Car Rentals are available in all the major cities, but I found the Honduran bus
services to be cheap and efficient. The drivers are for the most part capable and
experienced. It is my impression that drivers in Honduras are by and large easy going and
considerate; at no time did I feel my life was in serious danger.
We drove East (down) a coastline of mountains which are to a large degree still enveloped
in a dense green canopy. Each time the bus stops - and it does so frequently - a hoard of
mostly young children engulf the bus and peddle their wares. Food and drink are offered to
the wary traveler from every window and down the isle of the bus. My advice is don't buy
food for the journey. These people are poor and can use every coin you have to offer.
Passengers on the bus do not hesitate to drink and eat what is offered, so I reckon there
can't be too many instances of food poisoning.
Occasionally you might have to change busses to get to your destination. In all my
travels, I did not once have to inquire which bus I had to take. As you are getting off a
bus, announcers stand at the door in droves wildly gesticulating, shouting destinations
and guiding you to the bus of your choice. It's great.
Pineapple forests that belong to the Kingdom of Dole Fruit Company seem to roll by in
waves. These orderly, regimented plantations start to take on an eerie, repetitive and
slightly nightmarish quality. Knowing something about the history of these plantations
won't make you feel much better either.
Arrival in Trujillo. A small coastal town, just a little too far from large population
centers to have taken on that tired look of overuse that other seaside resorts seem to
Packed with history too. Said to be in the location where Columbus set foot for the first
time on the American mainland on his fourth voyage, Trujillo became the first capital of the mainland and held that
title for some sixteen years. Gold and silver came across land and was loaded into the
Spanish galleons which sheltered in the natural harbor that Trujillo offers. Unfortunately
for the Spanish, the sheltering island of Roatan offered the pirates Van Horn and Morgan
even better shelter, from which they launched their raids against these irresistible
targets. Eventually they got bored with just taking ships and overwhelmed the town and its
defenses in 1642.
For reasons only the pirates know - or perhaps it is the nature of
pirates - they torched the town, killing the proverbial chicken that lays the golden egg.
The town lay deserted for a mind boggling one hundred and fifty years before so-called
civilization drifted back.
Then in the 1860's William Walker, adventurer and opportunist comes to Trujillo. Fresh
from the troubles he caused in Nicaragua - actually managing to take over the government
for six weeks - after a quick respite, he decides to try his luck again, lands in Trujillo
and gets himself shot. I already like this town.
We have been staying in marginal hotels for too long and we are in desperate need of
decadence, so we decide to splurge on a fancy hotel. We take a taxi from the town plaza
straight up the mountainside to the Hotel Brinkley.
This hotel has got to be the most extraordinary hotel I have ever stayed in.* The layout of the place is really well proportioned and
pleasing to the eye. A small swimming pool graces the center of the courtyard and the
rooms are....well - they are fantastic, that's what they are. Every bit of hardwood is
carved with wonderful skill in the style of the Pre Colombian Mayan culture. It is
immediately apparent that it is the work of one person and the effect upon the whole hotel
is that it has been graced by genius.
Our rooms are sumptuous; step up bridal bed complete with mosquito canopy, sunken shower,
walk in closet, bar, balcony with a variety of outdoor furniture and the
most spectacular view I have ever seen from a hotel anywhere.
We head for the bar. Over the bar is a portrait of a man in U.S. naval uniform. He looks
like he has died and been stuffed before the artist took up the brush.
"It was painted from a photograph" says the only other person at the bar, as if
reading my mind. It is Mrs. Brinkley, drink in hand*, seventy
two years young and she doesn't look a day over sixty.
"He died before we made it to Honduras, so I built our dream without him."
Mrs. Brinkley proceeds to tell me about the construction of the place, built bit by bit,
one year at a time. She seems so out of place here in this tropical setting, the kind of
person you wouldn't give a second glance at a shopping mall. Perhaps the super
intoxicating margarita is getting to me or I am just very tired. Laurenn is tired too. We
go to bed.