Thursday, June 5, 2014

Oh what a perfect day… or was it?

Lou Reed's song sprang to mind as the day unfolded, unfortunately 'What a perfect day' is meant sarcastic here. It all started good enough. Despite being well into the wet season now we haven't had much rain yet. Packing up went smooth, the local cafe supplied us with a huge cup of hot chocolate and a lovely pastry with pineapple. They even had blazing fast internet… and that's the point where the whole day fell apart. An e-mail arrived about a family matter that started a heated argument which set the tone for the day…

Some things are meant to be private and stay private. So I won't go into detail what the e-mail or the argument was about. I'm only mentioning it as these arguments happen to us as well. Travelling isn't always fun! When people are out of their comfort zone, frustrations can quickly run high and no matter how well you think your relationship may be, travelling for 17 months continuously and living in the confined space of a tent is basically the same as testing your relationship to destruction.

Of course the life we have now is amazing. The things we have seen and experienced will be with us for the rest of our lives too. They have certainly changed us and have also changed our look on life. Yet being together in such an intense way for so long with tiredness creeping in, will cause arguments. Make a trip like ours and you will fall out, so be prepared :-) But I'd still recommend it!

Cat in coffee beans...
Anyway the tone was set… which would have been quite enough for one day by itself, but then we encounterd Honduras driving like we had not seen before… When entering a country, any country, you'll need some time to adapt to the way of driving. When on a motorcycle that means learning to see the dangers before they happen, anticipating and defensive riding.

There is usually a pattern in behaviour to which you can modify your way of defensive riding. What we found today though beggars belief. The only pattern I could find was that there wasn't one and the result was suicidal. If there was anything lacking in Honduras on the road today then it was simple self preservation skills. 

The road itself was perfect and in very good condition. The scenery spectacular too, but imagine sitting on your bike and suddenly seeing 4 vehicles coming towards you, side by side, on a two-lane road… It scared the living daylights out of me. Mike was in front of me and saw it from even closer… To make it even worse, the helmet camera wasn't on… The whole day was one terrifying experience after the other. This wasn't a perfect day, it was worse than northern Baja!

Apparently the mortality rate in Honduras on the roads is horrific, especially the death toll for motorcyclists! On days like this it's not hard to understand why. You would think that any self respecting policeman would suspend at least 85% from driving, until you see the Police themselves

driving the same way! Maybe it's time someone introduced driver training here? 

Another remarkable thing in Honduras, related to motorcycles, is that it's illegal to have two men on one motorcycle… One man and one woman, two women, one man and two women or even one man and four women is all acceptable, but not two men. Why? Well… it's got nothing to do with gay! At least not that I know of and I'm not even going to try to find out if it is or isn't a problem in Honduras to be gay. It has all to do with what happened a few years ago, when there was a problem with ride-by shootings. These were apparently conducted from motorcycles… one riding while the pillion opened fire. The only time you'll see two men on a motorcycle is when the pillion is army or a policeman.

We got a tip from a fellow Australian, who has been in Honduras for a while now, to look for camping options at swimming pools. Great tip as we found a couple of them before the capital city. The first one thought they offered the Hilton and asked L600,- We could have had a bungalow for that money the night before! The second one asked L150 for the same… go figure. The 'perfect day' hadn't ended yet though as they came back later asking for more money…! Just about the last thing we needed as we were all tired from the worst traffic we had experienced for hours and had enough. Quite a bit of haggling resulted in the 'new' fees being reduced from L300 to L200.

We parked the bikes under a palapa, pitched the tents and looked forward to a Coca cola… grabbed the 3 litre bottle I had in my Ventura bag, which turned out to be almost empty… ! 2,5 Litre of Coca Cola sloshed inside the Ventura bag… the bottle had sprung a leak! It's the first time this trip that my Triumph leaked… Coca Cola slowly dripping from my Ventura bag. 'Oh what a perfect day…'