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A man of many words. Profane, profound, loyal to a fault and a right rat bastard. I love the finer things in life: expensive cigars, cheap women and all the salted, cured meats I can eat. A friend to dogs, lover of humanity and despiser of people. If I were King the world would be a better place, because, well...I would be King! Oh, and I like ice cream.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

New Day, New Adventure

This day was a good one.

We got up at 5 to catch the 6 AM bus to Tegucigulpa. The streets of SPS were still dark, so we were steppin' and a fetchin'. Got to the station at 5:45. BUT the 6AM bus left early without us. A guy ahead of is in line (another Rasta dude!) was farting around getting 15 tickets plus the system was S L O W. Fortunately we managed to get on the 6:30 ride. Nice bus. Even had a movie. A Martin Lawrence flick. It sucked.

At a rest stop we met two young Harvard coeds. Cute. One immediately sat by Mick, to which he was oblivious. To make matters worse, they were PEARL JAM fans. Mick is a huge PJ fan AND they had tickets to the same concert in Seattle (Update: Mick got back from Seattle last night. Natch he didn't see her. Of course there were only 20,000 people there.)

These honeys had managed to get themselves ROBBED at gunpoint TWICE in the previous two days. How do you do that? They were headed to the US Embassy in Tegu to get their passports replaced.

Scenes along the road to Tegucigalpa
We had read about Parque Nacional La Tigra located about 22 kilometers outside Tegu. Looked like it would be an interesting place for a little hike. As soon as we hit town we grabbed a cab for the trip to the entrance. We figured the cab would run us 500 Limpiezas. The cabbie asked 300. Hot dog!

We were soon to learn (or at least have reinforced) that, in general, cab drivers really have no idea where you are going. They always ACT like they know. But, they don't.

So about five miles out he stops to ask some cops where the hell he's going. Further, it turns out. About then we left pavement. Then the dirt turned to ruts. To call it a road was REALLY being generous. After a few more starts and stops we reached the "entrance." In the end we gave the guy the 500 Limps we initially figured.

The park official (no english) seemed vague about where we wanted to go. We figured to hike the six miles through the park to a hostel (Eco-Albergue) the faithful Lonely Planet told us was at the other exit. We would stay there overnight then catch an early bus into Tegu for the next leg of the trip to Managua, Nicaragua. What was so hard about that?

The cat charged us $10 US per for the entry fee. I'm almost certain that went straight into his pocket. I doubt he would see three other gringos in the next three months. However he did give me a pass, which I slipped over my head.

Off we went. We climbed. And climbed. and climbed. And climbed some more. Did I mention we sweated too? We did that in spades. But, the place was beautiful. Old mine trails wound through a green cathedral.

At length we came to a gorgeous waterfall. We took quite a while resting and taking pictures. Little did we know it would be our last rest for several hours.

The Best Picture of the Trip

The Best Picture of the Entire Trip
In all honesty we weren't as pissed as looks would indicated. LATER we would be. But, for now it was all good.

After a couple more hours hike we left the rain forest. The trail led down for miles. As it was mostly downhill the load on our quads was tough. We ached for days afterwards.

A dearth of signage had us constantly second-guessing ourselves. Jason and I had been in this situation before (unless I dreamt it). I never allow myself to be lost. Temporarily mis-oriented maybe. Never lost.

At long last we came upon Eco-Albergue, our home for the evening:

Uh Oh. Looks like Eco-Albergue had seen better days. We were on to plan "B." Trouble is, we never really had a plan "B." There was a sign to the town of San Juancito. Having no better ideas we set off. This is when our hike for the day actually began. Remember, we each had our fully loaded backpacks with us.

Oh yeah, there were no Park officials on this end. I still have my official park pass. Wonder what that guy back at the entrance was thinking?

Down, down, down the valleys we went. Far below us we eventually spied the town of San Juancito.

There was even a chicken bus there taking on passengers. Of course, it was long gone when we got there an hour later.

A local guy told Mick another bus would pass a spot either 500 meters, one kilometer or 1.5 kilometers from where we stood in about twenty minutes. At least the road, while hilly, was paved. The weather was nice although rain threatened in the distance. We hauled butt. Twenty minutes later we reached the bus stop, sweat running down our backs like the waterfall we had earlier enjoyed.

Just in the nick of time. The nick of time, in this case being a half hour. It was to be our first actual chicken bus. Alas, no poultry. It was an old American school bus, still in pretty good shape. The driver had installed a hopped up stereo system which was blaring Chris Izaak as we boarded.

We figured we had hiked more than 10 miles. I wasn't doing any running on this trip, but my fitness level was paying off.

Funny thing, on the bus (and pretty much everywhere else in the developing world) young people simply could not resist staring at us. It was like we each had three eyeballs. What is it about White people that makes other cultures want to stare at us and charge us more money for things?

We hit Tegu just before dark. Not a bad looking city. After ten minutes we found Hotel Granada. The room was noisy to the extreme, but it was cool, had a TV, hot showers and tile floors (always a plus).

Walked to Parque Centro and found a Pizza Hut. One delicious pepperoni pizza later and all was well. Waiter and bus jobs at chains like Pizza Hut, McDs etc. are prized in other countries. They are a step up from the usual.

Later back at the room we watched an episode of Law and Order. Important point concerning if someone is "date-worthy": Would you rather be out with them or home watching Law and Order (or Seinfeld in my case).

Many would call. Few would answer.


Panhandle Mama said...

...ask ol' J.C. if he remembers the first time he was called a "white chickie".....

mike247worldwide said...


mike247worldwide said...

St. Lucia

J.C. said...

I believe that we were walking around Vieux Fort, and a group of kids were saying it...