I tried to write an entry halfway into Chris's visit but the power shut off in the middle and I lost everything! That's how it goes here sometimes :)
Anyway, Chris and I had an awesome time. He got here last Saturday, the 20th of August, and I hired one of my friends, Oscar, or "Negro", to drive me out to San Pedro Sula from Dulce Nombre to pick up Chris, accompanied by my friend Maria Luisa. It was more expensive this way, but I am not comfortable traveling in San Pedro alone, and was especially worried about going around with Chris's suitcases in the highest crime area of the country. So it was a lot more tranquilo to go in Oscar's truck. We waited for about an hour at the airport, a really nice place actually, and finally Chris came out and we hugged a lot and then jumped in the back of the pickup truck to go back to Dulce Nombre. He got to see the sights that way, and I got to eat some of the snacks out of the suitcases my mom had sent me :) So we rode in the back for the 2.5 hours back to my town. Chris was cold because he was used to the hot weather of Virginia, and the mountains where I live are pretty cool at times. We finally arrived to my town, tired and hungry. He liked my house a lot I think :) We walked down to the little diner down the street and he ate his first Plato Tipico, or the typical fare of Honduras, which he also liked. We walked around a little bit that night, seeing the central park and the big church. The next few days in my town we spent eating a lot of food in other people's houses, teaching English in the kinder class, attending a party Sunday night given by my counterpart, La Profe, where Chris was forced to dance with everyone and we had a great time (he got to meet a lot of my friends and the ladies that go to my aerobics class), he learned how to make tortillas (mas o menos), he practiced his Spanish, he played basketball and soccer with some of the town kids, and we went into Santa Rosa one day where he saw the Peace Corps house, the place I buy my groceries, bought some excellent cigars for his dad, ate lunch with one of my PC friends, Sarah, and walked around the pretty city. All in all it was a packed few days in my area. Chris held up well, but his allergies kicked in and his eye was bothering him a bit for a day or so. We had fun just hanging out in my house with some of my friends, or alone reading in bed or watching TV. He even learned how to wash his clothes outside at my pila, or cement washboard. I was proud of him :)
On Wednesday we left Dulce Nombre by bus for Tela. We passed through San Pedro, and finally got to Tela, a pretty little beach town, around midday. We had an awesome seafood lunch on the beach surrounded by swaying palm trees and looking out over the white sand and turquoise water. Then we drank some beers and piña coladas by the pool and relaxed...it was great. We stayed in this great hotel in a room with an awesome balcony right over the beach, palm trees giving us shade. It cost about $50 bucks and was probably the most pricey room in the city - awesome huh? We just stayed one night because we had reservations the next day near La Ceiba, in the Lodge at Pico Bonito. This place was postiviely amazing, maybe the most luxurious place I have ever stayed. The rooms were these gorgeous cabins, really private, all wood interior, a comfy hammock outside, 2 huge beds with terry cloth robes waiting, tropical flowers in vases all around the room. They greeted us at the door with delicious drinks in cups carved out of coconuts. They gave us the tour of the lodge and pool and drew us maps of the hikes on the property. The lodge is right next to the Pico Bonito National Park, which is gorgeous, with huge mountains towering over. On one hike we did, we could see the ocean over the jungle. The lodge sits between two pristine rivers, full of natural swimming holes and waterfalls. We hiked to two of them and were the only ones there, it was awesome. The restaurant at the lodge was possibly the best part...every meal we had was amazing. The dinners were 4 courses and everything was excellent. The staff was super professional and nice, always looking out for us. On Friday we went into La Ceiba to meet up with two of my PC friends, Ely and Lauren D. We had a great time having cocktails, going out to eat at a good Expatriates restaurant, and then going to a club and beach bar right on the beach. We went back around 12:30 pm to the lodge in a taxi, about a 20 minute ride. When we got to the lodge it was dark but staff was waiting there for us with flashlights ready to lead us to our cabin - what service. On Saturday, our last day, we had a full day planned. We were planning to go white water rafting. So that morning after another awesome breakfast on the porch of the lodge, a taxi came to get us and take us to the Congrejo River near La Ceiba. Our guide from Omega Tours was this crazy guy from New Zealand, just crazy. He first took us on a hike through part of the Pico Bonito National Park, pointing out interesting things along the way. We saw holes where bird-eating spiders live, vines that monkeys and apparently New Zealanders can climb, termite nests (where we were told you can eat termites to survive and we all actually tried them...they taste like mint. Oh also, you can rub them on you for mosquito repellent). We finally got to an amazing waterfall with a beautiful deep crystal clear pool at the bottom. After enjoying that for a while we headed back for lunch at Omega Tours. After lunch our guide taught us how to navigate the river. The river was absolutely beautiful, lined with massive boilders towering over us, and the thick jungle of Pico Bonito. We learned how to cross strong currents, go down rapids feet first into the rapids, and how to jump off 20-30 foot rocks into the rapids (our guide would say, "Aim about 2 feet in front of that big rock and you won't hit anything"...great). We had to climb this rocks with ropes they were so big. A couple of the jumps had me scared witless, but I did it and had a great time. Last thing we did was the white water rafting, which was awesome. We did mostly Class III and IV rapids. It was my first time so I was scared but our crazy guide was surprisingly professional and knew what he was doing. After one Class IV which he had prepared us for, he said, "The other guides wouldn't have taken you down that one...it's way too dangerous"...yeah. But it was awesome and Chris and I had a great exciting time. One last boulder jump at the end, our highest of the day, maybe 30 feet, finished off a crazy but fun day. Chris and I were glad to get back to the Lodge, a relaxing haven after a tiring day. We enjoyed cocktails on the beautiful porch of the lodge and then had another 4 course meal. It was our last night and a bit more sentimental, but we had fun recalling the week. We turned in early. Yesterday, Sunday, we took a bus from La Ceiba to San Pedro and arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare. We ate at the Wendy's there for lunch and used internet, and sat and talked for a bit. I got picked up by my friend Geovani who was going back to Dulce Nombre that day from San Pedro, and so I said goodbye to Chris with a big hug and a promise that he would call me when he got home safely (which he did). Anyway it was a great week and I am going to recommend Pico Bonito to everyone (go to www.picobonito.com) - it was so so wonderful. Anyway, gotta go...this week I have a lot of work and will be busy. Can't wait for some more visits though!