dedicated new author, it was now cerebrally necessary to take my heart and my head back where it belonged… back on the road. The urge to pick up where I had left off had been calling me for months, but it was essential for me to stand in for grander mission. One which had sidelined my road trip from the start.
During a stint through Guatemala, in mid-September of 2011, I received a dreaded phone call, informing that breast cancer struck again with a vengeance. It would be almost exactly one year to the day since the surgery of my mother’s original diagnosis. Knowing there was no way to conscientiously continue my personal journey, I took time out to pause and handle business.
Today, I can thankfully report that Mom is now cancer free for a second time. She has since been placed on notice to not accept or otherwise incubate any form of cancer at anytime in the foreseeable future. Eating in a more conscious manner, while engaging in a slightly more physical lifestyle than the sedentary one she had been used to, was no longer an option. To insure this happened, at least temporarily, I left my beloved companion with her, an active but sweet two-year old Jack Russell mix, whose own lifestyle requires walking three times daily. Not to insinuate that anyone would dare wish this dreaded disease on themselves or anyone else for that matter. But making this declaration while taking my stance was my way of exercising my faith. ("Faith without works is dead..." James 2:17 NKJV.) Throwing my demands out into the world to be heard and manifested, I have always believed in the power of words. It is in large part why I decided to become a writer. ("The power of life and death is in the tongue." Proverbs 18:21) But as an added insurance policy, a heart to heart with His Royal Holiness was needed. ("The effective prayer of the righteous man availeth much." James 5:16) And just like that in my heart I recieved, “the cancer will not kill her… although you just might.” With my quick confirmation, I now believed I had permission to carry on.
I was lucky enough to catch the tail end of a airline fare war that required leaving out on the very day of my mother’s last cancer related doctor’s appointment. I’m not sure that sat well with her. I’m not sure that would have sat well with me either, had the situation been reversed. It bothered me to leave town on what could be a pending thought that implied I just had to take to first flight out to get the heck out of dodge. This was not the case in the least, and a $150 savings in my flight costs partially justified my guilt. Nevertheless, this forty-four year old woman would succumb to the pressure, print the email, and explain my decision, all to avoid any drama that could potentially be lurking at some unknown point in the future. Luckily for me… the truth worked, at least for the time being.
With that being said, arriving on a flight that should have landed at 1am into San Pedro Sula, Honduras, didn’t until 3:00am, because of storms. The original plan was to get a hotel room for the night, knowing that there would be a bus at 9:30am. But under the current circumstances that didn’t make much sense considering the first bus out to Tela left at 5:30am. Perhaps there was no need for a room, but was it wise to sit parked in the public terminal of an airport that was well known for it's pick pockets and thieves, even despite the police presence with guns in tow? Surely there would be others that would be forced with the same dilemma until the bus and cab drivers were ready to report for duty. As I pondered my dilemma, a consoling awareness covered my body like a blanket, reassuring me that all would be well. As luck would have it, a sizeable, yet amicable "gringo" by the name of Bobby, fresh from his American roots in Alabama, took a liking to me. A 12 year resident of Talanga, just outside of Tegucigalpa, this formidable southern giant looked as mean as an ogre, but in actuality, was as gentle as a lamb. It didn’t take long for me to comprehend that he was my blanket, but the irony here was, it was Bobby who was comfortable enough to catch a hour-long nap, and I would be the one designated to watch over our belongings. Some how, I was okay with that. As I diligently stood guard, I noticed another less formidable gringo walking to and fro, but in a very unsettled manner. I made sure to keep an eye on this one, as his clearly he was wrapped too tight.
As luck would have it, my less formidable gringo went by the name of Tony. He and Bobby were plane-mates a few rows behind me during our flight, and had already agreed to split a cab to the bus terminal. He too was nervous about the wait, and exhausted from the flight, he knew that if he sat down long enough, he would fall off to sleep. Tony decided the best way to not become a victim was to simply keep it moving. At 5:00 am, the first cab drivers arrived to take us to the bus terminal, and as previously agreed by the two gingos, the three of us would split the $15 cab ride. $5 per person was hard to refuse. As we parted ways at the terminal, it was my less formidable gringo, who took the second shift assuming the responsibility of my blanket. It turns out that we were both headed in the same direction, and he promised Bobby that he would keep me safe. God works in mysterious ways.
The guide book I am using for this trip called my beach destination, Tela…“a hot mess with sinister appeal." As much as I hated to believe it, their description was sadly quite appropriate. Barely on my second day, and I had yet to find anything to entice me to stay a third. Void of all character, the town was divided into an old and new section, separated by only a bridge and the captains that parked their barges below it. To make matters worse, there was nothing "new" about its "new"section. Trying hard not to pass judgment so early on in my visit, I really searched hard to find the good within it. On the surface, it's beaches and town were both disappointingly dirty. My search to dig deeper uncovered only that's its people were cold, the food was average, and most of the service around town was marginal at best. With two exceptions worthy of mention, Cesar Mariscos’ restaurant, whose ceviche was slammin’ and customer service was stupendous, and Mango Café B&B, who despite the language barrier, made an effort to find someone whose English was just as bad as my Spanish and yet managed to make it work with a smile. My travel guide made mention that English was spoken at most places. Most of those people must have gone on vacation, knowing that I was on the way. I suppose this means that I must work harder on my Spanish to avoid the handicap. Oh well, lesson learned.
Next up La Ceiba and Utila Honduras…