It Takes Four Buses to Get to La Ceiba

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

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Flag of Honduras  ,
Friday, February 16, 2007

We awoke to the scent of the coffee trees blooms, so sweet and pungent.  We ate with Marta and her helper in the kitchen.  She divulged that she also had a daughter who was 27 and that she was a grandmother!  It was hard to believe because she looked so young.  We settled our bill, gave her a tip and got ready to head out and catch the bus back to La Guama.  It pays to be generous!  At the last moment, Marta offered to drive us into town.
It was a good thing she did.  Upon inquiring she found out that there was no direct bus to La Ceiba until 1:30 pm.  We would have to go to La Barca, then transfer to Santa Rita, then El Progresso to get to La Ceiba.
Sitting by the side of the road also waiting for a bus were Steve and Karen from Seattle.  We had run into them yesterday while trekking back from Finca Las Glorias.  They had been asking about a bus to La Ceiba, but couldn't figure out the response they were getting.  Why were they talking about a boat?  (la barca).  They were certainly glad when we happened along with a Spanish speaker who figured out the mystery for them.  We would have also been in the same "boat" if Marta hadn't have been with us!
So we took the milk route to La Ceiba.  We boarded a modern beater bus to La Barca, caught a school bus to Santa Rita where we changed to another school bus bound for El Progresso, then another modern beater "directo" to La Ceiba.  Local people readily helped point out or take us to the right buses and didn't expect any compensation for doing so, though we often paid those who helped us something small for their kindness.
The trip was a great way to get to know Steve and Karen.  Karen is a civil engineer; Steve is a community developer.  They have two grown-up sons.  They just started traveling in 1998, but, in the past 11 years have been to many places and have had very ambitious itineraries.  We felt like slackards compared to them!  It was fun to compare notes on Honduras and talk about our experiences. The weather was cloudy and wet, so it was a good day to be on the road.  We fumbled along in Spanish together, though Steve was much more able to converse with the locals than the rest of us.
Steve and Karen lived briefly in Edmonton; they joke about getting kicked out Canada. Apparently, the company that hired Steve didn't get him the proper clearance to work in Canada so they had to leave.  He packed up their little car with all their belongings and, along with a very-pregnant Karen and their baby son, hightailed it back to the US.  Karen describes one very lonely and long Canadian winter caring for her infant son.  It was Canada's loss that they couldn't stay!
We arrived in La Ceiba about 2 pm and shared a taxi to a hotel that we agreed on.  However, it was closed so we had to opt for something else.  La Ceiba, the largest city on the north coast (population 115,000), is a rather seedy and dirty port city know for its discos and nightlife.  It's also the jumping off point to explore the nearby nature reserves or to catch a ferry to one of the Bay Islands. 
It's along the north coast and on the islands that you will see the Garifuna who are Afro-Hondurans.  The coastline is dotted with Garifuna villages and the culture takes on a Caribbean flavour.  There are superb beaches and magnificent jungles in this area.
We spent the evening with Steve and Karen where we took cover from the torrential downpour at the Expatriates' Bar and Grill.  We certainly made use of our umbrellas!  We, as well as Karen and Steve, had plans to take tours into the countryside, but that may change if the weather doesn't let up.
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