Tuesday, May 4, 2010

3 countries in 48 hours

Traveling full-time definitely changes your perspectives. If the opportunity to go somewhere for a weekend included an hour long flight, 9 hours in a city, a 5 hour bus ride that left at 5am, 19 hours in a another city, a 4 hour van ride that left a 5:45am and then 6 hours in an airport before another hour flight back- you probably wouldn’t be too interested. I know a year and a half ago I sure wouldn’t have been.

Of course now our thinking has changed- if this is what it takes to go see some Mayan ruins in Honduras- we’re in!

So, that’s what we did.

We got to Guatemala City on Friday evening and grabbed some food in the lounge before heading out. We had been debating whether we should just go out all night before our break-of-dawn bus departure time or just have a couple of drinks and try to get a few hours of sleep. I’m sure it isn’t hard to guess what we chose.

GC is supposed to be a pretty rough capital city. The country is very poor and the city is apparently overrun with aggressive young drug addicts who will rob you blind to get their next fix. As with most cities though, this depends on the area. I can’t remember the zone we stayed in, but I’m fairly certain it is the nicest they have so we enjoyed being able to walk the tree-lined streets dotted with cute boutiques, restaurants and bars. It actually reminded us a lot of an area of Buenos Aires we used to frequent.

We got back to our hotel in time for a quick shower before having to head to the bus station. We had sprung for the executive bus line which had seats that reclined almost fully. We were able to catch a few winks on the 5 hour ride to the Honduras border. We surely would have been able to catch more had the guy sitting across from us not only felt the need to listen to his music at full blast, but to also sing along to it. He also really loved rattling plastic bags and seemed to do so each time I had drifted off.

After going through the motions at the Honduras border we quickly reached Copán and took a quick tuk-tuk ride to our sweet little hotel. Copán is a pretty little Spanish Colonial city with restored buildings and narrow cobble-stone streets surrounded by picturesque mountains. Our hotel hooked us up with our guide, Juan Carlos, and we were off to check out the incredible Mayan ruins.

Copán was home to a Mayan city considered to be the cultural and intellectual center of the civilization. Thanks to archeologists we were able to see their homes, their temples, their graves, their stadium, and tons of original sculptures…

It was all very impressive and interesting, but by the time we had finished with the ruins and hit the museum we were all pretty wiped out.

We had a late lunch, did a little shopping and then headed back to the hotel for showers and some down time. We even managed to drag our tired bones out for dinner later that night before finally getting into an actual bed…the first time since Thursday evening.

Thanks to my incredibly annoying crackberry, our alarm didn’t go off so at 5:40am Jules and I had exactly 5 minutes to get dressed and into the van for our ride back to Guatemala City. Thanks to the bus times we were unable to take the same bus back and had no choice but to hitch the earliest ride back on the shuttle to make our flight time.

The ride back was pretty miserable for me. Uncomfortable and cramped I couldn’t for the life of me find a position in which to nod off. This meant I had to take a Dramamine to avoid getting motion-sick which in turn meant I was drugged and wanted nothing else but to shut my eyes. It was a vicious cycle and I was more than thrilled that our driver got us to the airport in just over 4 hours. We had a long wait at the airport, but I was happy as a clam just to be out of the van.

We got back to San Jose early that evening and I have to say it felt incredible to get into the bed at a decent hour and know that we didn’t have to get up before the sun to get into a vehicle.

Although our weekend was tiring it was totally worth it to see Copán’s ruins- truly magnificent. We found Honduras to be really lovely and have definitely added it to the list of places we hope to get back to one day to explore more.

No comments: