Saturday, November 2, 2013

Episode 4: Cusuco, Qualifiers, & Copan

Every once in a while, you end up at a hostel, smelling like dirt, bugs, and onions.  This is one of those stories.  We spent our first 3-day weekend in October in the Merendón Mountains hiking and camping with some friends.  The scenery was beautiful, the hiking was the perfect amount of intense, and we were able to pick up some random goodies along the way.

We arrived Saturday afternoon, packed 10 deep in the bed of a truck, soaked but ready for a few hours' hike to our campsite.  Along the way, we got to nab some really sweet little fruits - guayabas - fresh off a tree.  Our guide for the weekend, Roberto, has a great deal set up with a local organic/self-sustaining farmer in the mountains. We stopped at their house to pick mandarins and drink some of the best coffee we've ever had.  It was a nice little break.

We stopped for dinner in a town called Buenos Aires, where we also picked up a local guide and the rest of our camping gear. We were supposed to do a night hike, but there were too many of what our guide called "hangers" - tree vipers. They are very dangerous and poisonous and the guides saw about 15 of them hanging from trees in the first 100 meters of our planned route.  Safe to say we were all pretty content to live the rest of our lives, so we opted to set up camp at a scientists' Base Camp - used 1-2 times each year for hundreds of researchers to scour the jungle for data.

Waterfall #2

Our best photos from the trip (pared down from the 1,749 photos taken by Megan alone) can be seen at our Photobucket site.  They tell a better story than my words do. Pay special attention to the pictures of Megan climbing a tree.

The following weekend was a big one. Honduras defeated Costa Rica 1-0 in San Pedro Sula in a very important World Cup Qualifier.  We had a great time at the game, it was incredibly loud, the fans were great, and we got to see my favorite former-Wizard Roger Espinoza play again.

After beating Jamaica mid-week, Honduras qualified for the World Cup, and the entire country went nuts.  Traffic just stopped and people got out of their cars to dance and sing and just enjoy life.  It was something we've never been part of before and it was really cool to see the passion and patriotism on full display.  I can't think of a time when all Americans have cared about a singular event enough to be united and excited at that level (end of WW2 maybe?).

At the top of Santa Rosa de Copan

We spent another 3-day weekend in Santa Rosa de Copan, the capital of a neighboring state.  It is a centuries-old colonial town in the western part of Honduras, and was a great getaway from the heat of the city.
View from our hotel roof

The air was cool and everyone used the opportunity to walk around outside.  It took us a while to recognize just how many people were out and about, which was a strange thing to see, since very few people walk the streets of San Pedro Sula.  We also had the opportunity to get several delicious coffees and cigars as well (some of the country's best cigars are made in Santa Rosa).

Great cup o' joe with some artwork + bean

All in all, it was a fun time away spent with good friends.  And it didn't hurt that our hotel had a really cool turtle river in the lobby and a pool on the roof. It was just the right of amount of relaxation to gear up for the final two months before Christmas.

Sunbathing turtles at the hotel

This past week, students were getting geared up for the school's Halloween costume parade.  The holiday itself is not a big deal here, but the kids go all out at school.  The coolest costume we saw was a group of three kids dressed as GIANT Tetris pieces.  They won the costume parade hands-down.

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