Before you delve in READ PART 1
After enduring a military parade at 4 a.m. that I described at the end of the first part, it was time to head to my girlfriend’s father’s mountain property up in the Santa Barbara Department of Honduras.
The drive there was at least 2 hours long, but what I saw on it was mind blowing. The highways were full of people walking to work and school. Students were in uniform and all the older men were wielding huge machetes that looked like something out of a horror film. Honduras is rich with natural resources and many families resort to chopping down fruit and selling it on the road so a machete is quite useful there. Aside from that, I also saw a ton tricked out yellow school buses that were being used as public transportation. Motorcycles and the beds of pickup trucks are also used frequently to get to places by Hondurans. And don’t be surprised if you see a cow next to a motorbike as livestock is everywhere there.
During the ride, we passed a soccer stadium, factories and lots of Pizza Huts (seems to be a Honduran favorite). After finally getting out of the city, we were able to take in amazing views of the tropical mountains. Being from New York, I never really thought about mountains that weren’t filled with snow which made this place catch me completely off guard. After driving for some time we stopped at a gas station/restaurant for some baleadas (a traditional Honduran breakfast food that consists of a fresh tortilla, mashed beans and Honduran sour cream). The store looked like a typical pit stop you’d see in New York. It also had some cool items there that you can’t get in the States including flavored plantain chips and locally farmed coffee.
After we finished eating we headed to the bottom of the mountain town in Santa Barbara. My girlfriend’s dad shifted his truck into first gear at the very tip of the town and drove up miles of dirt road to get to his property. The town was filled with people farming a local pepper crop that is normally used for perfume. The mountain area had lots of farms where people grew tropical goods including bananas, oranges and raised chickens. Men wielding machetes also filled up the dirt roads. Some were even chopping away at trees for the prized pepper crop.
Her dad drove up one final steep hill and put the car in park with the emergency brake on. We placed two boulders behind the back wheels, said a prayer, and trekked up to the property. A family that takes care of the property greeted us and offered us some water as soon as we arrived. It was a hot and humid day and the weather would later prove to be one of our biggest obstacles.
My girlfriend’s father and the caretaker husband followed the greeting with a tour. The lush land was packed with loads of natural goodies including orange trees, lime trees, coffee plants, banana trees and a root crop that tasted like fennel. This is where the real fun began. My girlfriend’s mother picked up a fruit off the floor that had the texture of sweet potato but tasted like a mango. We all tore into one and had ourselves a nice snack. After touring most of the property we headed back up to the house to get some water. This is where things went left.
A farmer transporting crops to Guatemala (shout out Swae Lee) needed my girlfriend’s dad to move his truck so that he could pass. Now keep in mind his truck was parked on a steep hill that consisted of mud and loose dirt. We already had trouble making it to the top and we knew him moving the truck could be problematic. I was relaxing in a chair trying to cool off when our worst fears came true. He ended up moving the truck too far onto the side of the road and got stuck in a ditch. Now, I know what your thinking. Just call a tow truck and get him out. But Hondurans are tough people who don’t have a lot of money. And who knows if that small town even had that option. The surrounding neighbors first reaction was to push out the truck by hand. This wasn’t quite on my bucket list of things I wanted to do when I got down there, and since everyone spoke Spanish, it wasn’t easy to communicate with the men I was trying to assist with getting the truck out.
The caretaker brought some rope, a shovel and a pick down from the house and we started digging around the tires. Than the man who asked my girlfriend’s dad to move tied the rope to his bumper and tried to pull him out using his truck. He made a bit of progress, but it wasn’t enough and the rope snapped. As we were slaving away in the hot sun, more and more people passed by and started to help. Men and women both. More ropes were brought and we ended up tying them around a tree and forming a huge team of pullers. Others focused on digging around the tires of her dad’s truck to lower the ditch and give the tires some traction. Her dad backed up and went forward a few times which also got the truck a bit loose. One man told us to pull the rope slightly to the left to get the car out. This large group of men, women, children, chickens and dogs made a valiant effort. After about an hour and a half of digging and failed attempts, we got it out of the hole by pulling the rope which was fastened around a tree and pushing. There had to be at least 15 people working on it. We got the car out and were ready to leave the property immediately after. The experience was hot, tiring, and frustrating. However, it was beautiful to see all of these people come together to help him and I honestly never had so much fun pulling a car out of a ditch.
We immediately needed to cool off so we headed to a natural spring where we could go for a swim. The location was on the side of the road and had some tourists who were also looking for leisure. The place had both cold and hot pools. I stayed my butt in the cold one. After a well deserved dip, we headed back to the same restaurant we originally stopped at for a late lunch/dinner and then went back to La Lima for some chill time. Thankfully we took it easy the rest of the day. But my slumber would once again be haunted by an evil creature who I will talk about more in part 3. Stay tuned to Rant or Reason for more of my travel saga.