Bulgarian and Bad as Hell

I was nervous about coming to Honduras.

You go to Honduras, be careful, they say.

People said I had guts to give everything up and travel in the first place. Nah, I’m only afraid of more important things, I’ve still got a few things to prove. I felt I had to go to Tegucigalpa, to prove to myself that I’m not afraid of these places.

There is this thing about getting off the beaten track when travelling, it’s been around, it’s what The Beach is all about. The Gringo Trail exists for a reason, there are things to see, but sometimes you just want to get away from the crowds and feel like you’re really exploring.

Perhaps it’s just that I have more time than other people to try and find somewhere else, where the people stare and watch us, solely because we’re there, but Honduras seems to be the place to do it, for a few weeks at least.

I met this guy the other day. From Bulgaria. He has absolutely re-inspired me. At a time when I was beginning to lose interest and wonder what the hell I was doing. I was lacking motivation, not caring, I needed something, I was thinking about staying put a while and volunteering, but it isn’t the time, not yet. I can’t wait to visit new places again.

He has been travelling for 18 months and has trekked through the Himalayas alone where he went snow-blind for 30 hours, stayed with tribes in Africa where he contracted malaria, and crossed into Panama overland from Colombia. This last one really caught my attention.

It involves crossing the Darién Gap, a sweltering jungle no man’s land of paramilitaries, FARC, drug traffickers, disease, poisonous snakes, insects, killers, violence, that separates Central America from South America. Right now it’s the most dangerous it has ever been as a result of the Colombian government’s war on terror pushing more and more bad guys into it. Everybody advises against it, the immigration authorities won’t even let you attempt it. You lie and say you are going by boat. Not many have done it, most are either kidnapped or disappeared.

It took him and a guide eleven days to cross it on foot and he had to ask the paramilitaries and the drug runners for permission to pass and show ‘respect’.

He said that he probably wouldn’t take the risks that he does if he had a family. I said yes, it does make a difference, I am travelling with a little girl I have to consider, and he asked me if I was travelling with my daughter, and I said, no, a 25 year old man, but he’s a little girl.

The border crossing into Honduras was the smoothest yet and we received a new visa for 89 days (89?) for Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. I don’t know what Nicaragua is doing. There were two girls going the other way. Almost in tears because their guide had told them they would have to pay a dollar to enter Nicaragua and now they had to pay two dollars more and they didn’t have any more money with them, nothing, so I gave them two dollars and that’s when the tears came. They thanked me. A hero.

If you’re told you have to pay a dollar, who actually only takes a dollar? Come on!

It was cool and grey and early in the morning. We got on a chicken bus for twenty minutes, then changed to another, it was only half-full, and Tegucigalpa slowly worked toward us, civilisation, civilisation, smog and murder.

 

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