As I’ve taken a bit too long to write this blog, I have to stretch my mind a bit to remember what has actually happened in the last week and a half! Lex and I were in Roatan last Monday and Tuesday, with Monday being super rainy yet again. Tuesday, which was to be our last day in Roatan ended up being a very pretty day, complete with sun and warm weather, so we laid around in our bathing suits by the beach most of the day, swimming in some lovely clear water and working on our tans! Lex ended up getting a little lobster burn on his chest, but it turned out alright. We also spent some time in the garden of the hostel, watching the birds and the kitties that lived at the hostel. We saw woodpeckers, hummingbirds, and crows going about their business. 🙂
On Wednesday, we had a day of very intense transportation, all pretty well timed. We took a cab to a ferry to a cab to a bus to a cab to a hostel!!! It was crazy! And as you all likely know by now, Lex and I had decided to head back to the U.S. for the holidays to surprise our friends and family for Christmas! His parents knew and a few people on my side knew, but my parents had no clue, nor did most of my friends. More on that later, but on Wednesday, we woke up super early to catch a cab to the early ferry. The hostel had called a cab for us in the morning, but as we waited out front, the specific cab that she had told us was coming, was late, so we ended up hopping in another cab for the same price. We drove about 25 minutes through beautiful Roatan watching the sun rising slowly in the sky over the Caribbean Sea – beautiful! We made it on time for the ferry and sat down below(not outside) as it had started raining again. I had taken a motion sickness pill, as the last ride on the ferry was a bit rough for me so I dozed off and on the whole ride to La Ceiba.
When we got to La Ceiba, we had to quickly gather our luggage then hop in another taxi – which we succeeded at doing. We then took the taxi to the bus station, where we would take a bus to San Pedro Sula, where we would fly out of the next day! The bus ride was pretty nice and we got to watch Lord of The Rings in Spanish on the way! We then got to San Pedro Sula on time and had a cab waiting for us to take us to the hostel. It’s amazing what you can book/do online! We pulled up to Tamarindo Hostel around 1:30 pm-ish and checked in. We were then pretty starving, so decided to walk around in the pouring rain(yes, it was raining again!) to find a restaurant. After a bit of frustrated walking, we ended up stumbling upon a cute Honduran restaurant where we had some pretty decent Honduran food and coffee. We then headed back to the hostel and chilled as we were fairly exhausted from traveling and there wasn’t much in our neighborhood. That night, we drank Honduran beers, smoked cigars and played cards on the patio, as it was our last night in Honduras!!
The next day, we packed up our stuff and headed in yet another cab to the airport, where we would take a flight to connect in Mexico City, to then land in San Francisco. San Francisco was Lex’s final destination and I only stopped there to grab a few more clothes, say hi to his family and to surprise my sister for dinner! Also, it was way cheaper than flying direct to Phoenix… Anyway, we got to the airport 3 hours before our flight, thinking we were totally over-preparing. However, we ended up waiting 45 minutes in line at the airline counter just to check our bags and get our boarding passes, then had to pay the exit tax(about $40 each just to leave from Honduras!), then had to go through security and grab some food! We ended up making our flight just fine, but I see why people get to the airport so early sometimes! We then took a small plane for 2 1/2 hours or so to connect in Mexico City – a monster of an airport, complete with Starbucks’, 7/11, and thousands of shops!
We had a 4+ hour layover there, so wandered around a bit, drank coffee and waited until 40 minutes before our flight to finally see our gate number! We also walked around outside a bit and snapped a few pictures. The airport is located pretty much in the middle of the city, so you could see buildings and cars all around the airport. Also, when flying in, you can see lights and buildings on both sides of the plane as far as the eye can see – the city is HUGE! After I think another 4 hour flight or so(and a 30 minute delay) we were in San Francisco at about midnight! We went through customs, grabbed our bags, then were picked up by Lex’s entire family! We went back to their house, where his mom had ready lasagna, mac and cheese and every snack imaginable! We ate and talked until we were all completely exhausted, then headed to bed. We woke up fairly early on Friday considering, and I spent some time organizing my backpack, doing laundry and re-organizing the boxes of my stuff at Lex’s house.
That night, Alexi’s sister dropped us off at the airport, as the plan was to meet up with my sister Kate’s boyfriend, Ross, there and then Kate was coming on a work flight from San Diego. Now, Kate knew that I was surprising my parents and coming to Phoenix, but I failed to mention to her that I had a one day layover in SF and was going to surprise her there, too! So, Kate came through the gate and was greeted by Ross(who she also didn’t know was picking her up, as she was planning on taking the train home), then Lex and I jumped out and surprised her! She was indeed very surprised and was yelling funny things in the airport for all to hear! We then all hopped in Ross’s car and headed to the city, where we were going to drop off some things, then head to dinner. We then went to dinner at YoYo Sushi – my first time there in months and drank beers and ate sushi with Kate, Ross, Alexi, myself and Ross’s brother and girlfriend. After that, we grabbed a beer in the Mission, and then Lex and I headed to Bart, as I had a very early flight to Phoenix to catch the next day. To all those in SF that I didn’t call – I apologize as I was only there for a day and had to surprise my parents the next day, so didn’t want the word to get out early!
We went to bed at about 1:00 am and then had to wake up at 3:30 am to get me to the airport by 4:00 am. Thankfully Alexi’s sister Dounya was kind enough to take me and Lex and I said our goodbyes, after being on a 3-month trip together – it was sad but thankfully we were both too sleepy to really notice! I then hopped on a United plane to Phoenix, where I was picked up by my BFF in Phoenix, Virginia! I had planned a “Skype date” with my mom that day for 11:00 am – again she had no idea that I was in Phoenix and thought I was spending Christmas in Belize… So, after shopping a bit with Virginia, at about 10:50 am, I rang my parent’s doorbell with a big, red bow on my shirt. My dad was working and wasn’t home yet, but my mom answered the door and was at first confused(as she thought I was selling something at first) and then once she realized it was me, was super surprised and excited! We then hung with Virginia and her adorable little ones for a bit, then my mom and I spent the day catching up and chatting. That evening, my dad came home from work to find me in the living room and then he too was very surprised and excited! Finally, the surprises were over and I was able to tell everyone that I was here.
The last few days, although I was a sleepy jet-lagged zombie have been interesting. It’s very weird to be back in the U.S. all of a sudden. I know I wasn’t gone for that long, but I keep noticing little things that are different. For example, the beans taste different(not as good) the water here is always super cold, the mattresses are incredibly comfortable, there are no bugs in site, everyone(mostly) speaks English(I miss Spanish!) and my parents and friends are here. I went to a friend’s 30th b-day dinner, went to a cookie party with my mom, and tried to make pupusas with my parents(a few pics of these events are below).
My plan, as of now is to spend Christmas and New Year’s in Phoenix(with a potential stop in SF for my sister’s b-day and to see friends…), then to head back down to Central America in January to hopefully hit up Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama… if all goes well. This may be my last blog for a bit, but I will certainly start blogging again as more traveling commences!!! Hope that everyone has a very happy holidays!! If you’re in Phoenix, please give me a call – I would love to meet up!