Sunday, September 25, 2005

Honduras Maya Hotel, Tegucigalpa, Honduras


Roadside stand typical of those I've seen throughout Mexico and Central America.


10:00 p.m.

In the "garden annex", rather than the tower of this aging downtown luxury hotel. They apparently acquired the adjacent hotel. It's well-worn, but the rates are lower than the tower.

Unable to connect to the internet in my room, I went to their business center, but learned there is no internet service until 6:00 a.m.; and then it’s $5.00 per 30 minutes. A rip-off.

The air conditioning went out after a power failure. After waiting an hour with no response, I complained to the desk manager. He apologized, and said they were working on it. But this hotel was not alone. "Look at the city..." He was right. With a few exceptions, the city was dark. Presently, they were running on their own power-generation plant. Little to do but go to bed.

***

A 150-mile ride here today from San Pedro Sula. Found a roadside market in the hills, very colorful, with bananas, pineapples, coconuts and limes, among other things. I wanted to try some local bananas. The woman wanted to sell me a whole bunch, but I said it was a problem on my motorcycle. She then broke off a couple small ones and handed them to me. I ate them on the spot, then told her I would like to get a pineapple as well. As she was starting to cut into it, I stopped her, saying I needed a photo, and ran to get my camera.



In the Honduras countryside, fresh pineapple, cut to order!


The road headed into an afternoon thunderstorm, but I wasn’t too concerned because it traveled the valley floor between two mountains. Then (of course!) it started to climb a pass and my riding took on a little more urgency, trying to keep out from under the storm’s center. Soaked by the rain and probably up a couple thousand feet, in pine forest, it actually became chilly.

Broke out of the rain, tracking southwest. Raced a Toyota sports car through the twisting mountain roads for about half an hour, until we dropped out of the mountains and onto a flat plain.

Stopped for gas, but a young man standing at the pump said “no vende.” After several attempts to explain, I finally understood what he was trying to tell me. They can’t sell any combustibles today because it’s a national holiday. This raised some concern, as I had enough fuel to reach Tegucigalpa, but not much more. There wasn’t much left for searching for a hotel, or getting lost. (Which is exactly what I did.)

Entering the city before sunset, it seemed there were soldiers on virtually every corner, carrying old U.S. M-16 rifles. Ended up in some pretty rough parts of the city, including a hugely-popular market district, definitely places where I wouldn’t want to find myself at night.

***

11:00 a.m. San Pedro Sula

An elaborate breakfast buffet is included in the hotel cost. Very luxurious!

Trying to work on the internet is frustrating, as signals are dropped with regularity. The "blogger" and photo-posting programs don’t seem to work under such erratic conditions. This has been fairly common when using wireless.

The business center here offers a "hard wire” connection. Much more dependable, much faster! (But now I have to endure the “The Carpenters’ Greatest Hits” piped into the lobby.)

I’ve been in touch with fellow traveler, Anne Girardin, who is in San Salvador, just west of here, visiting a friend with The World Bank. We may connect in Costa Rica.

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