After doing research for Honduras, I decided to just have fun writing the story instead of weaving facts and historical tid-pits into the post. I hope y’all enjoy this segment of my fictitious continuing story, Around the World in Fifty-Two Weeks. I had fun writing it!
Around the World in Fifty-Two Weeks
Week Twenty-Three: Honduras
This was going to be fun. I had decided to forgo the usual tourist activities and instead stay with a family high up in a mountain village. There was nothing whatsoever that bespoke of tourist as we rumbled up the mountainside in a overcrowded bus that stank like the hens that were clucking in a crate under one of the seats and I knew as we left the city behind that I was in for an adventure.
The bus ride was a lot longer than I had anticipated and the hairpin curves made me sick to my stomach and wish I had gotten a ticket for the night time bus. During the eight hours of driving there were only two extremely quick stops, one of them literally out in the middle of no where. I was thankful I hadn’t drunk very much water because there was no place private and I was too used to bathrooms, or at least an outhouse, to be okay with that arrangement.
At the second stop there were bathrooms, and although I had to pay to use them, I was quite happy to do so. There were also multitudes of children and old ladies who crowded around the bus, reaching up to the windows to try and sell us food. I ended up buying some kind of tamales, a dish I had never had before. To my surprise it was very tasty and I wish I had bought more. Who would have guessed that such a delightful treat would be found steamed in corn husks? It made me want to try the trick when I got home.
Sophie had warned me over and over again not to drink anything that I hadn’t bought from a bottle because of all the dirty water that could make me sick. Therefore I had several bottles of water in my backpack in case the family I stayed with didn’t have any bottled water. I also figured that I would be able to buy bottled water and soda in the village where I was going to stay.
It was near dusk when we rounded the last bend and I could see the village clustered below us in a valley. It looked so homey and I was excited to be spending the next five days there, although I was also a bit nervous. I was going to have to communicate the best I could in Spanish because no one spoke English. I had brought along an Spanish/English dictionary and figured that would help some, but still… This was probably the furthest away from big cities I had traveled since being in Mongolia nearly six months before.
The warm welcome I received did a lot to wash away my doubts and fears. The people looked like they were seriously glad to see me and little girls with bare feet and chapped faces danced around me, glee in their eyes. Strong boys who looked like they were in the middle of a ball game stopped what they were doing and came to join us. They insisted on carrying my luggage after I got off the bus. All around me were smiles and chatter and I instantly felt at home. These people were my family for a week and I was going to do my best to fit in.
I took a moment to look around me, the sun was setting and the warm glow bathed the dirty, dusty streets, making them look almost unreal. Trash was all over the place and the buildings were made from adobe blocks and painted white and then had cartoonish like drawings on them (I later found out that they were kinda like political advertisements). Old laides sat on little stools and worked rapidly with yarn, spinning it and knitting items. Old men grinned toothlessly at me as they leaned against buildings, arms crossed, wrinkles lining their faces.
After a moment of the children jostling around me, one of them reached up and grabbed my hand. I looked down to see a girl with two long braids and a hole-filled sweater glowing at me. Obviously they had been arguing about who got to escort me to my new lodgings and she had been the chosen one.
We wound our way through the village with a whole group of children (including those carrying my suitcase and backpack) trailing along after us. A couple of mangy dogs ran across the road, chasing an even mangier looking cat. Even further ahead a herd of sheep (complete with long tails) were being herded between the houses. Overhead several large birds soared on the light wind currents in a nearly cloudless sky.
After about two minutes the girl leading me indicated that we had arrived and threw open a nearly-falling apart wooden door. The scents of rice and beans greeted me and I breathed in deeply. There was also an earthy smell, which made sense because we were in an adobe (that is mud brick) house after all.
Once again I was greeted warmly by the people who had obviously been setting up for my arrival. I felt like an honored guest and decided I needed to take lessons from these wonderful people. When I finally got home I would make sure to have company over more often, and when I did, I would treat them with utter delight, as if I couldn’t be more thrilled to have them staying with me.
The food was delicious, and to my amazement I even picked up a few new words of Spanish. With the help of a lot of gesturing and very patient children who found it enjoyable to laugh at me and the try and mimic my words, it wasn’t long until I was able to figure out everyone’s names and tell them mine.
By the time I was shown to my room that night I knew this was going to be a wonderful week. Forgoing all the touristy sights to stay in this delightful village with it’s welcoming people was a decision I would not regret.