June 13, 2008

Welcome 30/05/08
Border formalities were quick, a small fee that took us by surprise, that´s it. The euphoria of leaving Guatemala was so strong; we had this stupid grin and a nice downhill.
At the border we met Yehonatan, the Israeli motorcyclist we met 3km earlier. He was on the first day of his trip to South America, and just left Guatemala City, after working there a year in security.

Copan Ruinas
The short ride to Copan Ruinas, near the famous Mayan ruins, was beautiful. The road seamed much less populated, as apposed to Guatemala.
We were a bit surprised by the amount of tourists. The ATM made life very simple for us; how easy it is to travel nowadays, backed-up with technology.
We found a cheap & good hotel, and on the way found Yehonatan, who joined us. Another “Kawasaki” travel-motorcycle was parked there, owned by Jared and his companion Lucy.
Yehonatan, who was carrying both a petrol stove (same as ours) and a gas stove (Yehonatan – you´re carrying too much!), joined forces with us for dinner (Chili Chicken – we are improving!). Lucy & Jared joined later and we had a very nice evening.

In the morning we all went to the Maya ruins. Yehonata, Gerad & Lucy, who saw enough ruins in Guatemala, decided to skip it, as a protest against the high entrance fee ($15), out of proportion in a country where a meal costs $1. The ruins were very impressive.

Dinner with Yehonatan.
On the way to the ruins.

An animal.


We all had dinner together, a meat stew with beans, vegetebles and loads of garlic. The rice was not a failure thanks to Yehonatan's gas stove (our stove doesn’t have a regulator, only a strong flame). It was the first time we cooked for 5 people, in ‘camping’ conditions. We finished with ‘El-Nahla’ Turkish coffee, from Israel (much better than any coffee we tasted here in ‘coffee-land’), part of Yehonatan’s stock.

Wet Season – part 2 01/06/08
We decided to avoid the Pan-Am and take a southern route through the mountains. On the way to Santa Rosa de Copan we met Jared & Lucy. They decided to stop early in Santa Rosa, after we told them our travel book highly recommends “the most beautiful colonial town in Honduras”. They said they’ll wait for us there, in 2-3 hours. We had a few tough climbs and we were feeling not in our best, but we made it. Thanks to Jared & Lucy we didn’t need to search for a hotel. We walked around town and easily concluded that it was far from amazing.
The next day we had a tough, but beautiful ride to Gracies, a small, relaxed, colonial village. We liked Gracies very much.

Cowboys in the campo.

Lucy & Jared.

Pork chops with garlic, ginger, honey, mustard and soy sauce.

Bugs, chilling out.
Our room.
Bugs, zoom.
Gracies, from the fort.

We knew that the road from Gracies to La-Esperanza was partially paved. In the middle of the way to San-Juan it started to rain heavily but we continued. In minutes the road was flooded. We tried ignoring it for a while, but, eventually hid in a house for half an hour, totally wet. The rain calmed we continued. An hour later we reached an unpaved section – mud! Obviously, the rain came back and cycling became impossible. To our luck, a bit later, a truck passed and we quickly threw our stuff on it. It was the bumpiest road we´ve ever been on. The truck was jumping like mad and we put our last strength in holding the bikes. Half an hour of hell! Oh, it was cold as well.

Totally wet & tiered, we found a hotel with a hot shower and a TV. We had to relax, forget about today, and start preparing for tomorrows´ muddy road and the wet shoes.


The next morning was dry and started with asphalt. It was still dry when we reached the unpaved 35km. The scenery was beautiful pine forest, very mountainous. In the afternoon, as we finished the climb, the rain arrived. This time we wore our waterproof pants as well (an upgrade from our Asia trip, bought in the USA, a bit cheap but does the job). When the rain was too strong we hid in a house. We were offered a cup of traditional, home-made coffee. It was one of the best coffees we ever tasted. All made at home, from their garden/field. We bought half a kilo, the rain died and we continued.

Just a worm.
Hiding from the rain.

Jorge 07/06/08
Jared & Lucy told us about Jorge, living in Zombrano, a small village on the highway, in his country inn, a beautiful place to relax. We emailed him and were invited.
Yehonatan emailed us that on the same muddy road to San-Juan, he slipped (later, Jared & Lucy told us they slipped there as well), hurt his leg and now he’s stuck with a cast for 3 weeks, so he may arrive as well.
We stayed 3 days in this small paradise. Turns out Jorge owned one of the best restaurants in Tegucigalpa (the capital – catchy name!) and has traveled a lot. He had an exquisite taste, both in the beautiful inn he designed built and decorated and in cooking, seen in his big and well equipped kitchen and the tasty food he made.
And you know us – just say cooking…
Poor Yehonatan, jumping around with his cast and crutches, waiting for the time to pass…

Jorge, in the dream kitchen.

At the garden, with Yehonatan.
Happy 7 years, 7 months, 7 days.

On our second day, we went to Tegucigalpa, to make a stool test. Gal´s stomach was not at her best for some time, since we left Lago-Atitlan (19/05). Half an hour on the bus and we were somewhere in the center of this terrible city. It´s a good time to mention that the Honduran accent and speech are horrible, probably connected to the low education level of the lower classes. Mexico was the best till now (and the most educated, as Jorge said), Guatemala – mas o menos, Honduras and Nicaragua – the worst, Costa Rica – much better, and Panama…
We barely understood the locals and everywhere looked like slums. We took a taxi to the major hospital and after a rather short wait a young doctor examined Gal (talked with her). He gave here prescriptions for pills against parasites and something to stop the diarrhea. When we insisted on a stool-test, he sent us to a private clinic around the block.
Did we mention we were carrying 2 bags of shit since 07:00? We were ready…
The stool-test cost $3 each, like the taxi ride! We had 2 hours to kill, walking around in the boring area, with so many private clinics of all sorts. The test showed nothing! But, what would you expect from a $3 test? We should have paid more :-(

And we will… much more!
Back in the hospital, the doctor erased the anti-parasite tablets and sent us off; the nerve of us asking him questions… At least the hospital was free.
The way back was ‘quick’: a bus to the wrong direction, one to the right direction, but we were sent off too early, and one to where the long-distance bus would pick us up.
No one in the city knew anything of anything!
After 10 minutes of waiting, a woman yelled: “there is the bus!” and everybody ran to it, barely catching it, and we were off to Zombrano.

That night Marta & Julian, cyclists we met on the way, arrived and we all cooked dinner.
We decided to stay another day, rest after the ‘adventures’ of the stool-test.

The barbecue.
A friend at our door.

Goodbye 13/06/08
We hitched passed the capital and in 2 relaxed cycling days reached the border.
We liked Honduras, we didn’t ‘camp’ with locals enough, due to Gals’ stomach, but enjoyed the scenery, the empty roads and the tranquility of the campo (country-side).

Marta & Julian.
Bicycle parking lot, near school.