Copan, Honduras - Chicken bus -
Well Bonnie and I made it to Copan Honduras. We checked in to the Mayan Hotel on the main square of Copan and plan to get up early to check out the famous Copan Ruinas.
We had a bit of a rough start though… I thought I'd just swing by the bank on the way to pick up Bonnie en route to Houston to catch our plane. But I forgot to get cash on the way to Bonnie's house. No worries though, I thought I'd just get some money at the Houston International airport. We found an ATM machine but somehow got side tracked into repacking a few items in our backpacks before we checked our bags. Then we had a nice lunch in the airport got on the plane and about 3 minutes after take off I had this horrible feeling I had forgot something very important. Hmmmmmmm…. What was it…. Oh shit! I had forgotten to get out money for our trip. I asked Bonnie how much money she was carrying and she proudly informed me she was carrying one dollar in quarters. I had nine dollars on me so together we headed off into the unknown with a whopping 10 dollars to our name. What kind of idiot leaves for a month with 9 dollars in his pocket? That is the question I kept asking myself all the way to Guatemala City. I tried to convince myself that there would certainly be an ATM machine in the Guatemalan airport. Small beads of sweat began forming on my upper lip as I pondered arriving at night in Guatemala City without enough money for a bottle of water, a taco and a taxi to a hotel.
We arrived safely in Guatemala and found an ATM machine straight away. Problem was, it wouldn't accept my stupid ATM money card, nor would it accept my Visa card. Bonnie too tried her card but it wouldn't work either. There was a bank in the airport and I asked them if I could withdrawal money out on my credit card. No go for some reason but they suggested another money machine. Luckily that worked for Bonnie's Visa card but not for my bank card. I was able to use my Visa card but I for some reason I could only withdrawal 80 dollars. Bonnie managed to get 160 dollars so with that we were on our way.
We opted to check into a hotel and head out the next morning. As we were waiting to get through customs we spoke with a nice professional looking Guatemalan businessman. He was shocked that we were visiting Guatemala right now. He told us there was a travel advisory and we should be careful. Hmmmmm…. Not much I could do about that right now so we just thanked him for his concern and headed out into the city. We checked into a nice hotel near the bus station. I asked the man at the front desk how to get to the bus station. 4 blocks down the street and one to the left. Easy as pie. Bonnie and I awoke at 7 and headed for the bus station. En route we spoke with a Guatemalan man who spoke good English. He told us that the Government had just raised the taxes from 10 percent to 15 percent and get this, there was a scheduled riot that very morning. He explained that rioters would block all roads out of the city and that we should be very careful. He suggested not leaving the city until later that afternoon. Nope waiting around in Guatemala City was not on our agenda so we opted to see what fate had in store for us. Luckily there were no issues with the roads or rioters. Everything so far has been easy as pie. Everyone has been nice to us and we are having a great time.
We took a bus from Guatemala City to a small town called Chiquimula (3 US dollars) and then changed busses and headed to the border a town called la Florido (1 US dollar).
That took us to the Honduras border where we walked across the border and jumped into the back of a small pickup truck with approx. 15 other people for 2 US dollars. So for 6 dollars we traversed half of Guatemala and made our way to Copan Honduras. There was slight incident with a truck carrying hundreds of thousands of oranges. Seems someone had the bright idea to remove some paneling on the side of the truck, which caused copious amounts of oranges to spill out onto the highway. As we had been too worried to eat anything yet. Bonnie took this opportunity as a sign from God that we should eat oranges. So she jumped out of the back of the pickup truck and grabbed enough oranges to hold us over until we arrived in Copan.
Copan is a quaint little city with cobble-stoned streets. The president is in town to visit the ruins so there are plenty of police in the area. We plan on rising early checking out the ruins and then trying to work our way to the Honduran island called Utila. We were planning on going to Roaton but travelers here tell us it's turning into a mega resort and most of the backpackers are headed to Utila. We have backpacks so we too are now headed to Utila.
I put my laptop in my briefcase and packed it away in my backpack. It survived a first class bus, a chicken bus and a pickup truck today. There is an internet café in the hotel so I thought I'd take this opportunity to let everyone know that we made it safely into Guatemala and Honduras and can't wait for Joe to arrive next week. I built a quick website from pictures today. It was really more of an exercise in feasibility. If I can upload this from an internet café it will be easy for me to keep everyone posted. Note these are not incredible photos just quick snapshots of our journey. I also took my 35 mm camera but haven't shot any pictures with that yet.
Believe it or not I already miss everybody! Especially my boy Panchito!!!!!! What is it Boy?
Hope everyone is doing well.
Big hug!
Dave and Bonnie
My Travel Journal
Thursday, July 12, 2001