the journey commences
Fort Lauderdale Travel Blog› entry 4 of 7 › view all entries
So much to catch up on after just a few days! Our flight to Fort Lauderdale went really well: had a porter help me as soon as we had arrived at the Detroit airport, and Lynne was waiting on the other end (fortunately, as there wasn't a porter in sight there). We managed to cram all the bags into her car, and off we went. By the time we got to her house, it was almost 9:30, so I got the boys settled and into bed, and then Lynne and I had a glass of wine and did some catching up. The next morning, we took my boys and hers to a park with a huge playground and carousel, and then after naptime, we went to a wildlife centre so the boys could see turtles, fish, sharks etc. On Monday, Lynne had to work, so the boys and I just relaxed at her place: played outside for awhile (there's a big grassy area right next to her place, it's perfect for running around), and discovered all of Nick's toys (her son). She gets off work pretty early, so once she was back and Nick was home from kindergarten, we checked out another playground. I cooked dinner (calzones for the grownups, pizza for the kids), and then it was bathtime and bedtime. Tues was our last day there: after Lynne got off work, she took me to do a bit of shopping, which she's going to mail down to me, as we couldn't have fit any more in the car (and I would have had to start another bag, all of mine were at their weight limits). Just a few Christmas presents for the boys, as the selection isn't that great in Roatan. Had dinner, and then it was time to go. Pouring rain, luckily almost everything was still in the car (we only took out one suitcase when we came, and left the rest locked in the trunk). By the time we got to the airport, the rain had stopped (and poor little Auri had fallen asleep). It was about 9pm, our flight was at 11. Not a porter to be seen. So we had to get a cart, which meant I couldn't push the stroller, it got piled on the cart, and I carried Auri while I pushed it: not an easy feat. Got to the check in counter, where we had to unload all the bags to be weighed, and then put them back on the cart and wheel them to the xray. Who thought of that horrible flow? By that time, I had installed Auri in the stroller, and he had woke up, but was still sleepy. So I had Deo push him, so I could push the cart the rest of the way to the xray machines.
Finally got rid of our bags, and went to clear ourselves through security. The boys were so good! They'd already learned the routine of taking off shoes and coats, and they waited patiently as we got our carryons through. There wasn't all that much time to wait: they sat and listened to my iPod.
The flight was so easy, the boys slept the whole way. I was getting tired myself, but it was hard to get comfy with their heads on my lap.
It was hard to have to wake them when we arrived, but there was no way that I could carry two of them or even one of them with our carryons as well! I did manage to carry Auri until we got off the plane (and little Deo put on one of the backpacks- he's such a good little guy!), and then we got our stroller, so we could load it up.
The lineup at customs was horrible! Unfortunately, ours was the slowest, it was excruciating. We were finally through, our bags had long since been unloaded, they were almost the only ones left there. Not a cart in sight, the one porter was busy (he said he'd be right back, 15 min later, I was hauling things one by one to the xray, until another kind-hearted passenger offered to help me out). The porter finally appeared on the other side of the xray and loaded up our stuff.
I had contacted a guy from San Pedro Sula from couchsurfing.com a week or so earlier, asking his advice about used car shopping. We had wrote back and forth a few times, and he offered to pick me up and drop us at our hotel, since it was so late (we arrived at 11:30pm, so it was about 12:30 or later when we got to the hotel). It was so good to see he and his friend waiting there! They got us checked into a hotel, and helped carry all our bags to the room, since there was no porter at that hour. Then the next day, he came by taxi (the car was his friend's) to help us get to the bus-station. I continue to be just amazed at his incredible kindness: he really put himself out to make things so much easier for me!
The next part of the journey got pretty hairy. We booked on a luxury bus (ie airconditioning and guaranteed seats, as opposed to the chickenbus). We got on board, and were just settling into our seats, when out of the blue Auri threw up all over himself and his seat! It was so gross, and I had nothing to clean it up with: I used up all our kleenexes, wiped him down with the clean parts of his clothes, stripped him to his underwear and gave him a quick wipe with hand sanitizer, as I tried to get someone's attention to help out. The bus people were so nice. They cleaned up the seat, and the lady gave me a bottle of water to clean him up in the bathroom, and another for him to drink. Wrapped him up in a blanket, and the three of us sat in two seats, which was fine, as Auri wanted to be held anyway. The bus started up, and we had one more puke incident, but I saw it coming, so we managed to use a bag. The boys fell asleep, and the rest of the bus ride was without incident, but it was impossible to do anything (organize our stuff, have something to drink), with Auri asleep in my arms.
We arrived in Ceiba, and got a cab, which someone else shared with us. The taxidriver decided to stop at her hotel first: I should have insisted otherwise! As soon as we got to her hotel, Auri puked again, all over him and me! Nothing to clean it up, I just had the driver get us to our hotel so we could get to our room, and paid him some extra money to clean his cab. Fortunately, there was a porter waiting to help us with our bags. Went up to our room, got Auri and I cleaned up, and put on some cartoons for them.
Aside from the gross factor, this kind of messed up our plans: I needed to get a new cellphone chip, get passport photos for my residency and I had to get out to the airport in La Ceiba to pick up my papers that my lawyer had sent over, to do the last part of my residency (fingerprinting and photo). I had wanted to get them that afternoon, so that we'd be able to go to the immigration office first thing in the morning, but I couldn't go anywhere until I knew Auri wouldn't puke again. I called the airport, to see if they could send the papers in a cab, but they wouldn't agree to it, as they said I had to come to show ID.
So I waited to awhile, and Auri seemed to be doing pretty well. We decided we'd take a short walk, to get the cellphone chip, photos and write a quick email letting everyone know we were safely in Honduras. Auri was fine, but the two of them were now so hyper! The internet cafe's computer was horrible: some of the keys stuck, and it was a Spanish keyboard, and the two of them were making noise and wouldn't sit still, and I just banged out as quick as a note as I could, and we left. As it seemed Auri had recovered, I decided to take a chance with a cab to the airport. The cabbie was trying to hit on me (and then on the ride back was criticizing how the boys weren't listening to me: how did he ever think he'd score any points with me that way?). We got to the airport, and I just had him wait as the boys and I went to find this envelope. It wasn't in the mainpart, we had to go back out, and near the gate to the cargo area. Got it, and headed back to the hotel, luckily no more puking. The cabbie gave me his number ('yeah, right, I'll give you a call so you can lecture me some more on how to rear my kids!'- they've just spent two days travelling, I think I can understand if they're a little rangy). We decided to go to Pizza Hut for dinner (greasy pizza wasn't the ultimate choice for a bad stomach, but there was a playland there, and they really needed some run-around time). After dinner, we went back to the hotel, and everyone went to bed really early, including me.
The next day, had breakfast downstairs, and then set out for immigration at about 7:45. The immigration office was packed, and I was dreading it. And then the lady said they weren't taking any more people today, and my heart dropped. But I told her what I was there for, and she sent me through a door to another room, where there was just one person ahead of me. Thank goodness! I showed this lady my paper from my lawyer and my marriage certificate. She said I would need a more recently dated marriage certificate, which I would need to get in Roatan. I explained it was a bit of a trek, and would it be possible to get everything else done, and send over the new copy, and she agreed. So she made me out some receipts that I needed to take to the bank and pay, and I also needed to bring back a copy of my passport. Took a cab to the bank, which ended up being very close.
The bank wasn't open yet (it was 8:30, it opened at 9), so we went for a little walk to get a drink, and then back to the bank to wait, so we'd be at the start of the line. That went quickly, and we walked back to immigration, it was only a couple blocks away. Got my passport photocopied at a little store next door, and went back in to see the lady. She took down a few other details, took a digital photo and my signature, and then got my fingerprints (that ink is hard to get off!). Before 10, we were already finished, she gave me a temporary card, reminded me to send over the marriage certificate, and told me my permanent card would be ready in 90 days (and I can send someone to pick it up as long as I send a letter with them authorizing it. So amazingly quick!
We took a quick visit to the supermarket to get some essentials, then stopped by a travel agent to see about a flight out that day, as we had finished so early (I had been planning to stay another night, and take the ferry in the morning). There was a flight leaving in 40 min, and then not for several hours. I wanted to be home, so we raced back to the hotel, threw everything in the bag, and headed out with a trail of odds and ends sticking out of a plastic bag. I had re-shuffled some stuff in the bags (as one of our bags got a pretty bad beating on the flight to SPS), so they were overweight, which meant I had to pay, but I didn't care at that point, just get me home! I found out later the ferry wasn't running until Sat because of maintenance, so it's just as well we had decided to fly!
I made a couple calls, and found a friend that could pick us up when we got over. Soon we were on a plane, and headed to Roatan. It's a short flight, maybe 20 min, and both the boys conked out. Auri woke near the end, looked out the window at Roatan, and said he could see Goosie (our dog).
Enrique was there waiting. We made a quick stop at the gas station to get some drinks, and headed home. Goose was so happy to see us!
Unfortunately, my friend who had my house keys hadn't got my email that I had sent the week before about getting in a house cleaner, so we were greeted with a pretty thick layer of dust, but I got the boys playing in one room while I did some sweeping and mopping. After a couple hours of cleaning and unpacking, we needed a break. Headed to west end for a swim. Ahhh, this is why we're here, this is why it's so good to be home! The boys played in the water for over an hour, and I had a cocktail at the beachbar while I watched them from a lounger (I was in the water for awhile too). Picked up some groceries at Woodies, and headed home for dinner. Of course, we should have stopped then, as it was late, and the boys were getting tired, but I wanted to take Goose for a walk, I felt bad that he hadn't gotten much attention while we were gone.
He wanted to fight every dog we passed: I finally had to let him off the leash, as I didn't want us to get hurt. Way too much for the end of the day, we headed home to go to bed (he followed right along, after he had shown the other dogs who was boss).