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Honduras Honduras and Guatemala 2005

Photo Shoot

Happy Birthday Pop!

Much better day weather-wise, so the digging wasn’t going too badly. Guillermo came along and took some photos of us digging and working. You so can’t tell that we’re posing! Then he and one of the local guys took us up to the water tank for more photos, and then to another house to finish their pipe and start covering it back up. It took quite a while, so we were all a little late getting back for lunch.

I went to ViaVia after lunch cuz they have some travel info on a notice board and a few leaflets. I also had the worst cup of coffee ever there. Bumped into Jimmy in Café Welchez later, and chatted to him for a while. Robin and I met Jimmy at Tunkul’s later cuz it was her last night, and we had the pleasure of meeting a scary Columbian guy. Ok, so he wasn’t really scary, he seemed like a nice guy, but he was kinda intense and that scared me since I was sat next to him. Glad Jimmy was there!

Honduras Honduras and Guatemala 2005

Rain, Rain, Rain

Decided to go to work even though we didn’t have to. Unfortunately, there’s a hell of a lot of rain due to Hurricane Beta. Oscar showed us the next house that needs a trench. It seems the others weren’t challenging enough for us, so we’ve got a super duper long trench to dig. We didn’t stay long today: the rain made it very difficult to work. The people in the new house gave us coffee made from maize before we left. Apparently, because coffee is too expensive for them to buy, they make coffee from maize out of season, then use their home-grown coffee in season.

Robin sat in the front of the pickup on the way home, and the driver was telling her that Copan is really expensive. It’s the cheapest place I’ve ever visited, and the people who live in the mountains 10km away think it’s expensive. That makes me feel kinda bad.

We were back in Copan by 10:30am and met Robin in Café Welchez after we’d showered and changed. Started reading Deception Point by Dan Brown. In fact, I spent most of the day reading, until we went to ViaVia for a drink.

Honduras Honduras and Guatemala 2005

My Achy Breaky Hands

Woke up at 5:45am, like I do every morning and lay in bed until 6:15am. My hands have a habit of seizing up while I’m asleep and I use this time to try to stretch them back into their proper position. Fucking hurts. My muscles are getting used to the work after five days, and the skin on my hands is starting to toughen, but I hate having to stretch my hands!

We started work on House #4 today. We have two concrete walls to get underneath. Guillermo showed up after an hour or so and told us the trench in House #2 needed to be deeper and then he’d show us how to put the pipes in. So we dug deeper, we watched, and then we covered it all back up.

The lady of the house made us a cup of coffee straight from the harvest. It was kinda nutty, but certainly the best cup of black coffee I’ve had here.

We went back to House #4 and got another hour of digging in. The ground isn’t too bad so far: not filled with rocks like the other three houses we’ve done. And the walls aren’t very deep: Keith’s already got underneath one of them.

Nothing to do this afternoon, so watched A Time to Kill dubbed in Spanish whilst reading it English, and then went to some café and had a yummy Piña Liquado con Leche. Robin and I went to Tunkul’s, which was dead cuz of some Peace Corps party which was warming up in ViaVia. So we went there for one but weren’t really up for a big night out. Watched The Day After Tomorrow when I got home. Awesome film.

Cafe ViaVia and Tunkul’s
Honduras Honduras and Guatemala 2005

Frangipani Plant

Short day at the office. Got up the mountain to find my very big trench being filled in and another being dug next to it, to get around the huge boulder. We still managed to finish it quickly, and Oscar let us leave early, but we had to wait ages for a pickup.

Kike took Adam (another volunteer), Robin and I to the Enchanted Wings Butterfly House & Nature Centre today. We traveled on paved roads. I didn’t think they existed in this town: it’s all been cobbles and dirt tracks so far. There were some beautiful butterflies in frames, but the live ones were mostly uninteresting. Lots of Owl Eye butterflies. The Orchid House was a bit rubbish: over 100 species of orchid and three were in bloom. The best part was on the way out, when I spotted a Frangipani Plant.

It was Adam’s last day in Copan so he invited us to Café ViaVia for drinks. We left at about 10pm – getting tired from all this digging!

Frangipani Plant
Honduras Honduras and Guatemala 2005

Gecko In My Room/Ramon

I decided to have a change of scene today and sat in the very pretty garden at Casa de Todo (the internet café/souvenir shop/café/launderette) to do my homework. At school I told Karla about Toy Story, then we did more work on pronouns, and then moved onto the preterite tense (one of the past tenses). I was very happy. When we went to Café Welchez I even felt like I understand more already!

Karla, Robin, Edgar and I played Scrabble when we got back to school. I’m rubbish at it in this language too, although I did get a few good words which surprised me. I got stuck with the ‘z’ in the end though. I only know 4 words with ‘z’ in: luz, lapiz, nariz, (can’t remember the fourth now) and I didn’t have any vowels!

I was held hostage in my bathroom today by a spider. He’s determined to stay, but I don’t want him there. So I just have a really good look for him before I touch anything in there. A gecko has also decided to inhabit my room. Geckos don’t really bother me, but I don’t really want to climb into bed one night with him. And I had to kill some nasty looking bug that hitched a ride on my newly washed jeans. I’m sure it was a very small scorpion or something.

Everyone in Copan seems to go out on Friday. Much like everywhere else. Robin and I met Nat and Nicola in Café ViaVia and had a drink there, and then we all moved onto Tunkul’s next door and met lots of other people, including Francis, Maurizio, Kike, Ramon, and many others. I had a good laugh with Ramon, through my limited Spanish and his limited English. He seemed to think he was getting somewhere and told me he liked me, and a couple of seconds later, Nat pulled me to one side and told me he has a pregnant girlfriend! He was funny though so I hope we hang out again, maybe with him flirting a little less! Boys. You’re all the same. Twats. Might have to teach Ramon that word!

After Tunkul’s we walked down to Camino Maya Hotel, because it also has a discoteca underground! It was kinda boring, but it was nice to find out that some places in the world still play Ace of Base in 2005.

Honduras Honduras and Guatemala 2005

Copan

Internet connection is rubbish up here, so I’ll probably only update the blog once or twice a week from now on. Unless I somehow learn to have patience with computers.

Felt kinda bad when I left Antigua cuz the family I was staying with had already gone to church by the time I got up. Instructions from Dom: meet at the coffee shop at 8.30am, get driven to Copan by Marvin, and Kike (short for Enrique) will meet us off the minibus.

Wasn’t too bad a journey, took about 4 hours. You forget just how mountainous this area is until you’re winding along mountain highways for that long. Immigration was interesting: just a bit of a shed at the side of the road, lots of money changers meeting you as soon as you pull up, and a shop selling snacks. We got through quite quickly though, and I got two more stamps on my passport!

Copan is about 10 minutes after the border. Its absolutely tiny: there’s a population of 6000, everyone seems to know everyone else or be related to a lot of people here, and its quite peaceful (certainly more so than Antigua) but there’s still plenty going on. Just like home!

So Marvin drives to the central park, and none of us know what Kike looks like, but there is no-one meeting us. So we unload our stuff and wait at the ‘meeting point’ cuz Marvin had to get back to Antigua. And we wait. Five of us sat on a wall near the church in the centre of town. After about an hour we decide to phone Dom and tell him Kike hasn’t shown up. Dom says he’ll try to get in touch with him, but we got there quickly and Kike probably wasn’t expecting us until about 3.30pm (it was now 3pm). So we sit there for another 45 minutes and decide to phone Dom again. He hadn’t been able to get in touch with Kike, so he gave us directions to Kike’s aunt’s hotel. Good thing since it then started to rain.

Natalie, another volunteer who’s been here a while, shows up at the hotel not long later, and then finally, Kike turned up! Well not really: he lives two doors up from his aunt. Turns out Ramon (more about him on Friday), was waiting at the school for us and he was on the internet, which was why Dom couldn’t reach him. Kike then took us to our homestays. I’m in the hotel next door to Kike, Robin is in the aunt’s hotel, and Keith (new volunteer) is about 100 metres up the road, near Nicola (another volunteer who’s been here a while).

It’s a decent enough room, and I’ve got my own bathroom which is cool. No hot water, but I’m getting used to that now. Biggest problem is the ants. They’re everywhere. Getting used to them too though.

Kike showed us where the internet café is and set up accounts for us, then Kike took us all for a meal to Llama del Bosque, then to Café ViaVia for drinks. Us newbies came home early though – tired after our journey and two hour wait in the park. Got to sleep easily but a cockerel insisted on crowing from about 3am and my window slats don’t shut properly, and my bathroom window isn’t so much a window, but more a hole in the wall with a grate over it!