English flagGerman flagFrench flagSpanish flagDutch flagCzech flagDanish flag

New Cruiser: Expeditions

The travels of an all aluminum Land Cruiser and its owners…

Canada Flag South Africa Flag

Gracias, Honduras

Written by Raenelle on Tuesday, November 25, 2003
Tags: , ,

Today we crossed over from Guatamala to Honduras. What an ordeal! And what a ton of money! We do not plan to spend any real time in Honduras, as we would rather get to Costa Rica and spend a bunch of time hanging out there. The border crossing was a bit of a zoo. After about 5 hours of messing around with changing money and the border formalities, we eventually proceeded into Honduras and immediately ascended to 2,000m elevation where the clouds met the road. Honduras is really beautiful, although it seems as though most of the hills that once supported an extensive rainforest now support crops for the local communities.

Friends in GraciasWe made camp at a little town and immediately made friends with Salomon, a social studies schoolteacher. We went and visited him at his home with his mom and his two little nieces before heading into town for some dinner. Ricci (Solomon’s nine-year-old niece) showed us the way to the local pizza joint, where we proceeded to eat pizza on the sidewalk, while watching the cars and bicycles go by on the cobblestone roads. Everybody in town seemed to be out and about, and children roamed the streets looking for friends and playing games. Everyone was tremendously friendly – smiling and greeting us, and a few even stopped to chat. We were soon joined by four young boys and their bicycles, who chatted with Ricci and giggled at us. What a wonderful place where children can walk the streets safely at night and where the community seems to look out for each other.

We enjoyed Gracias so much that we decided to stay in town for another night. We checked out the town a little more in the morning and then headed back to the campground to relax in the shade during the midday heat. In the afternoon we drove about 5km east of town to some hot springs. We were pleasantly surprised to see that there were a number of different pools that had been built at the hot springs, each of varying temperatures, with a bunch of people milling around and having a good time.

We eagerly hopped into the big pool and were soon invited over to join a small group of men (boys actually)Aguas Termales for a Bacardi and Coke. We accepted the drink and spent the next couple of hours chatting to two eighteen year-old boys, Albero and Jairo. It was then time to head back to town and get some dinner. Walking into town from our campsite was literally a two minute ordeal, since the hotel/campground was about 2 blocks from the main ‘downtown’ road. Salomon and his family lived opposite our campground, so we stopped in at their home before going into town for dinner. Salomon accompanied us to a small local eatery for dinner and over the dinner conversation, he invited us to go and see the school where he teaches the following day. We had plans to spend the next day at a nearby national park, but Salomon was so excited to show us his school – besides, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity that had presented itself. We agreed to meet at 8am the following morning.

By 7.30am, Salomon and his family were eagerly waiting for us outside their home. Apparantly it was aSuspension Bridge family outing, since Salomon’s mom and his two nieces had decided to join us – and we were delighted to have the company. We quickly went to find a welding shop to get a part of the spare tire rack welded, and then we were on the road to Mercedes, the small town where Salomon teaches which was about 45 minutes away. We wound our way up a mountainside and down into a valley, and then up another mountain, and into another valley. The countryside changed from pine forest to banana plantations (actually plantains, which are similar to bananas) to coffee plantations. When we arrived in Mercedes we were welcomed into a home where there were lots of children and a single woman looking after them all. Soon after our arrival, a couple of eight year-old boys climbed the orange tree in the yard and picked a bunch of oranges. Before we knew what was happening, we were each presented with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice – yum. Soon afterwards, the woman was plucking a chicken for lunch (undoubtedly one of the chickens that had recently been pecking around the yard).

We climbed up the hill to the school where Salomon teaches, which consisted of four classrooms where four School in Mercedesteachers teach 120 students in total. At the rear of the buildings were two delapidated slides and some large metal supports which once supported a few swings. The swings no longer existed, but the metal supports clearly provided entertainment, based on the number of girls and boys who attempted to climb up them trying to impress us with their acrobatic skills. Although school was not in session (they’re on vacation till February), the school principal showed up and chatted with us for a while. Salomon and the principal discussed something about us driving back to Gracias along a different route – they discussed something about a bridge and ‘hammaca hammaca’ ??? They asked Robin how heavy the truck was, and then nodded their heads saying ‘si, si, no problemo’. We thought nothing more about it, and then headed down back to the house for lunch – a wonderful homemade chicken soup with lots of vegetables in it. We went to look at the telegraph office – a little room with a desk, lots of papers and of course a telegraph machine. We were amazed. Believe it or not, there are still places in this world that use telegrams to communicate!

We left Mercedes with full stomachs and headed back to Gracias along a different road than the one we came in on. Sure enough, after almost forty minutes of driving, we were almost back at the main highway, and we came to a bridge. A suspension bridge (hence the ‘hammaca hammaca’ which really means hammock). Ah – comprendo! Well, I don’t think there’s much to say here about the bridge. I simply can’t put it into words. All I can say is check out the photo album for Honduras. All will become clear! (oh and in case you’re wondering whether we’re still sane – um, I think so, but I’m probably not the best person to ask. Decide for yourself!)

Post a Comment