November 6, 2006

Honduran travelogues

Crocodile in Parque Central

I ran across a Honduran travelogue today.

It reminded me of one I saw several months ago when searching for Honduran blogs. The only thing I could remember was that the person said that La Ceiba was a sh*thole, so I googled 'La Ceiba' and 'sh*thole.'

Continuing in my negative vein (sorry folks − I should be getting back to normal soon), I'm going to give you some excerpts from my Google search.

My, my, my, three pages of results. In all fairness, some travelers just happened to have that word on the same page as the words 'La Ceiba' and were actually describing another location as a sh*thole.

Here is the original article that caught my attention long ago. The traveler is from Amsterdam and traveled through much of Central America. Creative title, huh?

La Ceiba? What a sh*thole! Leave now...
Cause I had some things to do: withdrawl money, washing clothes, etc. I decided to stay in La Ceiba for one night. La Ceiba is the portal to the Bay Islands where all the boats and airplanes to the islands leave from. The city is unattractive, stinks and there's simply nothing to do. Bahhh!!!
A young American (I think) woman traveling alone through Mexico and Central America said this:
In order to catch the early morning ferry out here I had to stay the night in La Ceiba, a filthy port town full of hookers and drunks. I was warned by friends to pick a nicer hotel because the cheapies were scary... and I thought I did, but was surprised to find lots of gross old men hanging about with hookers and police. I arrived after dark and didn't think it wise to walk around downtown Ceiba with my backpack looking for another place, so I stayed. After hearing some hookers go at it down the hall .... La Ceiba sucks, Utila is pretty
This is from someone who spent seven months traveling all over South and Central America. I think he is British, since he frequently used words like dodgy and bloody:
So we made it out of Managua and through a very dodgy border crossing and into Honduras to a town called San Pedro Sula. SPS had reputation similar, if not worse, to managua in terms of the safety and security. We had to stay there a night to get the connecting bus to la ceiba from where we would take the ferry across to the roatan. needless to say after the incident the day before we didn't stray very far from the hostel and saw nothing in the town (not that there is actually anything to see there anyway). La ceiba was also a sh*thole of a town, but it had a few surrounding areas that are apparently very nice.
An American speaking of the family she is staying with during a Spanish immersion class in Copan, Honduras, said this:
My family eats together every meal, sitting and chatting for a long time. It's also a good time for the son, Juan .... to make total fun of me. He makes some oh-so-clever plays on words that I of course do not understand and then laughs and acts like I am an idiot for not understanding. I have been on the verge of tears about four times during meals there. Lo siento, no entiendo Juan! Leave me alone!!

Example: Today I told him I made tortillas. So he said, Did you make "insert another Spanish word for tortillas that Sara doesn't understand here." I think, hmmm that doesn't sound like tortillas, so no I didn't make that. Then he laughs and says, tortillas IS "said word." Bwa-hahahaha. I know, it sounds mild, but when you spend the entire day every day speaking a language that is frustrating and your head hurts and all you are doing is trying your hardest to be fluent and open, and then some jackass treats you like a tiny gringa, it's hard.
The same woman after visiting Guatemala, on a trip from Guatemala to Roatan (an island off the Honduran coast) later reported:
Off the boat, we tell another stranger where we are trying to get. He says there is in fact no direct bus to La Ceiba (where we know we need to be to catch a ferry to Roatan). He says we first have to go to this tiny border town, then to Puerto Cortez, then to San Pedro Sula (a total sh*thole that we were hoping to avoid) and then to La Ceiba. Geez.
This from an American motorcyclist traveling throughout North America, Mexico and Central America. He gives a synopsis of each country he visited
Honduras: What a strange country! As soon as you get into the country beyond the ruins at Copan, which are probably my favorites after Chichen Itza, you realize that it's not that the country is under siege, it's just that there's no public police force of any consequence. As a result, every business undertakes private security if they feel they need it. Necessarily it follows that every bank, hotel, restaurant, shoe store, etc., etc., etc. has an armed guard, or 2, or 3, on the premises. Armed with pistols, shotguns, and what appear to be Uzis.

We got hassled by at LEAST 10 people for money as we left the hotel and walked around the center of San Pedro Sula. This is in the MIDDLE OF DOWNTOWN, right by the main government buildings.... But there was a display of poverty on the streets in terms of homeless and beggars I'd not seen since big cities in the US like New York and Houston.

At first it struck me as though the country was about to come crumbling down tomorrow and everyone was just getting ready for it. Especially in light of the popular protests we encountered in opposition to the gas price hikes that had just come down from the government. After a couple of days in Honduras though I realized that that's JUST NORMAL!!! There's no police, so there's private security.

Overall Rating: 7 / 10
Best Place: Mayan Ruins at Copan (best after Chichen Itza)
Worst Place: Take your pick, San Pedro Sula after dark or La Ceiba in the morning
This from a Brit who has apparently been traveling the world since January 2004:
Tegucigalpa, Honduras. What a sh*t hole, the central park surrounded by corrugated metal and a sh*tty market, banged my toe stayed in nice hotel with a really bouncy bed, went to the centre of town by cab (took 10 minutes) the way back took (half an hour cos of gridlock( got ripped off by taxi drivers (also in ceiba) got a nice bus to Nicaragua TEGUS WAS SH*T
There were two others, one in German and one in Dutch, apparently the word sh*thole is not translatable as it was one of the only words in English.

Hmmm, it seems that North Americans aren't the only "Ugly Tourists."

It also seems that Honduras has a lot of work to do if they want to become a tourist destination.

One site had some good pictures of Honduras. Oops. I just noticed the link doesn't take you all the way there. Click the link and then click Honduras on the left hand side. The pictures are slow to load but include some good pictures of the Mayan ruins at Copan.
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