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Published: February 6th 2007
I get to see this every day here in La Ceiba! God´s creation...amazing!
First Week 1-9-07
So I´m here in La Ceiba
, Honduras. After being on the road the past week I feel like I´m now on the home stretch! It´s nice to settle down and unpack my things. Although it's the 3rd largest city in Honduras, the city itself doesn´t have a lot to offer, but it´s surroundings do! Just outside La Ceiba there are tons of beautiful sites! 1-14-07
I finished my first week of spanish classes at Escuela de Espanol Pico Bonito
. Learning slowly but surely. My class is 4 hours long, Monday thru Friday. It´s one on one with my profesora, Amparo. My family that I´m living with is really nice! They have 2 daughters, Lisa and Marisal, both in their 20s. My senora, Dunya is the sweetest lady and she cooks amazing food! The father, I actually don´t know his name, he´s never there, works a lot!! So, I have my own room, which is huge and my own private bathroom. It´s cool because I like the privacy. Basically, my senora cooks all my meals and I´m part of the family for a few weeks. I was a bit nervous about the food at first because the
An amazing island off the north coast of Honduras filled with mostly scuba divers.
website said I would be served 3 ¨modest meals¨a day. Wasn´t sure what modest meant, but I like it! It´s like mexican food with a caribbean flare! Delicious! Mom...you´d LOVE it! La Ceiba is not thriving with tourist attractions, but it´s surroundings are! Just outside of the city is Pico Bonito
, a beautiful mountain range, waterfalls, rivers to go rafting, hiking, etc. And from La Ceiba you can take a ferry out to the Bay Islands
. The Bay Islands consist of Roatan, Utila and Guanaja.
So, my first weekend...I headed off to Utila to scuba dive! Now, if you are in Utila...you must be a scuba diver! It´s by far the cheapest place I´ve ever dove! Utila is the sweetest island! As soon as my boat docked I went out on the first dive. It was amazing! So in Utila there´s locals as well as many expats. I met tons of people that live in Utila about half the year then go back to their home country to make money and then come back because they love it so much! A totally different way of life! Oh yeah....and it´s mostly English speaking. It was nice to have some conversations in English,
A beautiful mountain range right outside of La Ceiba.
as I had been speaking only spanish for the past week...or lack thereof. Everything in Utila was super cheap...the food, accomodation, diving, etc. And I LOVED the slow, calm pace of life. There´s one main street that has shops, restaurants, even a little movie theatre. And you can venture out and explore the rest of the island, which I did, and see the homes, follow trails, etc. Lovely. I guess people are attracted to Utila for the English language, the extremely cheap cost of living, and the relaxed Caribbean lifestyle. I didn´t realize it was Sunday, I was just strolling along and passed a church so I went in. I love church services in central america! All of the windows are open, very welcoming. After the service I was talking with the minister and she wanted me to deliver someone´s visa and passport papers in La Ceiba. I guess she trusted me more than the mail system! That's how people are here...so trusting! I love it! I wasn´t ready to go back to La Ceiba after the short trip to Utila.
Second Week 1-22-07
So after my second week of class....it´s starting to feel like home here in
Here´s where I´m learning slowly but surely.
La Ceiba. I kind of have a routine going on. Getting used to my simple lifestyle here. I found a golf course down the street from my home where I go running every morning. It´s getting easier to get around, now that I´m using more spanish. The thing that amazes me is how cheap everything is! I went to the movies the other night for $2.50! My family is great, we watch movies together, etc, but there´s definitely a language barrier. They are pretty busy, so I basically do my own thing. I like to be able to see the everyday life of the Hondurians. The dad leaves for work at 6am everyday and doesn´t get back till late at night. It hasn't been total immersion. I thought the whole family would sit down for dinner every night and that would be where I would learn most of my spanish. But no...everyone eats at different times, usually in front of the TV. So we don't speak all that much...disappointing. But I do LOVE the 2 hour break everyone takes during lunch. I´ve gotten in to the habit of taking a ciesta everyday! It´s so nice....no worries...I have a lot of
What a sweet lady! And an amazing cook!
free time, which has been good. Been able to read a lot, do some work, have quiet times....no stress. I've never had this much of free time. Gonna miss this lifestyle!
This weekend I went white water rafting at Rio Cangrejal
. It means the ¨River of Crabs¨not sure why though because I didn´t see any crabs. It started off with a drive up Pico Bonito....into the mountains and jungle. I had my own private rafting experience with my guide, Darwin. We started off swimming across the raging rapids, against current, I thought it was going to sweep me away! Then we did some barefoot rock climbing, jumped off a high cliff into the water, did some more swimming....then it was time for rafting! It was awesome! Class 3,4 and 5 rapids. We didn´t fall out, although were very close to it! It was beautiful. The river runs between the green mountains. After the rafting, we hung out with some Austrians that were hiking Pico Bonito. It was so nice, just enjoying the nature and calmness.
Third Week 1-29-07
Finished up my last week of classes. I must say, I wasn´t too impressed with the school I chose. I
wish it would´ve been a group class instead of one on one, that way I could meet other people. Plus my profesora, wasn´t all that helpful. Basically we read out of a book, which I could´ve done on my own. Plus she yawned during the entire class. I suppose I learned some though. It´s frustrating! I can´t imagine ever being fluent! Not giving up. When I get back home I hope to continue taking classes....I´m determined to master this language. I can´t help but envy the Hondurans for how easily the language flows out of their mouths. I´ll sit there listening to them speak and think how lucky they are and they don´t even know it. While I struggle to get out 1 sentence! I try to put myself in their shoes, to imagine that I actually live in Honduras, to picture what it would be like if this was my life. But in the back of my mind I always know I will soon be going back to convinence, practically luxury, and I can´t help but be thankful. But these people are completely satisfied and happy without having much. I guess it´s better not knowing what you don´t have.
On the way to Pico Bonito
Beautiful drive through the mountains, along the Rio Cangrejal. On the way to rafting.
Just goes to show that blessings are not material things. You can have very little yet still be so blessed!
My last weekend in Honduras I took a bus trip to Tela. It´s about 2 hours east of La Ceiba. It´s a small beach town. Was nice, strolled up and down the beach, laid out, took in the last of my time in Honduras.
Things I learned:
- Beans are served at every meal
- How to make coffee without a coffee pot (not instant either)
- I´m always going to be seen as a tourist
- No such thing as a quick errand. Expect to wait at least 1 hour in line at bank
- Different color of banana at every meal (yellow, green, platanos, boiled, fried, chips, grilled, in soup, etc)
- Always carry toilet paper with you, bathrooms don´t provide it
- I´m not going to be fluent after 3 weeks
- Ants are everywhere! Examine my food before eating. If there´s a couple of ants, simply brush them off and proceed
- Honduras isn´t as family oriented as I thought, no big family meals together
- A little Spanish
- To take a ciesta everyday
After I said my
Darwin, my rafting guide
Darwin was awesome! He´s been doing this stuff for 7 years...he´s a pro!
goodbyes to my Honduran family, I headed off for my 2 day journey to Belize. My trip getting to Belize was quite the experience in itself! First I had to take a 3 hour bus to San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Wow, this town is crazy!! The bus terminal that we arrived in was in and around a crazy market. The streets were filled with hundreds, no thousands of people, selling anything and everything under the sun. Now, I got my directions to get from Honduras to Belize from a guy that lives in Belize. I felt like I was on some treasure hunt. I looked at my map of my scribbled notes for where I was suppose to go next. It said, "head toward the cathedral." I asked someone where it was, not very helpful. I looked up and there it was. So I started to head that way trying not to get trampled on by the people. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, a guy pops up and askes, "Cortes?" "Si," I say. He grabs my bag and took off so I had no choice but to follow. It was like he was waiting for me. Next thing
My profesora. She looks like bundles of fun, eh? Class was a long 4 hours! She meant well though...I think.
I know I'm squished on a tiny bus headed off to Puerto Cortes. Once I got there I settled in to a creepy hotel, got up early the next morning I take a boat headed for Dangriga, Belize. I've never traveled internationally by boat, it was different!
When our boat took off, I watched the mountains of Honduras fade away. I couldn't help but feel a little sad. Before arriving in the country, Honduras was just another Central American country. One that I had not been to before. A country that after visiting, I would be able to check off my list of countries visited. But as I was leaving I was thinking about the things I would miss. Sure, there were things that frustated me in Honduras. But it has a certain charm that sets it apart from the other central american countries. Although a brief time spent, I left with fond memories of Honduras, hopeful to return in the future with friends. It's different when traveling alone. You have to fend for yourself. So, I kind of feel that I missed out on some things in Honduras. I was so busy just trying to get by, speak
Crystal clear water. With some major rapids! Almost fell out of raft.
the spanish that I knew, not get harrassed, etc. I did a lot of walking, so I would kept my eyes down careful not to make eye contact that would imply to a guy that I was interested, in which he would start saying things to me, etc. Hard to explain...easy to understand if you're a female. I guess I just had to be more careful. I wish I could have been more engaging with the people there. But I held back. So, it would be great to come back with friends someday. But I´m ready to head on the the next adventure...Belize! I can´t wait to be around FRIENDS and speak ENGLISH! Belize is like a second home now so I´m excited to get there!
When I arrived in Belize, it felt like I was home! So familiar! English! When the boat arrived we had to all walk several blocks, through a field, to immigration. Kinda felt like we were being led to concentratoin camps or something. Our luggage was put on a truck and it went off in a different direction than we did. But after our walk, all was good.
So, now I have
Some parts of the river were so calm and peaceful...surrounded by nature.
a couple days to chill, do some trip set-up before my coworkers, Jason S. and Jennie arrive, and our group of missionaries! So, more to come from Belize.
Thanks so much for your prayers during my travel through Central America. I'm glad I did it, but I'll be ready to get back to friends and family! I miss you! Like I've said before, it's not where you are, it's who you're with! So, my next vacation will be with friends! Who's in?? Where shall we go? I'm always down for an adventure! Love you!
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