It’s been an interesting start so far. We’re an hour delayed and they tell us something about the laminate being damaged. They have taken pictures and will send to engineering for review to see if they can tape it or if it needs moreextensive repairs. The plane broke out in laughter at the mention of taping or up. They are to let us know in 15 minutes. Adios for now. Will update tonight, if I can. We finally took off arriving 2 hours late. We were met at the airport with Emmalisa from HOI (Honduras Outreach, Inc.). We are being hosted by them. After picking up a panini and water at the airport, we boarded our bus (a long, long yellow school bus) and our fearless leader (Bob Hope) made sure that we were all aboard. We are now numbers and count off everytime we board the bus. That has ended up being a blessing. We drove through the city of Tegucigalpa and headed North. The area of the city is very arrid and the city roads were in poor condition. The traffic is horrendous, but somehow the unorganized traffic system seems to work. It is much like standing in the lift lines (and I use the word “line” loosely) in Europe. First come, first served. We made it through the city and headed north toward Jutecalpa. We ate the lunch we bought in the airport on the bus. The area continued to be very arrid and very dusty, but this was only a slight preview to what was to come. Everything seemed very gray, but with an occasional burst of color with the bougainvillea or some yellow trees. I saw a fantastic rain tree, but could not recall the name of the yellow trees. Many homes had a black sistern on top of their home and some even have satellite dishes. These were in an array of colors, which made the gray area a little more colorful. The poverty is terrible here, as I suspected, but along the way, we found several homes that were obviously owned by entrepreneurs interspaced in the slum areas. Horses and cows graze along the side of the road and seem unaware of the traffic whizzing by. We did have a traffic stop by some fellas with AK-47s. They looked us over, but did not board the bus. Everyone was very quiet. We saw lots of people walking along the side of the road. We made a stop along the way to pick up snacks and water. The little store was owned by an older gentleman from Iowa, I think. He had 12 children and I believe it was with a Honduran woman. I had a cookie and an orange drink. Bob Hope told us that he would name a princess for the day and that we were to do something nice for the princess each day. He named one of the veterinarians. I can’t remember her name.
Strangely, they have a lot of loblolly pines here as well as a few palm trees. There were times I felt as if I was in the Georgia mountains with the pine trees. There were many banana trees. The roads were sometimes very good and sometimes very bad. We arrived at the Hotel Bocarone (I heard that means artichoke; yes, I know. I will check that out later.) We were assigned a roomie and I was fortunate enough to be paired with my new best friend, Debra Lowe from Kissimee, Fla. We enjoyed sharing stories about Rotary, Rotary missions and Rotarians we both knew. The hotel turned out to be very nice with a swimming pool. We ate at a very long table by the swimming pool and the food was very good. We had pollo (ckicken), rice and a vegetable medley. They did have a bar and several got some Honduran beer that they said was very good. The liquor selection was limited. We went to bed a little early because we were bone tired and we were to have breakfast at 7:00AM. There was a rooster outside our window that crowed all night long. Fortunately, the air conditioner was so loud that we didn’t notice him too much.