Since we left on this trip Alex has always been talking about the bay islands in Honduras where his British friend Oliver is working as a SCUBA instructor. It is the cheapest place in the world to earn a dive certification and everyone in the hostel circuit has raved about the experience so far. Today we arrived in La Cieba, the port town with ferry access to the islands.
The last couple days haven’t been very special. Al and I left our hotel Tuesday morning and immediately headed the wrong way towards the Honduras border. We were going the right direction, but our route was mostly dirt; over fifty miles of it. By the time we realized our mistake, we had already gone too far to turn around. For fifty miles of dirt it actually went alright. It was hard riding but fairly stable ground and quick straightaways. We were making good time cruising through the little mountain villages.
Finally we came to the highway and took off toward the border, finally back on the tarmac. Fifteen miles later nothing was adding up and we decided to stop and ask a store clerk how much further the border was. Turns out, not that far… the El Salvador border that is. This was as lost as we had been all trip. The clerk showed us where we were (about 50 miles south of where we thought), and steered us in the right direction. We roared off in a hurry staying on the pavement this time and pulled up to the Guatemala-Honduras border around 3:30pm.
The border crossing was standard. Stamp out of the country at immigration, export the bike, stamp in at immigration, import the bike, pay a lot of money. The whole process took over an hour and the afternoon downpour started in the meantime. We zipped in our waterproof layers and crossed into Honduras towards our destination city 10km down the road.
We decided to stay at Copan Ruinas Tuesday night. Our Kiwi friends Kim and Anna would be there and we still intended to catch up with them on the islands. The city is one of Honduras’ bigger tourist attractions because of a very unique set of ruins just outside town; therefore it is a tourist hub with plenty of cheap accommodations. The cheapest was Hostel Gemelos and we parked ourselves there for the night (as was our plan with the Kiwis).
Honduras seems a lot like Guatemala. They talk a little different (a lot different on the coast), but other than that, it feels the same. I wish I could say more, but Latin America is starting to feel very mundane now. I don’t marvel at the chaos anymore as I walk down the street; I just ignore it all and dodge traffic like everyone else. All the background stuff (noises, people, advertisements, etc.), it’s just where I live now.
At first we couldn’t find Kim or Anna so Al and I took off for food and ATM downtown. To great dismay, the ATM wouldn’t accept my card in Copan. I’ve opened up a tab with Alex and I need to call my bank when I get a chance. We sat down for food around 6:00pm wondering where the girls were. Two burritos later Kim and Anna waltzed in by chance and we were all reunited. According to them, they told a street salesman that they were looking for tall white friends and he instantly led them to us. Not bad.
We all caught up, had some drinks, planned the next few days, and went to bed early. The girls left for the island Roatan early this morning. Al and I hit the road around 10:30am in pursuit and finally arrived here in La Cieba around 5:30pm. Which brings me to my dilemma: over the water or under?
I can hop a ferry to Roatan, pay extra to bring my bike along, and get convinced to take a dive course on a very expensive tourist island, or I can head sixty miles down the beach and pay about the same to windsurf all day. Decisions, decisions. I don’t have a problem with diving, but I’ve got a lot of expensive hobbies already (motorcycles and windsurfing for example). The last thing I need is to invest a couple hundred dollars into another exciting adrenaline-based sport. And to pay to bring the bike to an island? Too many chores.
The other option is to go rogue and head out to Campamento, the windsurfing resort. I would be alone for the first time this trip, but surrounded by fellow wind worshipers. $50/day for all day rental and whatever board or sail changes I want. I emailed the owner and he said I might be able to work out some sort of camping space. But then there are friends and wild times on Roatan. I’ll have to think about this one.
In the meantime, I’m here in La Cieba for the night and not wandering far from the toilet. My guts have been a wreck since San Pedro. I could blame the water or the street food but I think Jim said it best in Mazatlan: ‘People get the shits in Mexico and they blame it on the water. The truth is that they come down here, eat way too many refried beans, blackout on tequila, and stay up all night partying. That’s why you get the shits.’