Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Bienvenido a Honduras

“Bienvenido a Honduras!” the flight attendant greeted me as I stepped off the plane into San Pedro Sula Airport. A much warmer welcome than the last country I entered, I thought.

My husband and I made our way through customs and baggage claim without any issues, then as I picked up my backpack, I could feel the nerves start dancing in my stomach. I remembered what it was like every other time that I landed in a foreign country without family or friends to pick me up -- as soon as those automatic doors opened up, I’d been barraged my taxi drivers and money changers touting their services in my face. They could sense my innocence and see the overwhelmed expression on my face, and I felt like prey being pounced on.

I braced myself and put on an “I know where I’m going” type of expression as we approached the arrivals gate, but this time it was decidedly (fortunately) very different. Families lined up waiting to greet their loved ones and the hawkers stayed at bay. Matthew and I made our way to the food area to grab a bite to eat and something to drink, changed our currency at the airport bank, then went on a hunt for the Hedman Alas bus terminal that was attached somewhere to the building (for the record, there aren’t any signs directing you but go all the way to the left, past the car rental stands, and the HA office is tucked around the corner). I was sweating by the time we got there due to a combination of hauling my bags, nerves, lack of air conditioning, and the pressure of suddenly having to speak Spanish, and dropped in a satisfied heap once our tickets were finally in hand.

“Everything is going according to schedule,” I said with relief. “Now all we have to do is wait.” Within a half hour our bus arrived, and by that time we’d started chatting with a Canadian girl who’d just flown in from Roatan (one of the Bay Islands next to Utila, our final destination).

“I’ve been trying to get off the island for three days!” she said. “The weather has been so bad here the ferries have been cancelled. Eventually I just paid $70 for a flight.” 

I hope that’s not the case for us too, I thought. That’s $100 more than we planned on spending, and a hundred bucks takes you pretty far in Honduras. 

By this point it was about 1.45 pm, we hadn’t slept the night before, but we were excited and happy to be en route. We stared out the bus window during our short trip through the city of San Pedro Sula. Lots of stray dogs and trash lined the streets. There were no lines painted on the roads and cars, busses, and motorbikes alike weaved in and out of lanes. In the distance we saw hills covered in lush greenery with palm trees everywhere. The countryside reminded me of Trinidad and Jamaica, the Caribbean countries we'd recently visited.

tired-and-sick-travelling-on-bus
On our way to La Ceiba via Instagram 
We pulled into the city’s main bus terminal, then after an hour’s wait boarded another bus that would take us to La Ceiba, where the next morning we hoped to take the ferry onwards to the island of Utila.  

We stayed at Hotel El Estadio in La Ceiba, and I was less than impressed with our surroundings and accommodations. On the taxi ride from the bus station we passed shops and restaurants that all had guards stationed out front, M14 rifles in hand. Don’t be stuck up, I chided myself. Things are obviously going to be at a different standard here. Just go with the flow. 

rifles-in-la-ceiba
Matthew's a lot happier when he's the one holding the gun
It was about 7 pm and by that time the cold that I had picked up in Tennessee was at full force and all I wanted was a quick bite to eat and a full night’s sleep. “Finally we’re here!” M said with relief, crawling onto the bed. Not two seconds later… CRACK! He'd fallen into the corner and the bed was lodged at a precarious angle. 

“You did not just break the bed,” I sighed with exasperation. We looked at each other and smiled a what-can-you-do-smile, then I lifted the mattress while he crawled on the floor and attempted to put an undersized peg back into place. 

After waiting a very long time for overpriced food at Expatriates, we finally made our way back to the hotel around 10 pm. Matthew mildly electrocuted himself in the shower due to the exposed wire that (used to) attach the hot water heater to the shower head, but hey -- sometimes you need to live dangerously, right? :P

Wary of bed bugs, we pulled out our silk sleep liner and snuggled inside. 

“Buenas noches,” I whispered sleepily. “Buenos nachos,” my husband replied.

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4 comments:

  1. LOL! So cute. I'm glad there were no problems entering into Honduras. Hopefully the rest of the countries would be just as warm. :-)

    Mo

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  2. Honduras! Yay! My SIL is from there and she has told me lots of stories. Stay safe! Love reading about your adventures :)

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    1. Oh yeah, I remember you mentioning that before!! It's great here, I'm enjoying taking in the beauty every day

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