After a tasty bowl of granola and some leftover French Toast, we hugged Jorge through our 100 pounds of gear and set out in the rain to find a taxi. As soon as we pulled up to the intersection for La Esperanza, a mini bus was waiting for us and the driver’s helpers took our packs from the trunk and heaved them onto the roof. Though we normally don’t mind that, the thought of our diaper filled packs sitting in the rain for the two hour drive to La Esperanza made us cringe. We claimed the front seats on the rather empty bus then looked at each other and smiled, knowing just how packed this thing would get.
At an elevation of 1700m, La Esperanza (Hope in English) is the highest town in all of Honduras and as we climbed, we could see that we were approaching a dense cloud. It was not long before we were in a fog so thick we could not see ten feet in front of us. This did not seem to phase the driver as his speed did not change to compensate. These mini buses are a Tiny Home architect’s dream because as it starts filling up, seats start unfolding out of everywhere and little boxes slide out to make more room. Within an hour, our eighteen seater mini bus had more than fifty people on it and we both had some locals squished right up against us. The “mui guapos” started right away and when you woke up from your morning nap, you were surprised to see all the dark eyes smiling at you.
As we emerged above the cloud, the views to La Esperanza were stunning and confirmed the fact that Honduras ties Nepal as the most beautiful country we have traveled through. In fact, as we got close to our destination, we noticed how much the landscape, buildings and people reminded us of Nepal. You were a champ when we pried ourselves out of the minibus and you found a corner with a tree and had a poop. There are not many babies who would ride a two hour bus, nap and nurse, then hold their poop until the diaper came off. You still amaze us everyday.
It was Sunday market in La Esperanza and this is where we met our next Couchsurfing host, Odair and three French Canadian girls, all of whom are working on 6-month contracts with Canadian based NGOs that work with Women’s Rights and Sustainable Farming. We thought it very interesting that so many people working in the not-for-profit sector are also on Couchsurfing. It seems like those who value social capital over material capital also have a healthy understanding of trust and reciprocity. We tossed our packs in their pickup truck then took some time to peruse the market and buy some produce for a vegetable soup. Visiting these markets makes us wish that we had access to a large refrigerator and that we were staying put for more than a few days because the colors and smells are captivating and the prices are fair. In this market, you can buy 26 bananas for $1, 22 oranges for $1 and a pound of sweet strawberries for $1. That’s right…strawberries! Since the climate in La Esperanza has more in common with Canada than the rest of Honduras, they are able to grow strawberries and peaches!
The girls rode in the back of the pickup and when we arrived at our room, they quickly hopped out and each grabbed a pack. Their friend Marta who was also working for the NGO just vacated her apartment since her contract was up, so the Canadians sweet talked the landlord into letting us use the apartment for a few days. We have our own room with a bathroom, a simple kitchen, a small dining area, and a mini fridge. After washing all of your diapers and hanging them on the line, we made a hearty vegetable soup, strolled around town before it became too dark, then called it a night, eager to do some more exploring when we woke.