Monday, May 20, 2013

Catching up a bit.....

Random Musings.....

I'm in Tela ... wherever that is.  It's definitely on the Caribbean.

I got up at about 5:30am.  Should have been a tad hungover, but -- to my dismay -- I wasn't.

Dinner was fab.  It was -- as planned -- spaghetti with garlic sauce and shrimp (mojo de ajo), something akin to a bagel (since spaghetti is woefully lacking in starch), and a tossed salad with a whole sliced tomato and something dangerously close to a vinaigrette, but without actually /being/ a vinaigrette.

Two SalvaVida beers were incredibly refreshing, but then the proprietor "insisted" that I join him in an Aguar Diente (basically: fire water) and orange juice.

I don't like to be inconsiderate, and I've tripped balls on Aguar Diente before ... in at least a couple of Latin American countries.

I'm in.

When the light hit his face, he looked all distorted and grotesque.  Okay.  This guy can't hold his liquor or ... he dosed himself (, but not me).

Or I was tripping, again, and he was fine.

Either way, I just laughed.

Went downstairs (without falling), and packed.  Bed.

But I'd spent the bulk of my remaining Lempiras (Honduran funny money) on dinner, and knew I'd need a morning cab AND a cab, in Tela, from the bus station to my hotel.

ATM run.

Carlo actually looked worse this morning :-)

Or I was still tripping, and he was fine.  Still pretty fuzzy on all of that.

Made a quick cash run.  Bopped back to the hotel.  Breakfast was waiting: scrambled eggs, pancakes, some (what we call) exotic fruits, OJ, and coffee.

Gotta jet.

Caught a cab, out front.  Had a bad feeling.  Asked him three times how much it would cost to get to the bus depot.

First two times, he pointed to all the Doritos in his mouth, as if to say "Sorry.  Mouth is full."

On the third go-around, he pointed again.  I told him "I asked a question.  That's not an answer.  I understand the price is L25, so that's what I'll pay you."

He took a swig of his Coke (yeah: breakfast of champions !), and said, "No, no no !  That's a fixed price for trips around the Center of town.  You're leaving the center of town."

I told him I was sorry, but our little Q&A time had passed.

I think I was ready to leave La Ceiba :-)

At the bus station, he took the L25, and seemed none too peeved.

I waited in line at the intensely hot bus company office, just to buy a bottle of water.  A few up the line was a guy speaking accented English, loudly, going by the old philosophy that ... these people DO understand English ... IF you speak loudly enough :-)

He had a smile on his face, so I jumped in.  "What's going on, Buddy ?"

The computer had crashed.  They couldn't process his credit card.  He wanted to go to Guatemala City, but he was pretty sure his message wasn't getting through, and was a little concerned about where he'd wind up, and when.  I was glad to be able to help.

German guy, but ... been in the States for -- literally -- as long as I've been alive.  Drafted to serve in Viet Nam, in 1964, too.  Saw his California license.  Tehachapi.

Alfonse found me on the bus.  He's a car guy.  Has quite a few of them, and has had many more.  Fun guy.  Stereotypically German, in all the best ways.  His wife is Guatemalan, and they're thinking about moving down for at least half the year.

He whipped out his iPad, and did a photo tour of the fleet: a couple of VW camper vans, a VW thing, an OLD Merc-Benz 280SE, some sort of Honda 125, two or three Porsche 914's, one with an LT-1 Corvette engine, a Chevy El Camino with a 454cid motor, a 69 (?) Karmann-Ghia.

And who knows what else.  His iPad battery died.  Technology.  Sheesh !

Nice guy.  70 years old.  Retired a month ago.  His son set dad's briefcase ablaze, in celebration of the retirement.  Promised I'd look him up if I ever got to Tehachapi.

I got dropped in Tela.  Could it actually BE HOTTER THAN La Ceiba ??

Is that even a metaphysical possibility ?  I wasn't sure.  Air conditioned bus tends to skew those perceptions, but .... UGGGGGH !!!

Grabbed a cab.  Guy spoke a few words of English.  Had lived in Long Beach (of all places), where my Mother works.  I had only a L500 note (US$25 bucks).  Could he change it ??  He said we'd make it work, one way or the other.

He asked at the hotel.  They couldn't.  While I checked in, the guy ran ALL over town, while I waited by the curb, to get change.

Of course, I GOT change by paying for my hotel, but had no idea where he went.

He not only didn't ditch me, but didn't increase the fare, and was gracious in the process.  I gave the guy a generous tip, in hopes of keeping the Taxi Karma solid for a while.

My room is -- again -- immaculate, has a grimy in-window air conditioner that blows fiercely cold air, and is /really/ well located within the hotel (near the breakfast area), and the hotel, itself, is really well located within town.

Dropped bags.  Walked for 3+ hours.  Oh, GOD, was I hot !!!  But this is a tourist town -- Honduran tourists -- allegedly coming up from San Pedro Sula to beat the heat, chill at the beach, and avoid getting shot for a few brief days.

It FEELS immediately more hospitable, safer, and just "easier to be in" than La Ceiba.  It's also very compact, and very walkable.  Covered the bulk of town, today.  Looking forward to catching the periphery (would be a good chapter title for my Great American Novel: "Catching the Periphery").

I walked a while on the beach.  It's loaded with nice looking restaurants and people selling coconuts and pineapples.  It's got a few bars, a few discotheques, and a few "water-weenie" type things that are towed behind boats, and are meant to relieve people of their cash and their fried-food lunch, post haste.

I found tomorrow's hotel, too.  From the beach side, it's a LONG walk up a LOT of stairs (has a killer view).  I wondered how my bags and I would EVER get there, tomorrow :-)

The south side has street access.  Phew !

I feel stupid paying -- even US$1.50 -- for a taxi to take me a half-dozen blocks, but I'd rather feel stupid DOING it than NOT doing it, in this case :-)

I came back to the room just to cool off for a while.  I'll throw a dart to find a dinner place, tonight.  Heat or no heat, I'm in the mood for some grub ... and people-watching :-)

Before dinner, I walked the beach route, down to Hotel Villas Telamar, a beach-side resort with US$175/nt rooms.  It's alleged to be exquisite.  It has great amenities, more than a couple of restaurants, and two HUGE pools, one of which seems to be particularly for kids, with a central "island" that has a ladder, some climbing rocks, and more than a few other little goodies that you could /never/ get away with in the States (liability) :-)

Then ... food.

Pizzeria Bella Italia had some _kickin'_ farfalle ai funghi -- bowtie pasta with mushrooms, olive oil, garlic, and black olives.  It's allegedly owned by an Italian couple, which ... doesn't hurt.

I stayed a while, and watched the sun set, and ... listented to the vacationing Hondurans get progressively more drunk -- never a good sound, when you're a tourist.  The sunset was beautiful.  It dropped over what must be a very old fishing pier, maybe a half-mile to the West.

I'm in, though.  I lost count of the number of people I saw sleeping/passed out in the streets and on the sidewalks.  That's the "desperation" thing, and it never bodes well for after dark :-)


Having walked from Hotel A > Hotel B, including up the aforementioned Mayan Ruins-esque stairs ... I spent about 3hrs on the patio, at Vista Maya, waiting for the big group of (loud, profane, spent an hour and a half regaling me -- unintentionally -- with tales of their drinking exploits) younger people who are traveling with Global Brigades. to check out.

As I said, I recently turned 49, and -- while NEVER a teetotaler in my day -- just love interminable stories that lay out, in excruciating detail, what every person said, drank, or did in a 3-4 hour period involving LOTS of tequila, Guaro, and Aguar Diente, and the myriad physical symptoms that invariably ensue, the next day.

It felt good ... not to want to throw up, or be battling a pounding headache ;-)

My room's big, clean, has THE world's noisiest air conditioner (that barely does anything to fulfill its mission statement), a big bathroom, furniture, and a view of the Caribbean from two (yes: two) sides.  I'm staying here until Saturday.  It's a beautiful place.

I walked a lot, yesterday.  Some, on the beach, but mostly on the streets.  Shopped a little at two of the markets (bought nothing, reconnoitered a couple of shirts), drank copious quantities of fluids, and -- eventually -- went on a Mission To Find A Laundry Service.

The hotel does laundry, but ... where's the challenge in that ?

Found one.  I was ashamed to think about the last time my clothing was properly washed, rather than sink/toilet laundered (it's not as bad as it sounds).

But Sundays are funny, in Latin America.  More specifically, they aren't funny.  Few are working, other than markets.  I camped out across the street from the laundromat I eventually DID find.  It's a part of a house.  After a while, a gentleman approached the house gate.  We chatted.  Come back tomorrow, around noon, and we'll take good care of your clothes.

Who could ask for anything more ?

Dinner was at the hotel.  Awesome cheese lasagna, a tossed salad, and a Coke.

I Skype'd with my buddy, Grizz, for a while.  Couldn't really discern the guy -- even as human -- between the slow Internet connection and my lousy near vision, but it was good to "see" and talk to him.  We've been pen (mostly) and phone (rarely) pals for a long time, but we'd never seen each other in the proverbial flesh before.

And there's no un-ringing THAT bell, now ;-)

Up early, this morning.Started off on my patio chairs, listening to the waves and watching the dawn patrol fishing fleet head out.

Eventually, made my way up the labyrinth of stairs to the dining patio for (incredible) coffee, OJ, an omelet, fruit, and toast.  Nothing like a few cups of strong coffee and a 1,500 calorie breakfast to stoke the old metabolic furnace and get some internal fire going.  Urp.

Today, then, IS laundry day.  I'll also head over to La Ensenada Resort, where -- if their website is to be believed -- they're waiting for me.

I don't think I'm what they're expecting, but we'll see ;-)

I may buy a couple of shirts today.  I will walk for a few hours today.  I will eat at least a few more times today.

I've decided that ... whlie this trip was supposed to be -- among other things -- a search for "acceptance" (of my new circumstances) -- what I've arrived at, to date, is much closer to"resignation."

Which hasn't left me feeling like a weight has been lifted from me, or given me a sense of renewed drive, vigor, and purpose.  Quite the contrary, it's left me feeling metaphysically exhausted.

Ah, well.  Something HAD to give :-)

I'd best get out there in the cool morning air (heat index is only a about 103*).

So ... in the immortal words of both Shakespeare AND Chaucer ... Ciao for now ... from the Tela-phone ... Tela-graph ... Tela-Gulag.


  1. Just wanted to let ya know im having a pretty good time following along with your blog buddy. Ive vicariously now traveled a good portion of South America. I feel sooo wordly.

    Chris Stef

    1. Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, Chris, because I truly DO enjoy having you along for the journey, but ... you're not a lot of help when it's time to schlep luggage :-)

      Seriously: I'm grateful to have friends and family tuning in.

      I'm not out there seeking action, excitement, adventure, and the thrilling adrenaline rush of near-death experiences -- the stuff of which LOTS of travel blogs are made.

      I'm just ... living ... best I can ... in an entirely different environment.

      Grateful for the company :-)

  2. And living is what we all must do. When there is no destination besides whatever one deems as comfortable there is nothing but adventure to be had. I hope you find a lazy boy somewhere in all that sun.