Yet again another week goes by in a flash! After my last post, Lex and I stayed a few more days in Copan Ruinas, taking some walks around the small, but pretty town, smoking some local Honduran cigars and drinking some Salva Vidas(Honduran beer). On Saturday, we walked through a small but colorful cemetery that was decorated with colored tissue paper of sorts and flowers – really beautiful. I took a few pictures of the town center and of a cute little church near the Parque Central. It’s a pretty small town, but it’s really hilly so it’s an adventure walking up and down the streets. There was a town festival going on over the weekend, so we saw a few different musicians play right in our hostel bar! One solo musician, Duane, who is an ex-pat from Canada, was playing a set Saturday night. We sat and talked music with him after his set and made plans to potentially meet up for a drink with him in Roatan, as he was heading the same direction as us to play some shows. It turns out that he had founded an art and music school in Honduras about a year prior! As Alexi was getting a bit sick of carrying his guitar around with him(and his ukulele) he asked Duane if the art school could use another guitar. Duane gratefully accepted the guitar and said it would be put to good use. Lex is so nice!
Early on Monday morning, we checked out of our adorable hostel in Copan and headed (with our giant backpacks on) on foot to the bus station to catch our bus to La Ceiba, Honduras. I’m not quite sure how, but somehow our backpacks have managed to continue to grow over the course of our trip. We’ve bought a few little presents here and there for friends, so that could be it(or we’re just getting lazy about packing them)… so it was a bit of a trek to the bus station. We hopped aboard our big, air-conditioned bus and rode about 6 hours(with a connection in San Pedro Sula that felt like we were in an airport terminal – very nice!) to La Ceiba. We arrived after dark, but luckily we had made reservations at a hostel in town that was supposed to be okay.
To sum it up, La Ceiba is not a very pretty town(I actually don’t think I took any pictures there!). We pretty much just wanted to use it as a transfer point to get to Roatan the next day. At the bus station in La Ceiba, we agreed to get in a cab with a slightly hurried cabbie, that crammed us in with 2 other people. After a short cab ride in which I realized that he’d left the trunk partially open with our bags in it(!), we were at the hostel, Banana Republic. The cabbie overcharged us by quite a bit but as we were sleepy from the long day we didn’t put up enough of a fuss and checked in to our hostel. The hostel was nothing to rave about and was one of the priciest we’ve stayed in – I really don’t recommend La Ceiba! We found a baleada place(Honduran tortillas filled with beans, cheese, etc) that we’re pretty sure had lard in the beans(we’re both vegetarians) and had slightly upset tummies… Also, we had started taking our malaria pills in Copan and the malaria pills definitely make for a slightly upset tummy! But, as there are at least 5 strains of malaria on Roatan alone, we started taking them, just in case!
We slept alright and woke up early the next day, packed, and hopped in a cab that took us to the ferry terminal. We were stoked to finally be headed to Roatan for some white sand beaches! We waited a bit for the ferry, then finally hopped on and got a great seat in the back where we had an awesome view of the Caribbean Sea! After about a 1 1/2 hour ride, we arrived at the Roatan dock… just as the rain started pouring down! We again hailed another cab that took us to the hostel we found online, Chillies. Luckily Chilles had a room for us($8 each a night – score), along with a shared bath and kitchen. We set off to explore West End(the part of the island we’re staying on) a bit and found the prices to be quite a bit higher than anywhere else we had traveled… But, with reason, we wandered past 2 very pretty beaches, dive shops, resorts, shops, restaurants, and a road under construction. Apparently, they are putting in sewage pipes under the main road here, so you have to watch where you step, so you don’t fall in a giant construction hole! We quickly found a beach bar that had lounge chairs on the beach, threw on our swim suits, and laid on the beach(the rain had stopped for a bit). Also, even though it was raining the weather was still warm and nice(although humid, of course).
On Wednesday, we decided to hail a water taxi(a way better way to travel than a land taxi) to nearby West Bay, where the best beach supposedly was. As the weather was pretty good, we went swimming, tanned for a while, and walked on the beach! The beach was indeed beautiful, but was also pretty touristy. About every 2 minutes someone came up to you asking if you wanted to buy a giant shell or wanted a $10 massage(tempting but I passed). The food was also crazy expensive(American prices – $10ish a plate) but we found a local place to grab some baleadas and ended up chatting with the waiter there who asked Alexi if he could write the drink specials on their board in English(he spoke English, but apparently couldn’t write it very well). After walking around a bit more, we hailed another water taxi(this time piloted by some Roatan locals that had probably had one too many beers) back to our hood. That night, we headed back to the beach bar for the happy hour(still expensive but worth it) and talked to a few “locals”(mostly expats from Europe and the U.S.).
Thursday, we stayed on the West End and enjoyed a sunny day on the beach, sipping fresh orange juice and working on our tans. We were thinking how lovely it was to be on a beach in December, until we were told that it is actually rainy season here… The rainy season in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala ends around October, so we thought we were done with the rain! Apparently we’re right in the midst of the rainy season here. Thursday night we headed out to find a cheap local bar to grab a beer at. After a bit of walking, we found a small dive shop/cafe/bar called C-Level that we ended up meeting some nice people at. We chatted with the owner, Joe and some of his scuba instructors about traveling and life on Roatan. We made plans to come back the next day and try some snorkeling through his dive shop. The bartender there also told us that there was some karaoke going on that night at another bar down the street. Karaoke, you say?! Lex and I were definitely down. After saying goodbye to our new friends, we headed over to the Blue Marlin bar where I sang “LOVE” by Natalie Cole and “I touch myself” by the Divinyl’s to a large crowd of tourists, locals and drunks! Lex sang “Yesterday” by the Beatles and got a nice round of applause, too! Definitely a good night.
Friday we woke up a bit late and headed in our swimsuits to the dive shop. We had heard that a storm was on it’s way, but hoped that we would have the chance to snorkel before it hit. At about 11:45 am, we were all clear and they gave us equipment and put us in a boat with some divers and headed to a spot on the reef. As the wind had picked up a bit(a storm was on it’s way, like I said), the water was super choppy and wavy. As neither Lex nor I had officially been snorkeling before we were a bit nervous, especially as we noticed that we were in water that was about 30 feet deep or so. With our gear on, we slowly hopped off the boat and began to try to snorkel. At first I got a bit freaked out when I looked down at the deep, clear water below me and somehow managed to swallow a few giant mouthfuls of sea water. After deciding to then hold on to the boat for a few minutes, while trying out a new technique, I got the hang of it. The reef was beautiful! I saw neon blue fish and fish with colored scales, and coral, and white sand – amazing!! After snorkeling around the boat for about 30-45 minutes, trying not to drown in the giant waves, I realized that the choppy sea was making me a bit seasick. For those that know me pretty well, they know that I am not very good with motion – it hurts my tummy. I decided to get back in the boat, which I then realized was also bobbing up and down with the giant, choppy waves, and eventually ended up puking over the boat about 4 or 5 times. Not super fun. Soon after that, the rain came pouring down and we headed back to the dock. We didn’t do much the rest of the day, but I can definitely say that snorkeling was a memorable experience!
Today, we woke up to some absolutely pouring rain and crazy winds. So far we have only left the house to grab some lunch and that alone, with the crazy winds, pouring rain, and ripped apart streets has made us decide to relax a bit at the hostel today. 🙂 Oh, forgot to mention that most people speak English here(the Bay Islands have a very interesting history, including former pirate ownership of Roatan – read about it, if you get the chance!) so we have a harder time practicing our Spanish – darnit!
Enjoy the pics everyone!