Into Honduras

Our first impression of Honduras was unanimous: GREEN. It’s beautiful and incredibly green.

We crossed late and wanted to make it all the way to Santa Rosa tonight, but it was getting dark and foggy quickly. We climbed up to about 2000 meters on the drive and were pretty much in the clouds. We were going pretty slow and eventually it got dark. We violated one of our major rules – don’t drive at night – but managed to follow a random car to Santa Rosa centro. The ole’ “these strangers must know where they are going” trick fortunately worked for us this time.

We quickly found a place to stay and walked to the normal town square to find a restaurant and grab a quick dinner. It was pretty bad. Bode made friends with the owner and he was adamant to have a conversation with Bode in Spanish. Bode was hesitant to talk, but we’re pretty sure he understood a fair amount. We’re not sure how to encourage him to chat in Spanish. I certainly didn’t do it in English as a child.

The next day I was up at sunrise for no particular reason and decided to walk around the town while Bode and Angela slept. Nobody was up, except for the folks in the church. I was thrilled to buy a $0.50 cup of coffee an hour later when a cafeteria finally opened. Then, I found a farmer’s market and bought some pastel de leche – milk cake! The Breakfast of Champions. Another lady had fried banana chips that I couldn’t pass up for another $0.50.

We made the decision to skip the Copan ruins and the adjacent town – we’ve seen enough Mayan ruins to last a good long while. We heard good things about the town of Gracias (a Dios) so we headed there next. There were only a few police checkpoints along the way. All of these guys were pros and didn’t hassle us at all – they just wanted to see the normal paperwork. We even managed to bypass one police checkpoint by pulling into a gasolineria – I’m sure the drug smugglers haven’t figured this one out.

Gracias is a nice little town and was once the capital of all of Central America. It seems like the Spanish moved the capitals around quite a bit. Nice place with cool mountain weather, and a good place for a bike ride. It was Angela’s turn to be sick, so she recuperated while Bode and I wandered the town. Lots of really nice people here.

5 thoughts on “Into Honduras

  • July 16, 2010 at 7:09 PM

    Look’s like those training wheels will be off soon. He’s balancing pretty well in the photo. Go Bode Go!

  • July 16, 2010 at 10:58 PM

    It was probably fried plantains you had. The bananas are “reserved”, by the monstrous fruit conglomerates, Standard Fruit (Dole) and Chiquita, to be shipped north to the ‘Gringos’. Hence the name ‘Banana Republics”. An interesting topic, if you can get someone to talk about it. Try them with the red sauce. But make sure it’s your day to be sick. (and here’s a side quest for you, see if you can get someone to tell you what they think the origin of the word “gringo” is. It may be derogatory so be… subtle.)

    On the way to Nicaragua skip Tegucigalpa (Tay-goose, for us gringos) if you can, and depending on which route you choose…

    North thru Estelli: Meet the Estelli cigar makers. They rival Cuban Cohibas, easily. North of that in Jinotega and Matagalpa you can find the Sandinistas turned flower farmers. One of the strangest reversals of fortunes I have come across. They still carry their rusty pistolas and sharpened machetes daily, but now to cut flowers. It’s ironic and beautiful. And the produce is unbelievable; the street side stalls are filled with such abundance of colorful vegetables and fruits they can be mistaken for flower venders.

    South thru Leon: Leon is Granada without a neighborhood association or a marketing department. (you’ll see Granada and it’ll make sense.) but it is great to learn about the Sandinistas vs. the Contras, as in the Iran-Contra affair. Yeah, I’ve heard of it too, but never knew where the hell it was referring too. (there you can see where a waiter was so disgruntled with the imbalance of power, the presidential family had granted themselves Nicaraguan land the size of all El Salvador, that he killed the dictator at a dinner. It’s currently an uneventful site, but I day-dreamed of that waiter meeting Bush.) Don’t bother with Leon Viejo, however, I do recommend volcano boarding (it is what it sounds, surfing (really knee-boarding) down a volcano). At the moment I don’t think it is done anywhere else in the world. And there is a reason why. It is crazy amazing, but you will come back maybe missing a tooth, your ass kicked, and definitely bleeding with some scars.

    More of Nicaragua when you get closer…

    Travel on,

  • July 19, 2010 at 8:02 PM

    We met you (Angela and Bode) very briefly in Guanajuato Mexico. My husband and son (Declan, 8) and I studied for a week in Guanajuato at Escuela Mexicana and lived with a family there and loved it.

    We want to do a similar thing (one week school, one week travel) someplace else next year but we have only two weeks (school vacation).

    Where do you recommend? We want to study (Spanish) again and live with a family, then travel for a week. We loved Guanajuato for many reasons: it was beautiful, but it was also big enough to warrant a weeks stay.

    So far we’re considering two places: San Cristobal de las Casas (haven’t been there yet) or Guatamala (antigua maybe?).

    We have been many times to Mexico (mostly Central and pacific) and love it but are thinking we should branch out.

    What do you recommend?
    Love following your blog.


  • July 20, 2010 at 9:32 AM

    Hi Gretchen-
    Both are great towns and have incredible indigenous culture, very different from Central and Pacific Mexico.

    I’d recommend Antigua for school, and interesting places nearby to travel. Antigua is another beautiful colonial town, and nearby Lake Aititlan and the market in Chichicastenengo are both fantastic.

    We heard that there are 100 spanish schools in Antigua, but we had to limit our search to those with a children’s program. We were very happy with Proyecto Lingüístico Francisco Marroquín, a non-profit that helps to preserve the Mayan languages and culture.

    Send us a note if you want more info.

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