Às vezes tirar um milhão de fotos é uma coisa ruim. Eu tento não bombardear todos com um monte de fotos, pois muitas fotos podem demorar um pouco para carregar em alguns computadores – então sou muito seletiva com as fotos que partilho em posts. (Embora você possa sempre ver o álbum de fotos!) Porém, apesar de pensar que não deva compartilhar todas estas incríveis fotos, este post é principalmente a minha coleção da vida em Copán Ruinas. Não é uma compilação de atrações turísticas, coisas que o nosso pequeno grupo fez, ou lugares fantásticos para ver enquanto estavamos lá. É simplesmente a vida daqueles que chamam Honduras a sua casa. Por isso, é o meu favorito. Espero que aprecie as fotos e histórias tanto quanto eu gostei de as tirar e as viver!

Voltando a conversa, Audrey e eu ficamos presas em Honduras – durante uma noite pelo menos. Optamos por pegar o ônibus Hedman-Alas no dia seguinte, em vez de pagar mais do que o dobro para a primeira classe, nós voltamos para o hotel, Via Via.

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Nós nos cruzamos com esta pequena estrutura do tipo gazebo. Era totalmente aberta exceto a parede do fundo, que tinha um pequeno bar com uma geladeira enferrujada com dois tipos de cerveja hondurenha. Audrey e eu entramos casualmente para o interior e ela pediu uma “Salva Vida”. Além de sermos as únicas mulheres neste bar com cerca de vinte homens Hondurenhos, eramos também as únicas pessoas estrangeiras. Sem problemas, com normalidade, pegamos um par de cadeiras e nos sentamos em uma das mesas.

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Estou bastante certa de que os assentos nas cadeiras deste pequeno bar eram feitos de couro de cavalo, mas poderiam ter sido feitos de um tipo diferente de couro. De qualquer maneira, elas eram surpreendentes. Afinal, quantas vezes você vê uma cadeira feita de couro em casa?

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Audrey orgulhosamente exibindo a sua “Salva Vida”. Você vê o cara para á direita da foto? Era tudo assim neste bar. Homens hondurenhos casualmente em pé contra um parapeito, vestindo com seus chapéus de cowboy, saboreando uma cerveja gelada com os amigos.

Pode ver também a área gramada à esquerda da foto? Aí estava uma das aberturas e era um lugar popular. Um bar sem banheiros pode tornar-se um problema quando o álcool está envolvido. Não para estes homens! Pelo menos quatro homens despreocupadamente foram fazer as suas necessidades nesse barril em algum momento durante a nossa curta estadia.

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Esta foto mostra o caminho para a estação de ônibus. Está bem próxima das Copán Ruinas e mostra uma casa local com uma moto táxi estacionada em frente e um pequeno estabelecimento ao lado, provavelmente o negócio de família. Foi uma caminhada muito boa, pacífica. Provavelmente o motorista do táxi parou em casa para um almoço rápido, ou tinha acabado o seu serviço naquele dia.

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Mais perto da cidade, passamos por um caminhão cheio de passageiros. Se você quer uma ideia de como é em Honduras, este é um grande exemplo. Honduras é cheia de caminhões, cavalos e chapéus de cowboy. Geralmente você encontra os homens da geração mais velha em cavalos usando orgulhosamente os seus chapéus de cowboy. As gerações mais novas tendem a usar bonés de basebol e a andar na parte de trás dos pick-ups, mas as mulheres e os homens mais velhos pegam caronas às vezes também.

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Este é um restaurante local no final de uma rua no coração da cidade de Copán Ruinas. Vêem o sinal de paragem á esquerda? É um sinal de paragem real, não é apenas decoração. Este homem está se preparando para abrir o seu negócio.

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Honduras é assim mesmo! O moto táxi decorado com figuras de apoio á equipe hondurenha que joga na Copa do Mundo, estacionado na praça central.

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A vista para a praça no centro das Ruinas. Veja embaixo mais fotos da -vida- nas Copán Ruinas.

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Há um mercado criado aos domingos, onde as pessoas podem comprar e vender produtos locais, e se torna bastante movimentado. É também aqui onde os vendedores ambulantes ficam durante a noite. Uma coisa que você está avisado para não fazer: comer comida de rua. Ela pode deixá-lo doente e você tem que ter muito cuidado em países da América Central. Isso pode ser um pouco de uma atitude imprudente, mas quantas vezes você vai visitar Honduras?

Quantas vezes você vai ter a oportunidade de experimentar esta culinária local incrível. Provavelmente não muitas vezes. Audrey e eu comemos até cair, e foi delicioso. Ficamos doentes depois durante a viagem, mas não acho que foi devido á comida de rua. Viajando por cinco semanas, não há como dizer onde você pegou alguma coisa e ficou doente. Sem arrependimento algum sobre comer a comida de rua!

Copán Ruinas Street Food

Esta foi a minha comida de rua favorita. Eles cozinhavam a carne e o queijo em uma grade ao ar livre, em seguida, colocavam-na dentro de uma tortilla cozida. Então você adicionava os seus ingredientes, como salsa, pico de gallo, cebola, alface e tomate. Muy delicioso!!!

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Eu não sei bem o porquê, mas esta é a minha foto favorita tirada em Honduras. Eu acho que é um exemplo perfeito da vida lá. Ela foi tirada na cidade, e não na periferia, e era um dia quente (como de costume). Ela mostra dois homens a fazer uma pausa e a desfrutar de um momento na sombra, enquanto outro homem gere o seu negócio. Depois, há a senhora que passa dois moto táxis, indo em direção à praça. Eu realmente não posso explicar porque eu gosto tanto, por isso espero que esta imagem ajude a transmitir mais que mil palavras, como se costuma dizer. Isto é Honduras.

Depois de nos despedirmos de Trent e Evelyne, Audrey e eu aproveitamos a nossa última noite nas Honduras apenas perambulando pelas ruas, tentando aproveitar o máximo este momento. Fizemos uma aula de espanhol na escola de Ixbalanque na nossa última manhã e, em seguida, pegamos o ônibus para Guatemala. Infelizmente, todas as minhas fotos do nosso último dia foram deletadas devido a uma terrível viagem de ônibus que foi de El Salvador para a Nicarágua. Mas isso é uma história para outra hora. :)

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Quer ouvir mais histórias sobre viagens? Eles estão aqui, neste livro, esperando para ser compartilhadas com o mundo. Volte para mais histórias a cada terça e sexta-feira! O que se segue: Dizer adeus ás Honduras e escalar um vulcão na Guatemala!

Audrey and I caught a shuttle from Antigua to El Salvador at 8 am. Along with eleven other travelers, we all were eager to go to the beach. Audrey and I weren’t thrilled to be taking a six hour shuttle, but adding another country to our list was exciting. For our Central American trip, Salvador was country number three.

Shuttle to Salvador

The shuttle was actually quite comfortable, plus it made a couple of stops for bathroom and food breaks – two things a chicken bus can’t boast. For 232 Q ($30), the shuttle took us from Antigua through the border and straight to Playa El Tunco.

Bienvenido A El Salvador

We made it to the border without any issues. While the other eleven passengers headed to the Oficinas de Migración El Salvador, Audrey and I snapped a picture of the official “Bienvenido A El Salvador” sign.

Salvadorian Immigration

The two of us proceeded to immigration. There was a huge line, but we both patiently waited to enter the country. This was the first time we were forced to wait; generally we breezed right through immigration. However, I suppose the Salvadorian border is a bit more traveled than the Honduran one.

Migracion El Salvador

Salvadorian Migracion

The immigration official asked what I was doing in Salvador. After responding with a simple, “tourista,” he seemed satisfied and handed my passport back. No fee, no stamp. In horridly broken Spanish, I asked him why there was no stamp. From what I understood, we received no stamp because we were still in the C4. Unfortunate, but fair enough.

Shoe Shine at the Salvadorian Border Crossing

Since we had taken photos, Audrey and I were the last to board the shuttle. Or we should have been. The shuttle driver came back and nodded when he saw us and started to turn on the vehicle to leave. We soon realized the two Australians who were sitting in the very back were not with us. We frantically told the driver, and he impatiently looked at this watch and shook his head. No one knew where they had disappeared to.

After a few minutes, the driver seemed fidgety. In an effort to either calm his nerves or kill time, he decided to have his shoes shined at the border crossing. He returned to the shuttle about the same time one of the Australians came back to make sure we didn’t leave.

Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua are part of the C-4. Once you get a stamp into any of those four countries, you have ninety days to travel throughout all of them freely. In theory that’s how it works, although Honduras is a bit of an odd-ball. Belize is not part of the C-4. Apparently when they took a bus from Belize into Guatemala, they never received an entry-stamp (no one on the bus got a stamp). Therefore, they were entering El Salvador illegally. That’s what the hold-up was for. Half an hour of trying to explain, and they were issued a fine and given a stamp. Unfortunately for them, the fine was $100 each. Fortunately for them (well, kind of), the official had already stamped their passports before the Aussies informed him they only had just over $50 each.

They coughed over the $100 and we were all on our way. Borders can be intimidating. Even so, as long as you have all of your documents, the border crossing fees (where applicable), a basic knowledge of Spanish and you’re calm, they really aren’t that big of a deal. The biggest thing that we discovered was that every single border official will check your passport for your stamp. Every single one. So make sure you have your stamps!

Taxi Between Guatetmalan and Salvadorian Borders

Border crossings are always full of people offering to taxi you from one border to the next. This would be more handy if you arrived on a chicken bus and departed on another chicken bus (they don’t cross borders), but the walk across the border isn’t a great distance. That’s a picture of a “taxi” dodging in and out of trucks to get to the other side of the border and into the next country.

Border Crossing Break

It’s difficult to imagine if you’ve never experienced a border crossing by land, but the vehicle lines are absolutely insane. Buses and cars have first priority and can drive directly to the border. Trucks are not so fortunate. Honduras was even worse, but Salvador was pretty bad, too. Truckers just sit for hours waiting to inch up to the border. They are backed up for miles and miles.

This trucker had such an amazing idea and relaxed in a hammock underneath his truck. Audrey and I were dying to take a picture and a local Salvadorian offered to snap a quick photo. He jumped out of the shuttle and took a picture. From what he said, the trucker wasn’t very happy to be the new object of one of our many photo shoots. This photo is courtesy of Audrey.

La Sombra Hostel in El Tunco

We finally arrived at El Tunco and had the task of finding a hostel. El Tunco is quite small, and we soon stumbled upon La Sombra. It was a cute little hostel only a couple of minutes walk from the beach. Plus it was only $8.50 per person, per night. One nice thing about El Salvador is they use dollars as their currency, so no need for converting. :)

La Samba in El Tunco

El Salvador turned out to be unbearably hot and sticky. To top that off, there is no air conditioning. For the first of many nights, Audrey slept better outside than inside. This hammock became her bed. Side note: El Salvador was also the beginning of enjoying no hot water. From this point on, I did not have a warm shower until I flew to Canada nearly a month later.

El Tunco Sunset

After unloading our bags, we decided to hit the beach. It’s a very beautiful, albeit rocky beach.

Sunset at El Tunco

After a long day of traveling, we finally arrived and were able to enjoy El Tunco. We stayed in this lovely beach town for two nights, and more stories and adventures here will be posted soon!

Audrey and I were finally able to make it out of Copán Ruinas. We boarded the Hedman-Alas bus and headed back to Antigua. We desperately tried to go directly to El Salvador rather than back to Guatemala. Much to our dismay, the shuttle from Copán to San Salvador was “out of service” (if you can call it that). Out of two vehicles, one had blown up two weeks prior and the other was driven by a drunk. At least that’s what our host at Via Via Hostel told us. We opted to go back to Antigua and figure things out from there.

We made it to the border crossing without a hitch. Leaving was much less terrifying than entering. Immigration took our Honduran visa, stamped our passport and we walked across the border to Guatemala.

Welcome to Honduras

I turned around to get a quick picture of the “Bienvenidos A Honduras” sign and continued into Guatemala. One Guatemalan entry-stamp later, I boarded the bus with Audrey and continued to Guatemala City. From there we resumed our journey to Antigua. We met a guy named Jonathan from the Netherlands who was also traveling to Antigua. We quickly made friends with him and decided we’d all try to stay at the same hostel.

It was nearly 9 PM when we arrived back in Antigua. Of course it was pouring down rain. Exhausted and drenched, we hired a taxi to take us to a hostel a friend in Copán Ruinas had recommended. Dubbed the name “A Place to Stay,” it was simply that… a place to stay. Moldy, smelly and Lord knows how many cats were running around that place, we decided to go back to the familiar Holisitco. The owner spoke perfect English and understood everything we were saying; he didn’t take too kindly to us opting to go somewhere else. Rather than let us gather our belongings and put on our jackets, he kindly kicked us out into the rain.

Pacaya Volcano, Guatemala (8)

We flagged down a passing tuk-tuk and went to Holistico. It was quite an experience stuffing the three of us and all of our luggage into the back of a tuk-tuk. Rain kept splashing up the side and our feet were drenched by the time we reached Holistico. It was full. (Later, we discovered it was not full, but the night guard either did not understand our request or he wasn’t allowed to take new reservations after a certain time. Either way, we had to go somewhere else.) We went to two other hostels with no luck.

Finally, we went to Casa Cristina, a hotel that Audrey had stayed at with a friend when she first visited Antigua a few weeks prior. It was just past 10 when we arrived, and the tuk-tuk driver told us that he could not take us anywhere else. Apparently after ten, the government does not allow taxis or tuk-tuks to be on the street. It was this hotel or bust. Cold, hungry, disheartened and exhausted, we rang the doorbell. Thankfully they had two rooms left.

Casa Cristina was absolutely lovely. For $15 per person per night, we had hot water, a room to ourselves and even a television. Honestly though, at that point, we would have paid $50 each for a place to stay… except at “A Place to Stay.” Heh. The three of us then went to a small tienda and bought chips and cookies for dinner (they don’t have an abundance of food options), and called it a night.

The following morning, Jonathan and I booked a tour to Pacaya Volcano. We were the first people the shuttle picked up, and I quickly realized I had forgotten to swap my flip-flops for tennis shoes. Oops. I literally begged the driver to swing back by Casa Cristina so I could grab my tennis shoes. After picking up the rest of the group at their various hotels, he begrudgingly stopped back at our hotel and I ran to get my shoes. It was a good thing, too! Not only is Pacaya an active volcano that has lava hot enough to melt the bottom of your shoes, it is also quite a hike at more than 8,000 feet – not fun in flip-flops!

After the hour and a half shuttle ride to the volcano, we arrived and met our guide. Then the fun began. We started the two mile hike to the top of the volcano.

Pacaya Volcano, Guatemala (1)

Need to use the toilet on the way up? No problem, there is a little outhouse for your convenience.

Pacaya Volcano, Guatemala (11)

The views are beautiful.

Pacaya Volcano, Guatemala (10)

Pacaya Volcano, Guatemala (9)

There are panoramic views of three other volcanoes in the background: Agua, Fuego and Acatenango. I’m not quite sure which one in the background of the photo is.

Pacaya Volcano, Guatemala (2)

Our lovely group at one of the viewing platforms. It may not look like it, but we were all catching our breath! Pacaya is quite a hike. Not to worry, if you get too tired on the way up you can always hire a horse to take you to the top! There are varying stories on horse “taxi” prices, though. Some reviewers claim that horses get cheaper the higher you get; others claim that they charge more because they know hikers are exhausted. Ultimately, none of our group got on a horse (going up or coming back down), but there is zero shame in riding one – that hike will kick your butt!

Pacaya Volcano, Guatemala (3)

Continuing up the volcano, it looked like it was going to rain. Nonetheless, we were undeterred. :)

Pacaya Volcano, Guatemala (7)

A few minutes later, it started to pour. It rained for the remainder of the hike up and down the volcano, but we continued on. This is of Jonathan and I at the top of the volcano.

Pacaya Volcano, Guatemala (4)

It was so hot, the rocks literally burnt the bottom of your shoes. You can see steam and lava once you near the top of the volcano. However, it was pouring by the time we reached the top, so we all huddled inside a small touristy hut located there. At the hut, you can buy souvenirs that raise money for the children whose homes were destroyed in the eruption of 2010. As more groups started to get to the top , the more packed that little hut became. So we decided to forgo the shelter and attempt to roast marshmallows.

Pacaya Volcano, Guatemala (5)

One of the perks of having a guide was having her carry the marshmallows. She passed out sticks and marshmallows and I made an effort to roast. Although I was not very successful, my marshmallow was slightly toasted – extremely impressive since we were in the middle of a torrential downpour.

Pacaya Volcano, Guatemala (6)

We enjoyed our soggy marshmallows and headed back down the volcano. Going down was surprisingly as difficult as coming up. The loose rock was made worse by the rain. With unsteady feet, we tried to make it down the volcano without slipping or hurting ourselves. After victoriously hiking up and not killing ourselves coming back down, we all piled into the shuttle bus and headed back to Antigua.

The following day, Audrey and I bid Jonathan farewell and planned our next journey. We bought tickets to El Tunco, a small seaside village in El Salvador for the subsequent day. Check back Friday to hear all about our journey into El Salvador!

 

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