Saturday, May 4, 2013

My Tegus is cooked !

It's Saturday, May 4th.  I know this because I had to get up very early to catch a bus.  Otherwise, like I say, dates have very little meaning for me, right now.

And I caught the bus.  A van showed up at 6:20am, at the hotel, where Donald, an Israeli guy, and I were having coffee.

The van drove us to the bus company's Guatemala terminal -- maybe an hour trip.  Pretty.  Quiet.  Nobody was awake, possibly including the van driver.

We had about an hour at the bus terminal to do Customs and Immigration forms, since we'd be crossing into El Salvador, and then into Honduras.

I had eaten neither lunch or dinner, yesterday, nor breakfast this morning, so I cruised a block to a street vendor, and convinced him that vegetarians were NOT Satan's spawn, and that leaving the sausage off of my three breakfast sandwiches would NOT render him impotent.

I don't know if either of these is true, but I was pretty hungry.

Okay.  The bus doesn't have WiFi, but is clean, quiet, comfy, DOES have a lavatory, and the seats DO recline into hospital gurneys.

But I'm enjoying the view.  We're in hour five of the fourteen hour trip.  I think we're getting close to the El Salvador border.  Might be time for a nap :-)

1:53 PM 5/4/2013 - Or not.  The nap idea had lots to recommend it, but it simply never happened.  It's now 1:56pm, Hedman-Alas Bus time.  That's the time indicated on the big clock at the foreward part of our cabin, where -- if it were a TGV or the hydrofoil between Bali and Lombok -- you might see a speedometer.

But it's a clock.

I just cleared Honduran customs and immigration, rather handily.  This ALSO means that we passed through El Salvador without ever seeing/clearing customs OR immigration.

Or a sign, for that matter.  Sigh.

The a/c has only taken the edge off.  It's NOT blowing my eyes into oblivion.  That's A Good Thing.  The seat is exceptionally comfy.  They brought me a pancake, mango, papaya, and watermelon breakfast, which -- having eaten only three of my Big Fat Street Vendor Veggie Sammiches -- I gobbled down.

They showed a Russel Crowe movie - "Play the Game," or something similar.  Didn't watch it.  Watched Central America go by out the bus-sized (no kidding ?") windows.

And the guy behind me has only kicked my chair a few dozen times -- not bad, in the grand scheme of things.

Okay: I'm 100 yards into Honduras, and everything -- I mean EVERYTHING -- looks COMPLETELY different.

No.  Wait.  It doesn't.  Not at all.  If the language has changed, it's lost on me.  Same wildly varied terrain.  Same blue skies.  Same concrete block construction.  Same lush vegetation.  Same brown people (who do NOT seem to get sunburned the way I, occasionally, will.  Hmmmm).

Still no Starbucks.  We passed myriad Burger Kings, Pollo Camperos, McDonald's, and Taco Bells, though.  Most of those must have been in El Salvador.  When I check the map, I should know.  My map being 1:1 scale, however, makes it impractical for cars, buses, tuk-tuks and boats.  Only in the great outdoors can you avail its true FULL potential.

The Interamerican Highway is in great shape, and twists endlessly like the Trans-Sumateran highway, in Indonesia.  It would be a glorious day to suffer from motion sickness, but ... alas ... that and hysterical pregnancy are two of the few maladies from which I don't seem to suffer ;-)

Oh, God.  It kicked !


We haven't been fired upon, yet, although Mi Amigo with El Twelve-Gauge Shotgun, from the Guat City terminal -- I hadn't noticed -- IS riding on the bus (armed ??), so ... if we were to take fire, I'm guessing there'd be a nice (choose one: fusillade, salvo, volley) worthy of grabbing my camera for.

Nope.  So far (nearly 12 minutes), Honduras < Guatemal = Same, Same, but Different :-)

2:33 PM 5/4/2013 - Okay.  First differences: the beans are red, here (lunch = tortillas, beans, rice, and cheese), and they call a Coke a "Coca-Cola," and NOT a Coke.  That varies throughout Latin America.  In some places, "Coca" implies you want cocaine.  I don't.  I mean ... if I'd gotten cocaine, I guess I'd have partied, but it wasn't my goal ;-)

2:36 PM 5/4/2013 - Okay (redux).  Back on the bus, having cleared the passenger manifest and the metal detector (why is it that I'm always relieved and surprised when I clear security ??).

The aforementioned lunch lasted only about 1/3rd of the 20-minute stop.  The verb, in English, would be "to scarf," as in, "I really scarfed down that lunch !"

Honduras feels hotter than Guatemala.  I doubt it has anything to do with the slightly air-conditioned bus (yeah.  Right).  The tropical sun is hammering the country.  Even the Copan Ruins are perspiring.

Or so I'm told.

Drinking tequila in Mexico ... doesn't count.  Something about ice cream and Coke, in Latin America doesn't count either.  Don't tell my body that.  We're in negotiations.

Our bus is a big old Mercedes-Benz product.  Didn't get the model number or a picture, but Hedman-Alas has NOW taken TWO photos of me -- hat off, glasses off, squinting mightily.  I'll look distinctive.

I changed money at the bus terminal.  My Quetzales were worth 2.5 Lempira apiece.  Is that good ?  I have no idea, and don't feel like doing the math, right now.  Later.

But "Lempira" sounds /dangerously/ close to the Philipine delicacy, Lumpia.  I think it's fish.  Not sure.  Whatever it is, I'll have to fight off that association while spending THEIR version of funny money.  I think I have about USD$12 in Quetzales left.  If I get back to Guatemala, that's a night in a buget hotel.


5:05 PM 5/4/2013 - It's getting *mighty* lush, out there, and the mountains in the background are getting bigger.

I've eaten meat a couple of times since arriving in Guatemala.  Mostly unintentionally (ham or sausage or chicken in my eggs, or something), but once or twice knowingly.  Trying to see if my immune system works better with a bit o' beef than it does without.

Meaning: when we got back on the bus, after the lunch stop, and the Maitre d'Hotel threw my brown bag lunch at me, I ate every morsel of it: ham and cheese sammich AND the three-pack of chocolate chip cookies.

Thus the nap ;-)

Gonzo, behind me -- the aspiring World Cup soccer player -- is sacked out.  Actually, the whole bus is sacked out.  There's an eerie calm.  Even the characters in the movie -- I kid you not -- are all sleeping, right now.

Must be the ham.

I'm oddly excited about Tegucigalpa, even knowing that it's a BIG town of 1,000,000 people.  Too much ground to cover.  Don't know which ground is truly unsafe for walking around.  Leaving the camera in theh room is probably smart, but it hurts the photo album.  Is there a city bus tour ?

Should I rent a taxi for a day, and quote that song: "I wanna' go to cool places tonight.  I wanna' go to cool places with you."

Probably a big negatory on that last part, but the rest is in play.

I've driven through so much clorophyll today that my organs feel totally detoxified (except for the ham and cookies part, but ... probably three more hours to go :-)

Tegus (as I'll be calling it) has shopping malls and big stores.  I may look around for an iPod Touch, as my potential MP3 and audio book player.  I really wanted a lot of down/me time, and I'll have it, but ... getting lost in my own head -- even with an ITM 1:1 scale map -- is a risky proposition.

Birch.  It's starting to look like a lot of birch growing out there.  In any event, SCADS of trees.

And the Interamerican Highway continues to be -- if not plush -- a pretty nice ride.  I don't think we've changed drivers yet, incidentally, meaning that Fettuccine Alfredo, here, has been humping this old 40-footer along the big blue marble with only a few small stops ... for a little over 8hrs.

Of course, he IS hidden behind glass and curtains, a mere 8' from my seat.  There could be a small squad of relief drivers up there for all I know ;-)

11:55 PM 5/4/2013 - It's midnight.  I'm tucked up in ol' #7, in Villa Marina Inn, in Tegus.

The bus stopped in San Pedro Sula (it may never even have entered El Salvador; I have no idea).  We changed buses for the Tegus bus.  It was dark thereafter (6:15pm depature).  I arrived Tegus at just about 11:20am, meaning ... it was a 17hr trip.  Not BADLY late.  Just enough to start feeling it :-)

Hotel seems beautiful.  Breakfast between 7a and 9a.  I'll be there.

Ciao for now ... from the Honduran office of ... The Gulag.


  1. Weej- did you and Donald part ways? Spent some time trying to figure out Skype this morning. Was asking me for money. Thought it was free? Will try again later. Anywho, meeting Jess for a 40mile ride today. Registered for Venus de Miles- Sept 29th. Getting back into shape. So, travel safe....and "May peace be with you"....

  2. What she said!
    Sounds great, looking forward to pictures!

    1. Tegus has an /awful/ reputation for violent crime, so ... while I HAVE walked about 5-1/2 hours, today, I didn't take my camera.

      Downtown is gritty (this is still NOT the time for the term "hard scrabble," but ... don't give up hope), and probably would NOT be cool at night, but it seemed fine by day.

      I'm staying in an area that may as well be Sorrento Valley, socioeconomically, although it still /looks/ Latin American.

      But ... I'll take my camera out, tomorrow. It was up on the rooftop sun deck, this morning. Those pics, later.

      Incidentally, while I DO blog in Excel, I'm still buffaloed that you were able to use "smart copy" to formulate your last comment :-)

      Well played, Sir ! Next, do the Hemmingway contest !

      It's intensely hot, the UV index is set on stun. I'm going to go nap, now.

      If y'all'll just 'scuse me for a bit ... :-)

      Incidentally, only TWO Westerners sighted, and THEY were coming from the Hotel Inter Continental into TGI Fridays in the bright, white, shiny mega-mall.

      Which is NOT where Sears is. I did go into Sears :-)

      But this town ... seems as far from the Backpacker Trail as you can get. I'm quite the novelty ;-)