Hot and Cold--Hot Springs and the Road There


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Published: May 14th 2010
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A popular hot springs is about an hour´s drive from Copan along a dusty road. The drive to the hot springs is far more fascinating than the hot springs themselves.

Most of the hills around the city have been cleared to some extent of vegetation to make way for coffee plants, bananas, and other crops. It is incredible how the farmers plant crops on slopes that are fit only for sledding or snowboarding where I live. Our driver told us about the cooperative for raising organic coffee in these hills, where about 15 to 20 families joined together to raise shade grown coffee in a sustainable way. We saw very young plants, carefully tended under shadecloth, for replacing coffee plants when they die. The families had been gathering lots of firewood and storing it in a big barn for roasting the beans in November.

The drive was hilly, humid, bumpy, with wonderful vistas of distant hills in clouds. Small houses lined the road, of many different materials. Many used concrete blocks and stucco, but others used adobe bricks, earth or lime plaster, corrugated metal for the walls, or wooden planks. Several houses had walls of upright sticks, each about an inch in diameter, loosely woven together. The most interesting was a house that used split bamboo placed horizontally, and cemented together with mud. Most all had corrugated metal roofs, some had tile roofs. The construction materials suggested the incomes of the families, with the indigenous materials being favored by those who could not afford concrete blocks, fired bricks, and tile roofs.

When I saw an horno next to one house, I got so excited I cried out. The driver jammed on the brakes and skidded to a stop, allowing me to take a photo.

The hot springs that we visited were actually small rock lined enclosures in a river that captured some of the steamy water that spilled from the hill. The hot water originated from high above the river. It seemed the hot spot for the local folks. Kids were diving into deeper pools from the large boulders, a couple people were sudsing their hair and bodies, others just lazed about in the shallow bathtub like pools. One kid had a snorkeling mask and was lying on a rock, sticking his head in the water to find fish. He had made a rather pathetic "spear" from a tree branch, but was having a great time hunting. One little kid was naked and pranced around the pools having a grand time.

Another student from the school and I enjoyed sitting in one of the pools, chatting with one of the local women, and teasing the kids. It was a great way to spend the afternoon in hot Copan. We could get hot or cold, depending on our mood.

Orphilia, the host of my local family, wants to take me to a school on the same road, where her sister in law works. She tells me there are very poor students there who might be open to interacting with people from the US. I had told her I was thinking about bringing small groups of visitors to the area to experience the place and people in an authentic way. I´m also interested in finding some kind of service project that perhaps Americans would be willing to participate in. There are so many schools here with kids in need of school supplies, materials, schools themselves, decent food during the day. I was encouraged to have met a transplated West Virginian today who is actively raising funds for
HornoHornoHorno

Outdoor oven made of earth.
these schools and other needs in the area. He and I planned a trip to a canyon and waterfalls where I will explore other opportunities. It is exciting to think about that kind of future, which seems wide open at the moment!!

AND I´m looking forward to more comida tipica cooked by Orphilia. Today I had izotol flowers in some eggs. They are available only two months a year. Saturday she is buying yucca root in the market, and preparing it to eat. I told her I wanted to try it all! She is also going to teach me how to properly make tortillas.

My Spanish classes are going well, except my teacher enjoys tricking me into saying things like ¨"I was beautiful". However, she did teach me to properly say certain words so I don´t inadvertently say things like ¨fart¨and the word for a man´s genitalia. She is very considerate.


Additional photos below
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Hills near CopanHills near Copan
Hills near Copan

Cleared of native vegetation
Cleared of VegetationCleared of Vegetation
Cleared of Vegetation

On the road to the hot springs, Copan
Snorkling Mask HelpsSnorkling Mask Helps
Snorkling Mask Helps

He said he could find big fish.
SnorkelingSnorkeling
Snorkeling

In the river that is hot and cold near Copan
River that  Runs Hot and ColdRiver that  Runs Hot and Cold
River that Runs Hot and Cold

Note kids in the background jumping off rocks.
The community Hot SpotThe community Hot Spot
The community Hot Spot

The river that runs hot and cold near Copan.


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