Saved on Sifnos - a travel story out of the Aegean Sea that includes little harbours, sleeping villages, several tavernas, a ferry onward, a Greek cultures festival and a room with a view, travelogue, trip, travel, Greece, Cyclades, Sifnos, Kythnos, ferry, island-hopping




December 15, 2000
Adventures in Driving

We were fairly exhausted when we arrived in Guatemala City's small airport. The flight from Los Angeles had been 5 hours long and fairly uneventful, but neither of us was able to sleep, so we had watched the movie, "The Kid."

David did manage to have a free sample cup of the local beer. Then we just sat and waited for our small plane, a 48 seater to San Pedro Sula, Honduras. It was not as bad as I thought it would be, and only a 45 minute flight

We reached San Pedro Sula, waited for our bags, got waived through customs, and walked through the tiny arrivals terminal into crowd outside. The humidity and the heat were surprising since it had not been that warm in Guatemala City. We were supposed to be met by a local representative who was to give us out onward tickets to Roatan for Monday. After 10 minutes, I looked at our vouchers and determined that we should go into Departure terminal to the airline listed.

It took us a moment, but we finally figured out that we had to walk around outside of building to go inside the main departure terminal. It was much nicer than I expected; here we found ticketing agents, car rental counters, a Wendy's, a frozen yogurt counter, a cigar shop, and a coffee kiosk. Not to mention the all important ATM! No baggage storage that I could see. At a pay phone I was able to use my MCI card. I don't know what the privilege will cost though.

We waited for 45 min for the Maya tour agent to arrive with our tickets. After that we were able to pick up our rental car; a Nissan pathfinder with "new tires". This car had already seen some action but it held up well for us.

The road to Copan was longer than expected, mostly due to our exhaustion and unfamiliarity with the location. It was, however, beautiful scenery filled with forests, jungles, and horse drawn carts. In addition, there were all sorts of people along the road, working, walking, and playing. There were also Grandmas with machetes, young men with machetes, and, you guessed it, even 3 year olds with machetes. Everyone here seems to own a machete, the tool of choice.

Goats, pigs, chickens, horses, donkeys, mules, cows and even an iguana, competed for space along the two lane highway with big, smoke belching trucks, old american school busses, and taxis held together with coat hangers and duct tape. Add to the mix, children playing in the road, people walking with firewood on their heads, and the occasional horse drawn cart, and driving was truly an adventure.

Along the drive we were stopped at police checkpoint for "donation" to build a new "temple". When we politely declined to contribute we were let pass easily. However, later along the route we were stopped again, this time by 5 year old children holding a blue rope across the road. They bluntly demanded money from us to let us pass. We said no. They didn't move. Finally it became a showdown and we just had to drive through so they'd let go of the rope. Nothing like an attempted mugging by a 5 year old to shake up your day.

As we drove I thought that this appeared to be the poorest country I have ever been in. Supposedly, Honduras is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Haiti is first. Both David and I agreed that it seemed poorer even than Nepal. Maybe it was all the poorly constructed houses that could barely be referred to as a "hovel". At least the one room homes we saw in Nepal were made of stone. These "homes" in Honduras were made of sticks, random boards nailed together, and corrugated metal. It just looked like the definition of the term "abject poverty". Yet, one of the odd juxtapositions we saw was that most of the women were fairly well dressed to be living in such conditions. Many wore outfits that would be at home in any major city, complete with skirts and heels, walking along the muddy roadside.

The long road seemed to take forever and we were just so tired. We arrived in Copan about 4 PM and promptly got a little lost trying to find our hotel. We needed to use the 4 wheel drive to get up hill but we finally found it.

Part 3: Carnachos in Copan

this travelogue is part of the subside travelzine
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