convenience store in Tegucigalpa, Honduras
We bounced across the border of Nicaragua and Honduras without a glitch, nobody even looking at our passports, and continued on to the Bay Islands where the snorkelling is great but the scuba diving is better. We landed in Utilia, an idyllic island full of young travelers and inhabited by pirates...really, pirates with the accent and all! We couldnÂ´t pass up getting open water certified for a measly 225 usd so we settled into a dive shop right on the water and sat on the dock, watching the sunsets, reading our dive books, going to Â¨class,Â¨which was a shock to our systems to say the least, taking quizzes and tests (Graham was the only one in the whole class to score a 100 on the final exam). We dove, flipping our way through the avenues of the underworld, blowing bubbles, pointing out flourescent fish and turtles and electric sting rays, trying to maintain some semblance of coolness as we squished around in tight wetsuits and tried looking at each other with straight faces through those funny looking scuba masks. Getting the giggles underwater is more of a pain than it is fun, but when we started watching each other try
Sunsets on the porch from our dive school/hotel/dance floor!
to gain control of our flippered feet and buoyancy control devices (scuba diving is one big technical term) we couldnÂ´t contain ourselves.
At the end of the course, the dive shop had a big bar b que and we all danced the night away right there on the dock. The next day, the inevitable happened, and although no tears were shed, the girls waved goodbye to the boys as they floated off to go on another dive, thus marking the end of an era, the end of our trip as we know it. I canÂ´t speak for the boys, but the girls were heartbroken!!!
Graham and Gordo celebrated being alone again by staying on the island for another 2 days where they went to a Wrestlemania party and listened to country music with the locals. Then they travelled in old school fashion, riding multiple school buses to the Guatemalan border, walking across is to avoid paying a fine for not getting an entry stamp into Honduras, and took a ferry to Livingston, an old slave town on the coast. They then hopped on a boat that took them north through the Rio Dulce, a jungly jungle river that weaves between
everyone taking a rest after the 6:30am dive
two steep canyon walls lined with caves. Eventual travels led them into Flores, and thus Tikal. Tikal is the sacred Mayan grounds and the equivalent of archaelogical importance to the Incas Machu Pichu. They camped in hammocks beneath roaring howler monkeys and woke up at 5:30 to beat the Easter crowd into the sacred villiage. They roamed the ruins and climbed temples and pyramids with jungle attire on, even though it was super hot. A most excellent adventure into the BC era. The most georgeous, scenerific road in Central America runs from Tikal through the highlands to Cobal, a little cowboy town in the selved mountains, where the guys will spend some nights in beds and hammocks before heading into Antigua.
Meanwhile, Emma and Elise headed north for Guatemala. All was going well for the first few hours until they witnessed a horrifying death of a little girl on a bike, stayed the night in a disgusting and dangerous town, took a bus the next morning and got detained a bit at the border and claimed illegal due to the ease of previous border crossing, had to pay an exorbitant amount of money to cross and finally after much ado,
The poor guy who was in charge of controlling Emma and Elise underwater!
found themselves in Antigua, a delightful, colonial town where the worldÂ´s second largest Easter celebration was in full swing. Symphonies, choirs, parades, good food and shopping--all pretty girlie things so we were in heaven!! Regretfully, time was of the essence so we pushed on through the jewel of Central America, saving it for a later trip, and crossed into Mexico. Mexico!! It felt like we had entered into a fondue pot with too many sterno flames underneath--downright hot! We are in San Cristobal de las Casas whose market is the best weÂ´ve seen yet and is not what you would picture for Mexico. Drinking a nice Dos Equis as I type...perfection.
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