Saturday, 12 November 2011

Meet with friends, break the law and have a few drinks to celebrate!

Well the first three months have been and gone by, flew by so quickly (cannot believe I am already a quarter of the way through my time here, and only 1 month away from being a 1/3rd of the way through!!), and due to it being 3 months already, this meant our Visa was running out, so we needed to do some traveling to get it renewed so we could live in honduras (legally) for another 3 months.
Previously, we had heard so many different rumours about what we had to do, ranging from you have to travel outside of the ‘Central-4’ (guatemala, el salvador, honduras, nicaragua) for at least 3 nights to you can travel into guatemala for just 2 hours and then head back in. We didn’t really know what to do, so we decided we would prepare for the worst. All we knew about this before heading off, was that we had to at least leave the country, and it was going to cost (previous volunteers have had to spend up to about £200)  but it is something we have to do, so we weren’t to worried about that, also we were getting to meet up with one of the other volunteers that we hadn’t seen before, Sarah who lives in a town near to La Ceiba, called Tela.
We got up quite early on the friday morning to catch the ferry, and got on a bus pretty much straight away to meet Sarah in San Pedro Sula, the transport capital of Honduras. We arrived just after 1, after nearly a 4 hour journey looking at all of the mountains passing my window, and also managing to buy a Milkyway Caramel at the stop station (like my 2nd bit of chocolate here, was SO GOOD!!). When we arrived we sat down in the bus station and had a coffee at our favourite place, Espresso Americano (could be better than starbucks ... no I am not joking!) and waited for Sarah to arrive.
When she did, we quickly got on the bus to a town called Puerto Cortes, where we would then change to another bus to a town called Omoa, where we would be spending the night. This journey was great, catching up with each other about how we were all getting on, and how much we are loving life out here!
The night in Omoa was really nice, found a really nice little restaurant which served some great food, even Sarah’s ‘Chicken Fingers’ (only nuggets) were pretty good (or so she says), we then went and sat in one of the many beach bars and had a couple of drinks and chilled out for a while, before a very early start the next morning and lots more travelling!
We caught a very early bus from Omoa to a place called Frontera (the guatemalan border) where we had to walk into the immigration office and explain what we wanted to find out, and explain that we had to get back as quickly as possible as we had exams to do e.t.c, and as being the best spanish speaker among us (well probably not the best, but the most willing to try and make a fool of myself) the task fell to me to interpret what this man was saying. 
Turns out the government over here is pretty underhand!!
Only had to pay this man $50 each to be allowed into guatemala and then back out again within an hour .... or so we thought!
We walked over the border line and saw a run down duty free shop (gutted it wasn’t open, was looking forward to a giant toblerone) and hopped on the bus to the guatemalan immigration office. Here we were met by a man who said we also had to pay him 200 quetzals (about $35) to be allowed back into honduras this same day! I even asked whether this was a flat rate which the law dictates we can pay to which he replied ‘No, just me. The law doesn’t know!)
WHAT .... Yeah, I am now officially an illegal immigrant people! (where is my grande party ... oh wait ... I am supposed to be lying low ... sorry! .. ssh!)
Well we all decided to pay it anyway, as we needed to get back and it would have been cheaper than paying for 3 nights stay and food and drink, however, something good did come of this, we were told there is an immigration on our island, so we don’t need to go all of the way to guatemala next time, however there is still a little doubt because surely 10 years of past volunteers would have found this out already! 
So we decided to have breakfast in Guatemala and spend the rest of our Quetzals and then head back to Sarah’s town to relax and explore Tela.
Tela was great, but we were all absolutely shattered after such a long day of traveling so much and spending hours on rickety buses crowded with people, however we still managed to find the energy to go out with some of Sarah’s american friends and have a good night of fun in a new city! Living the life of the traveller eh??
Well the next morning, I think we found a new meaning to the word tired and exhausted, especially after we had to cycle into town on 3 old bikes, all with flat tyres and one a lot worse than the others! Anyway, we explored Tela a bit with Sarah and had a look around the Sunday Market (didn’t buy anything, all a tad expensive!) and then Ally and I decided to head back to catch the afternoon ferry back to Roatan, and continue our exams with our students after a nights sleep of 12 hours, however Ally woke up and was very ill so didn’t manage to get much teaching done, so all the other teachers, including me (if I had time during my classes) helped out as much as we could. It also turns out that word spread quickly hear in punta gorda, becuase every single teacher we met was asking how he was and offering us soup or some other kind of medication or health advice, even though we had told just our head teacher!
But, all is well that ends well, Ally is feeling great now, all our exams have been finished and there is only ‘recuperaciĆ³n’ left to do.
So, till next time,

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