I am really impressed with the internet access here in the Garden of Eden. Then again, I haven't seen a taxi driver yet who wasn't toting a blackberry. So apparently Honduras isn't quite as third world as I was thinking. And then again...
Yesterday we were up with the sun - which, incidentally, rises really early here. For some reason I have been waking up at 5AM. That information will be handy for you to know later.
We hopped the Ferry with the locals and took a two hour ride to the mainland of Honduras. The city, La Ceiba isn't very big geographically. But like a lot of places where people don't require 2,000 sq feet of living space, it still manages to be home to 200k or more people. Yesterday, we were the only white people tromping down the street in the middle of all of them. Which was a surprise to me, given how popular of a diving destination this is. But as we walked through El Mercado we caused quite a stir. I think it was mostly due to the adorable little poodle we were toting around in a backpack. But my super short hair and dayglow skin might have contributed. I say that, only because of the guy who busted you-know-what to get across the street (not an un-daunting task) just to shake my hand.
The market itself was unbelievable. How is it possible that the colors here are so much more vibrant than at home? I mean, there is no shortage of beauty in Idaho either. But this place is breathtaking. Even the parts that are dirty and stinky. (I have some amazing pictures to share, but you're just gonna have to be patient. "Manana time" they call it here.) There were pickup trucks with their beds full of vegetables and fruit, entire animals hanging from stalls, bags of beans and rice so big you could hide a person in them, and best of all - fried chicken and plantains!
Before we got here I had heard the tales of our Captain and his iron stomach. Lisa said that in Antigua she had seen him eat from a myriad of bubbling pots of goo on the side of the road. Here in Honduras he has lived up to his "Anthony Bourdain" reputation. Ok. Well. Nothing has been too terrifying. But we did eat some kind of banana bread that was being sold out of something that looked like a bedpan. And today there were the delicious pastalitos (spelling?) sold from a hut made out of a Winnie the Pooh bedsheet on the side of the road.
While we're talking food...I have a newfound love for tamales. Ok. Well. In truth, I have ALWAYS loved tamales. Here in Honduras the tamales come 1) from a bucket on the side of the road, 2) wrapped in banana leaves, and 3) still warm. OMG. There is nothing better and I have eaten about 84,000 of them. Tamales and pastalitos (hot little pockets of meat that have been fried to a golden crispy wonderfullness) are awesome for breakfast. Follow that up with a Honduran éclair for good measure. Yum.
While you are by the pool you should sip ice cold watermelon juice. And later when it’s time for a cocktail I recommend a “Monkey La La.” That would be your basic boozed up mocha milkshake. For dinner you need to incorporate lobster as often as possible. Me gusta mucho. (If you speak Spanish, please don’t correct mine. I learned it in Mexican bars and from watching movies with Spanish subtitles. So I get that it’s rough. But in gastronomic situations it is serving me well. I’ve learned that people are pretty excited when you compliment their cooking enthusiastically, even in crappy Spanish.)
Tonight after dinner there was this cake that tasted like it had been soaked in cream and then topped with marshmallows. I will be amazed if I can fit into the pants I brought to wear home.
After the market in Ceiba, we headed to our destination for the weekend. A quaint little Villa on the Cangrajal River (again with the spelling…I can’t even spell in English). The drive was scenic, but the view when we got there was spectacular. There is a waterfall, high up on the mountain across the river. The area is called Pico Bonito, and the waterfall is called Bejuco. You can sit in the infinity pool and look out at the rainforest, with Bejuco sitting like a jewel in a crown above you.
Did I mention the toucans flying around? No? There are toucans flying around with those big old beaks just larger than life. You are so jealous, aren’t you?
Ok. This next part is probably going to leave a lot of you scratching your heads. But it was totally cool for me. And there are pictures that illustrate just how freakin’ excited we were. You see, Lisa and I, having grown up in Washington and Idaho, had never, ever, ever seen a lightening bug. And I have always wanted to see one. So last night when we were sitting on the couch and I realized the little green glowy thing buzzing around on the porch wasn’t a Peeping Tom with a flashlight, I kinda freaked out. (A Peeping Tom with a flashlight might have freaked me out in a totally different way.) Outside there were about a dozen lightening bugs flitting around. We watched them for a long time, and then looked at our hosts and asked how they were doing it. How were they able to make everything so perfect and magical.
I told them I thought that this trip was the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me.
This morning Lisa and the Captain got up early and hiked to Bejuco. I am proud to know people who have done this, because it looked difficult and also, if we’re being honest, terrifying. (Everyone here but me has made the trek. And the Captain now twice.) I, on the other hand, rolled out of bed about 7:45 when the propaganda truck rolled by. (think guy with a bullhorn and a message)Then I ate a tamale, ate an éclair, checked my email* and took a nap. (But remember what I said about how I’ve been waking up at 5:00 AM? I was tired.) Apres nap we hit the pool for a while and then got ready to head back to Roatan on the ferry.
*Email checking was important today for two reasons. 1) My friend Julie gave birth to her second baby yesterday. And 2) Mr. G ran a half marathon today! Congratulations to them both. Being so far away for these two events is my only sadness right now.
On the way to the ferry dock our friend and driver Adonay (J&C have been using his services while they are here and have gotten to know him well) took us to run a couple of errands, and we saw even more of Ceiba. It is a strange little juxtaposition of third world and new world. Dunkin Doughnuts and Wendy’s sit below a tangle of phone and electrical wires that make you wonder how the phones and electricity can possibly work. Huge haciendas with Escalades in the driveway are a block from houses that barely have walls, and horse drawn carts share the road with Nissans and Hondas. For an afternoon snack the Captain kind of wanted to hit the Popeye’s Chicken. But we settled on food prepared and fried on the side of the road instead. Trippy.
Sadly, our ferry ride home was not a trip highlight. The Captain knew when we got on the boat that it was going to be a rough ride, and reminded us again of all the things we could do to minimize movement and “unhappiness”. The life lesson I get to walk away with after our 1.5 hour crossing is that I don’t get motion sickness. By the Grace of God. (Thank you!) Unfortunately, I’m the only Senora who gets to claim that. (Another unhappiness for me. But hopefully after a good nights sleep both my friends will be feeling better. Not to mention everyone else on that boat. Blergh...)
So, here we are tonight. Back at Barefoot Cay aboard the Blew Bayou. I’m the last sailor standing. (And I’m eating Lisa’s dessert to make room in the fridge for her untouched dinner. Isn’t that nice of me? Tomorrow when she gets to have lobster and grits for breakfast she will be grateful, I’m sure.) The plan in the morning is to sail West to a place with a great beach and live musica. Since all of my wildest dreams are coming true, I have put in a request for some dolphins.
And I swear that if we actually SEE dolphins I am going to put in a request for unicorns.