That evening, I emailed Steve and Karen, since they'll be coming through San Pedro Sula in a few days, to warn them about the difficult hotel situation.

We experienced a restless night in our rather seedy hotel, so we were up early, had breakfast and headed back to the craft market.  Couldn't really find much that was interesting (a lot of it was really junky), so we walked across the street to the Casa del Sol, a shop that had much nicer (and locally made) handicrafts.  We purchased some of the Lenca black and white pottery, several pairs of earrings, T-shirts and a small painting - all for less  $75 US.
Once we were ready to hit out for the airport to catch our flight, Martin started to walk to the Gran Hotel Sula where we promised we'd meet Sobrino (we had made arrangements with him to pick us up before we found out there were no rooms available), but was stopped by the hotel owner who offered us a ride. (I felt somewhat badly about doing that, but I must say the ride was faster and I felt safer in his vehicle than in Sobrino's!  I hope he managed to find another fare.)  The hotel owner spoke some English and told us that he had three sons working from him running hotels in Honduras and a daughter studying Administration in Miami.
We were quickly checked in by a cheerful airline employee which left us a bit of time to browse through the two small airport shops.  There was no duty free.  (We were told the airport will be going major renovations soon and a large duty-free is planned.)  While in the line to pay the USD $32 departure fee, we ran into Julie's friend, Sergio, who happened to be on the same flight to Miami.  For once, I was the one, and not Martin, who set off the metal detector and - get this - it was the underwire in my bra!!! Airport security insists that every airport has their detection devices operating at same level of sensitivity but I bet to differ!  It's different everywhere you go.
Martin and I very much enjoyed our travels in Honduras.  It wasn't the easiest traveling we've done, mostly because of the limited English that is spoken and our lack of Spanish!  (One of our goals when we return home is to learn more Spanish.)  For the most part, the Honduran people were friendly, helpful and interested in learning more about us and about Canada.  We felt safe and had few problems other than the usual bumblings of traveling, such as finding the right bus, etc.  As we walked up the ramp to our flight, we heard someone say behind us, "Come back, you guys".  It was a nice gesture and a great way to cap off a wonderful trip.

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