Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Weekend Away From Tegus

Two weekends ago, I took my first weekend trip since arriving in Tegucigalpa about 4 months ago. The language instructor at the Embassy sponsored the trip and about 12 of us signed up to head north to the coast, to a little town called Tela. It's a great little place with a beautiful beach and islands off the coast.

On the way down, I made quite a few observations. We were in a chartered bus and I decided to NOT read as did so many, but instead, to just look out the window at the life that was flying by as we drove along.

  • I saw lots of crosses by the side of the road. This didn't surprise me since this is a pretty dangerous road. Honduras is very mountainous and this 2 lane road winds in and out of the mountains and the people who live here have no concept of the dangers of passing on blind curves. It's no surprise that there are so many deaths on the highways. Even old hand-me-down orange school buses from the U.S., filled with people, pass on curves. They just expect any oncoming traffic to move over. But it's not always the case. On our way back, we came upon an accident that must have just happened. A bus was across both lanes, crashed into the side of the mountain. On the other side of it was a small white car with a man laying in the road...obviously dead. That's another thing...they never cover the victims. It's all about sensationalism here. On the television news, as well as all the newspapers, it's like a contest to see who can show the most dead bodies.

  • There is an upcoming election here. Nailed to the trees for miles and miles were the sidewall parts of tires with the candidates names painted around the black smooth part. I guess the budget for campaign signs on the highway is next to nothing. I even saw some signs that read "Jesus por Presidente." Wishful thinking, I'm sure, as the choices of candidates aren't good. So much corruption here...

  • It's amazing how many buildings there are that are in varying stages of completion. Some are just shells with the concrete blocks going up one or 2 stories, with the steel rebar sticking up from the tops of the blocks. And they seem to just stop. Even in Tegucigalpa, you see buildings that seem to be complete for the first few stories, but there are those steel rebar sticking up. It's like...OK, we've run out of money for now...go ahead and occupy the bottom floors and we'll see you again when we get more money!!
  • Cornfields are EVERYWHERE. Some are in perfect rows and seem to be cared for very well. Others are just random, with no plan at all. Since drugs are such a huge part of the economy here, I had to wonder if the cornfields hid other kinds of crops under their large leaves and tassles.

  • Lots of people sell their fruits or vegetables on the side of the road. And when I say the 'side' of the road, I mean it! For examples, there were several selling what appeared to be oranges. They would stack them up in bags and they were so close to the side of the road, you could run them over if you weren't careful! And there would be 3 or 4 different places with these stacks yet I would rarely see anyone. They must have been safely behind a rock or tree and if you stopped, they would appear out of nowhere! The idea of placing these stacks of oranges or watermelons or whatever they were selling at short entervals was probably for a good reason. If you passed one and said to yourself "Darn, I'd love to buy some of those!" there would be another stack in about 100 yards!
OK, so much for my observations on the way to Tela. Once there, we had a great time. The rooms were very nice even though we didn't get in the newer section by the 2 swimming pools. We arrived at about 4:00 PM and after checking in, we were back on the bus to head for the Botanical Park of "Lancetilla." This was a gorgeous area with lots of lush greenery. I was a tiny bit disappointed that there weren't more tropical flowers but it was beautiful anyway. Here are a few pictures of Lancetilla:

Huge bamboo...sure makes me look small!!

At the beginning our our walking in the white pants.

These red palms were gorgeous...bright red trunks! I want some!

After our tour of this garden, we returned to the hotel and had dinner. Some went swimming in the pool. I had noticed the thatched roof bar down at the beach and headed for it! I watched the sunset and drank Margaritas! It doesn't get much better.
The Dolphin Bar The Sunset...ahhhhh!

The next morning we got up, had breakfast and headed for a boat trip. We were on our way to Punta Sal, the islands off the coast. It was a trip of about 45 minutes in open water...not quite the "Three Hour Tour" that Gilligan took, but as land became smaller and smaller, I began to least we all had life preservers on! We hiked the island, saw beautiful trees and even talked to the monkeys that live on the island. We were supposed to do some snorkeling but the water was choppy and it wouldn't have been clear enough to see anything.

On our Way! Hiking

Back at the hotel, we had another great dinner and, yes, I was back at the little thatched hut bar called the Dolphin. There's nothing quite like an open air bar, a good margarita and a sunset. This was an all inclusive resort and the first margarita was really good...if you ordered it without tequila! The next one I ordered, I slipped the waitress 50.00 Lempiras and asked her to please have the bartender put some liquor in it this time. He did. :o)

Everyone had a great time and on the way back, I asked the bus driver to please stop at a pottery place I had seen on the way to Tela. I have this huge indoor planter in my house and some very very large terra cotta pots would look great. He did, I ran across the street, with our tour guide and one of the drivers and spent about $50 US and left with 4 gorgeous pots/urns/containers (whatever you call them). They look gorgeous in my house and will travel with me to my next post. Even if I don't have an indoor garden, they will look great in a garden and will remind me of my fun trip to Tela, Honduras!

Aren't they beautiful? The tallest is about 3 feet tall. The 4th is in the background with the plant in it. I love them!