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 tela

6 diciembre
Thanksgiving weekend
in the states, the American schools had a 4 day weekend but it's not a Central American holiday so it's a good time to travel. I met two friends who teach in Honduras for a relaxing few days at Tela, Honduras. I called for a taxi early in the morning since the one I had arranged ahead of time didn't show. TACA Airlines told me to be at the airport 2-1/2 hours early for an international flight - I didn't really expect that to be necessary, but I arrived about 2 hours and 15 minutes early just in case, and waited an hour for the TACA counter to open. Arriving in the city of San Pedro Sula, I was met by Jenn who had bused in from Tegucigalpa. She took a taxi to the airport to ride back with me to Connie's house so the taxi driver would know where the house was, there are no addresses in Honduras.

At the bus station we purchased our tickets then walked around downtown San Pedro Sula, not the most scenic city. Trash littered the streets, several sleeping or drunk men stretched out on the sidewalks covered by newspapers. The lovely church and welcoming park in the town square appeared almost out of place. Beautifully painted frescoes decorated the walls inside the church and rewarded us for the walk.

The Honduran countryside outside the bus window looked more like the Costa Rican landscape than Guatemala - flat rectangular plots of land farmed or containing little houses with yards, delineated with rows of trees. A few banana plantations passed by with blue plastic bags hanging, covering the ripening fruit to protect them. No native dress among the inhabitants, lots of bicycles provided transportation into the small towns where we stopped to drop off passengers. At one stop, vendors came on the bus offering refreshments and calling out "Pepsi, Pepsi, hamburguesas, sandwiches".

The main building at the Telamar resort was a modern wood and glass structure but behind it were many small pastel colored bungalows in rows for several short blocks before the beach. Ours was blue as the sky. We dropped our bags and went to explore the beach - an open expanse with no other buildings nearby. The Telamar beach is clean with light sand and colorful little rocks like jewels here and there along the deep blue Carribean sea. A quiet spot with few visitors our first few days. We walked along the sand passing a long dock where fisherman stood near their propped up bicycles, simple wooden boats in faded colors. As we approached town the beach became dotted with trash. Two small naked boys played in the water, using blocks of styrofoam as rafts.

Friday was an idyllic day at the beach. We spent most of the day horizontal on the sand or drifting in and out of the warm gentle waves. A Garifuna (Black Caribbean) woman selling pan coco (coconut bread) stopped to show her basket of bread and pastries. Connie went back to the room for lempiras (the local currency) while Jenn and I conversed with the bread woman, we had some difficulty understanding her Spanish with its slurred accent. She bakes with her sister and makes the long walk from her village to the beach each day. Jenn pointed to the dark clouds moving in from the north, and the woman insisted with an emphatic shake of the head that it would not rain.

At a restaurant up high on a hill overlooking the town and boat dock, we had a delightful seafood dinner. Wind and a light rain persuaded us to move indoors before the night was over. The rest of the weekend was a torrential downpour relentlessly drenching the coastline. We had scheduled a tour Saturday to the Garifuna village, and hung around at the tour office for a while in the morning, having coffee with other international visitors hoping to tour, until all tours were cancelled. Most of the day was spent over shrimp cocktails and pina coladas at the hotel café - the open latticework walls letting in the wind and the surf sounds. A short walk to the beach - the tumultuous waves were brown and breaking way out beyond the shore, palm trees swaying wildly in the wind, we were soaked.

My flight was cancelled as well that night. TACA put me and other travelers up in an upscale modern hotel, dinner included. I called my principal since I wouldn't be in till late Monday morning, who said "welcome to Central America".

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