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Day 22 Teguc- Santa Lucia + Valles del Angeles

Written on: Tuesday August 14th, 2007

A journal entry from: Central America Road Trip 2007

This day turned out very interesting but not in the way I expected it. The first part went pretty much exactly to plan. I got out early to complete the part of my city tour that I didn't get to the day before. First, I headed over to the other half of the city. The plan was to see what there was to see stopping to rest my foot at a series of small parks along the way until I got to Tica Bus at the southern end. The parks were nice breaks but nothing special and the rest of that part of the city was even less special. Now I know.

The only really good part was that it put me at Tica Bus where I could buy my ticket for the next day and get that part out of the way (the reality is with a 9:15 departure, I could have shown up the same day and purchased them albeit with perhaps not as great a choice of seats).

Its only 9AM and I'm already rolling for the day. Next I get in a cab and ask him to take me to the top of Parque La Paz. The cost 70L or $3.50, but with my ankle it sure beat walking. And the views from the top made it well worth it. I elected to walk down however, figuring I could better enjoy the views along the way. I get back to my hotel a little after 10AM right about on schedule, gather up my dirty clothes to take to a nearby laundry and find the bus, or bus to the bus, to Santa Lucia. I turned out I probably could have walked to where the 2nd bus took off too since it wasn't all that far from my hotel, but in any event I'm on my way for the next part of my adventure.

About 30 minutes later or a little before 11AM, I arrive at Santa Lucia, a small mountain village (about 14km NE of Teguc) with cobblestone streets up and down the hillsides and fine views of the nearby mountains and in the distance Tegucigalpa below. Its a nice town but not too much is happening there besides the views and the general sleepy ambiance. So I head back to the main road to catch a bus to the next big town of Valles del Angeles. Now that was a good 2.5km walk but my ankle seems to be doing much better today as long as I keep moving and stay off inclines.

Here is where my plans started to go awry. A bus comes along and one of the other people waiting there, knowing I was going to VdA, told me (in spanish of course) that it would pass by there, or at least that is what I thought I understood. Normally, I don't like getting on buses unless the destination marked on the front is one I know, so I asked the driver as I got on board to confirm and he seemed to as well. So off we go and then it happens. The bus turns off the main road on to a little dirt road. This doesn't seem quite right to me but maybe this is the way to get to VdS. We go along up and down hills, twisting around bends, passing various forks in the road and I'm thinking this better be right or I'll never be able to find my way out of here even assuming I could walk all that distance.

Then the bus turns on to an even smaller dirt road barely much wider than the bus and I KNOW I'm in trouble. Again I ask someone if this is the right way to VdA and everyone starts yammering away this time (probably saying stupid gringo) and I still can{t quite understand everything they say. This was the first real time that my lack of fluency really bit me in the butt. I can make out that they say I need to take an auto-taxi and I'm thinking this far out in the boonies what is this going to wind up costing me to get out. I should add that since I was leaving Honduras the next day my supply of local funds was getting quite low. Normally, simply having a decent supply of cash is the great empowerer giving one confidence in foreign situations, since if all else fails one can at least buy oneself out of trouble. But not now.

The bus, now down to a just few passengers other than myself, starts to back down this road and lets me off next to a small cluster of buildings saying I can catch a auto-taxi from here. I'm not so sure, but I get off and the bus takes off. Now I'm really worrying. In a spot like this what if thats the last bus for the day. I don't see anything that looks like a hospadeje and I'm thinking this could wind up like one of those jokes where the traveler asks a local farmer if he could put up in the barn.

I go up to some people and start asking questions. Is there another bus? Not until 4 (it is now about 1PM). Well that's better than getting stuck out here for the night but I still don't relish having to kill the day waiting out in the middle of nowhere. Can I call a taxi? No phone, and I look up and see no wires going into any of the buildings. Eventually I understand as they tell me I'll just have to wait until a taxi comes by. But I've already been there 15 minutes and I haven't seen anything move on the road except the chickens trying to get to the other side. Another 15 minutes go by and I see a bus moving back and forth up the hill trying to negotiate a turn and I run up the hill to catch it. It turned out to be the bus that had dropped me off making a return run. I get on board and they point to a local girl who is also trying to get to a place where she can catch a auto-taxi. A while later they let us out so the bus can continue its circuitous route through the back waters of the area and the girl and I start to walk. About a mile later we come back to the main dirt road and the girl points to a building where she says a cab will pass by. 15 minutes later a little moto-tricycle cab pulls up and me and 2 other local girls squeeze in the back. Bouncing up and down as we wind our way back over the twisty hilly road back to the main road and I'm feeling a lot more confident. And it only cost me 20L or about a buck to get out of my jam. I'd happily have paid much more.

We get to VdA (my original destination) and I hop out and pay the kid. Its a nice little town with cobblestone streets, restaurants and souvenir shops. Okay a little touristy but not overwhelming so like some other places I've been. I snap a few pictures of the town square but my hands are still a little shaky from my previous experience.

At this point the 2nd somewhat unusual or at least unplanned thing happens for the day. A honduran couple calls out to me from a table at a sidewalk bar/cafe and beckons me over. The guy, Rigoberto, gestures for me to sit down and join them and in the process knocks over their beers spilling it on his girlfriend, Marialessa. Great, its 2 in the afternoon and this guy is shitfaced, but he seems friendly and safe enough so I join them (after first running to get some napkins for poor Marialessa). Rigoberto wanted to practice his English with me, which he says he learned at the University in Tegoose, but whether because of his inebriation or lack of learning, his english didn't go very far and we mainly spoke in spanish. They seemed to want to learn how to say all the bad words in English, so I gave them an education. When Marialessa got up to go down the street for a little while, Rigoberto confided in me that she was very pretty (which she was) but was bad in bed. Okay, thats good to know, but I'll just take his word for it. When she returned we talked about a lot of things, my home state, where we'd been, stuff like that. It was starting to get late, so I got up and offered to pay for the beers or at least what I had drunk, but Rigoberto would have none of that. He asked if I'd like a ride back to Tegoose with them since he had his car. I thought better of that although it might have been interesting to go out for the night with them to see the Honduran side of Tegoose nightlife, but I valued my life more and suggested to Rigoberto that maybe he should let Marialessa drive. I don't know what happened after that but I hope they got back okay.

That's about it for the day. I don't have my notes but my costs ran pretty much as they have been running at $30-35 for the day (not including my Tica ticket for the next day)