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Published: December 23rd 2007
We left Perquin on the 7 am bus to Honduras. Ron had one of his guys look out for the bus that would pass in front of the hotel. It would be coming from San Miguel to Perquin then return to the turnoff for the border. When it passed on the way to the village the guy called us down to the road. And when the bus returned he signalled the driver with a curvy point north that we wanted Honduras. We tipped him as it was quite possible that without the special signal the bus would presume we wanted to go south and might have driven straight past. Our bags went on top for the first time. It was a proper rattly chicken bus. We got seats but the bus soon had standing passengers after we stopped at the turnoff for breakfast. It was all dirt road and we started to climb. The bus and passengers were bouncing around. Every now and then we would check the road behind us to see that nothing fell off the roof.
There appeared to be an El Salvador immigration but the bus only paused to give him the newspaper. At Honduras immigration
we got out and talked to the immigration guy and gave him the US$6 he asked for. He told us the whole story about not needing stamps and said no when we requested them anyway. Oh well. Back on the bus the same bloke then came through checking IDs. We tried again and he said he would do it. Oh joy. It was important for our passports to have more stamps whether we needed them or not. The whole trip to Marcala was windy, high, bumpy roads through pine forest and small settlements. The view was spectacular. Well worth the trouble of the bouncing.
We arrived in Marcala at 10:30 am and knowing there was a 10:30 to Tegucigalpa I asked around and we were sent off away from the square. It is not an easy name to say so I found myself asking for 'La Capital'. A guy approached us and gave us a card to his restaurant. We said we weren't staying and asked if he know about the bus. He came with us and we managed to jump just as it was leaving. In a way it was a shame. The town looked lovely, and this
guys Argentinian restaurant sounded great, and I desperately needed a pee. At least the latter was resolved when we stopped for gas. I ran around the station a bit and had to drag a guy away from the pump to show me the loo.
The roads were paved from here and we moved along quickly. After La Paz the bus thinned out. A large happy girl came on the bus with a basket full of doughy yummies. She was fine with me paying US$1 for 3 empanadas - 1 banana, one pineapple and one cheese. They were very good. And I got a few Lempiras back in change. We hadn't found anyone at the border to exchange money. The bus was also happy for us to pay the $140Lp (US$8) fare in US dollars.
About 40 minutes out of Tegucigalpa the bus broke down. Lots of gear crunching and no moving. They established pretty quickly that they couldn't fix it now, so we all got off and hung around. We talked to yet another Peace Corp guy. The young fella had just finished 2 and a half years and was going home to train to be a doctor.
About half an hour later a bus arrived with enough room for everyone and no one had to pay extra.
In Tegucigalpa (well ... the town on the other side of the river called Comayagüela) we were helped by a black American missionary on a cross country motorcycle to get a taxi. We were in the process of establishing the price, letting some taxis go, and his help was appreciated. He confirmed that traffic and a recent rise in petrol prices justified the price. We tried Tobacco Road Inn first and finding the price acceptable at $240Lp (US$13) per night we staying. Our room was at the back and therefore away from the traffic noise but it was small and windowless. A cell with a big comfy double bed, a wooden chair and a small table. The hostel was quite shabby but they had a book exchange, a bar and bit of charm.
We met a Dutch guy, Peter, at the hostel and we went out to dinner with him. We found a big, busy local place where lots of people were drinking beer. We ate well, being starving, and returned to the hostel for more drinks at
the bar. A British guy was also at the bar. Pieter and the guys picked musics DVDs to watch.
Tegucigalpa is nothing special. A constant din of horns and idling buses in the center which appeared to be in a state of perpetual gridlock. There are some lovely buildings and its location in a valley makes it interesting with the hills all around.
Our first mission for the next day was post. At a liberia we asked if they had boxes for postage. The lady said no but while Pieter was looking at postcards (only $3Lp or US$0.16 each) the lady returned from out back first with a little box, then with a big one which was perfect. Another lady produced a calendar which I got for Mum. And I also brought a notebook. The ladies were so lovely and helpful. The post office wasn't busy and we were served by a lady who looked older than her years because of her woolly hat. The box was 3 and a half kilos. The maximum was 2 kilos so the lady produced another box and helped us divide things up. She than chopped down both boxes and wrapped them
in tape, then in paper. Lovely lady. It was lots of stamps and pricey at US$40 a box but the stuff was gone and no longer in our back packs!
We were initially unsuccessful with museums. The military museum appeared abandoned but later that night we realised we were on the wrong side of the building. We also couldn't find the art museum. But we found it a block or two away from where the Lonely Planet placed it. The Galaria Nacional de Art cost $25Lp (US$1.40) each. The lady gave us English booklets about the exhibits which started with replicas of cave painting. This was followed by pre-colombian pottery, religious paintings and silver. Upstairs was some weird modern stuff. Hanging dogs and bricks turned into dominoes. Most interesting was the 2 TVs, one with a video of a fish tank playing, the other with a fish tank installed in the hollowed out TV. We sat on a sofa and watched the fishes. Perhaps the disheveled sofa was part of the exhibit but we couldn't imagine the intention was not to have anyone sit in it! The museum was in a former convent.
Next we found a new
museum that was right next to the post office and we hadn't noticed it before. It was the Museo para la Identidad Nacional (MIN). But they suggested we return at 2 pm for a 3d film of Copan so we left again. Killing time, we rested in an internet cafe for a bit before marching up to Villa Roy. A nice man offered his help when we looked a little lost. We went up a long street and up a bit of hill. At the entrance was a security guard who took our details and gave us security passes. There was more than a museum to visit up this road, most likely government buildings. It was a long steep climb but we eventually reached the Villa Roy. It was a lovely old building containing historical objects, a big statue from Copan and a number of Presidential cars. It was $20Lp entrance. We then marched back down the hill to MIN and paid $50Lp. They had a little theatre and a big curved screen. The film played in Spanish but the image was so impressive it didn't matter. We got a good introduction to Copan and enjoyed the 3d effect. The
rest of the museum was very good with a permanent exhibit of the history of Honduras from the big bang onwards. There were a couple of temporary exhibits as well.
We returned to the same restaurant for dinner and found Peter already there. They had live music which was pretty good but they really shouldn't have attempted 'Dancing Queen'. There was ice skating on the TV.
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