Thursday, January 18, 2007


my first idea about writing about this trip we took was to cut down on the narratives about bus trips and things like that. i figured they’d make the writing seem less like a james michener-length novel and more like an informative short story. my plan was to stick to what was really important – the places we visited. but i’ve come to realize that those narratives are such a necessary link to the whole experience. they are sometimes even more colorful than the stories about the destinations. isn’t there some cheesy saying out there that says something like it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey? well, as cliché as that saying is, it’s true. often times the funniest and most interesting, eye-opening things have happened on the bus rides on the way to the main attractions. so, while it may seem like these parts of the stories are boring or you find a hard time picturing why in god’s name i’ve found it worth re-telling, i offer two pieces of my mind. first, i will admit that for most all of these stories, you really had to be there....there is nothing that can compare to how hysterical something can be when you’re actually there and in the moment. and secondly, this is what central america is REALLY like. central america isn’t what you find at tourist destinations. it’s what you find at bus stops, or in small comedores and tiendas. it’s what you find on a long walk through the woods on your way to the spot where other tourists get bussed in. so hopefully, you can enjoy the stories about what central america is really like, because anybody can read about the tourist destinations in traveler magazines. those places have all been written about before, and my intention isn’t just to re-hash what’s already been written, you know?! so with that being is a little map of our entire trip.

just click on the photo if you want to see a bigger view of see where the actual towns are.
the RED LINE is the trip from courtney’s house in el salvador all the way up to the río dulce in guatemala

the BLUE LINE is the boat trip from the río dulce, to lívingston and into the caribbean and back down to lívingston

the GREEN LINE is the return trip from puerto barrios, guatemala and down to copán, honduras and back to courtney’s house

we left courtney’s house at 4:00 in the morning and by like 7:30, we were the border town, el poy, between el salvador and honduras. we ate some breakfast at this comedor (and watched part of some movie with jane seymour in it about horses....which courtney thought was “medicine woman,” but i said no, it wasn’t that...and courtney said she thought that jane quinn was in that show about the old west. and i was like – no her name is jane seymour, and she was in a show about the west called “dr. quinn, medicine woman,” but that wasn’t what this movie was. oh my god, it was so hysterical!!). anyway, we made it across the border and to nueva ocotopeque and then had to run after this bus that was going to agua caliente, the border between honduras and guatemala. it was so dreary! the ride wasn’t that long, as we were just cutting through the lower southwest corner of honduras, so before we knew it we were in agua caliente.

ewwww, agua caliente! it was gross! we got our passports stamped and exchanged our money and tried to beat it out of there as fast as we could. we crossed the border and asked some woman if the other part of the border crossing was close. she said “yeah” and pointed up the road and so we continued on. see, most border crossings have the first station – which is the station of the country you’re leaving. then there’s another station up the road that’s the station of the country you’re entering. so there’s this stretch of road that doesn’t belong to either’s just “the border.” all the borders we’d been over before had a relatively small “no man’s land” between the stations, so we just continued walking down this road. well, this road was lined – on both sides – with 18-wheelers, for what seemed like miles and miles. it was kind of scary and courtney and i were not feeling too safe, walking in-between these semi trucks. after a while we flagged down a microbus and while it took us up the road, we saw we would have had a lot of walking to do! anyway, we stopped at the guatemalan border station and the guy told us we had to get out to get our passport stamped and that the bus would wait for us. then he was like “just leave your backpacks in here.” and courtney was going to do it, but i was like “no way am i leaving my backpack in here.” the driver and the other passengers kept saying “no, it’s ok” but i just didn’t think it was a good idea. i mean, lots of other things other than the passengers and driver robbing us could have what if the police told the van to move or something. i don’t know, i didn’t trust that whole thing so i lugged my backpack in with me and courtney did the same. we came back and i told the people in the van that it wasn’t because i didn’t trust them, i just felt better having my stuff with me. and they all were like “no, it’s problem!” so with our passports checked and our asses back in the micro, we began the short trip to esquipulas.