March 20, 2008
I tried to go to the Bay Islands a week ago but accidentally got dropped off in El Salvador. I had a decent time in Central America's smallest and least visited country, but the time had come for take two in Honduras.
I paid a premium for the luxurious direct bus into Honduras that would completely avoid the crime-ridden capital, but the glorious bus still managed to break down on the highway for most of the afternoon and I was forced to watch a string of movies starring Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson. The sun was already on its way out of the sky by the time I got to San Pedro Sula, the second biggest city in the country and only slightly less horrible of a place than the capital of Tegucigalpa.
I wanted to leave town right away but the bus company to go to La Ceiba was already closed. Worse still, transportation was due to shut down completely tomorrow because it was Good Friday, so it was looking like I would have to waste two days just to get to the islands. Suddenly I ran into a Colombian woman who lived on the islands named Sonia and a Spanish guy named Ivan who were traveling together and in the same predicament. A long time ago I learned to follow the locals in these situations, and these two were the closest thing to locals I was going to meet.
We took a taxi to another bus station, but it was closed. We had one last chance at another bus station across town and went for it. The last bus for the next two days was on its way out of the parking lot just as we pulled up, and Sonia and Ivan wasted no time in jumping aboard. I was right behind them, but the assistant told me I wouldn't fit. I had never heard of such a thing as not fitting onto a bus in Latin America, so I pushed the assistant out of the way and squeezed in next to him. Technically I did fit, even though I was unable to take full breaths and nearly needed a bottle of grease to get back out. We pulled into La Ceiba late at night and got â€œluckyâ€ again as we scored what was surely one of the only rooms left in the city. It was the size of a jail cell with only one bed, and as a courtesy, the owner only charged us double the normal price because he knew we were desperate. We all were hoping to get the ferry to the islands today, but delays made that impossible. We'll try our luck tomorrow. Why does Easter week travel have to be so difficult?