Thank goodness that’s over! The last two weeks have been the hardest yet in Honduras. I have had to translate everything into English, endure complaints about eternal bus rides from hell, find food that doesn’t include refried beans or tortillas and worst of all, put up with being parented again! Jokes aside, it has been quite the experience having my dad and Kirsty here for the last two weeks, as I’m sure it was for them.
It started with picking them up from the airport in San Pedro Sula (thankfully with all their bags, Lucy’s family weren’t so lucky). Kirsty was understandably on edge, being in the murder capital of the world, even though that is technically now Caracas in Venezuela, but we were only there for one night and then started the all day journey back to Candelaria.
With Amy’s mum, Penny, and gran, Sue, in tow, I eased the newbies into Honduran bus rides with a nice minibus ride from SPS to Gracias, only to turn around and take them on the four hour chicken bus ride along bumpy, unpaved roads. In my dad’s words – “It was four hours of pure torture. I shouldn’t have to sit there and try to convince myself that it doesn’t hurt!”
Moving quickly onward, we spent the next two days in Candelaria where they got to see all of my classes, experience their first taste of traditional food (they weren’t big fans) and get over their jet lag in 35 degree heat. It was definitely a tough start to their time but I think they enjoyed meeting my kids and seeing me in action.
On the Wednesday, we took Candelaria’s only mini bus out to San Juan where we changed buses to go to Gracias. The luxuriousness of Guancascos was welcomed after an early start, especially the fresh passion fruit juice (for my dad) and the strong wifi (for Kirsty). It took a while for me to be able to drag them away but eventually I got them out to Fuerte San Cristobal, home of the best views of Gracias you can get without climbing a mountain. To end our first day we headed out to the Aguas Thermales, where my dad got to enjoy his first ice cold Honduran beer.
Day 2 in Gracias saw us head to La Campa to do the highest zipline in Central America. Kirsty very bravely got through some nerves to do the first two ziplines accompanied by one of the guides and the rest by herself and my dad even more bravely offered to step back and take pictures. My hero.
Our next stop was the Copán Ruinas, a first for me too. We only had one night here so had to make the most of it. After we had some delicious lunch in Casa de Cafe, next to our awesome hostel, La Iguana Azul, we went to Macaw Mountain, a scarlet macaw sanctuary. It was a brilliant place with an amazing array of birds and you even get to hold some of them!
The main attraction in Copán Ruinas, as the name may suggest, are the ruins. Alongside our excellent tour guide Virgilio, we wandered around the remains of an ancient Mayan civilisation. I have seen a fair few Mayan ruins recently and I have to say that Copán might possibly be my favourite. Not only is it in Honduras making me a bit biased, it is incredibly well preserved and a very compact site, making it easier to imagine what the city would have been like back in the day.
No rest for the wicked as we were off to San Pedro again for a night before hopping down to La Ceiba for the boat to Roatán. Let the holiday really begin! I know this was the bit Kirsty was really looking forward to and I have to admit some R&R sounded good to me too.
It seemed like half of the PT volunteers were on Roatán that week which meant that wherever we went, there was usually a lot of us! Over our four days in Roatán we sunbathed, swam, snorkeled and went for a ride on a catamaran, among other things. We also went out to visit Calum and Tom’s project in Punta Gorda and to celebrate Garifuna Day with them. Garifunans are the people that live in Punta Gorda and arrived in Roatan from St Vincent.
My two favourite parts of the week were visiting the sloth sanctuary and our night dive. How many people can say they have been clambered on by a monkey, dive bombed by a macaw and hugged and kissed by Sid the sloth all within half an hour?! And then seeing as we were back at Honduras’ reef we decided that we might as well make the most of it. But why not mix it up? And that’s how we ended up doing a night dive and seeing bio-luminescence and strings of pearls. It was the most magical experience, like swimming through the night sky, even when we got lost in the dark!
We had to fly back from Roatán to San Pedro as we were leaving on Good Friday and there was no public transportation. One more night in San Pedro Sula before heading back to the airport, two weeks after they arrived. I would like to say that it was a tearless goodbye but I’m afraid I can’t.
After this visit I really feel like I’m on the homeward stretch, a feeling that excites me and terrifies me at the same time. Having part of home come here has made me realise just how much I’ve missed it but the thought of leaving Honduras makes me want to cry at the same time. I guess I’ve still got a few months to come to terms with it!