Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It's a Long Road

I left early Saturday morning for Tegucigalpa to stay at my usual hotel, Guadalupe Dos, which is common for Peace Corps volunteers and English teachers on a budget.  They have hot water and internet, which is quite luxurious at this point.  The reason I had to go on this trip was because my visa was set to expire on the 1st of September.  We used to need to go to either Belize or Costa Rica to renew our passports, but the rule changed so that any country outside of Honduras would do.  I heard that the border crossing at Copan was easy so I decided to go for it.  It's a long road to Copan.

The trip to Copan was way easier this time around, compared to the cramped ride in the back of Ricardo's pick-up truck for 12 hours.  We went from Tegucigalpa to San Pedro Sula and on to Copan from there.  I think I have finally gotten over my travel anxiety.  I used to get anxious on public transportation, especially in Third World countries, but now I am cool as a cucumber.  The bus driver from San Pedro Sula to Copan was absolutely on fire.  I came to the conclusion that he must have thought he was playing a video game or something.  He was weaving in and out of traffic on blind corners with little regard for anyone else on the road.  Normally, I would have been white knuckled and sweating, but I was just reading a book and listening to music with a smile on my face.  If nothing else, this trip has taught be patience and the ability to let go of things I can't control.  One of the hardest things I have had to do is to accept that my fate is uncertain, that I can't control everything--nor should I.  It is much easier to calm down and enjoy the ride.

Copan turned out to be a bitch.  I went to the border and told the Honduran immigration officer my situation.  I told him I am an English teacher and I need to get my passport stamped one more time for 90 days to last until I leave.  He agreed to stamp my passport, but when I gave him my passport to be stamped I didn't have a yellow customs sheet that had been stamped into my passport.  Unfortunately, without the yellow sheet I had to pay a fine of around 150 dollars.  Basically he told me to pay it now or pay when I leave in November.  I did everything I could to convince him to let me off the hook, but he didn't really have a choice.  I paid the fine and left, just glad that I got my 90 days and was on to better things.

Our original plan was to go back to Olancho after we got our 90 days, given that school is still in session.  Ricardo gave us a week break and no one wanted to go back to Olancho at that point.  I was feeling the effects from the fine and thought a day or two on the beach would be just what I need.  We decided to head to the bay islands, and specifically Utila, which is the backpacker's version of Roatan.

Another grueling day of traveling brought us to La Ceiba where our old friend Oscar met us at the bus terminal.  Oscar left the school after his brother died and we have all missed his humor since he's been gone.  It was great to have a nice dinner with him before we continued.  This morning we took the one hour ferry from La Ceiba to Utila.  We decided to stay at a more expensive hotel that has far better accommodations than we are used to.  After 7 months living in Arizona circa 1870 we decided we deserve something better, if only for 2 days.  The hotel juts out into the bay on stilts. The view is incredible and all we can hear is the ocean. So that's where I am at this point.

I added pictures from a recent walk with Leche and a few pictures of the ocean.  Definitely more ocean pictures to come.


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