Welcome to the Jungle, We've got fun and games....

Trip Start May 27, 2009
Trip End Dec 22, 2009

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Flag of Honduras  , Atlántida,
Thursday, June 11, 2009

Way too much fun in the Jungle!! We came out here for two days and one night and ended up staying for 6 nights. Every night it was "una mas dias, una mas dias" and after awhile "dos mas dias". On the last night the attempt was made for "una mas semana". Unfortunately we had already decided to cut out half of Belize and if we wanted to see any of it we had to get moving! Sad to leave, but here is everything about our time there... I have a feeling we will be back. As soon as I get to a computer where I can upload, I will get some pics up, although no picture did this place justice!

Sat June 6

Way too early of a start to catch the 7am ferry from Roatan to La Ceiba. I was half asleep still when the cabbie we had made a deal with the night before showed up to pick us up at 6am. Slept the whole way on the ferry so I'm not even sure how long of a ride it was. Once we were in La Ceiba, I was blown away by how organized Galaxy Ferry's and the cabs were. We starting negotiating with a cabbie outside and then someone in a Galaxy uniform grabbed my arm, asked where we were going and told us to go to the seventh or so car in line. The guy there grabbed our bags, threw us in the car, drove up and grabbed two more people and within 2-1/2 mins we were on our way to the hostel with a colectivo fare. Brilliant!

At the hostel we arranged to get the 12:30 pick up to the Jungle River Lodge and then left our bags and headed out to check out La Ceiba. The heat was insane! We walked down to the botanical gardens which was basically a small garden with some old rail cars and info about the United Fruit Company. Decided to go head down to the beach, figuring if we were at least near water it would be cooler. We were just about there when Kalin got distracted by a statue of Mother Mary and was heading to check it out when we noticed the sign on the building it was in front of... Municipal Prison. Time to turn around and head back! Stopped at the grocery store, half to pick up stuff for (what we thought would only be) the next 2 days and half for the wonderful AC inside. Back at the Hostel we had the chicken tamales we picked up from a street vendor and then had a nap in the hammocks until our ride showed up.

Our ride turned out to be a massive green bus that I'm positive was originally an army vehicle. The thing was enormous and the whole way up to the lodge all you could hear was the metal creaking and grinding and the horn that sounded exactly like a train whistle. Along the way we passed by the city, everyone piled into the backs of quarter ton trucks, through the outskirts and out towards the jungle. Soon it was the river on one side and the Jungle straight up on the other. Bumpy, but awesome ride.
At the lodge Isabel showed us to the dorm and then we got changed for some whitewater rafting! It wasn't like any other rafting trip I'd ever been on, but it was awesome!!!
We started by swimming up the river, jumping off rocks and sliding down others that I was too chicken shit to jump from. Once we were ahead in the river a bit, we laid down (feet first of course) and rode the current back to the boat. AWESOME!!

When we got the boat, we climbed in, practiced our strokes and then Kalin, me and our guide, took off for the ride. When we first showed up, I have to admit I was disappointed when I heard the river was low and only at a class 1 to 3-1/2 right now, but I'm also used to 12man rafts, not 3 in the boat. It kicked ass! We went over the rapids, went over them backwards and "surfed"/got stuck at the bottom of one. At another one he pulled the boat on some rocks after we went through a rapid and then let us go down again and again just us, not boat!

After we were back at the Lodge, they gave us a huge plate of fresh fruit. So good! We found some hammocks under the canopy and chilled there listening to the river until dinner. Dinner was an awesome tender beef shank with rice and sauce from the meat along with fresh salsa and fresh corn tortillas. Spent the night chilling and fell asleep listening to the river and all the sounds of the jungle.

Sun June 7

A quick granola bar for breaky and then we set out for our hike of Pico bonito national Park. We walked down the road to a shallow spot in the river, cut through a cacao farm and then we walked through the river in about knee deep water to reach the park.

The guide pointed out Tambor trees (used by the Garifuna to make drums), vines that are used as anti-inflammatory, some plants that heal cuts and some that are like acid. He also pointed out the monkey ladder trees and vines that strangle other trees.

The hike was definitely a work out! We were dripping with sweat by the first waterfall but held off on having a swim for now and kept going for the big waterfall. At the top, we climbed over a big boulder and then we were under the waterfall. Amazing!! Swam in there for awhile (whished it could be forever) and then had some fruit that Isabelle had brought up and cut up.

The walk back down was a lot less work and along the way our guide pointed out more cool stuff. Leaf cutter ants, flowers that collect water, termite nests (they taste like carrots, we actually tried them!), Isabelle also rubbed some termites on my arm as a natural mosquito repellant. Saw some Mango trees, banana trees, tried a wild banana that was full of big black seeds and then we walked back across the river.

I stayed in the river for quite awhile (a couple hours, I think) playing with some local high school girls who went to an English speaking school and trying to have a conversation in Spanish with some of the local guys (the conversations were very, very short. My Spanish needs a LOT of work). One of them lent me a mask to see the fish and the first thing I saw was Kalins sunglasses at the bottom of the river! Lucky timing.

Chicken, beans, rice and corn tortillas for supper and then we discovered Guifiti!! Guifiti is a Garifuna drink where 20 different plants, roots, herbs, leaves, etc from the jungle are put into a jug that is then filled with rum. It sits for a couple hours or overnight and then is good to drink. The same batch can be refilled with rum for 3-8 years! Because of the different stuff in it, it wakes you up, acts as a natural mosquito repellant and means pretty much no hang over! I love this stuff. The first taste though wasn't the best when we thought it was meant to be shot, not sipped. Learnt that quickly and then every one grew on us after that! By this point there was no way we were still leaving in the morning! 

Mon June 8

Zipling today! Saw a tarantula and a cool moth and once we done inspecting the creatures around the lodge we set out to start the ziplines! There were 8 in total, so fun! A little hike and some more info about the jungle from our guide and Isabelle after the first zipline to cross the river. Some more leaf cutter ants hard at work and a scorpion! Ate some more termites too! Finish off the ziplines, it was so cool. I felt like Tarzan flying through the jungle. The last one was the longest one and the fastest, which crossed back over the river and to the lodge. 

Came back and had some more fresh fruit and then soup, rice and tortillas for lunch. In the afternoon we went for a swim and to play in the river and then spent some more time in the hammocks. Another wonderful day in paradise of workout in the morning and chilling in the afternoon. 

Pork chops with rice, fresh salsa and warm corn tortillas for dinner, followed by some more Salva Vidas (local beer), Guifiti and trying to learn how to salsa properly and dance to Reggaeton. I love this music!! By the end of the night (which was basically the morning) we had been talked into staying 2 more nights as there is a big El Salvador vs Honduras game on Wed.

Tue June 9
today we slept most the morning since it was Reggaeton until the sun came up last night. Once we were awake and had some soup, rice and tortillas for lunch, we headed off with Queso for a bike ride up to some of the villages up the road. All uphill on the way there which nearly killed me. Normally it would have been tough but doable but today it seemed impossible! 

The first village, El Naranjo, we just passed through. The second one, Las Mangas, we stopped at quickly to use the internet (my condition to staying the two extra nights was only if I could email or call my dad somehow to say Happy Birthday!) and then we were on to the third village of El Pital.

We left our bikes with a local guy who was chilling in a hammock on his porch and then headed down to the river for a much needed swim! Back in the village, Queso left us with a friend of his for a very broken conversation with her and her family on their porch while he joined the guys from the town in the field next door for a football game. When our limited Spanish wore out, she gave us a tour of the house and then we went to watch the game. 

It was like the whole village was out to watch, sitting around the field with random chickens in the corner and every now again a pig running across the field from the street where they roam in the ditches during the day back to home.

After the game we set out for the bike back, way easier since it was almost all downhill! Only problem was that the sun was going down. At first it was really cool when the fireflies were out but it got pretty hard once it was pitch black going downhill. 

When we finally made it back we had steak, mashed potatoes and some fresh salsa waiting for us. Another night of Guifiti, Salvas and dancing to the Reggaeton and by now I was told to sit behind the bar and help. I don't know how we are ever going to leave here; it was such an awesome day once again! 

Wed June 10

A completely relaxing day. Some cereal for a late breakfast followed by a long swim in the water. More soup, rice and fresh corn tortillas for lunch and then chilling out in the hammock most the afternoon. Life’s rough. 

After dinner we headed into La Ceiba to watch the big Honduras vs El Salvador game. If Honduras won this game, they still had a shot at the World Cup, if not they were out. We went to a place with the metal gate and buzzer deal to enter to watch the game. Honduras won and the streets went crazy!! Everyone was driving slowly through the streets, honking the horns with people sitting on the hoods, roofs and trunks of cars. The back and roof of every truck was full of people with flags and throwing buckets of water and every SUV had people sitting on the windowsills pumping their fists. The balconies were full of people cheering. It was awesome to be there at a time like that! 

Given the energy of the town, we wanted to stay in for a few more drinks. We went to one place for a quick couple beers and some more tequila and then headed for a cool place call D'jva (I think) that was right on the beach. After a couple there we stopped at a Baleada stand for some snacks for the ride home and then went back to the Jungle Lodge for more Beers and some Guifiti. Chilled day, crazy night! 

Thur June 11

Another chilled day, our lat one and then I think we are really going to leave. Slept too long so the room was sweltering. A nice cold shower to start the day and then some lunch and I was feeling better. A swim after lunch and I was feeling wonderful again! 

Chilled in the hammock again for a bit and then hung out on the patio with everyone else. I am really going to miss it here! A quite night with just a couple Salva's and Guifitis after supper while looking at pictures of when the river is high and the rafting and kayaking are crazy. I need to come back here when the river is up!! It's probably a good thing I am not travelling alone this time or I would be staying a lot longer, just working with Isabelle!

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