Wednesday, October 19, 2011

La Lancha Llena

It has been weeks ago now, but I was just sharing the story with part of the surgical team earlier today. I'd been talking to Eulogio about wanting to hike and go out on the lake and all that fun stuff, and one day a few weeks ago he called Maryann to get the ball rolling. It was an off and on rainy day, so we were on the fence about what we should do. A blue sky started peeking around as we walked towards the bus stop, so we opted for a lancha (paddle boat) en Los Naranjos. Our timing was almost perfect as we had to run to catch our bus, and as we neared they flung the back of the bus (it's a school bus turned town-town bus) open and we hopped in. I had no sooner grabbed hold of the bars overhead when we took off again, and we spent a good bit of the ride laughing and catching our breath. We saw a kind-faced viejo wearing a hat proclaiming him a "High Maintenance Cowgirl" and mean Eulogio refused to exchange hats with him! It was really hard not to laugh when Irene pointed it out to me, and I just wanted to high-five the dude for pulling it off. OK, I did laugh, and pretty hard, but not at the gentleman, just at the humor of his situation. We've sort of made this game of guessing who knows the meaning behind the English writing on their apparel.

While on the bus a guy seemed stoked we spoke English and asked if he was on the correct bus to head to the brewery. Not only was he on the correct bus, but that happened to be our stop so we offered to walk him to his destination. He was a German in town for a two-week internship on the coast, and decided to spend some time backpacking once his work was complete. Maryann chatted it up with him on the walk; to be honest he seemed a little overwhelmed by all of us, but he added a little extra excitement to our afternoon. D&D is in some backpacking guide books, so the new owner is doing a really good job of building up the business. The whole boat obtainment felt like a rather odd process. We left the German at the brewery and as we headed down the road a big, pretty dog started following us. We picked him up at the brewery, and he had  a nice collar so we knew someone would miss him. Maryann (of course) wanted to keep him, and named him something silly. He followed us all the way down to the boats, and there was some pleading to let him go out on the lake with us. He hung around so long I was a little surprised he wasn't waiting on the bank when we got back.

So from the brewery we wandered through the neighborhood--I'll correct that, Eulogio and Douglas were discussing the route, but the rest of us were just trotting along behind them--took a couple turns and arrived at a normal-looking house. Logk handed a gentleman some money through the fence, and in exchange we received a pair of oars. We walked down their hill, turned onto another street in the neighborhood, hopped a ditch, walked across a big field, hopped across a bigger ditch, walked along the main road which included crossing a cool bridge, took a turn I'm still not sure how they knew to take (years of living here, of course!) walked down a crazy hill and wound up at the lake, with our choice of lots of blue and red painted wooden boats. We got out onto the lake (I keep wanting to call it a river) and I was instantly blown away at the beauty of it all. Of course not knowing how the afternoon would transpire none of us had our cameras, but that's just a wonderful excuse to get back out there. Eulogio paddled 98% of the time, but he let each of us take turns for a few minutes. Remando (paddling) this boat was ridiculous. The big, awkwardly unround handles of the heavy wooden oars didn't have the smoothest glide, but I gave it my best.

The view from the lake was absolutely incredible. There's an island that looks like a turtle and suitably referred to as "Isla de Tortuga" and a mountain (I'm told the second highest in Honduras) called...Butt (nalgas) Mountain. It is commonly referred to as butt or boobie mountain, because of its double mounted summit. The trees surrounding the lake were all so crazy. I let myself get lost staring up at them, and likely could have spent a few more hours just looking up at all the foliage. Man I need to go back with my camera! But I wonder if my camera would do them justice. These neat dangles hung from a lot of the trees and they almost looked like cobwebs. I took a liking to them because they gave the scene a sort of tropical weeping willow essence--very cool. I was asking what was in the trees, and just as I commented on how beautiful they were Eulogio responded, "Parasites" in a very matter-of-fact way. Not sure a parasite could hold beauty? Come down for a visit, and let me take you out on the lake. Some of the parasites were these big green spikes stuck all over the trees--crazy pineapple top looking plants. We saw a good number of people out fishing. Most of them didn't have poles, but what seemed to be a handful of line, and it appeared to be working just fine!

The birds around the lake blew me away. I've seen a couple really cool looking birds near my house, but it's like the lake was showing off. Eulogio says there are about 4,000 different types of birds in this area, and something like 1,000 of them are only found in this area. That seems so crazy to me! Of course my descriptions won't do them justice, but hopefully some pictures can be posted one of these days. Just crazy vibrant colors and sharp features; like angular tails and bright beaks, different colors on the tops and undersides of wings. We kept seeing this one that was chartreuse (Logk needed some explanation of what the heck chartreuse looked like) and brown with a bright yellow beak. Douglas told me the name of it, but of course I can't remember. No camera and no pencil--Dad would not be proud.

The wind started picking up and the sky got that eerie look to it, so we paddled back with a little more haste than paddling out. The trip home from Los Naranjos was full of laughter. So there was plenty room for us on our big boat, but I think it's safe to say it was at capacity (lancha llena). I think it is also safe to say cabs here rarely reach capacity, seemingly no matter how many you squeeze in. First moto-taxi experience, and it was adventurous! They have these cabs here called moto-taxis, and they're best described as a cross-breed between a tricycle and a lawn-mower. I agree, pictures are definitely needed. Some of them have plastic around the windows, and some are just open and exciting. We packed five adults, and the grown male driver into a moto-taxi. It was cozy to say the least. Poor Maryann... I ended up on her lap (yesss she's a couple sizes smaller and it would have made more sense in the reverse, but we didn't pack in with careful planning) and thought it might ease the blow if I raised myself over the tumulos (speed bumps). Of course each time I lowered myself I crushed her legs all over again...and unfortunately, I didn't realize this until the last speed bump. The sweet girl took it like a champ. But we had a great laugh about it on our walk to dinner.

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