Volcano's, Earthquakes and Roatan island - Honduras
May 30, 2014
|First of all congratulations to all Queens Park Rangers supporters on their team winning the play-off final and their return to the English Premier League.
Our last posting was just before Saturday 24th May and we were about to head out for a group meal in Panajachel.
Ten of us ventured forth to a tortilla bar that stuffed their flat bread with a variety of fillings. The cheese and spinach filling was very nice and this was accompanied by a variety of salads and of course beer, spirits or cocktails.
We finished our meal and it was evident that the younger members of the group wanted to dance and so we retreated to the hotel with the knowledge we had a 3 hour coach journey the next day.
While we were tucked up in bed we heard the giggles of some of the group coming back from a night to remember at about 4am.
We all gathered for the coach at 10am and it was evident that some members of the group were still a little drunk. (are we getting old or have we become sensible?)
The coach journey back to Antigua was very quiet and on our arrival we quickly moved into our rooms and either explored the town or caught up on some missed sleep.
Our guide had a prior appointment with a television set to watch his team get soundly beaten in the European cup final.
The group meal in the evening was too much to stomach for most of the group with only 7 of us going out to a local Guatemalan restaurant to try some local dishes. We had stuffed pepper and a spicy chicken stew that were both very good. We finished the evening with a few beers in a German bar. (The Irish with their ability to colonise the planet with bars haven't quite got here yet)
As the bar was very quiet our Guatemalan guide seemed quite willing to share his opinions firstly on the current political situation and recent history of his country which were most enlightening.
On Sunday we got up at 5.30am to join a trip to Pacaya volcano, which had an eruption about 8 weeks ago. We climbed aboard a mini bus, were joined by an American family from Dallas, who were having a long weekend in Guatemala, their Nicaraguan friend and an Indian family.
On our arrival at the road head we were met by our guide and then we were surrounded by men offering us horses to ride up the mountain. We obviously declined their offer as we needed some exercise as we hadn't been up a mountain since New Zealand .The men, their horses and 2 dogs still followed us up the volcano in the hope we would change our minds.
We slowly climbed to the base of the main volcanic cone which was as far as we could safely go. We walked out onto the recent lava flow and our guide showed us that the lava was still very hot. He produced twigs and an enormous bag of marshmallows that we toasted them by finding gaps in the hot rocks. We ate one each and the dogs got the rest. It could have been possible to cook food on the lava if we had taken a frying pan.
We had very good views and were extremely lucky as cloud began to cover the peak as we descended.
We returned to our hotel and at about 5pm while relaxing in our room, we experienced what we thought was a minor earthquake with the building shuddering for a few seconds.
We have been informed by one of the group that what we experienced was a magnitude 5.1 earthquake that was centred off the Guatemalan coast.
Helen has now achieved her rather unusual goal of being in an earthquake during our trip.
In the evening we were joined by the 6 new members of the group. For the continuing journey to Costa Rica we have been joined by an Australian couple and four more women ( 2 Brits and 2 Aussies).
The 6 that have left the group were still at the hotel and so 23 people went out to dinner together which was an interesting experience, especially when the restaurant had 3 similar groups eating there at the same time.
The restaurant seemed to be prepared for large groups with the meal and later settling the bill going incredibly easily, if a little slowly.
We ordered the chicken fajitas and were so hungry by the time our meal arrived we started eating the delicious filling before the tortillas had even made an appearance.
On Monday we had a midday departure from Antigua and headed to the Honduran border passing through Guatemala City. We arrived at the border at about 7pm and it was a relatively easy crossing with just the exchange of currency for border fees slowing us up a little. We managed to keep all our luggage on the bus during the crossing which greatly assisted and then it was a short drive to Copan which was our first stop in Honduras. We went straight out to dinner and a local travel agent joined us in the restaurant to explain what tours were available. The majority of the group booked tours but we decided to do things at our own pace.
On Tuesday we got up a little later and headed into town for breakfast.
Our Spanish isn't particularly good so we have always agreed that when we order we will eat and drink whatever turns up. On this occasion it was omelettes toast coffee and orange juice.
We hung around the hotel and town until mid afternoon when the heat of the day had started to cool down a bit and then took a Tuk Tuk over to the famous Mayan ruins.
We decided as this was our 4th visit to a Mayan site we wouldn't hire a guide and with the help of a map we strolled around the site by ourselves. It was very quiet, with only a few others there. Quiet that is except for the macaws. Beautiful birds but very noisy.
We walked back into town and had an early dinner. We had seen one of the group struggle with an enormous mixed kebab on a metal skewer on Monday evening so we thought we would both try one. We were both defeated but gave a very good account for ourselves. When we get to the USA there's no way we're going to take on any eating challenges.
On Wednesday we had a long day of traveling and headed to the coast to catch a ferry to Roatan island in the Caribbean Sea. The crossing was a little rough and there were lots of people suffering from sea sickness.
When we arrived at the island the transport that had been arranged had just enough seats and all the heavy luggage had to go on a small roof rack on the minibus. This was quite a feat and the stack of rucksacks,suitcases and other bags resembled a game of Jenga when they had finished. (Jenga is a wooden block stacking game)
We got to our hotel in the dark and then went immediately out to dinner.
The resort area we had arrived in was fairly quiet and in the darkness we couldn't get a good look at our surroundings.
We woke on Thursday morning and started to explore the island.
Nigel went diving with Ben, the only single man and the only other diver in the group.
Amongst the aquatic life on the reef they saw two spotted eagle rays which was a first for Nigel. Helen decided to sit in the shade and relaxed as it was so hot.
In the evening the group took advantage of Friday being another travel free day and partied on the island.
Today is Friday 30th May and we have one more day on the island. Tomorrow we have an early start to catch the ferry back to the mainland and then we're going to continue traveling into Honduras for most of the day, heading towards the Nicaraguan border.