Thursday, 11 June 2009

Gracias to San Pedro

In the end Gracias turned out to be a very pleasant little town with cobbled streets, a restaurant doing precolumbian dishes and another with a fantastic terrace view.  If I had been with a group so we could hire a guide for the mountaina I would have srayed a few days but instead I pushed on.

Contrary to the guidebooks the best way from Gracias to San Juan is not in the back of a truck, instead there are minibuses that cover the route easily, I even got to sit in the front where I had more room. San Juan turned out to be nothing more than two shops at a crosroads but there was already a public bus waiting for La Esperanza, another yellow north American school bus, how do they get here, are they bought straight from theschools or gradually sold south migrating as they age? Maybe the end of the road in Panama is littered with the rusting remains of buses.

The bus struggled for a few hours over dirt tracks to reach La Esperanza, which was arguably not worth the effort.

If Gracias had dust from the construction work, La Esperanza was almost nothing but dust amd rubbish, something that Gracias, which seems to have a little civic pride, largely avoided.  There was a viewpoint overlooking the town so I took one photo.

The centre of the town is dominated by a large prison and police station and the whole place looks like it colud use a good sctub.  The hotel was clean enough except for the shower (of which we shall not speak) but the windows wereunscreened and for the first time I used the mosquito net.  I ate in anearly empty restarant but to be fair the meal of fried beef  and onions was delicious, delivered on a sizling hot plate with good chips on the side.   On my way back to the hotel I passed a local bar showing football and decided to look in, the match was Honduras v El Salvador, if you dont know why thar matters look up The Football War sometime, I only stayed for the first half as I wasnt sure how the crowd would react if they lost but the place seemed nice enough in a sparse sort of way. A large courtyard had been roofed over with tin sheets and bottled beer was sold from a little shack on one side while the match was projected on a whitewashed wall.

I returned to the hotl and read for a while then turned on the TV to find that Honduras had won and that the goal I saw was the only one.  The locals celebrated by driving roundand round in pick up trucks with people cheering in the back but nothing else seemed to happen so I went to bed.  I was woken at about 4am by voices just outside my room, then a knock on the door, I was half awake and grunted, a voice said something in Spanish that might have been "Como te llamo" (how am I named) butthen I heard footstrps moving aWAY.  A few minutes later there was a loud bang from the street, it could have been fireworks or a car backfirirng but it could not.  I lay awake and there were a series of such bangs, usually two at a time but then a long silence, eventually they stopped and I drifted back to sleep.  I woke at seven and left as quickly as possible for the bus station.

At this point I had planned to visit the D and D brewery at Lago Yojoa, which was supposedly very good but the latest news is that the owner has left, possibly to deal with a divorce and the place has gone downhill. So I returned to the city to decide what to do next, Im currently at Tamarindo Hostel, which is pleasantly cool and shady and not sure whar ro do with the next ten days.

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