We crossed into Honduras a bit confused at what had just gone down at the border. We left with an extra slip of yellow worth 30 days and blank spaces in our passport stamp for a date to be filled in by us upon departure to Nicaragua. The customs official decided to do us a favor and rig our entry so we’d have permission to be in the country for two months instead of the one month they usually grant foreigners. We hoped we wouldn’t have to do any explaining down the road. We continued our climbing and left the pine covered hills for corn covered farmland. We had a nice descent into the town of Marcala where we changed our US dollars for Lempiras, the Honduran currency named after an indigenous warrior who stood up to some Spaniard, I suppose. It felt good being back in the highlands, where the cool temperatures are balanced by the warmth of the people. Locals I met were friendly and inquisitive. We had a great first night in Honduras. We found a nice hotel, had a great meal, and were successful in setting up a Servas visit for Tegucigalpa. We left Marcala and began our battle with the tough mountains of the Honduran highlands.
On our first night out of Marcala, we decided to camp out on a small hill near the road. There were a couple small houses spread out through the otherwise uninhabited area. Everything seemed perfect for camping. Adrian and I were in our tents and having some evening chit chat when we were interrupted by a couple of locals, a father and son who were walking by and felt it necessary to stop and tell us how dangerous an area we were in. I really couldn’t imagine, but what do I know. I discussed with them our situation; we were already set up and about to go to sleep. They informed me that there were many delinquents out and about at night and ‘asaltos’ (assaults) happen in this area. Wow, heavy stuff to be listening to before bed. They said they’d stop by again in a few hours. When I started to discuss what had just gone down with Adrian, I realized he wasn’t really in the conversation when he asked me “What are Los Altos?” “Asaltos! They said this area is dangerous” I replied. Then “BANG”, we heard a gunshot. We didn’t know what was up or where it came from, but an hour later we fell asleep to the sound of rain and woke up the next morning safe and sound, ready to continue riding.
We passed through small settlements growing coffee and bananas as we pushed our way through the long climbs. Luckily the grades weren’t as steep as some in Guatemala, but the two days to Tegucigalpa were certainly tough on us. Push, push, push, Argh! Damn this mountainous earth! My hands are numb, butt is raw, my legs are tired and my mind is ready to stop! But what goes up must come down. Not only were the views spectacular, but so were the downhill rides. There is nothing like zipping down a mountain at 35-40 mph to reward you after a tough hour long climb. That was exactly how we entered the big capitol city of Honduras, Tegucigalpa. We navigated through the maze of busy streets and found ourselves a nice cheap hotel to spend a few nights in while we waited for our Servas host Mariel to be ready for a visit.
For now, we plan to be off the bikes for 2-3 weeks. Our next adventure is making our way up to the Caribbean coast by bus. Along the way we may hit a nice mountain town called La Esperanza for another Servas visit and then a waterfall a little further north before going through San Pedro Sula, one of Honduras’ big busy towns. Then we will hit La Ceiba, a coastal town with a beautiful natural park nearby called Pico Bonito. From La Ceiba we will take a ferry to the Bay Island of Roatan for 1-2 weeks of diving. This is where I’ll be spending my 27th birthday as well as Thanksgiving. Hopefully my coworker and friend Jon (who has the same birthday) will get his butt down from the icy North for some diving as well. Oh boy, I can’t wait.
Thanks for keeping up!
Hey, check this out: http://www.gristmagazine.com/soapbox/meatrix110503.asp