When I woke up in Coban, Guatemala, I decided I didn’t want to spend an any more time there. It was more depressing than I like. My room was right off the street, and I haven’t been sleeping much, so I was able to get an early start, about 7:30 A.M. I made a beeline for Honduras, as I wanted to go to Copan. Try to keep this straight – Coban is in Guatemala, Copan is in Honduras. I’ve had a pickle of a time keeping where I’ve been straight. First it was the time zone, then the time, now the city. I’m slowly slipping into oblivion, or blondness. It feels like I’m one 85 year old billionaire away from my own TV show.
These are small countries, the roads are good, and I got an early start. I’m in Honduras around noon. The roads I’ve been on are recently paved, and quite good, but there aren’t a lot of them. Crossing the border was a pleasant experience. I didn’t have anybody hassle me, or try and get a bribe. One little boy wanted to watch my stuff, but he couldn’t tell me that, since he only spoke Spanish, and I, English. I gave him a couple of Guatemalan coins I had, since they weren’t of use to me anymore. He was nice enough, and not pushy – I like to reward that.
I’ve just barely gotten into the city of Copan, and have pulled over reading my map, when this guy jumps out of a truck offering to help me find a place to stay. He’s got a hotel in mind, and I’ve got a different one in my mind. After going back and forth – him doing the hard sale, me saying I’m fine, he eventually says “if you’re going to waste my time, why did you ask for my help?” At least he left. Years ago, I had an Amway guy come onto to me the same way, and get annoyed when I wasn’t interested. Annoying bastards.
Eventually I find a hotel with parking (estacionamiento) without having to say estacionamiento. That’s worth an extra 20 whatever the hell currency they use. The room is cheap and otherwise wonderful – beautiful path leading to the rooms, with plants everywhere, and hot water, enough for a shower and a shave. When I’m at these ruins, I like to get up early to take pictures at least until past checkout time, so I generally stay two days. I do the same here.
Since I got settled in so early, and didn’t have anything to do, I headed to lunch. One thing I REALLY liked about Honduras is you could get meat. Everywhere else I’ve been, when you want meat, it’s either a taco, or carne asada, which is a piece of the cow about 1/16th of an inch beaten as thin as you could go. Honduras, they had grilled meat – bit juicy, meaty chunks of grilled meat. Something you could eat by itself. The restaurant I head to is somewhat full, and next to me are two sisters speaking English. Normally I’m not forward. Ever. But I eventually said my hello and started a conversation with them. They recommend some places to go, and some things to do in Copan. It was a nice conversation – the first I’d had in a while, and I was glad to have it.
One of the things they recommended I do is go to a butterfly garden, which was pretty nice. This garden had a cool display of the life cycle of butterflies, from egg to larva to butterfly. You might not know it, but butterflies are pretty spasmodic creatures. I spent 30 minutes trying to get a picture of these beautiful things, and got but one picture. It changed my view of them.
Later that night, I go to one of the restaurants in my rough guide. I got there early, and I’m the only one there. After a few hours though, the place livens up and the twins sisters come in. One of the sisters asked me to join them, and me, in my always awkward phase, decline. After a little while though, I hear the boyfriend of one of these girls talking to some guy about cell towers, and I invite myself over. Eventually it becomes a party as we end up with something like 10 people at the table. Most of the night I spend talking to a really interesting woman from New York. She’s Indian, born in Guyana (or was it French Guyana), then moved to New York at a young age. She worked for one of the financial firms on Wall Street and acted, and now she just acts. Pretty interesting woman, as actors usually are. I left the get together pretty early, since I wasn’t feeling great, and wanted to be at the ruins when they opened.
The ruins are Copan are pretty nice. However they can’t compare to the grandeur of Palenque. Every site seems to have a different focus, and here it seems to be sculptures. These sculptures are amazing and awe inspiring, but they didn’t speak to me the way other ruins did. However, I was glad to have seen them.
After the ruins, I went to a bird sanctuary, which was recommended by the actress. It was nice to see all these crazy birds, and to see the place had an eye on conservation. The girl showing me around was pretty cool, and she knew here stuff, and my language, so it was kind of fun. One guy that shows the birds off took a picture of me with a Toucan. He lived in L.A. for a while, so we talked about Honduras and Los Angeles and birds. It was fun. I gave the girl a tip after the tour – I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to, especially after she seemed flustered by my offer, but I think she deserved it. Maybe I should have kept my pants on.
After dinner that night I went back to my room and tried to figure out what to do next. I spent some time getting my pictures in order, and some time going through my plans. As luck would have it, two great movies were one. First was Lord Of The Rings – The Two Towers, and The Highlander. These, of course, kept me up until 2 something in the morning. But I got a valuable lesson from Frodo, Sam and Smeagol. The scene where Frodo is going to Mordor via the black gate, Smeagol tells him about another way – a better way. I took that to heart. But, more on that latter.
Here are the pictures. Enjoy