The 3 A's... Africa, Asia & the Americas

25oct06

Hello Friends

Well since we last spoke we've become fully fledged travellers. Yup we got the badge, got the t-shirt < actually wish we had, I could do with something new to wear!!>. What I mean is that we've crossed not one but two fronteras < country borders>.

After the last time I emailed we left the internet cafe and bundled ourselves onto a bus. 3 buses later we were at the border. First we had to go to the Guatemala immigration office to get our exit stamp, then another bus took us to the Honduran immigration office. Now when I talk of immigration offices, dont be thinking of airconditioned offices with tiles on the floor and computers on the desks! These are huts out in the sticks, with a little man in there, puffing on his cigar, waiting for the next innocent tourist to come along and charge $5 to cos he was '" working overtime" or something like that. It was all very exciting though.

We spent just over a week in Honduras altogether. What surprised me about the country was the lack of poverty. That's probably the wrong way to put it. But on reading about Honduras, it is meant to have one of the lowest GNP's of all the Latin American countries, so I was expecting really basic standards and to see really impoverished people. However, driving along on the bus, we could see lots of houses at the side of the streets - yeh there were some little wooden huts that families lived in as we'd seen elsewhere, but the number of nice houses surprised me. The chicken buses of Guatemala were replaced with nice, less cramped buses. And they weren't full of people wrestling their wares onboard - chickens etc . No the people getting aboard wore jeans and nice tops and carried burberry handbags <fake, I checked> and had blowdried hair. Those of you who know me really well, ok you haven't got to know me that well to realise, that fashion crises started erupting in my head! Nah only joking..... I am more than happy wearing my khaki shorts and walking boots every day....

Anyway, back to Honduras, why do clothes and handbags always get in the way??!! So I was saying that Honduras was pretty refined for a 3rd world country. The only major telltale sign to me was the road network. You can't just get a bus directly from one city to another, there are not necessarily any roads connecting them. No you've got to travel via where the they have built the roads. and that can mean dotting all over the place. So in Honduras we headed for the Bay Islands which are off the northern coast in the carribbean sea.

We went to Roatan, the bigger of the 3 islands that has beautiful white powdery sand and crystal clear, turquoise water. Some may say that they can see a pattern forming here, what with Denny's Beach the week before and hammock lounging in Flores before that - but they'd just be taking a snapshot of our month so far - a 3 week snapshot!! Roatan was just like I imagined a small carribbean island. In fact it put me in mind of how I would picture Jamaica, even though I've never been there.

The island was about 55km long and about 2 - 3 kms wide. Most people spoke english, a sort of Afro-carribbean english, " hey mon, whaccha dooin" - kind of thing, you know what I mean.....OK I'm embarrassing myself now... I'm laughing anyway. OK, so Roatan, where was I? Yeh we had lovely weather and went and lay on the beach every day - oh and did quite a bit of snorkelling!! That was great. So our general day went like this- 7.30-8am - get up and out on our sun tan lotion 9am - cook pancakes in the shared kitchen 10.30 head off to get a water taxi down to West Bay, the beach. 11am - get in the water to cool off as we're a bit hot and sticky by this time 11.30 We've cooled off so we get our snorkel gear and go for a long snorkel in the coral reef which runs right from Belize across the top of Honduras.

The first day we stayed out pretty much all day. But as the novelty wore off this would get shorter.... 12.30pm - Laze in the shade, reading our books and munching on the sarnies we made earlier, perhaps have a beer. 4pm - start to get our stuff together to get a water taxi back 5.30 - sit on our balcony, maybe with a beer, and watch the sun set 6.30 Head off our to Twisted Toucan for happy hour and have a couple of margaritas and their fantastic fish and chips. 9pm head home to our lovely airconditioned room and to bed - cream krackered from our hard day.

Roatan was expensive though. Meals were in the price zone of a meal in London. We tried a Thai restaurant one night and I was sorely disappointed. It bore no resemblance to the Red Thai curry I get in the Prince of Wales pub in Highgate. BUT it bloomin' cost more!! Oh well, when in Rome... We did treat ourselves on the accommodation front though. Well it only cost about $7 more a night to get a gorgeous cabin on the beach which had airconditioning, a white tiled bathroom with Hot water and fluffy white towels and lovely white cotton sheets on the bed. We were in paradise. ..... paradise.............................

So we stayed in Roatan for 6 days - our tans are looking pretty good now. Didn't need the St TRopez that I bought in the duty free afterall!! From Roatan we set off on a two day bus trip to get to Managua, the capital of Nicaragua. We punctuated it with an overnight stop in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras.

The journey wasn't too bad this considering it was about 16 hours on a bus. The border crossing was very easy this time as it was all handled by the bus company. They gave us the forms to fill out and took our passports to immigration etc. We did have to get off at the border though and walk over the border. About half an hour there for them to check all the passports and to check over the bus, then we were off again. I broke the toilet on the bus. I think I was the only person that attempted to flush it. The problem was that it didn't stop flushing. It flushed and flushed and flushed for the remainder of the journey. I was a little flushed in the face to say the least! It made such a noise and all the passengers around were bothered by it.

So that was last night . Not like a city at all. It was all kind of waste land, grass, amd nothing really. Not far from the shopping centre there were little huts that the poor people lived in. These were literally little wooden slatted huts at the side of the street. The irony of it is, not more than 1 km away is this great big shopping centre with designer shops and cinemas and restaurants. Yeh there was a Liz Claiborne shop, Bennetton, Levis, a dept store selling Ralph Lauren etc etc.

Baseball is the big thing here, so we've bought ourselves some tickets and are off to see that tonight. Quite exciting really. I've no idea what the rules of baseball are , but I used to play softball when I was a kid in Oz - is it the same? I will tell all next time I write.... Or maybe I won't cos it will all be in Spanish and I won't have a bloomin' clue hat's going on!! I'm sure we'll enjoy it. It's at the national stadium which is HUGE. We're sitting with the home team.

Oh well I'm sure you've had enough of my ramblings... Until next time ... Lots of love to everyone. And don't be afraid to write and tell me your news .

Lots of love Wendy