Leaving La Esperanza

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
Trip End Nov 04, 2008

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Where I stayed
Posada Don Juan - $23 double, ensuite, tv, clean, v good

Flag of Honduras  ,
Sunday, June 29, 2008

The keenest of our readers will be confused at our location today as we said we
were planing to stay another day at La Esperanza. However, our wisest
of readers will also realise how difficult it is to get some sleep in
any Central American town or city during Saturday nights!

La Esperanza gave all it had to entertain us yesterday, but no matter how
many times we walked around the main (nicer) area of the town it was
just dull and lacked any atmosphere apart from drunker and drunker
drunks. It is true that a Christian good set up a concert in the main
parking lot downtown under the irresistible title of "Jesus with you",
but somehow we decided to skip it and go to sleep early.

Now, we will try to describe the hotel at La Esperanza so our readers can get
closer to the origin of our tiredness on Sunday morning.
- All rooms at this place were planned to be slightly smaller than a prison
cell, the idea being that if any prisoner escaped from the prison up
the road they would certainly feel uncomfortable and decide to return
to their imprisonment voluntarily.
- Although the rooms have been painted recently, and some work done on doors and walls. However, it
that the "finish and cleanup part of the job was not carried out, so
there was dirt all over and paint where it shouldnt. The shower basin
for example was full of cement blobs.

Up to there we can normally take it, we have been in worst places along the way, although not for
$20 (400 lempiras) a night. The worst points of the night are the following:

Windows: we have identified a common factor in most of Central American
windows. They are not similar to the European ones (i.e. one piece of
glass in rectangular shape), they are like shades which open and close
manually. So the window is formed of 10 pieces of glass which you can
open and close.
These windows are placed in each room, but not
towards the outside of the building (i.e. street) but towards the
inside corridor.
Now this system is great for oxygenation, but it is
not at all good for sound and smell control. Basically if someone
commits to an "unnecessary expulsion of gases" in the room next door,
not only can you hear it perfectly but you also get a good wiff of its
Additionally if a lorry goes by 3 roads away, it sounds as if its parking in the corridor.

last point to this...curtains are not known to apply to this corridor
system. Why would anyone want privacy or darkness at night??

Love: another thing we have identified since our arrival in Central
America is that the favourite hobby of couples (whether they know each
other or not - i.e. in some cases 50% of the couple receives money for
the hobby) is "making love".
Now that is a wonderful finding, and
it certainly reflects in most of the 15 year old mothers that we have
seen in the streets. However, their hobby seems to get mixed with
acting and singing skills unparalleled in the European scene. These
couples really go into the shouting, and have absolutely no concept of
other people being 5 metres away - to the contrary they probably
increase the volume of their chants.

So the couple next door to
us was practising their hobby as if there was no tomorrow (early
evening, late night and early morning), and we could only break up the
sound by increasing our own TV volume...the repetition of
"amoooorciiiito" was just too much for our tired ears.

- Drunks:
another common denominator we have found in Central America is that any
town that wants to call itself so has an AA office (Alcoholics
Anonymous). There is a reason behind it...locals just can't take
alcohol that well, and when Saturday night comes along they certainly
share their singing and banter with everyone else (the later
the better).

anyway, that was our night at Esperanza. We woke up at 5am, went for
breakfast and decided to look for a better hotel to spend the second
night. However, the offers were not that good (or cheap for such a
shitehole of a town), so we concluded that we would visit the
incredible local Sunday market and then if it was not worth staying we
would move on.

Now, after 6 months of travel we have seen many a
Sunday market, and this was just alike any other one with farmers and
poor people selling fruit and veggies - so hardly the "worth dying for"
action that most travel guides relate to it. We wish they did...

it was 9am and we had to take a decision. The final of the Eurocup
Spain - Germany was on at 1pm local time, and we knew that if we
started our trip at 10am we would just get there in time for the second
half. It was worth taking the risk...either that or having to see the
football final in our hotel cell!

Now, up to today our transport
system has worked fairly swiftly and there are normally buses every
hour. However, if you check the map above you will see that La
Esperanza and Gracias are close to the Salvador border - basically
where Christ lost his flip flop (typical Spanish saying). So transport
does not leave too often from La Esperanza in direction to Gracias. The
first bus is at 6am (which we had already missed) and the second one at

We arrived at the bus at 9am and just sat there waiting
for 1.5 hours. There was another "fast" bus, but we refused to get on
it as it was a small van already overloaded with boxes and bags, and
with at least 10 souls in it when the maximum should be 8. When it left
it there were well over 14 people on board and its wheels did not look
in the healthiest of states.

So, punctually at 10.30am the old
US school bus departed on a 75 km distance voyage. Everyone knows that
75 kms is not that far. A normal car should do that distance well under
an hour even respecting all the speed restrictions. However, one had to
feel the road from La Esperanza to San Juan (40 kms) to believe it.
They should really plan the next Paris - Dakar here...pot holes, dust,
damaged bridges, all the lot...all at a wonderful speed of approx 10kms
hour...you do the maths.

We made it in any case, bruised and
battered, but we got there! It was now 12.30 pm and with 15 minutes to
go to the start of the match both of us started getting very positive.
We only had 37kms left to Gracias, and the road there was apparently
acceptable (no potholes!).

Adding to our good luck there was a
small van waiting for people just when we descended from La Esperanza
bus, so Marcos believed that we would arrive latest at 1.30 pm. Surely
a small modern van could do 37kms in under one hour! Still hope!

Horror of horrors, frustration all round. The van driver managed to
pack the van with at least 12 people (when the max load is 14), so we
were on our way. But he kept going round and round La Esperanza to make
sure he packed the van at least with 16 people! We only left La
Esperanza at 1.20pm...still hope to see a few minutes.

But no,
no, no...the driver kept stopping every 100 metres basically to drop
people off and pick new ones up. Additionaly the door of the van did
not open, so every time the driver stopped he had to take his seat belt
off, get out, open the door, get people out, people in, close the door
and return to drive! Marcos could not hide his frustration at how close
the operation had nearly worked out. Given he was sitting behind the
driver, Veronika had to hold his hands to avoid slapping a swift
backhander on the big fat skull of the b'stard...

again made it and it was 2 pm. We rushed to the hotel, and....just
managed to hear everyone cheer as the match ended and Spain won!
Happiness due to the result, but we missed a match that might never be
seen again!

In any case....our marriage survived! Germany - Spain was no test for us...

checked into the hotel, and believe us...we are so happy to have
selected this one. It is similar to returning home. Its clean, hot
shower, has all the services....we were really getting frustrated with
Honduras up to the moment - even when you paid more, the rooms were
just crap.

A walk around the town of Gracias ended our day, but more on Gracias tomorrow with better pictures.

Good night!
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