Day 31 Copán Ruinas, Honduras

Day 31 was not a happy day my friends. I can’t even claim that it “started out well” because it didn’t. A little before eight AM I heard someone futzing with the lock whilst I was sitting around getting ready.. I spoke up but suspected the worst. Someone trying to sneak into the room and get our stuff. The lock fidgeting stopped.

About half an hour later we attempted to head to the ruins. I say “attempted” because it turns out we were locked in our room. Dachary couldn’t find the keys anywhere and it was a dual bolt deadbolt. The top one controlled by the key outside. The bottom one controlled from the inside or by closing the door.

We continued the search for the key, gave up, and eventually I looked up the Spanish word for help (ayudar) and pulled the bunk bed away from the wall so that we could open the window behind it into the common hall. I then began calmly, but repeatedly, calling for help in Spanish and English. In typical fashion one of the American backpackers down the hall told us to “Shut up”. Fortunately there were two european backpackers whom we’d met yesterday who came out to investigate. “No No. Over here” I called. She turned and looked at me. “Is there a key in the door?” “Yes” “Can you unlock it please. Someone has locked us in.” Fiddle Fiddle. “Welcome to your new freedom.” she said with a smile and went back to her room.

We should have stayed in bed.

We stopped in the first place that advertised breakfast, where a grumpy waitress brought us both Tea even though we specifically asked for Coffee for Dachary. By the end of the meal we were convinced she’d done it on purpose. When we asked for the bill she charged us for two of Dachary’s order (the most expensive of the two) instead of one of hers and one of mine. We politely suggested that no, that wasn’t what we’d gotten. She didn’t even apologize. So, if in Copan Ruinas don’t eat at Restaurante Elisa’s. The grumpy woman you have to deal with is a bitch, even if the woman in the kitchen has a kind face and a big smile.

The Tuk Tuk ride to the ruins… It was totally walkable but we weren’t quite sure where, nor were we in the mood to begin a day at the ruins by hiking an extra mile. Sadly, it was 20 Limpera, or one US dollar per person.

The ruins themselves were great, once we escaped the tour guides. They really do stand apart from all the others with the incredible carvings that have long since worn away at the others. The museum is also very well done and totally worth the money. The tunnels we’re not sure about. They’re an additional $15 US, one is only like 30 feet long, but the other was more extensive. They were created by the archaeologists as they attempted to dig through the layers of building from successive rulers building over each others. It was good because there’s no way to convey what building over other buildings is like via pictures or video, but on the other hand, it’s a fair amount of money for not much. $37 US for everything, $15 for the site, $15 for the tunnels, and $7 for the museum.

Dachary and Kay at Copan

crocodile

the old man

When Kay had hair

Afterwards we went to the on-site restaurant figuring that the prices there wouldn’t be any worse than in Copan Ruinas (total tourist trap) and they weren’t. I decided that I would eschew being a complete Americana by ordering the chalupa instead of the hamburger. Alas, the chalupa was teeny and a hamburger had to be ordered for me anyway.

Another overpriced Tuk Tuk ride back to town and it was decided we should finally get me a haircut whilst we were in a town and had time. I swung by the bike on the way since I’d left one pannier on it and it was the one with the Berloitz Passport to Spanish book which I remembered having a section on getting haircuts. When we got there we discovered that someone had stolen the MSR bottle for our stove, and the fire extinguisher off of it.

Great.

Something's missing...

Nothing to do about it after the fact. I got my book, found the section on haircuts totally useless, and looked up how to say “everywhere” about 8 times because I was too frustrated to focus and went down the street to the barber. “5 centimeters everywhere” I said, and confirmed the price (40 L) and that yes, I wanted him to chop off about a foot off the back, and restating the 5 cm with fingers spread to the appropriate distance, and noting that in two days it’d be all curly. He then set to work, giving me sides and back about 5mm long, and a top about 3 cm, emphasizing the tall skinny nature of my skull and making me look like a total dork.

My instructions weren't that bad...

It would have been something to laugh about if i wasn’t already pissed about the theft. Dachary decided that maybe Ice Cream would make things better, for her at least, and with nothing better to do, we set off.

The ice cream store was out of every flavor except vanilla, neopolitan, and cappuccino. Cappuccino it was. We sat in the shade of the central square while she ate it. We saw four people and a huge bag of something that was about the size of eighty pounds of dog food ( and appeared to weigh as much) climb into the back of a Tuk Tuk. We also saw an American hippy wearing MC Hammer pants made out of something cottony with hippy embroidery. I’d be willing to bet $5 that it was made of hemp.

We made our way back to the hotel, where we discovered that in the time we’d been gone someone had attempted to steal our tires. Fortunately they were locked to the bikes. We removed the remaining pannier, and the tires, and the gas cans (probably would have been stolen if not also locked to the bikes) and brought them up to the room.

When we got back to the room Dachary declared that I was stinky and needed a shower. I was in no position to argue so I disrobed, entered the shower, turned on the water, and began to wonder what I was doing wrong. There was only one knob. How hard could getting some slightly warm water be. We had it last night. Today though, we have scalding hot water. Scalding hot. Or cold. Eventually Dachary, who had decided to join me, and had prior experience with the device, climbed in and took over. Scalding hot, or cold.

We went with cold.

It’s 3:40 PM. We’re thoroughly annoyed by Copan Ruinas. I’m not sure if it’s locals or tourists who stole my shit. I’m leaning towards touristas, because why would you steal an MSR bottle and a mini fire extinguisher if you didn’t know what they were? MSR bottles don’t have a lot of uses and who but campers needs a tiny bottle of gas?

This of course means that our stove and kitchen supplies are all just wasted space in Dachary’s panniers at the moment. We’re crossing our fingers that we’ll find something in San Salvador, but even if a camping store exists, it’s a big franking city and we’ll be unlikely to find it. Oh, and for those who don’t remember, the last time we used the stove it wasn’t very cooperative and after cooking up some tasty meat, decided it didn’t want to burn hot enough to boil water. So, even if we do find a bottle it may not be particularly useful.

Also, we can’t find the Honduras map, and last night we attempted to dismantle my video camera to retrieve the USB socket that fell inwards, but didn’t succeed in getting the metal tube off. So, that’s in pieces, but as it wasn’t useful before it’s not really any worse off now.

Any inmates in San Salvador that can give us a hand looking for an MSR bottle and some Lithium batteries?

While, overall, today has a crappy feel, we must note that we really did love the ruins. They have a much more human feel to them than any of the others. They’re approachable, and the artwork that remains really help to transform it from ancient architectural pieces to a place where people actually used to live.

Hours later…

Neither of us wants to be here. We just want to go. The theft has left us…. unhappy with this town. We’re camping out in our hotel room watching Doctor Who hoping the hours will pass quickly. We’re not afraid to go out, we just don’t want to. We left to meander around and find food (once again I should have just gotten what Dachary did). But, we just don’t want to be in a place where people seem to want to steal from us, and we keep expecting to walk out and find the bikes gone too.

I’ve been grumpy ever since the theft and it’s annoying both of us. The hippies (yes, literal hippies) who’ve been banging their drums outside our hotel aren’t helping. And, before anyone says it, yes, we know. It’s our own damn fault the things got stolen. We could have prevented it, but our own innocence, and inexperience, led us to thinking they’d be left alone. Now we know better. I’m just grateful it wasn’t something more important or valuable.

P.S. A colony of very tiny ants seems to have set up residence in my laptop and they scurry out every time I open it.

P.P.S. As usual, a few more photos on our Flickr stream.

About Kay

An old-school geek, addicted to travel, with a love of programming, writing, Esperanto, and starting businesses. -- @masukomi on Twitter.

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