Thursday, May 16, 2013

One more day in La Ceiba

I have no city pictures to show.  Not a one.

Not of the couple of mini-Carnivalitos that I saw, in a couple of different neighborhoods.

Not of the remarkably empty Caribbean.

Not of the shockingly poor Barrio on the banks of the Rio Cangrejal river.

Not of the municipal cemetery (I like cemeteries).

Not of the Dole train park.

Not of the darling little girls singing, dancing, and performing ballet on the stage in the Square.

Okay.  I took some snaps from the rooftop terrace of the hotel.  I'll post those.

But it's another rather gritty town.  As I had a donut and coffee, yesterday, at Dunkin Donuts (!), I was browsing through the paper.  Front page article was about the new poverty statistics for Honduras.  I forgot the exact numbers, but a staggeringly high percentage of Hondurans live on less than US$1 a day.

Serious poverty.

Which creates serious desperation -- some of which I found palpable in the streets.  I was never threatened (I was harassed, however, but I don't hold it against the numerous locals guilty of that), but it just didn't feel right to strut around with my camera in hand.

So I didn't.

I leave on Saturday morning, for Tela.  I'll have to wing it, for a hotel, on Saturday night, but on Sunday, I'll check into this place.  It looks very cool, and gets seriously wonderful reviews.

When the town is extremely cool (cruise ship philosophy), and the life is on deck, I take a cheaper room, where possible.

When the town isn't supposed to be all that interesting, and/but there's a great hotel within (or nearly within) budget, I'll take that.

La Ceiba was the latter category.  I think Tela will be, too.  Just ... towns -- towns that happen to be located on beautiful Caribbean beaches.

Maybe it's off season -- I don't know -- but there is ZERO beach tourism, here, right now.  It's odd.

I've walked a lot in this town.  I've seen many of its pockets of relative affluence (probably didn't find the traditionally affluent area, though.  I suspect it's fairly far from the Central Park), and many of its pockets of that aforementioned crushing poverty.

I also stumbled on a blog, written by a Gringa ex-pat, living IN La Ceiba.  She describes this town far better than I ever could.

In short, we didn't make a love connection, La Ceiba and me.  Maybe I should have eschewed my beloved Parque Central, and stayed out in the 'burbs, near the Mall, the US-based franchise restaurant chains, and the major shopping areas.  Maybe that's the play in non-touristy places.

Dunno.

But ... it just never gave me any "AHA !" moments, which ... not surprisingly ... is why the guide books refer to it as the jumping off point and hub for other activities that it is.

I'll be here tomorrow, though, and will probably treat myself to what promises to be an exceptional dinner, at Ricardo's, thought to be among the best, if not THE best, restaurants in all of Central America.  They say it's pretty close to North American pricing, but ... I've paid that before.

Plus, I've eaten so much the last couple of mornings that I've skipped lunch and dinner, so ... I'm ahead about four meals ;-)

I've got a fair amount of logistics to perfect, in order to catch a ferry to Belize, from Puerto Cortes.  I've done as much preliminary research as I could, but ... this being Latin America ... you don't make any final decisions until you've confirmed everything in person :-)

I'm in the CA-4 zone.  That's the result of a 2006 Visa Agreement, and means that I can stay -- cumulatively -- for up to 90 days in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.  Extending is a beast, so the play is to leave the CA-4 area -- for 72+ hours -- typically, either to Belize or Costa Rica, and then -- if desired -- come back into the CA-4.

Thus, Belize.

You get another 90d, this way, and you get to see Belize.

My (subject to change) plans are to see Dangriga, Placentia, Belize City, Caye Caulker, and ... anything else that seems cool.  All details remain to be determined.

So ... Ciao for now.  I'm in for the night ... in the air-conditioned (80*F, 76% humidity) comfort of ... the Honduran Gulag.

3 comments:

  1. Sleep well mi hijo and travel safely

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  2. dormir bien mi sobrino y el sudor profusamente.

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    Replies
    1. Sleeping better than in Guatemala, but still not what I'd call well.

      BUT ... on the "sudor profusamente" part ... fear not. I got ya' covered :-)

      Mom: Like I've always said in response to "drive carefully:" tell everybody else that :-)

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