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HONDURAS    INFO & DIARY  1

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 GENERAL INFO (Jump to Diary)
Honduras, officially the Republic of Honduras / República de Honduras  is bordered to the west by Guatemala, to the southwest by El Salvador, to the southeast by Nicaragua, to the south by the Pacific Ocean at the Gulf of Fonseca, and to the north by the Gulf of Honduras, a large inlet of the Caribbean Sea. Honduras spans about 112,492 km2,  and has a population exceeding 9 million, divided between  90% Mestizo, 7% American Indian, 2% Black and 1% White.  51.4% are Catholics, 36.2% Evangelical Protestant, 1.3% from other religions, including Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, Rastafarians, etc. and 11.1% do not belong to any religion.

Honduras was home to several important Mesoamerican cultures, most notably the Maya, before the Spanish Colonization in the sixteenth century. The Spanish introduced Roman Catholicism and the now predominant Spanish language, along with numerous customs that have blended with the indigenous culture. Honduras became independent in 1821 and has since been a republic.

The climate varies from tropical in the lowlands to temperate in the mountains. The central and southern regions are relatively hotter and less humid than the northern coast.  Honduras hosts more than 6.000 species of vascular plants, of which 630 or more are orchids; around 250 reptiles and amphibians, more than 700 bird species, and 200 mammalian species, of which 98 are bats.
The currency is Lempira, worth around 0,28 DKK and €0,04.

DIARY
2/12. A short and cold walk to the waiting train, straight to another waiting train in Copenhagen and I reach the airport in good time. A short flight to Stockholm over a snow-covered Sweden and one more hour of waiting. Then eleven hours of eventless flight to Fort Lauderdale. At least, I get a window seat with two metres of leg-room. We pass the snow covered highlands of Norway, cloudy Faeroe Islands, Greenland, snow on Newfoundland & Labrador and lush Carolina.

The American immigration is real smooth, but now, I have well over seven hours waiting for my San Pedro Sula flight. Well, I'm behind on calories, and they sure have some here!
Just before midnight, I fly with Spirit to San Pedro, and as I am seated in the back of the airplane, I am last in the immigration line.

3/12. When I finally make it out of the airport, I can't find a taxi. Normally, a swarm of taxi driver approach me, but here, I wait for an hour. I start asking the few private and all the employees and call the number I got. Some make a few calls, but no luck. Finally, a private is fresh, and we do the area the pre-booked hotel should be located in. Ask the guy in the gate. A bit passed three, I just ask to be returned to the airport, as here are no other hotels around, and I have to return for my rented car anyway. Been awake for 30 hours, so what is a few more? My internal clock is 9;30 anyway.

Around eight, I have a huge pick-up, and set off to Tela. After I have cleared San Pedro Sula, it it through nice nature and small fields. Here are corn, bananas, coconut-, oil- and dade palms and barley, looking like rice at this stage. Here are also some small herds of dairy cattle of mixed origin, and a few cowboys along the road. I drive along a huge valley, but the low mountains can be seen through the mist, that covers them. A single time, I climb their foothills. Several rivers crosses the road, and everything seems so fertile. Here are groups of black vultures, cleaning up after the accidents of the night.

The temperature don't really raise above the nights 20C, and the sun only comes through in real short glimpses. With a few exceptions, the houses are not really impressive, but the road is pretty good. Despite that, here are quite some llantera, the tire fixers. I also se several small horse wagons, with small horses. One of the most numerous vehicles must be the yellow school busses. Some small stands with the farmers crops are found along the road. Here are coconut and rambutan, but the rest must be off season. Some trucks are leaving the fields with oil-palm fruits.

I reach Tela at nine, and it is just the right size of town for me. I drive straight to my hotel - in a lot of pirouettes. Most roads are one-way, the rest dug up of closed by the police. I get a nice room, but without hot water. Never mind the price, they do not have hot water.
I am mainly here for the botanical garden, and after a real short but needed shower, I head back to it. It is a three kilometre driveway through great looking rainforest, but the garden itself is a usual disappointment. Some collections of bamboo, trees, palms, Heliconia, a really sorry excuse for a cacti bed, and a few houses with dormant orchids. The rest is kind of nature, just significantly more open. I don't find a single nametag.

I see some interesting birds and a few reptilians. Some tiny frogs have scattered their eggs evenly over the ponds in the road. Due to the long and fruitless walk, I get to spend an hour here. On the way out, I stop to make a photo of some weavers nests in a huge tree, and at the same time, as an unexpected bonus, I get a farmer and his daughter as hitch-hikers.

I head back pass Tela, and out along the coast north of town to Garifuna Villages. Here I find a huge lake or more likely; lagoon, with mangrove trees and small fishing boats. Some are made from a single huge stem, some have massive ends, but planks on the sides.
I end up at the perfect beach, which now have room for so many beach-loving locals. I have it all to myself today, not even the sun joins in. I do quite some walking along the beach, but fails to find anything interesting. Well, here are a slim line of leaf-cutter-ants, and some pelicans and vultures passes over my head, while some small beach birds are found on the beach.

On the way into Tela, I see some pigs and horses on the road. I didn't plan to see Tela, but it look nice, and I have the time. I am further more looking for a few items, and that brings me so much around the centre of town. One of the things I need is a zipper for my backpack. But how do you explain you need a 40 centimetre zipper? Well, I could pull down the one in my pans, and add the size, but I'm not sure that is the right way to approach women in this town. I finally find one, and it might be the only shop in town, dealing with it.

Here are a lot of small and big restaurants, but polo is a bit dominating. At the market, I find a short line of tiny stalls, serving food for the locals. I get a vegetable soup, with some carrot, pear, sweet and normal potato and celery root. A par, I get some white rice and two un-sweet pancakes. Not that strong in taste, but it does fill the gab.

Then I look for a tailor. When I finally find one, he just show me the next one. He won't touch it, but refers me to a Zaparia; shoemaker. Unfortunately, he don't have the time, and neither do the next. Superglue is more easy to find; I ask in the right shop, and it is called superglue in Spanish. Tea, on the other hand, is a really challenge. Most just say Si, cafe! and that is what I end up with. I might have been sleepwalking, as I wake up with a cappuccino and a huge, not that bad chocolate cake in front of me.

While I walk around the town, I try to make some photos of the shops and people, but the light is fare from good. I find the little market and some old wooden houses. The centre square is getting its share of Christmas decorations, and a few shops have trees and alike. A few people speak some English, but I haven't seen a pale face all day.
I end up at the rather nice beachfront in the edge of town - all by myself.

Back to start working at four, and out to find dinner at five. End up with a un-sweeten pancake, filled with scrambled eggs, a bean-paste and a bit of rice. Quite good, and after the cake; sufficient. Back to work some more, but I can feel the recent days lack of sleep. Not that I can fall asleep, but I can't concentrate either. While I sit and work on second floor, a rat passes bye.
At eight, I call it a day. Strange to lie down! The first slideshow:
The flight and Tela.

4/12. Six hours of much needed sleep, then four hours balancing the towel on my shoulder, trying to get warm. I had not expected it to be this cold at the sea-level. I head east on the huge costal plain. Here seems to be mainly nature and fields with grass, but also some other crops. On and along the road, I see so many hens, some cows, a few donkeys, many horses, a few turkeys and ducks, a few sheep and lots of dogs.

The crops are mainly oil palms and some bananas. A single huge area is only pineapples, another only bananas. The oil palms are grown all over the plain. The road is pretty good, with only a few potholes, but many speed-bumps. Both the police and the military have several check-points, and some governmental officers check for fruit in a single place. I only get stopped once; the military want to see, if I have any arms.

It is generally a cloudy day, and I get more heavy showers than sun. Here are some great motives up to the inland hills, but the light is not for it. I pass a bigger town and then La Ceiba, the only city on route. Out on the countryside, the traffic is light, and overtaking easy, despite the few straight parts. Here are scattered houses along the road, but only a few villages. I make a wrong turn in Sabá, and turn some inland. That does not change the scenery at all, and I turn around before I meet the mountains.

I reach my target; Tryjillo a bit passed noon. Besides from the old Spanish fort:  Fortaleza S. Bárbara, here should be some old wooden houses in the little town. A light drizzle welcomes me, and when it gain strength, a little restaurant, who can be talked into making me a salad. Some coleslaw with eggs, an egg, half an avocado, letish, tomatoes and a slice of fresh cheese taste great.

The rain turn back to drizzle, and I see the rather disappointing fortress; Fortaleza S. Bárbara and the few wooden houses along with the white church. It was a great dive here, and that make up for the town. After an hour, I head back. I have found a shortcut, saving me 20 kilometres. I was not aware it was 65 kilometres of rough gravelroad, and I sure don't save any time!

After a total of 600 kilometres, I'm back in Tela, at dusk. I head out to find some dinner. It seems like most places are shut down, and I settle for two pancakes with bean paste and cheese. Try to find a bit more, but is have become totally dark, and I give up. Back at the hotel, I try to get the blanket I thought I was promised this morning, but fails. The work is rather fast; I have not experienced much, and only taken a few photos. Tela, Tryjillo, Tela

5/12. I'm up a bit passes six, and when I'm ready to leave the room, it is three? Guess I misread my watch the first time. I wait three hours more, then I head towards San Pedro Sula airport, same way I came. Another cloudy day, but despite I can't make photos, it is a nice drive.
I get time for a second breakfast while I wait for the bus-office to open. I even treat myself with a rare cup of tea! I get a ticket to Esteli in Guatemala, exactly when I want it! (Or; that was what I thought: Esteli is in Nicaragua!).

Back around the big city of San Pedro Sula, and then into the low mountains. The traffic soon lightens, and it is a great drive - although I could do with some sun. The first 140 kilometres is through high hills, mainly covered in forest. The it turns into mountains, and I pass 1120 metres. Here, it is mainly grassland and a few pines. I pass several rivers, but only stop a single time at Rio Grande.

Just passed noon, I reach Gracia town. I find my hotel, and get a dorm bed in an empty hotel. They offer a vegetarian sandwich with home baked bread, and it is great. Then I head up to the historical town of Gracia. Well, after having enjoyed the awesome Colombian old towns, I am slightly disappointed. I do several loops, and end up at the Spanish fortress; Fuerte de San Cristobál. It is small, but well preserved.
From here, I see three pairs of Scarlet Macaw; Ara macao, although quite far away. Just for fun, I drive back to the car in a tuc-tuc. I get a haircut, and like the tuc-tuc driver, he want a selfie with me.

There are still some day left, and I head back to Rio Grande, in a place I can access it. I do a long walk along it. At first, I find five different orchids among a lot of bromeliads. I end up at a suspension bridge, leading to nowhere. I find the car, and pass through Gracia and find the big river way out on the other side. Here, it have cut itself deep down in the rocks, which are covered in forest. No chance I can walk the area.
I head back, gas the hungry car; 12 km/l. But it is a nice strong car for the mountain overtaking, and I might be speeding just a tiny bit...
Back at dusk, I start working, as I missed a Skype meeting by half an hour. Dinner at the hotel and rather early to bed. Here should be hot water, but it is a geyser, and they are a bit dubious. At least, here are several thick blankets. I grab a veggie burger at the hotel, as I failed to find anything looking interesting in town anyway. Another early night-time. The photos of the day are Here.
                                                     It is time to start on Diary 2.

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