Central America

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Our next stop was Utila in Honduras, via La Ceiba. La Ceiba has very few redeemable qualities, but it was still the setting of one of my favorite travel moments ever. We were walking back to our room after dinner, carrying leftovers. It was pizza, and anyone who questions my eating something other than the local cuisine should know that I later ate termites. So piss off. Anyways, a homeless guy asked for our food, and I politely said no and continued walking. I was mildly startled when he then punched me. Yup, a homeless honduran punched me cuz I wouldn't give him pizza. I was laughing way too hard to do anything in retaliation. I'd also like to point out that he was fat. And not starving distended stomach fat, just good old fashioned fat.

We then went to Utila, it was mostly diving so I don't have many pictures. So if anyone who enjoys my web site would like to donate the $6000 for the UW camera setup I want, feel free. One of our attempts at land based activities was a nice bike ride. Unfortunately about 20 minutes into it Susan's chain broke (for those who think I'm a jerk, I kept the fat jokes to one or two dozen at most). After coasting back to the rental place, we opted to try our luck with a scooter instead. I highly recommend off roading with 2 people on a scooter. It's hard to beat for fun per $ spent. The only other people we met on the trails were on an ATV, and we mocked them. I felt the same way I do about hummers parked in grocery store parking lots. Susan getting hit by a humming bird was pure bonus. The first picture is from the far side of the island, which was our final scooter destinations. I've never seen so many lost individual mismatched shoes. It was eerie, like something out of a bad stephen king tv movie (as though there's any other kind). I was half expecting the feet to still be in them.

The diving was spectacular, although most of the dive operations are slightly questionable. Honduras is renowned as the cheapest place in the world to learn to dive. It shows. I've been diving for almost twice as long as the head instructor at the place we dove. One of the divemasters in training was alternating between swimming through sand and bobbing at the surface. Very reassuring. For all the cheapness, they really nickel and dime you. Since Susan wasn't an advanced diver they insisted that she be accompanied by an instructor, for an extra charge of course, citing safety blah, blah, blah. The fact that I was a DM with a hell of a lot more experience didn't phase them. Their claims of concern for customer safety was even more discredited when my provided divelight burned out 10 minutes into the dive.

Their nickel and diming caused even more grief on our last day there. Having been told that they accept visa, I was a little surprised when I went to pay. They had failed to mention the 8% surcharge. Being a Williams, I'd be damned if they got an extra cent from me (out of orneriness, not cheapness). So I had to get a visa cash advance at the bank (which was closing in about an hour on the friday, not to reopen until monday. But my passport (required by the bank) was in the hotel safe..whose office was closed despite the clearly posted hours (what do you expect for $3 US a night). So, I ended up at the front door of the hotel owners house, who was apparently taking a nap. His lovely wife refused to wake him, saying " he yells at me if I ever try to wake him". Upon my insistance, she lead me inside into his bedroom, and then left closing the door behind her. So I was alone in this man's bedroom wondering, given that's he's prone to yelling even at his wife, how he'd react to a stranger leaning over his bed trying to wake him. After alot of grumpiness, and surprisingly little violence I got my belongings out of the safe. I think the 8" and 80 lbs advantage I have over the typical central american male helped in smoothing the way with this angry fellow.

BTW for anyone planning on visiting Utila, the sand flies are unbelievable. We spent the nights covered in bug spray, under a sheet, in a mosquito net.

The other noteworthy event in Utila concerned seahorses. Susan was dissapointed at not having seen one in all our dives, so for our final dive the boat made a special trip to the side of the island they don't usually visit, since the site usually had seahorses present. One ugly bland one, and one bright yellow sterotypically pretty one. Upon surfacing as we were all discussing the two seahorses, Susan looked slightly confused. Despite three of us being huddled around a tiny plant with a seahorse in the middle of a sand patch, all pointing to it from about 3" away, and me making a rather super seahorse hand signal, Susan thought we were pointing at a sea slug. She's still moping at missing the pretty one.

The last picture in the row was taken on the street, just because the guy was biking with a parrot on his shoulder. He's either a cool laid back guy, or a world class asshole. I'm undecided.
We were lucky, that after Utila our first night on the mainland was in Copan Ruinas, the night Canada played Honduras in Edmonton in world cup qualifying soccer. It was amazing, the entire town square was filled with people watching the game. A liquor store ran a cord outside and played it on a screen about 14" across. Canada was robbed by reffing, and ended up with a 1-1 tie. It was spectacular to see hundreds of people leap to their feet all at once when Honduras was awarded a penalty kick. The logic was a little faulty since it meant only the six people right in front got to see anything but the replay of the goal.
The rest of the pictures are from the Mayan ruins of Copan. For such a short people their stairs are quite large. Huh.

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