Is it possible that I have missed an entire country? I noticed that our last blog post was from Guatemala. Currently, we are in Nicaragua. In between those two countries though, we spent three weeks and two major holidays in Honduras. How time flies.
Honduras was pleasantly surprising for us. Negative reports abound about Honduras, the people, the police, the food, the border officials. We, however, had wonderful experiences in Honduras. We started by crossing from Guatemala into Honduras at Copan, which is considered the "Paris" of the Mayan cities due to all of the intricate and artistic carvings. We spent an entire day at the ruins in absolute awe of this ancient city. I highly recommend it.
The ruins of Copan.
Beautiful scarlet macaws that are all over the ruins site.
The all-powerful jaguar that is depicted at all Mayan sites.
Mark studiously reading the guidebook behind a stelae honoring King Rabbit 18.
From Copan we rode north to meet the rest of the Burrito Rollers on Roatan Island for Christmas. For those who don't know, the Burrito Rollers is the name our motorcycle gang was given by a friend who rode with us through Guatemala. The gang consists of myself and Mark, Michael and Alex from Alaska, and Evan from Canada. Along with some other travelers and friends, we rented a house for the whole week of Christmas. Roatan is a dream island for scuba divers. Mark and I don't dive, but we spent plenty of time cooking, relaxing, reading, and hammock swinging. Also, we were offered jobs at an American school on the island (which we turned down), but it was nice to know that we are still employable--if only on a laid-back Caribbean island.
Homemade wrapping paper for the white elephant gift exchange.
The entire Christmas crew at Hole in the Wall restaurant on Roatan Island.
Lago Yajoa piqued our interest as a perfect place to spend New Years since there is a micro-brewery nearby owned and operated by a true Oregonian. That's right, real Oregon micro brews in Honduras for New Years Eve. Okay, so the beer was a little flat, and the flavor a little off, it was still a nice change from the local brews.
Happy New Year 2011 from D & D Brewery, Honduras.
Leaf boat races in the river.
After Lago Yajoa, we crossed into our fourth, and for Mark and I, our final country--Nicaragua. Again, the border process was ridiculously smooth, even with six people and five motos. We went straight to Leon where we spent the next three days with the boys.
Police check point to make sure we had the required insurance for Nicaragua.
Leon is famous for its volcanoes, you can see at least six of them on a clear day from the city. There are loads of activities that enterprising companies offer on the volcanoes: hiking, camping, boarding, and sledding. Yep, sledding down a volcano. It sounds a little crazy, no? I thought so, but I let myself be talked into going. While most of the "tour group" rode in the back of an oversized truck, Mike, Evan and Mark received permission to follow the truck on their bikes. (Any chance to ride a dirt road for these boys, and they start salivating). At the base of Cerro Negro we were given our protective suits and our sleds and told to "start hiking." It was a 45 minute walk to the top, where the sled track started. There were 12 people in the group--5 of them wrecked on the way down. Ugly, rolling, tomahawking wrecks. We asked our guide if its normal for people to wipe out on the way down. He said "yes, but today is particularly bad." Our group of five must be comfortable maneuvering at high speeds, or we had a guardian angel because not one of us wrecked on the fine black gravel of Cerro Negro.
Mark, Evan, and Mike following the truck in a cloud of dust.
Mike, Evan, and Mark in their "protective" suits and goggles.
Evan sledding down the volcano.
The Burrito Rollers summit Cerro Negro.
Now we are in Granada, the colonial city which gave birth to tourism in Nicaragua. It's a little sad to think about turning around in a week. But we've been on the road for seven months, and covered more than 10,000 miles. Home is starting to call us.