For the last five days, I have been chilling in a wonderful little place called the D & D Brewery, near the Lago de Yojoa. It is a small microbrewery and accommodation run by an American fellow and has the best beer I have tasted since leaving Canada and a decent dorm to boot. I was to stay for just a night or two, and then head on back to Copan Ruinas to pick up the DHL package my mom sent me from Canada with my zoom lens and replacement credit card. This did not happen. First of all, there was way too much to do in the area to fit into the time frame. Secondly, my package has been stuck in San Pedro Sula since Wednesday, awaiting a “clearance delay”, whatever that means. According to the DHL website, the package has gone from Edmonton to Calgary to Cincinnati to Panama City to Guatemala City to Tegucigalpa (capital of Honduras), back to Guatemala City and finally to San Pedro Sula, which is only a 3 hour bus ride from Copan. Fingers crossed, it will make it there by Monday or Tuesday.
On my first day at the brewery I signed up for a 6 am bird-watching tour. Not my normal cup of tea, but the guide was this opinionated old British naturalist named Malcolm, and he was definitely worth the price of admission. Between spotting Kingfishers and Herons on our little rowboat on the lake, he also filled me in on all that is good and bad in the world according to him and how the corporations were ruining Honduras. It was like having a tour with a very cranky David Attenborough.
The next day I went to the Pulhapanzak waterfalls- at 43 m, they were definitely impressive, but more worrisome were the kids playing near the bottom. You could also take a tour behind the falls, but I didn’t bring a bathing suit and the wet rocks looked a little beyond my balance capabilities. I also went for a hike at a local orchard/nature preserve and got thoroughly lost. The map they provided me with was vague at best and totally not to scale. I followed what I thought was an official path over a hill and as I descended the other side, I saw a man with a machete clearing brush. He smiled and waved me on down the path that had become a dirt road so I continued on. Eventually the road ended in a small work camp where a woman and a man were tying up sacks of some kind of citrus fruit. I tried to ask the man in broken Spanish where the path was, but all he did was point into the brush near the river. I knew that was the same river (more of a creek, actually) I had crossed on a footbridge earlier in the day so I decided to use it to navigate back to the nature park. After a few meters the brush became to thick alongside the water so I rolled up my pants and waded in. I forded down the watercourse for about 200 m at which point I spotted the missing path on the right, behind a barbed wire fence. A little crouching and crawling later, I was back on track. Nothing like a little backcountry hiking to make the afternoon interesting.
Back at the brewery, I met a woman named Inga from Australia and her friend Michelle from South Africa. They both worked at a mine in Sierra Leone and Inga was a geologist. Small world, right? We got to chatting and she offered to pass my resume along to some friends of hers at BHP Billiton in Australia. With a little luck, I might have a new job out of this. I think those whale sharks gave me some sort of good luck mojo because everything I have done since then has worked out really well. Even the bird tour was better than expected- Malcolm said it was the most species he had seen in one day since last spring.
I left the brewery this morning and made it to the town of La Esperanza, a cute little place up in the highlands. Rather than go back to ugly old San Pedro Sula on my way to Copan, I thought I would take the back way. I am a bit off the beaten track, but it is pretty nice. I have yet to see another backpacker and the scenery is gorgeous. Tomorrow I will move on to Gracias and Santa Rosa de Copan and make it back to Copan Ruinas by Tuesday. Lets hope my package is there too.