Fantasy World


Fantasy World

We took a bus trip this weekend. The first time I traveled alone here. We left on Friday morning. We got a taxi out to the highway and found a bus going to Teguce – it was a really nice one coming from San Pedro Sula. They had movies playing – some old Spanish detective movie with a little Shirley Temple like girl who is kidnapped and a somewhat clownish detective guy who gets the girl. It was kind of fun. Then they started a Spanish Romeo and Juliette movie. It started out like the actors were preparing for this play, but then seemed to just go into the Romeo and Juliette story – not sure if I missed something there, or if the ending would have brought it back to the actors playing in the play, the tale within a tale thing. However we missed the end of that tale, because of another tail - that of a TACA airlines jet that just extended the too-short runway at Tegucigalpa. Seems there was an airplane blocking some of the bridges and roadways in Teguciglapa and even delaying a couple of taxis by becoming a hood ornament. They turned the movie off and turned on the radio so that everyone could hear what was going on. TACA airlines I am now told, which is run by the Honduran government? Stands for “Take A Chance Airlines”. My original itinerary included the same flight (albeit on another day) that just crashed. Nice. So we sat on the bus in Teguce, waiting in a traffic jam for about 2 hours. Now I was really glad I was on the nice bus, with the air conditioning.

We finally pulled into the station and were greeted by half a dozen “need a taxi’s”? We have found that the drivers work together on this and one will take all the people going to one place. In Comayagua, (it is not like Canada where you get a taxi to yourself) it’s like a mini bus system. Each person pays a set fare to go anywhere in the town – (it just went up to 20L from 15). So you can be driving along and the driver will pick up another fare with you. In Teguce and San Pedro Sula, it is a pay one fare system, but about 80 – 100 Lemps for your party – I’m not sure if it’s any cheaper if you are alone. I have heard you can negotiate if you are going just a few blocks. Anyway, we weren’t going a few blocks, we were going across town. To the Rapiditio bus to Danli.

The lady that first contacted me off the Honduras list is Kathy Rubio, and she lives in Danli. I met here earlier when she was visiting Comayagua and I had planned to go down to visit the clinic she runs.

So we get to the little minibus to Danli and get our tickets and I got the kids on and grabbed some of the worst and most expensive (for Honduras) hot-dogs I have ever had. I must have paid nearly $15 for the three giant saltdogs, a large bag of potato chips and three Gatorades and a few bags of Chili and Lime peanuts. Ciaran refused to eat his hot dog, Aodhan ate about half of his and I ate mine and then threw it up when we got off the bus. It hadn’t gone bad or anything – (there was too much salt in it for that) – and therein may be the answer as to why everything is so salty here – maybe to stop it going bad in the heat with no refrigeration? I think part of the reason I threw up was because they kept on packing people in and before I knew it I was sitting with Ciaran on my lap in a seat with a wheel well – so no foot-room, bouncing along for an hour and a half with Ciaran and I taking turns doing contortionist positions to try to fit in our 2’ cube. Where was Aodhan at this point you ask? Why wasn’t he sharing the seat with his brother? Well, he had high-tailed it to the back of the minivan and was happily ensconced in the corner window seat, which was behind us. I didn’t realize they were going to make us share a seat until the last second when the bus was packed in like sardines and I couldn’t get at Aodhan so that the three of us could sit together in two seats.

So we pull into the muddy streets and parking lots of Danli and Kathy sends her son over to get us. He takes us back to the clinic. It is a renovated house with Kathy’s office bedroom and kitchen in the back. Quite a nice little building by Honduran standards. She took us across to her other building which is a villa across the street. It is two stories and has a large kitchen. And living room and a computer room with a couple of older model PC’s and about half a dozen or so bedrooms that seem to all have been converted to sleep four in dorm style bunk beds. We got a room with a private bathroom. This would be some house if it were a single residence, which I’m sure it was originally. Out back there is a nice yard and a smaller building with several tiny apartments and a little kitchen and the laundry area, and even a couple of showers and bathrooms. These would of course be the residences for the house staff – maids rooms. Many of the houses here would have a similar arrangement.

Kathy drove me around the town, past the market and the main street, ok, seen the town. On the way back we passed a sign on a building in the middle of a dirt street with crumbling dilapidated buildings that said “Fantasy World”. Fantasy World? Whose fantasy was this place? I just had to take that photo. This was right out of Disney World! Visit the dilapidated little Honduran 3rd world town and see old women with no shoes haul heavy bags of cabbage across muddy streets, and little tots with dirty faces dig in the oily, urine soaked mud at the edge of the market while their family works 12 hours at their stall, and men leave their families in droves to seek a better life somewhere else.

We went out to dinner at a place down the street, which had a castle façade – so out of place in this little town, with bubble windows in the tower etc. They have two restaurants in the building, a hamburger & seafood, family restaurant – maybe about the level of a Swiss Chalet, and then a pizza place – that had really good pizza – Aodhan had one! There was a giant playroom with a McDonalds style play structure in it attached to the two restaurants.

The next day, I went to the clinic in the morning and helped in the lab a bit. The lab tech is originally from Quebec. He tells me he came down here in 44? Did I hear right, probably not he’s not 80, after his ol’ lady and him divorced and she hooked up with some guy who thought he owed her more than the house and he got down here and refinished his buddy’s boat, you know but he’s really workin’ on hyperbaric chambers you know, he’s going to be goin’ to Costa Rica to do some as soon as they can come up with the cash, ‘cause he’s the leading expert, pause to wipe his handlebar mouse-stash, and maybe a little unknown fluid from his face. He took a blood sample from a little girl about Ciaran’s age. He says they had some vacutainer tubes, but they were left in someone’s garage and had to be thrown out, and anyway, what a nuisance vacutainers are because of all that special equipment you need to use them and how do you clean them properly anyway… He filled a couple of capillary tubes and puttied the end and popped them in the centrifuge to spin the hematocrit. Ciaran and I watched one of the capillary tubes fly in a graceful arc across the room. I picked it off the floor across the room and handed it back to him and he thought he should put the cover on the centrifuge this time.

Kathy says they have to keep the pharmacy locked. The doctor seems quite nice, and perhaps even somewhat educated and not intoxicated.

That night the boys were not feeling well, so I left them at home and went for another wild ride on the fire and brimstone of
Kathy’s church. Man, you know, churches here, not the catholic ones, those are very old world and probably have a similar service that they had in the 1500’s, (and of course in the same building that they used in the 1500’s – very cool) but the new “Christian churches” are really rockin’ places. They get the sound system out and the giant speakers and the guitars and keyboards, they get young girls up there and the whole place is just shakin’. The girls are up there prancing across the stage with their shimmery clothes and pounding out the lyrics, oh ya, Senõr, Hola Christo, Hola Jesus! Mi Corazon esta pour Dios whatever!!! Man they rock. And they have a talk show host style preacher come up and do a monologue which usually involves pointing out specific people in the audience to talk about. No need for late night TV. after a church session!

That night I went to bed and I wasn’t feeling so hot. By the time I woke up in the morning, I couldn’t get out of bed. Infirma. Whatever Ciaran had, I now have – also explains why a salty hot-dog and a bouncy uncomfortable cramped bus ride made me throw up. By 10 am I was able to drag myself over to the clinic. Kathy gave me some Alka Seltzer Cold and Flu – which got me on my feet long enough to make it back to Teguce and on to the bus to Comayagua. We got back to our apartment and I crawled in bed and stayed there for 3 days, sleeping and drinking Gatorade.

I’m still not over whatever it is, I’m taking self prescribed amoxicillin – luckily you don’t need a silly thing like a prescription to get drugs here – just over the counter like candy – in fact you can buy them from guys on the street corners at the market. Anyway, I’m feeling much better. Hmmm – maybe I should buy some Prozac while I’m here for those days when life gets overwhelming at home – but maybe not, or I’d be popping those things – any of you who know my lifestyle at home would understand that…


Michelle said…
Sorry to hear that you're not feeling well Elaine! Sounds though like you're having quite the experience - and a lot of fun. Greg tells me that you'll be back soon, have a safe trip if I don't type at you before then!