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Honduras - March 29, 2000
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Hi, I'm back... I loved Livingston, Guatemala but during the end of my time there I started looking at my Central America map thinking about where I wanted to go next and Roatan seemed to be calling out to me. It also looked relatively close. It isn't nearly as close as it seems on the map - at least for overland travel - but at the time it seemed like a good idea! Actually, the trip turned out to be a wonderful adventure.

Roatan
I had heard in the past that Roatan has some of the best scuba diving in the world. It is the largest of the three Bay Islands off of the northern coast of Honduras. Once I figured out that there was a way to get there from Livingston, I decided to go for a few days. Getting there was the most uncomfortable travel day I've had. It took 12 hours one day and another couple of hours the next day, but it also turned out to be my most interesting travel day. It started with a boat ride to Puerto Barrios, then a long walk to find a bus that would take me to the Honduras border, the bus ride to the border that stopped at the immigration office, a long dusty and bumpy ride in the back of a pick up truck after crossing the border with another immigration stop, and a few more bus rides before reaching the coastal town of La Ceiba where I spent the night before going to Roatan on a 15 minute flight for $8. (It was an Islena promotion that was cheaper than taking the 2 hour ferry!)

It was quite an experience but well worth it because although uncomfortable, the travel was beautiful through the lush Chiquita banana plantations at the border, and Roatan was a paradise. My few days turned into a week. I stayed in West End, which was less built up than I had expected. That was a pleasant surprise. I think it is generally fairly quiet, but for some reason it was especially quiet the week I was there. I went diving a couple of times a day and it was as great as I had been told. I also had an awesome night dive there. Our guide was excellent because he briefed us so well on what to look for. We then saw everything he mentioned and more. I saw so many creatures I've never seen before!

In addition to diving, every afternoon I kayaked to the most gorgeous beach at West Bay. I'll always remember my most "active" day. It started with an hour run at 6:00am, my "rubber band" workout until almost 8:00, a dive at 9:00, another dive at 11:30, an early afternoon sail with a local fisherman (he dove for lobster and conch and then we fished for snapper, providing a perfect sashimi lunch with the sweetest pineapple for dessert), a two-hour afternoon kayak, a night dive, all followed by a huge dinner! I slept great that night.

Copan Ruinas
I finally dragged myself away from Roatan and went to Copan Ruinas in Western Honduras to see another site with Mayan ruins. It isn't nearly as impressive as Tikal, in Guatemala, but it is interesting that this area was inhabited for about 2000 years! My favorite parts of the ruins are the stone carvings and sculptures, something that Tikal really doesn't have. The fairly new sculpture museum is great and the highlight of the visit to the site. However, my favorite part of Copan was the town and people I met there. It is a beautiful little village with cobblestone streets, quaint buildings, a gorgeous colonial church and hardly any tourists, at least during the time I was there. I met a group of Hondurans that were doing service work there for the poor and I hung out with them for several days. It was a lot of fun and very educational as I learned a lot about Honduras and the local customs.

I'm now off to El Salvador to visit the neice of a woman that I worked with at iPass. It has been impossible to reach her by phone although I think I spoke with her cleaning woman today. I hope she still thinks I'm coming! Adios for now,
Karen

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