No Touchy!

After our “Highway of Death” two-day bus trip we were happy to get back on our bikes for a bit. On Tuesday we set off from Guaimaca heading west. The scenery was quite pretty and Mike said that it reminded him of Montana. We were in the mountains winding along roads lined with pine trees. It was slightly overcast which meant that we weren’t dripping sweat as usual. It made for a pleasant morning ride, and we reached a town called Talanga about midday.

A wall guarding a bunch of pine trees. We’ve seen several really fancy, elaborate walls seemingly in the middle of nowhere, guarding nothing much. Mike thinks that the owners spend so much on the walls they don’t have enough left over for the house.

Mike was having problems with his tire (it had a small gash in it and would not hold air for long), so we patched the tube again and busted out one of the brand new tires to boot. The locals got a kick out of us and even helped out by contributing a heavy-duty patch for the tube — gratis (free)! It was still early in the afternoon and I was feeling good, so I convinced Mike that we should press on.

The second half of the day led us down a dirt road which was also quite pretty. I can’t get over the weird mix of vegetation in Honduras, though. You can look across a field and see pine trees growing next to corn, growing next to banana trees, growing next to sugar cane. It’s a strange assortment. And all of this next to a quaint mud house accented by the colorful laundry drying in the sun. The whole scene is complete once you see the donkeys and chickens and dogs and children running everywhere. Mike really liked photographing the mud houses. With the gravel roads and the great photo ops, we barely made it into Villa de San Francisco before dark, but once there we found a pretty decent hotel for the night.

One of those cute mud houses.

One with laundry.

A cowboy on a donkey.

Some nice scenery.

Silly kids! Put those bellies away!

We heard about a couple bikers who were chased down and sprayed by a crop duster. Gross!

Yesterday we biked over some good-sized hills to get to Danli — our last stop before heading to Nicaragua. Again, the scenery was pretty cool, but by the end of the day we were ready for the hills to end. We decided to stay in Danli an extra day so that we could restock some of our waning supplies and so that I could get caught up with my teaching duties. Tomorrow we cross yet another border, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Nicaragua has in store for us. As of now we don’t have a guide book at all, but I’m sure we’ll figure it out. At least we have a map!

The lifesaver beer! A popular choice in Honduras, and the sponsor of this soccer field.

I thought I’d add a few more items to our list of irksome things. It helps me vent my frustrations. So, here goes:

4) Non-fitted bed sheets. It’s rare that you will find a bed with fitted sheets in any of the hotels we visit. This wouldn’t be a problem if Mike weren’t such a restless sleeper. Inevitably the sheets get bunched up, often revealing a pretty natty-looking mattress.

5) Litter bugs. Pretty much all of the countries we have visited have a trash problem. There just aren’t proper dumps for all of the garbage produced, and what’s more, the locals plain don’t give a shit. Growing up with the “give a hoot, don´t pollute” slogan (among others), this seems an unpardonable offense. The roads are lined with garbage thrown from vehicles, and the towns aren’t much better. Good luck finding a public garbage can. What’s worst of all, perhaps, is the fact that the locals laugh at us when we tuck a recently finished bottle of pop or a candy wrapper into our bags to carry with us until we can find a trash can. They always shake their heads and tell us to just throw it where we stand. Gross.

6) Remote controls and caged TVs. I guess people who visit Central American hotels like to run off with the technology. More often than not, when we have a hotel room with a TV, it is locked in place or sometimes even caged up like a dangerous animal. The bars in front of the screen can make it difficult to see what’s going on. Also, the hotels always keep the remotes with the keys and hand them to you when you pay for a room. I imagine they do this so that the remotes don’t grow legs and escape along with the TVs. Problem is, they almost never give you a remote that goes with the TV in that room. It’s usually a different brand and won’t work at all. *Sigh*

7) Unauthorized spankings. I’ve grown accustomed to the kissy faces that I get when biking down the road, but I was livid when someone had the gall to spank me the other day. I’m biking along, minding my own business, when a guy on a motorcycle gives me a good smack on the ass. First of all, my balance isn’t that great and I could have fallen off, and second of all, excuse me! No touchy! Mike offered to beat him up, but he was long gone on his fancy motorized vehicle.

8) Painted propaganda. Politicians, religious groups, and business all use the natural beauty of their country to further their own purposes. Trees and rocks often fall victim to painted-on slogans. A good way to ruin a nice view.

One rock wall covered with propaganda.

Now for some of our favorite things:

1) Plantains con crema. A plantain is a small banana-like fruit, for those of you who didn’t know. They’re especially yummy when fried up and served con crema (with a yogurt-like cream).

2) Bolsas de agua. We go through a lot of water when we’re biking in this weather, and unlike RAGBRAI there aren’t convenient fill stations. We can’t just find a drinking fountain or fill up in our hotels, since the water is definitely not safe for drinking. Luckily, we’ve discovered the joys of buying water by the bolsa. Bolsa is the Spanish word for purse, though these packages more closely resemble a ziplock baggie without the ziplock. The bolsa is just a plastic pouch of water. What’s great about it is that it is very cheap (about $.10 for a half-liter), it produces less waste than a bottle, and it fits anywhere in our bags. Plus it can easily be used to cool off.

I have many more favorites, but I’m getting tired of typing, so I’ll save them for later…

One last thing: The answer to the latest poll is actually 165 feet — not that I expected anyone to know that. It took me long enough to figure it out and I have all the necessary charts. I’ll try to come up with a more entertaining poll for next time.

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