Thursday, November 25, 2010

Trains, plains, and parrot fish

6:25am flights kind of suck, but that is what you get when you go for the cheapest flights possible.  Besides I probably wouldn´t have slept a wink anyways with visions of dolphins, boas, and coconuts drifitng through my conciousness.  Instead of waking up ridicoulously early to make the airport I decided to catch the morning from the otherside.  I left downtown Toronto just after midnight and got to the airport about an hour latter.  The night was chilly, far from the temperatures I would be experiencing in the next few days. 

I never like to rush, so this was perfect for me to figure out where I needed to be for my flight.  Pearson Airport is a big place and a guy like me can get lost pretty easily in there.  Afterall there are no trees, ridges, or streams for me to navigate with.

I found the air canada desk and picked out a spot on the floor for a few restless hours of getting my head down.  Sleeping in an airport is difficult especially when they are doing a major vaccuuming of the terminal. 

The first lag of the journey was quite short; Toronto to NY.  Then I had to swithch airports which was bit of a stress as; the time was short, the 2 airports are not close, and it was rush hour.  The cabby didn´t help either as she didn´t think I would make the plane.  Fortunately she was wrong and I was there with an hour to spare. 

The next flight was to El Salvador.  It was beautiful as we approached the landing strip; plantations, mountains, and volcanoes (some of them smoking) welcomed us. An old beat up, possibly burnt, abandoned jet was lying off to one side of the run way.  I told myself that it was there for decoration.

Finally I arrived in San Paulo Sula, Honduras at approximately 4pm.  It was hot and very spanish. I figured I would just kind of wing it with the whole language thing. ``It`will be like jumping off a dock.  You´ll be fine and figure out how to swim`` I told myself.  Well I was drowning for awhile.  Trying to figure out my phrase book and trying tricks like saying it in english but putting an o on the end, then the same with french, I wondered if I would be better off trying to communicate telapathically.  I managed to get a bus out of San Paulo to La Cieba.  I am glad I did.  It looked like a rough place.  Mostly it was a ghetto with a few wealthy surrounded by high gates, dotted the city.  I had forgotten what this kind of poverty looks like.  Its sad to see people living, literally in garbage.  One thing I did get a kick out of though is not only are there stray dogs roaming around but also stray horses.  I watched out the window as we passed one feeding at the side of the street.

I arrived in La Cieba at about 9:30pm and got in a cab.  I had to laugh at myself for the situation I was in. I had no clue where I was going and had to trust the driver. He got me to the hostel I showed him in my lonely planet.  I was dead tired but I stuck to my habit of doing a bit of a hazard check when I arrive at a place.  A quick recce around the building can give some pretty valuable information.  Its not that I am paranoid or expect any problems but if things go pear shaped all of a sudden I like to be able to act with out thinking too much.  Honduras has a gang problem and by the lack of fire alarms, smoke detectors and extinguishers it doesn´t have much in the way of firecode.  I like to know my exits and where they lead.  Its a solid routine and only takes a few minutes.

I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow and awoke the next morning with a start, not quite sure where I was for a second.  My hesitations with spanish were soon overcome by my belly and I hit the town for some grub.  There is a war going on down here.  I guess it is all over the place but seems more prevelant in poorer countries.  The war is between Coke and Pepsi, to see who can have more advertising.  They must give out signs and chairs to every store and restaruant.  It made it easy to find some food though.  Waking up in La Cieba meant that I could get the morning ferry to Routan.  My driver from the night before, Ramone, came to collect me at 8am for the 9:30, 50km boat ride.

Routan is a meca for scuba diving and snorkeling. At one point it was a basecamp for pirates plundering the spanish as they plundered the americas. It has a huge reef off the northern side.  I spent the afternoon snorkeling along checking out the reef and the colourful fish.  I probably saw well over a thousand fish today.  You can hear them too, as they munch away at the coral, turning it into the white sand of the beaches.  The coral is under a lot of pressure though because of its accessibility.  Even though there are a lot of signs advising people to not touch the coral, they do anyways.  Coral has a covering of slime which protects it from infection.  Touching it removes the slime, exposes the coral and kills it.  It was very obvious that the signs were not being followed.

For the next 3 days I will be going a bit deeper, under the blue.  I have 6 dives lined up.  At this time I am unable to download photos so that will have to wait for an uncertain amount of time.    Hasta Leugo, Ben


  1. Wow Ben so far you got me hooked, can't wait to read more and see your pics.....

  2. great adventure you have Ben, can't wait to hear more of what is in store for you. Let me know if that have any free whale rides there, or some other type of fish ride.