Blogs from Copán Ruinas, Western, Honduras, Central America Caribbean - page 7


From Honduras I zoomed back to my home in Aztec, New Mexico in a matter of hours. I felt ripped away from the comfortable life I had lived for the past few weeks. My routine was predictable: Breakfast at 7:30 with Orphilia, Spanish tutoring from 8:00 to noon at Ixbalanque School right around the corner. My Spanish teacher and I talked about everything, from fruit to our experiences of giving birth to our children, relationships, marriage, dreams (I offered my amateur services as a dream therapist), "unacceptable" (dirty) words, travels, financial difficulties, hopes for the future. All of this in Spanish and sign language. I had the most fun when I described my experience of traveling on a boat 25 years ago from Singapore to Sumatra when the boat sank in the middle of the night. ... read more

This adventure, as for the others, started innocently enough. My friend Suyapa works at a school about 7 miles from Copan, where children from the nearby village attend. Most are quite poor. I told Suyapa I wanted to visit her school, thinking there might be a possibility in the future to work with the kids or school in some way. Before I left, Orphilia and Elda teased me about how I was coing on an expedition to the jungle with animals and all kinds of dangers. Just visiting kids in the country I thought, nothing very adventurous about that. Suyapa and I left in the morning, and rode a bus-van that serves the area. The road travels through beautiful hills with coffee plantations and other cleared land, all wet from the previous night´s deluge. Suyapa is ... read more

We´ve all had those moments where everything seems to be right. Where contentment seems pure bliss. I had one of those moments with my family. I was tired from my adventure at the waterfall earlier that day. Orphilia was in the kitchen--the small simple kitchen with three stoves and a gecko making noises from somewhere on the yuk green walls. She was making pupusas on her gas stove. I sat down at the kitchen table in the candle and lantern light, necessary because the electricity was off. I watched as she expertly shaped the flour dough for the pupusas in her hands, carefully inserted the cheese mixture in each, flattened them, then placed them on the iron skillet. How many of them have you made in your lifetime? I ask. Thousands, she says. Elda, her younger ... read more
Orphilia Unwraps a Tamale
The Package Sheds its Wrapping

The Canopy Tour just outside the town of Copan Ruinas is designed to thrill and generate a adrenaline for those who like such things. I tried a zipline in Costa Rica. I remember most when the guide pushed me off a platform while I faced backwards. The idea was to swing, tarzan like, back and forth in the trees. But he pushed me, and I wasn´t ready, so my head and back jerked, and presto, I had an instant chiropractic adjustment. It lasted for several days.This is what I remember most from my last zipline adventure. Since ¨Canopy Tours¨are so popular in Costa Rica, Honduras had to have one, too. And this one is good--with 16 ziplines, the highest one is about 1km, I believe, above the ground, and the last line takes you over the ... read more
But I´m Really not so sure

Stones can speak, yes they can. And they spoke this morning at the ruins near the town of Copan Ruinas. Massive buildings, extraordinary energy and intent. Several hundred years of building, ruling, processions, ball games, ceremonies, maintaining the world iteself. The Mayan descendants still live. The stones hold the real secrets. Maybe the macaws that live there will tell me about it someday, but more likely, if I listen more carefully, I will be able to hear the stones speak more clearly.... read more
Ceiba tree grows from the Ruins
Rock Pyramid

It started reasonably enough. There´s a cool waterfall near Santa Rita, a small town near Copan, and you would really like to see it, he said to me. We will walk in the water some. It is a fairly easy hike. But I nearly wrecked my knees at the national park near Gracias, I said, because of all the climbing and descending. This is nothing like that, he said. I was convinced. Tomorrow we would go for a few hours to see the waterfall, swim, and walk a bit. Oh by the way, he said, I will bring my climbing rope. And do you have something to keep your camera dry with? I really should have thought a little more about this. But silly me, yearning for adventures, I just thought the climbing rope was for ... read more
The Descent
Down We Go
The Launch

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 ... read more
Road to Hot Springs, Copan
House near Hot Springs, Copan

The Parque de Aves, just a short ride outside of Copan, has a short trail next to the river where large enclosures are the homes for various tropical birds. The first enclosure protects about 20 or so scarlet macaws. Visitors can walk right through the enclosure, and be one with the birds. I thought I might be greeted as an old friend, perhaps, but no, these birds tried to drive me away with their noisy protests and taunts. Their responses to me were dreadful, even though I was telling them how beautiful they were and how honored I was to be among them. And they were utterly beautiful, with their crimson plumage, long flowing tails when they flew, and other strong colors of blue, yellow, and green mixed in. I knew they had planned their greeting ... read more
Scarlet Macaw
Scarlet Macaw
Baby Toucan

I have a new family. Donia Orphilia is about my age, and she warmly welcomed me into her home. Her niece Sabrina is a talkative 7 year old who is learning English, and who translates for Orphilia when she needs it. Her sister Elda and her parents also live in the same house. I have my own room painted in the classic yuk green, and a private bathroom. I can stare at the underside of the tile roof, criss crossed by electrical wires. It is quite cozy. Last night I was cold, however, even though it was about 80 degrees F. The family has four dogs and two cats, who all seem to get along well. The cats are lanky, with the weirdest triangular faces. I have not yet met the dogs. So far I love ... read more
Tuk Tuk

We caught a bus to Chiquimula (I think that´s how you spell it) and from there to the border. No hassles crossing the border. They have a special deal if you´re just going to Copan. There´s a little village called Copan Ruinas which, basically, services the ruins. We found a pleasant enough hotel and booked ourselves in before exploring the town. Found a good bar called Twisted Tanyas. Much recommended should you go there. They also do food. We had excellent tilapia on the second night though on the first night we just had beer. All this time there was thunder and lightening in the mountains. The rain came down as we were heading out to eat so we ducked into the nearest restaurant. Where there was another powercut (did I mention the first powercut?). We ... read more
Bird in a tree
Macaws at Copan

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