12.14.08 Four Little Martians Do Honduras

Tegucigalpa Travel Blog

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12.14.08 Four Little Martians Do Honduras


Once there were 4 green little Martians with antennas and a spaceship named “Ciao Baby!”  They drove throughout Honduras, garnering many shocked stares, as you might imagine.  Wherever they went, people stared at them.  This was a little disconcerting for the teenage Martians- after all, they didn’t like being stared at one little bit.  Furthermore, if they waved, people just stared at them, for the most part.  Sometimes, the people smiled or waved back, but usually, they just looked at them and sometimes didn’t seem friendly at all.  The Martians tried not to take it personally. 


The smallest Martian, who was actually a Chinese-American Martian, said, “Welcome to MY world!” She often had people walk up to her and speak in either Spanish or Chinese, neither of which she knew very well.  Besides, she always looked different from her family, so everywhere she goes, she has people staring.


This morning, the four Martians left Lago de Joyoa.  It was a beautiful morning and the sun shone on the gorgeous lake, teeming with large birds.  They had slept restfully in spite of the raucous revival-type, microphone-yelling church meeting going on 20 feet away late into the night.  Earplugs were worth more than Limperas or gold!


Last night they had walked about a mile up the road to “restaurant row” along the lake (Lago).  Along the way, a dog crossed the road 100 yards behind them.  They were instructed by Mama Martian not to watch the scene unfold and finally they just ran away when the animal sounded obviously injured.  They absolutely felt sick.


While we’d read that this lake is where wealthy Hondurans go to vacation, we did not figure out why or where that might be.  Certainly “restaurant row” was deserted except for people selling food.  The Martians attracted tremendous attention and they didn’t feel very welcome from the looks.  However, they did not feel threatened.  They bought some snacks from many children, who seemed to multiply into about a dozen kids.  It is very sad to see the hard work that little children do along dangerous roadsides where drivers appear to have very little regard for life.


They finally ordered some chicken from a stand, where each portion was carefully cooked one at a time until it was nearly dark by the time the Martians took the food to-go and walked/jogged the mile back along the roadside, often jumping into the grass to avoid the wandering trucks.  The trucks here emit a volume that is incredibly loud!  The mufflers must be very different from those in Martian-land because they are loud enough to rattle glass and make one’s head tingle.  Unbelievable loud!  And the trucks do not slow while going through small towns with buses, people, kids and animals along the roadway.  There is no way they could stop in time should someone get in their way.  Anyway, the Martians were SO very thankful upon their safe return for their spaceship!


Today was a driving day and the Martians’ spaceship went up and down mountains with curving roads, construction, potholes, trucks spewing great clouds of black smoke, and the occasional roadway missing from landslides.  Fortunately, it was pretty typical for travel south of the border and they handled it with no problems.  They made sure the gas, fresh water, and grey water were relatively low for the mountainous journey.  Good move!  Average speed was about 30 mph, but the spaceship did just fine. 


They made it through Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, relatively unscathed!  In fact, the divided road right through the hilly capital on a busy Sunday afternoon was actually their easiest city crossing to date!  Hooray!


The Martians, however, seem to have trouble getting permission for overnighting in general.  They don’t understand why, since dear Harriet of “99 Days to Panama” only had one incident where she was declined permission (and that was a North American owner- figures!).  Perhaps it is due to the Martians’ frustrating Spanish.  While they can figure out what to ask, they usually don’t understand all of the response.  This leads to unhappy words between Mama Martian and teenage Martians regarding why teenage Martians don’t know more Spanish.  This does not help harmony in the spaceship, so they all sigh and agree to study Spanish dutifully.


Back to overnighting:  The Martians saw a beautiful campus that turns out to be a University.  They asked if they could park on the gated property.  “No,” comes the answer, “but ask at their hotel across the street.”  Their hotel says, “No.  You can stay at the hotel, but you may not part the RV here” in so many Spanish words.  Martians wonder if it is because the spaceship is mud-covered (which was beneficial for the most part) or if hotel is actually an upscale establishment like a Honduran Four Seasons, in which case the Martians should have stayed in the hotel!


But they fly the spaceship onward to the destination of the Esso Station halfway between Tegucigalpa and Danli, near the Nicaraguan border.  They skirt in just before the police check where there are 12 officers pointing over mainly trucks at random for who-knows-what check.  They buy gas (53 limperas per gallon- conversion of 18.8 L per $1 U.S.) and some Honduran snacks.  A police officer walks over and observes their spaceship, tapping on the hood while Mother Martian is practicing Spanish with gas guys.  Female teenage Martian smiles and officer smiles back.  The Martians get permission to park overnight by a truck in the nearby lot.  A loose horse wanders by as they park. 


They walk to find the restaurant that is advertised on a sign.  What would you do if you saw 4 Martians walking down the road in your small town?  Mama Martian counted 17 people looking at them at one point.  There is a small store that advertized internet, phone, and snacks, but it appeared closed- possibly only open during the morning and afternoon.  They never did find the restaurant, but think the ad was really for the bar, filled with men who whistled and yelled suggestively at the Martians. 


The Martians gave up and sat on the street corner for awhile, letting the uncomfortableness subside.  Finally, the townsfolk waiting for the bus, hanging out, and socializing seemed to turn their attention to other things.  The Martians relaxed.  They returned to the Esso station for more snacks and had a nutritious dinner in the spaceship of chips, salsa, cheese dip, and Honduran chocolate.  Cereal was offered as a later snack.


Mama Martian splurged on a $2-per-minute cell phone call to Daddy Martian.  He adorably speaks Martian too!  They confirmed lists of critical things Daddy Martian is going to bring, like RV toilet paper, paper clips, and powdered milk.  These items are priceless Christmas presents!


And so the Martians count down the days until Daddy Martian arrives in Managua.  Four days.  But Managua is just 190 miles away (and a border crossing), so they are going to research some fun things to do in Nicaragua.  That is not as easy as it sounds because while the land is stunningly beautiful, the offerings are slim, and the people appear to work hard in their survival struggle.


“Survival Honduras” will likely end tomorrow as the Martians beam their spaceship into Nicaragua, happy to be moving onward, but grateful for the Honduran experience nonetheless.



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photo by: Biedjee