A Travellerspoint blog

Bay Islands

..slight change of plans!

semi-overcast 26 °C

Ok, so.... there was a slight change in plans for our time here on the Bay Islands. Long story short, we are now PADI Open Water SCUBA Divers. Yeah, just slightly different. We have now done six dives, two in shallow water, and four open water dives, two of which were fun dives and just consisted of swimming with the fishies in the ocean! Our time underwater was absolutely amazing, mom, I can see why whenever you talk about Diving, your eyes light up.. the experence is absolutely incredible. For those of you landlubbers who han't tried it, the best I can do is say that its like almost nothing you've ever experienced. BUT, the sensation of neutral bouyancy is much like flying... but add into that the fact that you are breathing with millions of litres of water around you, and 18 metres (60 ft) below the surface... the experience tingles every sense.. and stimulates every part of your body. You are acutely aware of your life, you pay attention to every breath you take, first because you have this mouth piece (Regulator Second Stage) jamed between all your teeth and whenever you inhale, you here the valve open to let air into your lungs, and because every exhale, bubbles surround your head. The life around you is absolutely buzzing with vibrant colours, excitement, and a wild aspect you don't get to see in any zoo or aquarium. It is your personal aquarium, the only limit is the amount of air you take down with you.. and your stamina. I'm sure that the parents will recieve our certfication cards before we will, since they are sent to your home address. On behalf of all of us, we give you permission to use them as brag tags... lol. We are feeling great, having an absolutely mind blowing time and cooking for ourselves to save money, on account of spending extra money on the Dive Course.

I have recently been looking at the Semi-Formal pictures, everyone looks in great spirits, and boy I must say... the bunch of you clean up well!

Missing you all,

Happy trails,

Ryan

P.S.: The reason I called everyone hosers was because the only way we can tell who is reading the blog is if you leave us comments! Plus, I get updates from Jessie, Mom and Ciara... but the rest I don't hear from as much! I miss you guys, write and huge one.. write it like its an e-mail.. put memories in it.. tell me whats going on.. ANYTHING!

Peace.

Posted by Nomad18 14:20 Archived in Honduras Tagged backpacking Comments (9)

Copan ruinas day 2

Honduras

sunny 26 °C

Today we visited the Copan Mayan Ruins. it was really cool, you got to see some of the original colours, colours like red, green, and pink. It was really amazing to see the artwork and sculptures preserved so well. it was different then Tikal in the way that it showed more of the culture then just the grandeurness of the Temples in pyramids. The same goes for Lamanai in Belize, you the towers werent as impressive as either of the other two places but the boat ride through the jungles was amazing in itself, to see all the wildlife and people on the river was worth the money alone, even if we didnt see the ruins.

The rest of the day was spent mostly on shopping for souvenirs. In the first big place we went to i asked the guy if there was a smaller version of the chess set that he sold. The shop keeper said that there isnt a smaller version of that because it was hand carved. i was a bit dissipointed but we continued on to a larger market like place that sold other souvenirs but to my surprise they sold much of the exact same stuff that he had and they had many of the exact chess set that the other guy sold. what a coincidence that all of the other people have the same chess set and they were all hand carved, they must have good quality control, lol. we didnt end up buying anything in the end. we desided that we had too far to go, and we would have to carry everything we buy for the rest of the trip; which was not only a big burden to carry by itselft, but we run the risk of breaking while we are in the other 6 countries. in short: good ruins, good food, lots of catching up for blogs and family members.

Posted by leighner 18:12 Archived in Honduras Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Memories

Anything that has randomly come to mind that we havn't blogged...

sunny 30 °C

Ok, so the first one that comes to mind is the amount of Marijuana in Belize... where it is supposed to be illegal, but I honeslty thought the guide book must have been wrong or out of date because of it's prevalence. Once, while walking back to our guesthouse, we were offered an entire handful.. no joke people.. an entire handful of weed...! Every coner you are asked if you wanted some.. or any locals you talk to in Belize. Another eye opener for us was when we were walking back to our guesthouse in Belize City from the bus station along with two other travellers, one from New Zealand, the other from Croatia, and we all saw an ice cream parlor. After a long hot day of seeing ruins and on a small river boat, we all thought it best that we treat our selves with a bowl of ice cream. We approached the ice cream parlor with thoughts of suger, but to one side stood a guard with a shotgun leveled at our chests... hmmm, now one mught think this is a tad overkill... and to anyone who agrees with this estimation I wholeheartedly agree! This is place where children come to have a cold treat in the sometimes unbearable and opressive heat. The children hear must be some kind of super crook, because otherwise I can't possibly fathom why a shotgun toteing guard would be posted at a freaking ICE CREAM PARLOR! I covered the most interesting part of our journey from Santa Elena to Guatemala City in my reflections entry, but in San Pedro there were some more subtle memeories that surely were missing from any blogs. The best story comes from a Hippy by the name of John, who I don't think ever stopped smoking up. There were times whe I would wake up to the smell of Marijuana...and we had to be up, eating and ready to go to spanish lessons for 9:00, which meant all this was happening around 7:30 - 8:00. One night while we were cleaning up after ourselves, John came back to the Hippy compound most certainly with a deap down case of the munchies. He had a large can of refried bean paste... and that was it. Who would have know that so much enjoyment could have percipitated form one can of beans. He was eating the beans right out of the can with a spoon and he said to us, "Looks like cat food...(takes a spoonfull and sniffs)... smells like cat food... (eats the spoonful)... tastes like cat food. But its BEANS!" Ever since we have been quoting him and have a good laugh over his antics. On one of the buses to the El Salvadorian I (and I want no one to think that I'm vain, I'm only telling this story because I found it to be quite rediculous) was..shall we say flirted with. The bus was absolutely jamed full of people.. easitly three and sometimes four to a single school buss seat. (You thought your 45 minute bus ride with maybe two to a seat was busy, try all seats with at least three, some with four and the entire isle full of peopel standing.) As we boarded the bus we were all ready to stand and give the available seats to the old ladies and kids, because we are all upstanding gentlemen. I was looking at the people around me and my eyes fell upon a girl that was about our age, who then proceeded to wink at me with a rather large grin on her face.. and patted the small space she had made for me to sit. (I say small because her mother was a rather large lady, and with two other people it made for very tight spaces) I sat down with her eyes continuing to watch me and thought, oh good.. I can barely say hello, let alone have a conversation. It was very awkward, because I wanted to say hello and talk but I knew if I started saying anything she would talk too fast for me to understand and then I would look really stupid. Not to mention everytime I tried to look out the window she thought I was looking it at her and smiled. I'm sure she thought I was a mute until she asked where we were going... whcih I understood! Horay for spanish lessons. I looked up the word for hot, because it was rediculous in the bus with well over 80 people on it an the temperature outside climbing to well over 30, and used the wrong one, because they have so many different words for hot in spanish and we got laughed at. As the bus ride continued it because less and less ful and I was able to escape the continuous gaze and find my own seat. We got our first real experience being a minority after we attempted to cross the Guatemalan-Slavadorian boarder, where we had been told there would be a ATM, but there wasn't. We had to turn back and head for the nearest town with an ATM. We only had enough money because I still randomly had 2 USD left over from Belize. I switched over the cash into Quetzales, and paid for our bus ride to the closest town, with 5 Quetzales to spare. Just to give you some sense of that 7-8 is one USD. It was a little close for comfort, but we made it to this crazy town called Chiquimulilla. (Yeah go ahead.. try saying that!) We were tired from a long day of travel, hungry, and all around in less than perfect moods sinc we were stuck in this very crappy town, in a scary hotel. Walking through the streets of the town we were stared at as if we were aliens, silence flowed in our wake, as people turned their undivided attention to our presence. Then some rowdy teenagers threw (I'm only making assumptions here, since my spanish is terrible) some insults at us from their car, which I'm sure would have been hurtful and demeaning if I knew what they were saying. The next morning was very busy around the banks (don't ask me why) and we had to walk through the crowd of people, who parted for us as if we were the Royal Family. You gain an appriciation for how minorities back home must feel, although I like to think that Canadians are a little more tactful. And with that I'll end the first of the Memories Blogs, there are more on the way for sure.

Enjoy and laugh as we have,

Happy trails,

Ryan.

Miss you all.

Posted by Nomad18 17:25 Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Our Week On the Beach

Tans are coming along nicely.

sunny 30 °C

So, you've probably noticed we didn't blog or contact anyone at home for about a week. Well, thats because we spend a week on a remote beach. So this blog is gonna be a day by day of what exactly happened (if I can remember it all).

Day 1:

Arrived at the beach, called Playa El Zonte, we acutally got off the bus at what seemed like the middle of nowhere. Fortunately there was a road there, and we walked down it. This is when we saw the first other white people in El Salvador, it was actually a nice change, as we had been getting some minor hostilities in the big city (San Salvador).
Upon arrive (at the actual beach) we found the place we wanted to stay at very easily. The next thing of the agenda was to find someone to give us surf lessons. After asking around, we came back to our hotel, and asked one of the other surfers staying there. He suggested we talk to Alex, the guy who owned the place we were staying at. At the time Alex was out, but as soon as we got back we ambushed him. He said the surf was too big that day, so we had to at least wait till the next day. I forgot to mention, we went for a swim (in the big surf), and we lost the room key, probably less than an hour after it was given to us. Luckily there was another copy of the key. We ate at our hotel, then went to bed after some cards (I think thats how it went down). There were only 2 single beds in our room, so I volunteered to sleep on the floor all week (I know, I'm a saint).

Day 2:

Leigh woke up uber early to see a sunrise (5:00 am), I opted not to because I didn't sleep too well due to extreme heat and the whole sleeping on the floor thing. Uh, lets see, what'd we do today, we ate breakfast right at our hotel. Wait, I gotta take a moment to describe this place. It has a main house-like building with the bathrooms, and the bedrooms, a tv slash surf board room. Then outside, there is a hut, with all the tables for the restuarant, and many hammicks (I love hammicks). Just beside the hut was a pool (mostly for washing salt water off of people and boards). Near the pool was the bar slash restuarant ordering place, which had a set of stairs on the outside to a hangout spot on the top of it, which was probably one of the best places to eat, and it had another 4 hammicks.
Anywhoo.. back to the day. After breakfast, we were informed by Alex that the surf was still too big, so instead of surfing, we went for another swim in the big surf, this time with nothing in our pockets. It was a lot of fun, I swollowed quite a bit of seawater. We didn't do too much else that day; we found a restuarant that sells burgers for $1.50, and went for a walk down the beach. We had dinner at our hotel (Leigh and I downed 5 burgers with a side of fries with each one), after leigh and I did a exploration mission of the restuarants on the beach. Another night on the floor for me.

Day 3:

Woke up, I think we all woke up at some normal time (except for me, cause I was on the floor). We had breakfast at the nice cheap restaurant right on the beach. The prices were like $0.35 US for a pancake, which was a huge hit with Leigh. I believe Ryan and Leigh had pancakes, while I had eggs and pancakes (not completely sure). The next thing on the schedule was to find out if we could get some lessons on this day. Alex was around, and he said we could do some lessons that afternoon. I believe we spent some of the morning looking for shells, then we lazed in the hammicks for a while. Then we ate lunch, but I can´t recall where, maybe at our hotel, but probably at the cheaper restaurant (I think we had a $10 credit from the morning, cause they couldn´t break our $20 bill, so that was a neat feeling, it felt like a free meal). After lunch we probably played cards and then lied in the hammicks (I know, our lives are very hard) until about 3:30, which is when we got ready for our first surf lesson at 4.
Ah, yes, the surf lesson, what fun. Alex took us a ways down the beach, partly because the currents were lessened there, and there was fewer rocks (I guess he figured we´d be falling a lot). The first thing he did was give us a spiel on what the surfboards were not. They are not sun umbrellas (they don´t like sun), they are not seats (if you get sand in the wax, you will get a terrible rash when you lie down on them), there was a couple other things, I can´t remember, oh well. Then he made outlines of our boards in the sand, and made us practice the procedure for standing up on the board. It seemed pretty easy, and we were soon in the white water (which is whats left of the wave after its broken, they are about 1 foot to 6 feet in height, so some of them are really moving). We were supposed to wait for a big white water, then jump onto our boards and forward in the water, when the white water would catch us, and we´d be flying along. After about a dozen times, and a few tips from Alex, I was standing up on the board with about a 80% success rate. I´d like to say I was the first to stand up on the board, but I´m not really sure, so I won´t. Soon, we were heading back down the beach to the hotel, and we had a quick lesson in the pool, about how to turn the board around quickly in the water. Soon, we had discovered that our two hours were up (time flies when you are being washed up upon shore), and we each owed Alex $20 (well worth the mone I think). Alex then said we could do the next lesson on the next day. We were all fairly tired, but I think this was the night we had a few beers, ryan broke a ping pong paddle (oh ya.. there was a ping pong table there too, pretty intense games) but chucking it at the table. After Ryan repaired the paddle, and I went for a cool-down swim, we headed to bed.

Day 4:

I´m awake early again, and I think that Ryan tried to get up and watch the sunset, but he was back in bed fairly soon after he got up, apparently it was cloudly.. ya.. whatever Ryan. I was up fairly early, so I read some surfing magazines until the restaurant opened, then ordered a breakfast of Granola con Leche and a jugo de piña (both very good). Soon Ryan and Leigh were up, and we went and asked Alex about the lesson this day. He said he was heading to San Salvador, but would be back somewhere around 3 or 4 in the afternoon, and would be able to give us a lesson then. We took the boards out that morning to go practice what we learned the day before. Unfortunately Leigh broke a fin on his board somewhere on the way to our practice location, so he couldn´t practice, but Ryan and I got a good little session in. We did it until we got bored of doing just the same thing over and over, and until we felt like we´d have had enough sun. Then we ate lunch (somewhere, most likely at the cheap place, well, cause its cheap), and lazed around in the hammicks, waiting for Alex´s return.
Unfortunately, Alex never returned.. DUN DUN DUNNNNN! (until the next day). So we never got a lesson on our 4th day on the beach. Instead, we took another intense swim in the ocean, then lazed in the hammicks (again). After dinner (nothing memorable) we went to bed, and I spent another night on the floor.

Day 5:

We woke up at a normal time, I actually slept fairly well, better than other nights, but I was still up first, at around quarter after 6. I read some more surfing magizines (in english, else I would just be looking at pictures) until the other two were up. We had breakfast (somewhere), and lazed around a bit (we did that a lot) we probably played some cards, maybe some ping pong. It was just before noon when Alex got back, we figured something bad had happened so we didn´t bother him right away. We instead went for another hunt for shells. When we got back we talked to him. Apparently, he got a super painful ear infection while in San Salvador. He had to drive around all night, trying to find a doctor. He said it was a miracle cause he found one at 4 am. So when he got back, he was very tired, and on a lot of painkillers. He also wasn´t allowed to surf because of the infection. In his words: ´´No surf, I know, it sucks´´. But he still said he´d be able to another lesson with us the next day, as long as he was careful. It was quite funny when he describe what the pain was like. (Warning, this is about to get a little PG-13 on all of you) He said ´´It was like, like, someone was sticking, uh, a.. a penis in my ear.´´ We all got a good laugh out of that. So we planned to have a lesson the next morning. His words ´´Be ready to go at 7:30´´. The rest of the day is a blur, sorry guys, I just can´t remember.

Day 6:

I woke up really early (5:30) to go for a private walk on the beach and watch the surf for a while. I wrote something in the sand, took a few pictures, and watched the surf engulf the rocks I was standing on. A very beautiful morning overall. After at least an hour on the beach alone, I headed back to the hotel. The guys wanted to woken up at 7 to get ready for the lesson. I woke them up by taking a nice sepiatone picture of them sleeping (with flash of course). They were soon up and ready to go. Alex didn´t make an appearance until 7:20, which was when his breakfast was served to him, after his breakfast, we expected he would come over and talk to us, but instead, he started a nap on the floor. We all thought (or at least I did), ´´We´ve got all day, whatever, maybe he didn´t get a good sleep.´´ Then he was up again, and drinking coffee. Thats when he said his first words of the day to us, which were ´´Hey guys, I´m still hungry, so you should probably get breakfast.´´ So we did. We ate breakfast at our hotel, and when we finished, we found Alex napping on the floor again. We didn´t get out on the waves until about 9:30, meh, whatever.
This lesson was a bit different, we were catching bigger waves slash whitewater, and we weren´t jumping onto the board, we started on the board and caught waves by paddling. We were also learning how to turn, but he told us it is a lot easier ´´in a real wave, instead of this whitewater crap.´´ It lasted about an hour and a half. He said we´d do some actual surfing later that day, out on the point, (catch some pointbreaks). Unfortunately, he headed back into San Salvador that day, and didn´t get back till about 8 at night, so we didn´t get another lesson. We ended up eating lunch at the cheap place right after the lesson. I had a fried beef, it was weak at best, but whatever. Again, the rest of the day is a blur of lying in hammicks mixed in with some cards and ping pong. Had dinner, and went to bed in good time, we had an early morning (sorta) the next day.

Day 7:

Woke up at about 6, packed up and were on the road at a little after 7. We said goodbye to the beach, goodbye to surfing (for now), and caught the first bus back to town.

I hope that is detail enough for you guys, you are probably all chomping at the bit, waiting for the information on the week where we weren´t in contact, so here it is.

Take it easy,

Peace,

Craig

Posted by iamcraig88 15:27 Archived in El Salvador Tagged ecotourism Comments (7)

Copan Ruinas

Honduras

later on sunday night we were able to watch 2 of the original star wars movies and and the morning we watched the end fight seen from the final matrix movie.....all in spanish, well i thought it was really cool.

we left the unknown town a little after 9ish. there was a coach bus parked in front of our little hotel, and it happened to be going to the town we wanted to be at. after about a 3 hour ride up and down the mountains and with much ear poping, we made it to the half way point. we ate some breakfast/lunch and went on the next bus to the copan ruinas. that bus was more of an old school bus, which was alright because it reminded me of the busses at home except the most of the seat cushions werent fasened to the frame of the chair. but it was a fun ride and the view is incredible. but not much has happened today except for a long bus rides. tomorrow we shall be going to copan mayan ruins and the hot springs, both should be really cool. ooooh yeah, hot springs, oooooh yeah, really old buildings.

Posted by leighner 15:21 Comments (3)

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