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Guatemala Honduras Honduras and Guatemala 2005

Back to Antigua

Woke up way too early. My shuttle isn’t until 12noon, I’ve got very little to do, and I’m awake by 7am. Bought a newspaper and saw the photos of the bridges – one third of a 250 metre bridge missing between El Progreso and Tela, and another between Tela and La Ceiba. The great thing about this part of the world is there’s only one road to get somewhere, so if that’s out of action, you’re stuck. So I did some shopping, and then went for breakfast in Cafe Welchez – pancakes…mmm.

There was an advert for hair straighteners on the TV in there, with all these women going “wow, my hair is so straight” and running their fingers through their hair…I’m so jealous! Also, decided I’m either going to get my hair cut like Catherine Zeta Jones in Ocean’s Twelve, or grow it long but keep lots of layers. Any thoughts?

I said goodbye to Kike for the third time as I got onto the shuttle. Sat next to possibly the best looking guy in the world. Six pretty uninteresting hours to Antigua. My ears only popped once, compared to the many times on the way to Copan. You have to pass through the outskirts of Guatemala City to get to Antigua. There are some amazing sights of all these shanty towns built onto the sides of the mountains. I’ll try to get some photos when I head back to the airport. We arrived in Antigua at dusk, and it was quite clear so there were great views of the volcanoes, with just a few clouds around them.

Kike told me I had a room at Hotel San Jorge (the plush one I stayed at in the beginning), so I went there, and they told me someone else would be joining me tomorrow night. Rather confused. To cut a long story short, they thought I was someone else who was booked in with Old Town Outfitters tour company so put me in her room. As it turned out, I never had a reservation, so I don’t know what happened there!

Went to Doreen’s house expecting there to be a BBQ, but they had it last night for Sally and Robyn’s last day. Chatted to her and went to see Brian, then went to Monoloco to look for everyone else, but couldn’t see them. Went back to the hotel and ended up falling asleep in front of Shrek dubbed in Spanish.

Honduras Honduras and Guatemala 2005

Happy 22nd Birthday Francesca

Photo from the newspaper, showing the damage caused by the heavy rains from the hurricane

So after updating my blog on Thursday night, I get back to the house to find out that Kike is having a birthday party at the school and wants me to go. Apparently he’s 18 this year (he’s got a daughter who’s about seven, so I doubt it very much!).

I left Copan on the 6am bus to San Pedro Sula, which would take about 3 hours, and then I’d get a bus to La Ceiba at 10am. So we reach San Pedro and are told that mudslides due to the heavy rain have made the road impassable, but they might be cleared by the afternoon. So I hung out with four Canadian and two Swedish guys who were also trying to get to La Ceiba. Glad they were there cuz San Pedro ain’t a nice place, and it’s got a reputation for being a very dangerous place after dark.

We got some breakfast then went back to the bus terminal. They were now saying that we’d have to wait until tomorrow to get a bus. So the guys decided to get a hotel, but I didn’t want to waste a day there, especially if they then decided we couldn’t get there on Friday either. So I bought a ticket back to Copan, and planned to go back to Antigua on Friday.

I was back by 5pm and went to see Kike to ask him to book my shuttle ticket for Friday. He said he’s been watching the floods on TV and wondered if I was ok. Went to email the hostel I was going to in La Ceiba, and found that she’s emailed me to say that two bridges had been taken out and the airport was closed. So I’m very glad I turned around!

Went for some supper and later fell asleep listening to my music, in amongst all my bags on my bed.

Honduras Honduras and Guatemala 2005

Punting on the Trench

Apparently it rained in the mountains again last night. And since we’re digging right at the bottom of the hill, our trench filled up with water. A lot of water. The trench isn’t level yet though, so I spent about an hour stood at the side of my trench, pushing the water out of my part to lower down.

We managed to get a lot more done than I expected and just about levelled the whole trench out. Which involved being stood in a puddle for quite a while. The mud did make funny squelching noises though, which kept us entertained.

Tried a Chocolate & Banana licuado today. Not as nice as the Pineapple or Cereal ones. More souvenir shopping, and then saw Don at Cafe Welchez, and he very kindly paid for my coffee and cake.

And I’m almost packed. Just the clothes I’m in at the moment. Leave at 6am tomorrow. What fun. Got 7 free internet minutes left here, of the 900 I started with 5 weeks ago. Just about enough I think.

Things I’ll miss about Copan:

  • Cafe Welchez: nice place, friendly staff, great coffee and great cakes (especially the carrot cake)
  • Pickup rides: the best 20 minutes of my day
  • Being somewhere I know well

So catch up with you in a few days, after I get to La Ceiba and do some tours.

Honduras Honduras and Guatemala 2005


Work started off well this morning. It rained in the mountains last night, our trench filled up with water, so we had to leave a wall and start lower down, in the easiest digging ground I’ve found. Barely had to use my pickaxe! Then I finished that and had to move onto the waterlogged, rocky part. Rubbish.

I visited the museum in the afternoon, all about Mayan history and culture shockingly, and has some replicas and some of the real stuff from the ruins. I was pleasantly surprised by how much of the Spanish I understood from the explanations. And helpfully, there were English translations next to some of them.

Went to Cafe Welchez. Finished my book, Matchstick Men. Which reminds me – yesterday, for the second time this holiday, the film adaptation of a book I was reading came on the TV. Don’t think there’s any chance of Robinson Crusoe or my new Tom Clancy book coming on though.

Honduras Honduras and Guatemala 2005

Keegan, who I was in Antigua with for a week, started work today. He’s been in Spanish school in Copan for a week, but I haven’t seen him. We are now right at the bottom of the side road we’ve been on since Thursday. The local guys did most of it over the weekend and just left us with a couple of hundred yards though.

Spent the afternoon shopping for souvenirs and hanging out in Cafe Welchez. Went on the internet in the evening. Exciting stuff, huh?

Honduras Honduras and Guatemala 2005

Lauren’s Last Day

It was Lauren’s last day today, so we went shopping (or window shopping in my case) and for a coffee. The last of my friends to leave – sob! She says to let her know if I’m ever in Florida and she’ll show me round!

I started watching some 80s film with Kevin Bacon and it reminded me of the Association Game Jimmy told us about. Why not play it at home? Think of an actor, and through co-stars, you can always get to a film starring Kevin Bacon. For example, Morgan Freeman. He was in The Shawshank Redemption with Tim Robbins, who was in Mystic River with Kevin Bacon. Sorry, didn’t do much today – had to fill up my blog with something!

I stayed up until 2am watching Ocean’s Twelve. About five minutes after I put my head down to go to sleep, every dog in Copan started barking. Probably for no reason. Bastards.

Honduras Honduras and Guatemala 2005

The Accidental Hike

Keith and Nicki were both off travelling today and Lauren was getting ready to leave so it was up to me whether I went to work or not. I battled with my conscience for quite some time, and eventually decided to ‘do the right thing’.

It started raining on the way up to Sesesmil and within about ten minutes of being up there, the heavens opened good style. I spent the next hour and a half attempting to dig a trench that was flooded and sulking about being there in such bad weather. I was wearing my raincoat over my shorts and t-shirt, but still managed to get soaked right through. The Chillis song ‘I Like Dirt’ came on my Zen. As much as it pains me to do so, I had to disagree with Anthony.

So at 9:30am, I’d finished our work from Thursday and decided to call it a day. I started walking since there were no pickups on their way, and didn’t see any pickups that I could’ve got a ride in until I was almost back in Copan. Took me 2 hours and 15 minutes. Good thing it stops raining once you leave Sesesmil Dos.

Spent the afternoon resting my feet, watching The Negotiator. Then checked emails and went to Cafe Welchez to hang out for a while.

Honduras Honduras and Guatemala 2005

Turtle Power!

Raining again so my clothes and towel on the line will have to stay there another day. Freddy’s now got a new tuk-tuk. Don’t know if it’s borrowed or if it’s his, but he’s back. We were set to work on another new trench for the main pipe today, digging down one of the side roads.

I took my MP3 player and it really made the time pass a lot more quickly. Until the battery died. Some of the tracks I listened to included: the Baywatch theme, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, Britney, Marilyn Manson and the Chillis. Class tunes.

Keith and I decided to start walking towards Copan rather than wait in Sesesmil for a pickup. We were walking for about 30-45 minutes before one came along, and the thought of having to walk all the way back crossed my mind a couple of times!

Went to Café Welchez in the afternoon and started a new book – Matchstick Men – cuz I finished George Orwell yesterday. Sent emails to hostels and tour companies after supper, and they had to kick me out cuz I was there till closing time!

Honduras Honduras and Guatemala 2005

The Porch of the Big House

Freddy, my host brother, is our usual tuk-tuk driver. But his was broken yesterday so he got another guy to take us. Thinking something similar would happen today, I sat outside the house from 6:50am to 7:30am waiting. Then I walked up to Nicki and Lauren’s house, and we all waited on the corner for a pickup. Keith decided yesterday that he’d try to get a pickup since the tuk-tuk struggles so much, and evidently, he had already gone. Another taxi drove by at 7:55am and he said he’d take us.

Got up to the project by 8:30am and it was raining lots. Beginning to wish we’d all just gone back to bed! So after the slope that we were going up, the local guys have gone down again and back up again. So we were stationed next to the church, where the pipe finally gets into the village. I’m sure there would’ve been an easier way to get there.

The big house that looks like it doesn’t belong is owned by relatives of Nicki and Lauren’s host family. And they invited us for coffee today. I’ve been as far as the porch!

Did very, very little all afternoon, and then spent the evening flicking between Harry Potter and Bridget Jones on two different channels.

Honduras Honduras and Guatemala 2005

Oh, Another Slope to Dig

So we’ve gone down one slope and now we need to go up the other side. It’s a steeper slope and it rained a lot last night so it’s really slippy, but I still found it easier to dig than yesterday’s slope. We’ve decided there’s a bit of a conspiracy. They put us to work on the steep slopes cuz we’re always falling over and slipping, and they find it amusing. Somehow they never fall over. They’re like cats – if they do lose their balance, they always manage to land on their feet.

The weather improved a lot by the afternoon so I went to the pool. There were other people there! For like, the first time! The idea of swimming in front of other people made me feel quite self-conscious, so I spent ages on the sun lounger reading, and only swam for a little while.

Went to Café Welchez afterwards cuz I haven’t been there for a few days. After supper, my host mum gave me a t-shirt of the Mayan Calendar as a gift. She’s so good to me!

Any of you guys watched The House of Sand and Fog? It’s so depressing. It’s good, but not really worth the feeling of wanting to kill yourself afterwards!

I’m thinking of trying to finish a couple of days early so I have more time to travel, cuz at the moment I’ll be cutting things a bit fine.

Honduras Honduras and Guatemala 2005

The Main Pipe

Ok, so Robin’s left but Nicki is back, and Lauren is volunteering this week before she moves on. And Keith’s still here, so there are four of us up in Sesesmil now – the tuk-tuk struggles up the hills!

We’ve been set to work digging from the water tank down to the village. It’s the main pipeline, which means we have to dig deeper – about halfway up my thigh. Today’s slope was really steep and full of roots – not fun!

We’re working with the local guys now and it’s becoming quite evident just how much better at this they are. It takes four of us to do the same amount of work as one of them! But, at least we did the houses while they worked on the main pipe – saved them some work!

After getting back and having lunch, I went to a restaurant that makes really good licuados and stayed there for a couple of hours. Tried to watch I, Robot before bed but couldn’t keep my eyes open.

Honduras Honduras and Guatemala 2005

Shark Boy and Lava Girl

Last night I managed to rope myself into going to the cinema with my host mum and her youngest daughter this morning. We went to see The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl 3D. A kids film. Dubbed in Spanish. But I knew all this before we left and I still went! Managed to understand some of it too.

Got back and watched Shark Tale after lunch. In English. Understood all of that. Updated my website and generally managed to waste the day quite successfully, by doing very little.

Birthday Wish List (in case anyone’s interested)

  • Money
  • Purple shoes from Barratts – like my green ones, size 5
  • DVDs
    • Ghostbusters 1 and 2
    • South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut
    • Red Dwarf series 1, 2, 5, 6 and 7
    • Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
    • Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
  • CDs
    • A Crow Left of the Murder – Incubus
    • In Your Honour – Foo Fighters
    • Green Album – WeezerDynamite – Jamiroquai

Honduras Honduras and Guatemala 2005

Bug Fodder

The bugs are quite literally feasting on me. They’re taking chunks out of my arms. Or at least I am cuz the bites itch so much! Don’t know if it’s the ants in my room, or if there’s something up in Sesesmil, but it’s really frustrating!

Robin’s last day of work. We were supposed to go on a hike today up to the water source, but the guy never showed up, so we carried on with our biggest trench yet. Finished it, but couldn’t be bothered going to find the next house with only a little time left, so we went home early.

The pickup we rode back in bought five bags of oranges from one of the locals for 100 Lempiras. That’s about £3.50 for what looked like about 250 oranges. That’s 10 pickup rides into Copan. Or 5 café lattes in Café Welchez. On Tuesday, we were talking about how these people weren’t the poorest people in the world: they had homes made from breezeblocks, some had concrete flooring, and they generally looked healthy. They must really rely on the food they grow themselves. And I’d hate to have to save up for something – even clothes – if I lived there.

Saw Jimmy in Café Welchez and organized going to Gracias tomorrow morning with him, Lauren and Lycette. Attempted to organize my travel plans today but didn’t get very far. Then watched some of the news when I got home and La Ceiba is flooded. Yey!

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!