< Guatemala | Nicaragua >



It is very hard for me to characterize Honduras. I’ve met so many wonderful people here who’ve treated me very well, but I’ve experienced and seen the most terrifying things of my entire trip here as well. Maybe I am still too near to everything to see Honduras clearly, but I don’t think that time will be able to bring together my two very opposite impressions into one unified whole.

On the good side: Whenever I tell people of my journey, they seem to go out of their way to aid me in whatever way they can. I’ve experienced this before, but never to the extent where it seems like a national trait. And when I’ve experienced problems, people have given me whatever they could to comfort and help me.

And on the bad side: While riding south of San Pedro Sula, I came across a man lying dead in the road, having been struck by a vehicle while riding his bicycle along the shoulder of the road. The vehicle was nowhere in evidence. After seeing that I felt a chill sweep over my body, the sky seemed to dim and I lost strength in my legs. I still continued on, of course, because what else could I do? But now I had an unseeing and unmoving face to put to all the stories people have told me about the roads being dangerous. And I felt lucky.

I eventually ended the day at a place called Honduyate Marina on Lago de Yojoa. I was able to camp for free (all are), and the proprietor and other guests showed me wonderful hospitality. The next day, recognizing both the need for rest and the beauty of the location, I decided to take the day off. I spent it relaxing in a hammock, swimming in the lake, and variously enjoying the simple pleasures to be had.

Taking off early the next day to beat the tropical heat, the ride started as usual. And then, for no reason I could discern, a car swerved out of the lane and on to the shoulder to sideswipe me. Thank god I was ok, but if it had come just a half a foot further into the shoulder first I would surely be dead. As it was, my bags on the left side of my bicycle were torn off by the car, and I didn’t even fall over.

But stopping to go back and retrieve my bags, I found my legs shaking and my mind unable to stay with any single thought. Eventually I continued on, taking my experience as a sort of cosmic lesson that the dead man was a display of the possibility of death, and my personal encounter was a very strong suggestion that I too might suffer his fate.

I knew the risks before starting my trip, and these experiences have done nothing to cause me to doubt the rightness of my choice to undertake it, nor to doubt whether or not I should continue.

Later on down the road, I met a group of US army men near their base in Comayagua. The base is a hold-over from the political unrest of the 1980s, and the particular soldiers I met were there to build schools and add infrastructure. And continuing the kindness I first experienced from soldiers when I was camped at the arctic circle, they gave me a couple MREs (meals, ready to eat) to carry on my way. I ate both of them for dinner that night and found them delicious. I later remarked to them that I should join the army because my chances of death were lower and the food was better. We all laughed and wondered if that were true.

I am now in Choluteca preparing to cross the border into Nicaragua (finding out the lempira-cordoba exchange rate, stocking up on food and water, obsessively consulting my maps, etc.).

< Guatemala | Nicaragua >