February 7, 2012

Delays and Detours

Having been stuck in Copan for 6 days waiting for my eternally delayed DHL package, I am finally out of Honduras and merrily typing away in an Internet cafe in Antigua. I spent most of the last week sleeping in, reading and drinking beer in Copan as I waited. I did have a couple of interesting evenings, though.On Thursday night I ran into my German friends from Utila, Alyssa and her boyfriend Merion. They were hanging out with another German couple at the local tourist bar, Via Via. The other couple decided that there must be a cheaper place for beer and we eventually ended up at this local hole-in-the-wall attached to someones home. It didn’t have a name, but there was a picnic table and a pile of vegetables in sacks in the corner. At the bar was a friendly lady and her husband passing out beer for a mere 22 Lempiras (compared to 35 at Via Via). A local guy sat down beside me and proclaimed his love, but I tactfully brought up my (imaginary) boyfriend who hadn’t come out with us that night. The imaginary boyfriend comes in very handy when I have to explain to love-struck Honduran fellows at the bus stop ask why I am walking around by myself. This version was a teacher and volunteer but he has also been a pilot or mechanic or chef, depending on my mood.

Later in the evening a mariachi band randomly showed up, doubling the occupancy of the bar. They had just finished their shift at a tourist hotel and were still in full costume. I think they were friends with the guy who ran the place- after a couple of beers they launched into several out-of-tune numbers, at which point my Honduran paramour tried to get me to dance. Yet another unexpected and surreal night in Central America.

On Superbowl Sunday every American within driving distance of Copan congregated at the only pizza place in town and sat down in front of the flat screens brought in for the event. There were several Americans in my hostel so I joined them for the first half, but I don’t really follow NFL so I left to meet Alyssa instead. We got a six pack and sat drinking in the central square as the citizens of Copan played with their kids and the sun set. Two little girls sat watching us intently as we drank. At first I thought they were just curious but then one of them got bold and asked me for my can. After that, every time I finished a can, she ran up with her little bag so I could put it in. They waited until we were done all six before running off into the night.

As it was not yet 9 pm, Alyssa went to get Merion and I brought them to a great bar I had found the other night. It was run by a German fellow who imported his hops directly from Bavaria. Alyssa was from Bavaria, so she was ecstatic to have some “proper” beer for once. Running at 60 Lempira, it was the most expensive beer in town, but it was well worth it (and it worked out to a mere $3 Canadian dollars, so is probably the least I will ever pay for a German microbrew).

The next day I FINALLY got my package at about 1 pm, but all the cheap shuttles had already left. I was NOT going to spend another day in Copan so I splurged and took the Hedman Alas bus to Antigua. At 789 Lempira, it was definitely out of my normal price range, but it was nicer than any bus or plane I have ever been on, with steward service, free sandwiches and drinks, along with the comfiest bus seats that leaned almost all the way back. I got into Antigua last night at 9 pm and booked into the Black Cat Hostel, which had beds that were the opposite in comfort from the bus seats, but the huge free breakfast made up for it. I only have a week in Guatemala now because I have decided to make a drastic change in my itinerary.

The other night in Copan, I dreamed that I went to Carnaval, and when I woke up I thought that sounded like a great idea. It sounds flaky as hell and was probably a result of my increasing boredom, but the next day I started looking into places in South America that had good celebrations (Brazil was out of the question because it would take too long to get a Visa, and was also the most expensive). I narrowed it down to three places: Port-of-Spain, Trinidad; Barranquilla, Columbia; and Oruro, Bolivia. All had huge celebrations and were accessible by flight or bus. Eventually I chose Oruro because I had been to Trinidad before, and because Boliva put me smack in the middle of all the things I wanted to see in the continent. So now I am flying from Guatemala to Santa Cruz, Boliva on Tuesday, Feb 13 and will make it to Oruro by Feb 16, just in time for Carnaval. Random, I know, but what the hell, why not?

-A.

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Yet more bumpy roads.

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About Amy D. Nelson

Wanderer, hack writer, aspirational hobo, part time aerial surveyor, geologist, forester and whatever else I can do to pay for a plane ticket. Is that sentence fragmental enough?

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