:: Honduras ::
Ahhh, the countryside of Hondurus- a welcomed change of scenery after walking the cement and breathing the smog of Guate. At a hot springs outside the Mayan ruines of Copan we took turns being sick, yet again. This time with malaise, congestion, nausea, and the cramps. Josh recovered in time to play doctor. Later that night the intense cramps caused Heather to double over with outrageous gnawing pain, eventually throwing up last week's lunch. Luckily, it had mostly passed by morning and she slept it off between soaks in the warm natural springs.
The ‘Korean Americas Adventure Tour' was also at the hot springs filming every fantastical moment— not of us unleashing our digestive tracts but of the hot springs experience. With matching bright yellow tents, rain jackets, and SUVs and underwear, these brave Koreans had embarked on the nearly suicidal mission of driving from Alaska to Tiera de La Fuego in just three months. They caught amazing footage by torchlight of the naciamento de la agua caliente [birth of the hot water]. The steaming waterfall gave a magnificently magical backdrop for the Korean version of ‘Road Rules.' Maybe we'll make it on Korean TV- wouldn't that be super!
Jan 26 – and this is where the dates blur out of focus
Isla Utila - Bay Islands, Honduras
The Carribean. Ah yeah, we wanted to experience Carribean culture…specifically the reknowned punta dancing accompanied by Garifuna music but we didn't find it in Tela so we left the mainland. Over crystal blue water the ferry carried us from La Ceiba to Utopia, I mean Utila, an island paradise- one of the Bay Islands off the Carribean coast of Hondurus.
We got right to work on our dive certification course. The next day we were breathing underwater and watching rainbows of fishies swim past as we bubble-gurgled. Transported to another world, our band of agua-naughts sailed silently past an incredible variety of species – every shape and size. Bizarre and beautiful this world can be.. I did not know. Bewildering colors, dazzling textures – maze etched domes, purple tendril-tubes, sparkling fish scales, red girder fans, grainy sandy slopes into the dark, and a shining ocean surface-sky above. Welcoming and peaceful bulging-eyed swimmers invited us to play. Amazing! Ma-magic. Any nervous trepidatious dropplets we harbored were dissolved like the salt in this warm and open ocean.
We briskly traveled through the rest of Hondurus. Slept and paddled at Lago Yojoa and then hiked Cerro Azu, a National Park protecting an amazing primary cloud forest. The pictures capture our experience much better than words. You see, at this point of our trip after experiencing many amazingly beautiful beaches, quaint colonial and campesino towns, powerful waterfalls, ancient ruins, precious lakes nestled in valleys and colorful coral reefs, what we really wanted to see now was our friends. And fortunately, we had some living only two countries away, in Costa Rica .
So, we sped through Nicaragua too, under 36 hours – ‘knowing' we can check it out on our drive back to the states. Stark highways left us feeling desolate and threatened. We had been told that this country will be the next eco-tourism capital, yet from the highway what we saw was void of lush rain forests and any sign of wildlife. We stopped to gaze at the extremely large Lago Nicaragua Lake, according to Lonely Planet the third largest lake in Latin America at 8,624 sq km (or the second according to the World Book Encyclopedia 7,925 sq km). [The largest is Maracaibo in northwest Venezula, boasting 13,512 square meters. Lake Titicaca located between Boliva and Peru is 8,300sq km.] Lago Nicaragua expresses magnificence as the choppy waters lap against the shores of Ometepe which houses two volcanoes: Volca'n Madera and Volcan Concepcion, rising 1,394 and 1,610 meters above lake level. As he gazed at its magnifence we had no desire to experience it more fully. We sped through the Costa Rican border that night.