Thursday, 24 February 2011

On the road to Tegus


Waking up at 5am I got out of bed, packed and left my $5 hotel room. I sat on the pier watching the sun rise as I waited for the 06:20 ferry back to the mainland and the town of La Ceiba.

Once the ferry had docked I jumped into a taxi and headed to the bus terminal, because I really didn't want to spend another night in this town.

The town I was heading for was Trujillo, set in the middle of a horseshoe bay 100 odd miles away. A local “chicken bus” was displaying that name as its destination and the driver confirmed that the bus was going to Trujillo. You know what...I almost believed him!

After going down the road slowly for a couple of hours the bus pulled in to the small town of Saba. It was here that I had to change buses. Two more hours went by and then at the bus station in Tocoa I once again had to change buses but it was for the last time. It was only about 40 miles to my destination but last august a bridge was washed away and it had yet to be replaced. That meant that all the traffic to Trujillo and the nearby commercial port of Puerto Castilla had to take a long detour on a dirt road. The majority of the windows on the bus didn't close...

Interesting fact number 2742: body hair is really quite good at attracting dust

By the time I had gotten of the bus...

The bus station was a short taxi ride away from the centre of town but after several hours on buses I walked. Yes, that's right I “Walked”. By the time I had reached the square and also the top of the small hill I was “dripping” slightly. Thankfully the hotel I wanted was on the square. Hello A/C, soft mattress and cable tv.

The town itself is less than impressive but the wide sweeping bay did look good. After resting in my room for a while I went for a bimble. Pausing on the top if the hill by an old Spanish fort the beach was 50m below me, curving away in both directions. A 100 metes off shore, directly in front of where I was standing, a lone dolphin leapt clear out of the water several times in a slow lazy circle.

I spent two nights in Trujillo but only because of the tv in the hotel room. Mind you a Canadian company is investing $400 million in a cruise ship dock and I have no idea how 1000 cruise ship passengers are going to spend their day ashore?

The walk back to the bus station was easier. A 30 minute wait later I was on a bus back to Saba. Once there I hanged out for 45 minutes for a bus to the town of Olanchito. This section of the road was a long straight dirt road but as it was well maintained the dust level was low. At Olanchito I had an hours wait for a bus to Yoro, which was the final destination for the day.

Two cans of coke and several fags later I was on my way. Back on the road the bus went to every little village along the way and there was quite a few of them! After a couple of hours I was the only passenger left on the bus.

Five minutes later the bus stopped and I was “kicked off the bus”. I was told that another bus would be along in an hour or so. Smoking a cigarette at the side of the road I watched the bus reverse down a side road for 50m, park up and saw the driver go into his house. It was 16:30 and I had no idea if another bus would in fact turn up. I also had no idea how far down the road was the town of Yoro and I had no water. On the brightside I had nearly a full pack of smokes!!

In this kind of situation all you can do is smile, pick up your bags and start that's what I did.

15 minutes later I crested a rise in the road and before me was a beautiful river valley with a series of ridges growing taller into the distance. Damn, it was just like being back on the bike...


- I had no idea of where I was

- I had no idea how far it was down the road

However I was lacking a tent, stove, food and water so when I saw a pick-up coming up behind me I flagged it down. Using what Spanish I knew the slightly worried looking driver relaxed and gave me a lift to Yoro. After spending about an hour driving across pine covered mountains as the sun turned the sky golden (it was at this point I almost asked the guy to stop so that I could take some photos) we arrived at Yoro. I offered to pay towards the gas but he refused my offer by pointing out the truck belonged to the government and he didn't pay for the man!

It was dark as I walked the several hundred metres into the centre of town, passing a very nice looking hotel. I decided however that I would go cheap for the night and the Hotel Nelson was that cheap hotel. Thankfully there was no water in the bathroom so I high tailed it back to the nice hotel. It cost 3 times as much but it had....yep, that's right....A/C, cable tv and as a bonus a small balcony for smoking fags on!

The next day was Saturday and I caught the 08:30 bus to San Pedro Sula and I arrived at the bus station around midday. I was heading to Lake Yojoa and quickly found a bus heading that way.

Now, the lake is about 22kms long and my guide book was a bit lacking in information when it came to where the hotels were. However when the bus dropped me at the side of the road with not even the tiniest glimpse of a lake I wasn't too worried. I got a local bus to Pena Blanca, the “biggest village” on the lake and checked out the guide book. One place caught my eye and after a quick 5 minutes in the local internet café I discovered that it was only 2.3 miles away. So I walked....I know......shocking!!!!!!

I arrived there hot, sweaty but smiling which I soon stopped doing when I found out they only had dorm beds left. I haven't slept in a dorm since 1992 and I wasn't about to start now. The taxi dropped me back in Pena Blanca and I got a hotel room there. Sunday was spent lying in bed, getting over a hangover watching tv.

On Monday morning a got a bus to the capital. It's called Tegucigalpa but thankfully its shortened name is Tegus, which is a word I can actually say. The taxi ride from the bus terminal to the hotel cost as much as the bus fare!

I'll be here for 3 nights as I need to chill out, work out where I'm going next and hopefully buy a new rucksack as the shoulder straps on the one I have right now are attached to the bag by rope.


well I've brought a new rucksack (it's my 4th so far) and its a little on the small side which could be a good thing. I'll find out later when I do a “practise pack”!

I've also found a good local bar that's about 106 metres from my hotel. It's my 1st local bar that I've spent time in whilst travelling around Honduras. One thing I like is the way the bar staff keep track of your bar tab. All they do is leave the empties in front of you. This way when you walk in you can instantly tell which of the customers are already banana!!

On the downside, five days ago Honduras passed an anti-smoking law, so you can no longer smoke in bars....fuck!!!!

Friday, 11 February 2011

Empty calories

With Malin (or Melissa according to google translate) gone, life became easy, laid back and slow once again. Breakfasts were black and strong and took an hour and I didn't have to worry about sleepless nights due to the snoring.

On Friday the 11th of February I caught a bus to San Pedro Sula. I had a choice of 2 types of buses

Type A) was a cheap bus that left at 7am
Type B) was expensive but left at 10:30am

At 10:25 I was about to get on the bus but I was stopped from boarding because I had exposed and naked shoulders....and as everyone knows that makes me a thug and makes the bus company look cheap! The only sleeved top I have was my jumper....I was not a happy bunny, despite the A/C! Three moody hours later the bus arrived in San Pedro and as soon as my feet hit tarmac the jumper came off and the dark clouds circling my head drifted off.

Walking around the corner I got on another bus, a cheap one this time, sat down in the worn out seat and opened the window. I relaxed as the bus trundled down the road for about two leisurely hours. All good things must come to an end and this bus ride was no exception. Jumping out at the Tela junction I hopped into a taxi for a quick ride into the centre of the small seaside town that was Tela.

I got a hotel room one block from the main square (and yes it did have A/C and cable tv) dumped my bags and went for a bimble. Later on in the evening it started to rain and it really didn't stop till midday the following day. Ninety minutes later it started to rain again and carried on well into Sunday morning.

I'm confused, I thought the wet season happened at the same time as the hurricane season”

A small seaside town is no place to be when its raining so I got on a local bus on Sunday morning and went down the coast to La Ceiba, a large seaside town, a few hours away. By the time bus pulled into the bus station it was only drizzling and after the usual the rain stopped completely. As it wasn't to far to the hostels I walked.

I ended up staying at the Banana Guest House as it was the 1st hostel I came across. It costs $2 more than the excellent Café ViaVia in Copan. The best way to describe it would be by the following three words “paint costs money” and a friendly greeting seemed out of their price range as well. However as it was only for a few nights and it had excellent WiFi I won't complain (well not to much anyway).

Three blocks away from the hostel was the Expatriates Bar and Grill, which had super cold beer, great steaks and ashtrays at the bar. Yes that's right you can smoke indoors in Honduras...happy days are here again!

On Tuesday morning I left the hostel early and got a taxi to the docks. At 09:30 the ferry left the port and headed out across the Caribbean sea towards the Bay Island of Utila.

Hello cheap diving Mecca.....

Tuesday 22nd

Well I have been here for a week now and I've managed to do 3 days of diving, it would have been 4 days but today the dive shop didn't have enough equipment....tossers!!!
The diving here is scenic and I was surprised by the lack of marine life. There ain't a lot of large fish around and compared to Caye Caulker the reefs look quite empty. So I think it's time to move on.

On a more depressing note my camera has stopped working!