Well, we chose the “cheap” option for getting to Honduras this time. We got a one-way flight to Cancun, Mexico and then took buses, a boat, and a taxi to get the rest of the way to our mountain home. But after the nights in hotels, three border crossing fees, and transportation costs, the price was not much less than flying all the way. I think that next time we have four stuffed suitcases and two weighty carry-ons we might opt for flying into Honduras.
For the details of our trip, from Cancun we took a coach bus to the southern border of Mexico the first night. Then the second day we took a school-type bus over the border into Belize and drove through most of the country to meet the Caribbean on the southern coast.
And here I will dedicate a paragraph to the school buses of our childhood. Who ever thinks where those lovely yellow buses have gone to when we graduate? Apparently those buses are not in the junkyards of the US. Nope, they are moving people in Central America and produce and even small livestock. I`ve heard them referred to as chicken buses. I’ve seen these buses with the county names of their former routes written on their sides, with some from Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Belize, however is a fascinating place, for it is a mixture of the Latino culture with that of the Garifuna. The Garifuna are descendants of African slaves which have long lived in Central America. In Belize English is the official language, but it is thick with a Caribbean accent, as is the culture, so it reminds one a little of what Jamaica would be like.
From Belize we got on a boat for a “three hour tour” to Honduras. Unfortunately we got caught in a downpour before getting on the boat, which had us very concerned about the laptop we had with us (fortunately it is the one I am currently typing on). The boat left hours after we expected and then, when we got far enough off shore where there was no hope of me swimming back, our boat stopped. The cover to the motor was pulled off, there was discussion and fiddling for some time, someone made a call on a cell phone, and then everyone sat down to wait. Another boat came to rescue us and found after awhile that we had simply blown some sort of fuse. All the locals pulled out their lunches at this point, so apparently they knew something that we didn’t in signing up for this boat trip, as we thought we would arrive about noon. Anyways, we got underway again and things were smooth for awhile, that is until we hit rough water, where everyone was instructed to put on their life vests. That wasn’t much of a comfort. It was a fun ride though and it was neat to spend more time with some of the local people. And most importantly, we made it safe without any more hitches.
From where we landed in Honduras we still had hours of traveling left in our day. First we had to take a mini-bus to San Pedro Sula, paying for the four seats we filled between us and our luggage. From that city we had to catch another bus to La Ceiba, which is the city an hour from our mountain home. We finally made it to La Ceiba at 9pm, just in time to be drenched our second time that day from a downpour. We opted to spend the night in a nearby hotel where we could dry out some.
So finally on Sunday, after three full days of traveling, we got a taxi to drive us up to our house in Rio Viejo. It was either the taxi for $10 US, or standing in the hot sun at the bottom of the road with our luggage waiting for who-knows what school bus when.
We’ll have to download pictures of our house for the blog sometime soon, but for now, it’s a cement block house with a tin roof. We have two bedrooms and two baths and a big open room that includes the kitchen. Unfortunately though, the house is in rough shape. Jason spent several months earlier working on things down here, but there’s still a long ways to go. The biggest issue has been the termites. A piece of wood will look completely normal on the outside, but the insides will be all eaten out. Hollow wood isn’t comforting when it’s supporting your kitchen sink, your window frames, and the beams holding up the roof. We’ve found a few scorpions and interesting spiders so far and it appears that we’ve had a couple birds in our bedroom recently. Still though, we live a luxurious life in this house compared to most in this area.
It is beautiful here. You follow the river when you drive up the mountain and watch the rapids and a waterfall high up in the hills. There are banana plants and tropical flowers just about everywhere. The birds are never quiet during the day (one of which sounds like a cat to Jason) and at night there’s another orchestra of insect and interesting sounds. Down the hill from our house is a stream created by the last major hurricane here, which closely connects into the river, so we can always hear the water moving. The cows and horses and pigs and chickens tend to roam free here, with their owners out to retrieve them at the end of the day, so it isn’t uncommon for a lone cow to mosey by and trim the grass outside our fence. (Just as I typed that a mare and her foal walked past our front gate.) Jason had a thatched hut built out in our yard where we can enjoy the shade and the breeze and have a great view of the next mountains over.
Well, to post this online Jason and I are riding the school bus down the mountain with the school kids here. I think school is getting out now, so it is time to finish up and get going. I just had my first day in classes, but I’ll have to write about that another time.