Since events became increasingly more peculiar and fantastic as the day of my voyage to Honduras progressed, I can’t help but give a detailed account in the time domain. If you want the quick sensational version, skip to 3:30PM or 6:30PM.
06:00AM EST – Departed snow-covered Pleasantville NY for the airport.
07:30AM EST – Snuck into the first class security line and felt a tad triumphant until I saw that the line took just as long since everyone in first class ended up being part of a senior citizen travel club carrying lots and lots of meds and with no idea as to what you’re allowed to take on an airplane.
08:30AM EST – Terminal 4 of JFK was packed with Spanish-speaking travelers. My cultural immersion had already commenced.
09:30AM EST – Departed JFK, NY for San Salvador, capital of El Salvador. Since I flew with TACA airlines, everything was spoken and written in Spanish. I soon realized that I looked Latina to the flight crew and had to explain repeatedly, no entiendo (I don’t understand) or no hablo espagnol (I don’t speak Spanish) or just jugo (juice) to make things simple.
01:30PM CST – Volcanoes, tropical forests, and cows were all in sight as we land in San Salvador. The airport is by far the most interesting I have ever explored, abundant with local food and cultural trinkets. Communication was repeatedly a problem, but I managed to get by with hand motions. I nearly missed my plane on account of a dulce de leche candy purchase with way more dulce de leche in the bag than I thought I asked for.
02:30PM CST – Departed San Salvador for San Pedro Sula, Honduras near the Guatemalan border. I realized that choosing the cheapest ticket available with the disincentive of 3 flights in one day was not a bad idea after all – I felt like I was getting a personal tour of Central America by turboprop. We flew at a low altitude over mountainous regions with the occasional small village burrowed in the hillsides.
03:30PM CST – Landed in San Pedro Sula. Our flight to Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras was delayed, so I connected to the free DigiCel Wi-Fi network. A quick search informed me that San Pedro Sula recently replaced Ciudad Juarez, Mexico as THE MOST VIOLENT CITY in the western hemisphere by homicide count. I sat in the corner by the vending machines eating my dulce de leche candy and minding my own business, when I heard a man yell behind me followed by several other shouts. I turned around just in time … to catch the replay of a soccer goal being scored on the TV monitor in the waiting room.
05:30PM CST – We finally left San Pedro Sula for Tegucigalpa. Everyone was hooked on Blackberry’s and simultaneously able to keep up an impressive level of chatter. I couldn’t tell if the passengers all knew each other, or they were just friendly to strangers while traveling.
06:30PM CST – Our plane landed in Tegucigalpa and the more gregarious of the travelers clapped, cheered, and raised their arms as if another soccer goal had been scored. I heard from Jamie later that Tegucigalpa is the third most dangerous airport to fly into because if the plane does not stop within the span of the runway, it will crash into the base of a mountain…?
06:35PM CST – I stepped off the plane, walked through the airport of Tegucigalpa, grabbed my bags, and met Jamie and her friend Lilliana. One person checked my baggage ticket without taking it, and another asked where I came from, to which I replied San Pedro Sula. I was then free to enter Honduras… (will explain the whole story more later, including what’s missing from this situation and why)
6:45PM CST – The Tegucigalpa taxi drivers prefer not to drive out of town in the dark, but we were lucky enough to convince one to take us to Valle de Angeles, a 45-minute ride from the airport. It was a wild ride – no seat belts, no blinkers, no posted speed limits.
7:30PM CST – We arrived in the downtown of Valle de Angeles and carried my luggage on rocky dirt roads for about a mile until we reached Jamie’s home. I could just barely make out the faint outline of mountains in the distance. Dogs barked at us as we hiked by. Unique houses were built out of the hillsides in a scattered layout.
8:30PM CST – We reached Jamie’s quaint home and rested for the night. Below is a picture I took of Jamie’s block the next day.