Honduras Part 3: El Gecko Strikes!

Read Part 1 

Read Part 2

After an exciting two days filled with the crack of dawn military parades and digging trucks out of dirt filled craters, my girlfriend and I decided to take it easy and just hang at her parents’ house. However, even that simple plan came with an unexpected obstacle.

Let me preface this by stating that I’m a New York City boy who hasn’t dealt too much with animals coming in and out of my house so this next story was a shocker for me. I went to bed that night after visiting the mountain and heard something like a bird chirping while I was trying to fall asleep. The sound was super loud and I originally thought it might be from outside. I finally got fed up with the noise and turned the light on. I then saw what I originally thought was a kid’s sticker of a gecko on the wall.

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El Gecko!

When I approached this image I realized and this was actually a real live gecko and he was most likely the source of the chirping. He ran so quickly and hid behind a dresser so I couldn’t catch him to toss him out of the room. He pretty much chirped the entire night and I was scared he was going to bite me. Thankfully these geckos are harmless creatures. (Something I discovered through a mid-night Google search) I eventually got to sleep and started the next day pretty exhausted.

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Horses and Pizza Hut!

Day three consisted of us staying local. We visited the town square in La Lima which was full of people going back and forth between work and school. We also witnessed police carrying large automatic weapons patrolling the area which is something you never really get used to. We eventually made our way to a local food chain known as “Power Chicken” where we had our late lunch/early dinner. It was here where I saw one of the weirdest things ever. In a parking lot full of nice cars and trucks, a man with two horses and a cart pulled up with a load of dirt to drop off. This vision was truly old world meets new world at its finest. On one hand, you have the horses doing their thing like it’s 1875, and on the other, you have Pizza Hut, one of America’s finest food chains across the street. It was mind-blowing!

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The town square in Siguatepeque

After lunch, we went to the airport to rent a car because my girlfriend’s father’s truck had issues with the battery. Later that night, we took the car into San Pedro Sula, a place labeled the deadliest city in the world by many of America’s finest media outlets to eat at a sushi restaurant. I was originally dead set against it. But I later realized that media sensationalizing and the lack of knowing my surroundings were influencing my decision making thanks to lecture from my girlfriend. (Picture coming to New York and thinking that the whole city was like poor areas in the Bronx and Brooklyn). There are some extremely rough areas in San Pedro, however, the city part is the closest Honduras came to looking like America. It was filled with international chain stores and eateries like TGIFs, Office Depot and even Chuckie Cheese. Some of the surrounding areas are no-fly zones controlled by gangs and we were warned by her parents to stay away. But the big city was relatively safe and we had no issues. The sushi was also pretty tasty. My girlfriend’s sister-in-law had the idea to take us to the restaurant. We got home safe and went to bed to prepare for a fun trip the following day.

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Sushitto in San Pedro Sula

We woke up that next morning, packed the car and headed to Lago de Yojoa (translated lake Yojoa). Yojoa is a tourist area where a lot of boating and fish sales are conducted. Along the mountain road that took us there, you could see dozens of fish eateries and markets. Our first destination in this area was a camp named Las Fincas Glorias where we went horseback riding and took pictures by the lake. My horse must have been a little drunk because he walked me straight into a tree during our ride. Of course, my girlfriend ended up with the normal one. After some fun with the horses, we went to the nearby D&D Brewery and Hotel to see if we could book a room for the night and eat lunch. The place was really nice and had a Polynesian feel. The beers were decent but the rooms weren’t set up to host our group. We were directed to a cabin resort next door called Hidden River that had more space and our own bathroom. The place was pretty deserted when we pulled in and was secured by a large gate. I was pretty reluctant to give the place a chance, but when I saw the inside of the cabins which were pretty much brand new, I decided that maybe it wasn’t so bad. It ended up filling up with tourists from El Salvador later that night and even had a pool and an actual “hidden river” in the back area. It was beautiful! Aside from booking a hotel, we also visited a nearby waterfall that was truly breathtaking. Of course we had to travel on loads of dirt roads with a crappy Hyundai Elantra to get to these destinations which wasn’t any fun, but nevertheless, it paid off in the end.

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Lago de Yojoa

The following day we woke up and planned to head to my girlfriend’s mother’s hometown of Siguatepeque. We started out with large baleada at a restaurant called Don Tiki for breakfast and headed to the town which was one of the nicest places that I got to see in the entire country. We hung out in the park for a bit and started driving back. The entire area was celebrating an occasion known as lake week so we ended up witnessing some of the festivities. We stopped at a large flea market where I picked up tons of souvenirs for my family back home. There were also a bunch of kids hanging out singing Justin Bieber karaoke which my girlfriend really got a kick out of.

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The hidden river at Hidder River.

After all of this traveling, we were all understandably tired and began heading home. Once we got back to La Lima, my girlfriend and her dad stopped at some woman’s house to buy special bagged fruit infused ice cream. (Yeah people hustle ice cream out of their front yards in Honduras.) It was a nice snack to munch on while we hung out at the house for the rest of the day. I also picked up a breadfruit on the way there which my girlfriend’s mother fried up for us to eat.

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Cop packing serious heat at the pork store.

This part of the trip was a bit more relaxing than the first day. However, a report on the news about a gang member caught in our town had scared the wits out of me. The news in Honduras is pretty graphic and ironically religious in Honduras. They’ll show you a dead body and cap the segment off by saying “God Bless You.” It’s truly something else!

So aside from visiting my girlfriend’s parents, we also had booked two rooms at Henry Morgan Resort in Roatan, a small Honduran island known for its tropical beaches. We were super excited to take her parents and 5-year-old nephew there for his first vacation. But before that, we visited a beach town called Tela in the northern part of Honduras which I’ll talk about more in the final chapter of my Honduras adventure.

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