Before taking the bus onwards and northwards, wanted to go on the internet. Had thought could spend a bit of time there, but after purchasing a bottle of "Salva Vida" (Reto's favourite beer), found out that the Honduran limperas were deceiving little. You may have a wad of notes in your pocket, but they still amount to less than US$3. Great! So, I had just enough money for 15 minutes on the (slow) internet, for the bus journey, for the exit fees... and nothing for a bottle of water. There was no way I would drink the tap water I used to wash my clothes - it ran a slightly brown colour! Oh well, the border wasn't too far away, I should be able to last until then.
Hence was able to catch a bus earlier than the one anticipated. It was pretty empty, and that's probably why two youths decided to entertain me. My Spanish was too limited to make much conversation with them (plus, I didn't want to anyway), so they resorted to the type of language even someone with no Spanish would understand... puckering up their lips and blowing kisses.
This harassment was quite childplay compared to what was lying ahead. After crossing again into my dear Guatemala, found that there was no local connecting bus, as said in my guidebook. Or there was a conspiracy to get everyone into a taxi. The money exchangre, a fat unattractive bloke, decided to follow me and put me in a taxi when he found out that I didn't need any of his quetzals (Guatemalan currency). I didn't need his help, but he was pretty persistent, and wanted to touch me, and wouldn't leave me alone. In the end, had to lock myself away in another taxi, and pulling my reading book out to focus my attention someplace else.
Luckily about half an hour later (the taxi wouldn't leave until it was fuller), there was a group of Hondurans wanting to go into the Guatemalan town of Chiquimula. They were Spanish speakers, and managed to strike a deal with a taxi driver. But there were too many of us (ten, I think). That's not a problem, as the driver managed to pack us all into the little car (Latino-style). I had the great seat between the driver and the passenger seat, which of course meant half my butt was on the gearstick for the half hour journey.
I was very glad to arrive into Chiquimula - to get out of the squashed taxi, and to jump onto the connecting onwards to Rio Dulce. It wasn't a chicken bus, but a more luxurious coach. Sat next to a very nice lady (who seemed out of place in such a local bus). Although we had limited conversation, she was very touched by my offering of sharing some biscuits, and she looked out for me. Her stop was before mine, and she made sure that the conductor would a) give me back my change, and b) to tell me when my stop arrived. As a parting gift, she also pulled out a new crispy fresh note out of her wallet. It was really beautiful, and I couldn't accept it... seeing a 50 written on it. US$6! I couldn't take that! But then she pointed that it's actually 50 cents, i.e. half a quetzal (US$0.06), and that it's out of prints now. So I got her to sign her name on it as a keepsake.
On the way, managed to take some nice pictures of food sellers. In typical Latin fashion, either they came up onto the bus with their trayload of goodies, or they attracted the attention of the passengers through the window instead. Found a very shy ice-cream seller who ran away and hid behind his ice-cream cart when he saw my camera... hehe
Got into Rio Dulce still pretty early, and checked into the Hotel Backpacker, where Emmy and Sara were doing some voluntary work. Ah, how nice it was to see them again! It's a hotel with an orphanage across the river. They were doing bar duty that night, so couldn't chat too much. Had met a French guy in my dormitory who appreciated some company, and we ate dinner together. Living up to French sterotype, he couldn't speak English, and I couldn't speak French nor Spanish - you can imagine we had a jolly good chat. In order to escape, I made an excuse and went to bed early. Emmy and Sara told me afterwards that (their Spanish was pretty good) they couldn't understand him neither.
The next day, didn't do an awful lot... just catching up with stuff. In the late afternoon, I was finally reunited with Reto - who was freshly sweaty after a long long bus journey. Hotel Backpacker - with its multistory open plan dormitories, private rooms facing the lush jungle and floating bar - was the perfect place for him to recuperate his energy! The sounds of the falling rain on the roof, pitter pattering onto the wooden window frame with a film of mesh as a screen was all very therapeutical.