Sunday, August 24, 2008
One positive note is that we are in the process of painting the swimming pool. It is just sitting there baking in the sun, bright blue and dry, begging to be filled and cooled off. (Or is that me?) Maybe I didn't notice the heat when I could walk outside and jump into the pool to swim, read, write, or just float around with foam noodles. In fact, the pool was so invigorating that lowering my body temperature caused me to forget to drink three liters of water a day. I was so refreshed I ended up dehydrated, and I know better!
We picked a good time to paint the pool. We are in a long dry spell, considering we are in the middle of the rainy (and hurricane) season. It has not rained much since we returned from our trip, a week ago Friday. It is difficult to be sitting here pouring in sweat, with only cold showers to cool off, hoping that it does not rain all week long. Why does pool paint have to dry for a week, anyhow? It sure feels dry.
I feel like I own a boat, having this swimming pool in the back yard. It needs constant love and attention, just like a boat. When it came time to sand and paint the pool, it felt like part of the natural course of things. We didn't complain, we just got out there as soon as the sun was out of direct line of sight and started sweating and sanding, and later sweating and painting. The fact that it is out of commission during the days we would enjoy it most is just one of the sacrifices of having a luxury. I think these days are meant for reflection. Believe me I already appreciate the luxury of having the swimming pool, and I have mentioned it before.
I mostly miss our morning aquatic exercises. By noon, if I have not accomplished things it is certain that nothing will get done until the sun is setting and it cools down. Good thing the Olympics have been on TV, because we have turned into hammock spuds. With three or four fans blasting at you you can just about get comfortably cool in the hammock. It is this time of year that foreigners understand why Yucatecans spend all their time in their hammocks. I can not imagine sitting on a hot sofa; it is challenging at night because the bed is still usually holding in a lot of heat. And so we end up in hammocks again. With three or four fans blasting.
I recently bought a helicopter fan. It is a high powered fan that would literally take off if it were on a stand. It is loud but at least you can breathe. Some of the fans we bought last year have already died. In April when the live wires snapped outside the house and zapped us inside the house, it burned up two surge protectors and two fans. Others have been cheaply made and unsturdy and just had a short floor life. I went out to replace missing fans when the heat wave kicked in, but I was too late. There was one cheap fan at 14 dollars, and the helicopter for 50. I bought them both. The last fans in Mérida. I will learn from this, in November when it cools down and the shipment of fans has finally arrived in the Yucatán, long after the hot season, I will stock up on fans for next summer.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Relaxing in our El Salvador Palapa.
Pablo playing with Garífuna. My camera suffered terminal failure..
Rosalila temple restored in Copán museum.
Sunday morning in La Entrada, Honduras.
We drove to Santa Rosa (or is it Rita) del Copán, about two hours south of La Entrada. Coffee and tobacco are the attractions there. What a pretty colonial mountain town. We found food and money, and by then I had found someplace more interesting and outback for us to seek on the day's adventure. We drove to Gracias, and took a turnoff toward La Calma. Seventeen slow kilometers and four river crossings (no bridges) later we eased into a little village nestled in a valley next to a huge canyon. The guidebook said they had great pottery there. There was a small town square, but no tourists, no market, just calm. We stopped to ask about the pottery. We were in luck. The woman Pablo chose to ask for information was a potter. She was a Lenca woman named Mercedes. She was polishing a piece as we drove up. Besides the usual pottery fare, she made mobiles and sold the parts individually. How fun it was to find the intricately carved beads and miniature pitchers, pots, etc. so I could make my own mobiles. Pablo fell into a Honduran cigar hunt and came back all smiles with 100 hand rolled cigars. The sky rapidly clouded up and we were in for a storm. We took a room in one of two hotels and settled in to watch the excitement of lightning and sideways rain from the patio. Had snacks for dinner and got a good night's rest for the bone shattering journey back to the main paved road. At Gracias, we took another side trip to some hot springs. We were the first of two couples to enjoy the 97°F mineral baths that day. A beautiful neon blue butterfly took a liking to me. We enjoyed a few hours there and decided to head yet farther down the Ruta Lenca toward La Esperanza. We were supposedly going to see these interesting indigena who speak Nahuatl (Aztec?) in the little villages all decked out in traditional gear. But they no longer dress that way except on special occasions. The people in Honduras seem to live on second hand clothing, period. I would like to add some info about the Lenca Indians but at this writing I have not had time to research that. Later.
Mercedes the potter in La Calma, Honduras.
My little blue butterfly at the Hot Springs near Gracias, Honduras.
The rejuvenating mineral pools.
Lots of derrumbes.
The fountain at La Esperanza, Honduras.
Bright and early the next morning I was ready to leave town, hangover and all. We drove south a few hours past Tegucigalpa heading straight for the Pacific Coast. We found an old volcanic island called Isla del Tigre in the Gulf of Fonseca. The town of Amapala used to be a port and now is trying desperately to learn to capitalize on ecotourism. It is a slow process, as there are only three places to stay there and one of them is rather uninhabitable. From points on the island, you can see Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador. It was a beautiful harbor where I could picture tall ships hiding out centuries ago. Two days later we moved on.
Looking at Honduras & El Salvador from Amapala, Isla del Tigre, Honduras.
We crossed the border into El Salvador with no problem. Within a few hours we were heading to some famous surfing beaches. El Zonte and La Misata were our two Pacific destinations. We had been advised a bridge was out on the route we intended to take, and did not heed the warning; we drove on. When we got to the collapsed bridge, some kids said we could surely drive across the river. Luckily we could not see the river before we set out on the adventure, because we would have chickened out. Pablo drove his amphibious vehicle across a wide river, pretty damn deep too, and we made it to the other side. It worked in our favor when we found rather isolated beautiful beaches to hang our hammocks and hang out for a few days watching the giant waves and walking the black sand beaches. El Salvador was surprisingly beautiful. We had no gang problems there because we avoided congested areas. Beaches and mountains only.
Crossing the river at La Libertad, El Salvador.
Campsite at Río Misata and Pacific Ocean.
Black sand, blue water...all to ourselves. Paradise found.
A fireplace! It must get cold at night!
The Mayan church at Chichicastenango, Guatemala.
Hotel room view of Chichi valley and pueblo.
The roads were not all in great repair.
The buses were distractingly colorful.
The cabaña at Palenque.
Howler monkey eats, poops and entertains at campsite.
Pablo happy to be with other tamboristas in Palenque.
Sunset at Isla del Tigre, Honduras.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Mokito pooped out from playing.
Why are you bothering me?
Busmo in action.
What's going on here?
Friday, August 1, 2008
Our campsite at Tikal Ruins with hammocks.
One major temple in Tikal.
Punta Rock Band in Livingston, Guatemala.
Sold the VW. Traded in the Peugeot for a Ford EcoSport vehicle. Headed to the Caribbean coast and camped out south of Majahual on the beach. It was fabulous. From there we drove through Belize to Guatemala. We camped out for two days at Tikal ruins. The cacophony of birds and howler monkeys was overwhelming. The ruins were impressive to put it mildly. We climbed the tallest pyramid (all of them, really) and sat there drawing the scene from on top of the world. From Tikal we drove southeast and parked the car in Puerto Barrios. We took a ferry to Livingston, Guatemala, an interesting little town on the Bay of Amatique in the Gulf of Honduras. It is the home of the Garífuna musicians, the Caribe people, and a lot of beggars. The music was fabulous and the town quaint. We spent two nights there and then headed to Honduras. It took us all day yesterday to clear customs and immigration with the car, but now, if we want to, we can stay here until the end of October. I guess after all the rigamarole they figured they would let us hang out. We are in San Pedro Sula now awaiting clean laundry so we can head to the ruins of Copan. From there we will explore a little of Honduras and then return through the mountains of Guatemala.
Would like to share this.....saw lots of coatimundi, called pisotes. Now I know the difference in zorros and pisotes. Photo enclosed. That is the update for today, it is time to carry on with adventure.