Getting to Honduras
I am writing today on an oldschool 56k modem from a country I had barely heard from before. This all started when me and a few friends from university decided it would be a good idea to enroll on a volunteering trip to a third world country. We would enroll, invest a few thousand dollars in the trip and for preparations, and that would be it! The idea was to take part of a building project just outside La Esperanza; it would look great on our resumes, and would serve us well for our medicine interviews later on. We were eager to be a part of a humanitarian effort, and the excitement did nothing but grow as the date of departure approached.
I had all my preparations taken care of and was to drive down to Halifax on the third of may, whereupon we would embark for New-York, Miami and Tegucigalpa the next day. The day of my departure from home was not without any surprises, however! As we were boarding the plane at Halifax at 1:15 PM, I had planned on departing at 9:00 in the morning. Plans changed quite fast when in the midst of my sleep I received a call from one of my friends who was coming over to pick me up within minutes.
We arrived in Halifax very early, with our parents and dearest friends. The flight to New-York was relatively uneventful, but there we found a plethora of shopping corners in the airport. I have probably had less than five hours of sleep in the last two days, hanging around in JFK or Miami International. We stayed a few hours in JFK, but we had a full 13 hours of wait in Miami. Our sleep was all to frequently interrupted by the automatic announcements they had in Miami.
Me and another of my friends, baffled by the carelessness of US security agents compared to their Canadian peers, and motivated by a sort of mischief spirit, exchanged passports to see if we would be intercepted at the gates. As the airport incessantly cautioned over showing proper identification papers when crossing the gates, we were surpised to see that the security agents saw no difference between our curly and straight hair. It did not leave the strong impression of security that we were led to believe from the US.
We found, very unfortunately, that most of the people at the US airports were rather reluctant to talk, or outright impolite. However, when we boarded the airplane from Miami to Tegucigalpa, we found out that we were going to stay with a nice people. We were immediately surrounded by Spanish advertising and newsletters, the air flight attendants seemed to talk Spanish better than they did English, and we were there, practicing short sentences in our seats. I will finally get the immersion I was looking for to master a third language… hopefully I will have time enough in four weeks of stay here.
Getting down just outside of Tegucigalpa was not without its difficulties, and we had quite an interesting experience there. Although there are currently to the best of my knowledge no officially reported cases of the Swine Flu here, we were greeted by a number of employees with masks urgently pressing us to sign some papers alledging we were free of the symptoms of the virus. There was a long lineup to get through the gates and the quick checkup that extended beyond the lower floor lobby and, quite problematically, into the escalators. Quite amusingly, people were piling up at the bottom of the escalator with all their luggage!
There we met with a nice lady from Argentina with whom we talked about Honduras and our own beloved country. She proved to be extremely useful (and nice!) later on when we tried to get through the gates. As we slept through part of the flight, me and another of my friends were missing some papers which the distributed in the airplane duraing the trip. We were trying to get our hands on a copy of those papers, to no avail. They were not letting us cross the gates, and we were going to be stuck somewhere between Honduras territory and international territory! Kinda reminded me of the movie The Terminal…
We were afraid we would not be able to cross the gates, as the agents there were not being very helpful to us, when this lady we met earlier came back and told us “you are my nephews now, quiet and follow me! Hide what papers you have beside your passport!”. She spoke to a few security officers, which in turn led us inside the gates. We went through without much trouble, and I daresay we might have had some if not for her.
We met with Nicholas (sp?) at the Terminal, who led us around Tegucigalpa and around the city. Let’s just say the people here do not drive like we do in Canada! We ended up rolling on a huge nail and getting a flat, so we had to drive slowly in order to preserve what air we had in the tires. We filled them up at a gas station on the way, and finally reached a roadside mechanic. That did the job for us!
We are currently staying at a 16$ a night hotel, which is surprisingly nice, with a large pool in an indoor court. I ate a typical dish from this region, and I would venture to say that it was the greatest piece of food I have had in days, if not weeks. It looks like my allergy problems will not be of much consequence here, but hey- who know what the future holds!
This is the most beautiful place I have ever seen, and I would glady share some pictures here, but I fear the internet connection is rather slow, and I had to try for thirty minutes just to get my WordPress blog to load at all.
I will keep posting as frequently as possible, but now time flies by too fast and I need to try out the shower.