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August 26, 2003


Today I had a perfect day.

I arrived in the little town of Copan yesterday with Julia, a Swiss primary school teacher who studied at the same Spanish school I attended in Antigua. She and all her six brothers and sisters live in tiny villages - she calls them willages - just outside Lucerne. She is excellent company.

It was lucky that we arrived at all, as we missed the 4am coach out of Antigua, but the minibus driver who couldn┤t find our street agreed to chase after the coach and we caught up with it just outside Guatemala City and arrived in the little town of Copan, just inside the Honduran border, at around 11am.

The town is very small and is nestled in a lovely green valley, just near the river Copan. Immediately outside the town are the famous Myan ruins of Copan, which we saw yesterday. They were very impressive, and we understood everything our Spanish speaking guide told us, which pleased us no end.

But today was just terrific. We got on some horses and went for a ride along the river, until we came to a Hacienda up in the hills, overlooking the coffee plantations and the tall, narrow brown buildings they use for drying tobacco.

There is a small ruin at this hacienda, which archeologists think was some kind of birthing pace for Mayan women of the lower classes. The rocks are all misplaced, and trees grow among them, and they┤re covered in moss. But on one, you can still see the sculpture, in relief, of a woman giving birth. I thought of all those women all coign up to the hills to have babies with no painkillers. What┤s more, once a year a baby was sacrificed to the gods there - you can still see the altar. We had a little stroll in the forest with our very friendly and informative guide, as he explained all about coffee growing and we understood every word. The forest was cool and moist under the hot sun.

We rode back along the river, then I remembered a little pupuseria I saw along our way, so we got of the horses and went there for lunch. The pupseria was housed in a white wooden shack, with coca cola logos paited all over it, with a tin roof and gauze windows all around. The kitchen was inside, and outside you could hear the chooks, and the women were always coming in from the yard with fresh supplies of eggs. The sound of the cook┤s hands clapping as she made the pupusas was very cheerful.

Pupusas are delicious little tortilla cakes filled with cheese, or minced pork, or beans, or in one case, a fresh cheese with some previously untasted vegetable that looks like a green flower bud. The place was filled with the offspring of the four cooks, and the ony other diner besides us was a man with a huge moustache and an enormous white cowboy hat.

We were very happy with our lunch, and left the pupuseria in search of hammocks. There were some a few blocks away, by the river, and we got ourselves some pineapple juices and lay down and read our books. I┤m reading "The Life of Pi" by a Canadian writer Yann Martel, and it┤s very good.

The hammocks were under some tall trees, and we could hear the birds and the river, and the sound of heavy fruit falling onto the roof of a nearby thatched hut. There was a lovely gentle breeze. My only exertion was to flick ants off my shoulders. They crept onto me from the edges of my hammock. I wondered what happened to ants when they were flicked at a high speed across a garden. Do they die of shock during the flight? Do they simply land on the grass, feeling perfectly fine, and carry on creeping? Do they ever find their friends or their homes again? I didn┤t feel bad, though. Life's tough when you're a wild animal.

Tomorrow we┤re off to San Pedro Sula, a big city to the north of here, to see if I can get a visa for El Salvador. I hope to have another try at visiting the Davilas again in a week or two. Then we┤re going to the Caribbean coast, eventually making our way to Utila, an island famed for its diving and snorkeling opportunities, where I┤m hoping to meet Brendon, my distant but delightful cousin.

Posted by Sarah on August 26, 2003 06:36 PM
Category: Honduras

Well what with all of this horseback riding I hope you haven't forgotten about your old friend Boy. I always thought of you as a one-horse gal.


Posted by: Charlotte on September 2, 2003 01:38 PM

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