Day 6 Tegucigalpa

 

Today is overcast and cloudy, yep, situation normal for Tegucigalpa. As we are in a 3 sided valley at nearly 1000 metres, the clouds gather on the hills and kind of roll over the top down in to the city in the morning, itís quite pretty. They burn off later in the day and at the moment there is a gentle breeze blowing thatís not really warm, although we are all still in t-shirts and shorts. You could wear jeans and a shirt and still not be hot though, which is great for the team. Itís certainly not as hot as Houston. Best guess would be very early 20ís.

After yesterdayís excursion, some of us decided we wanted to go back to the Ďpoorer areasí and do some wandering, so I have been to the hotel desk to try and hire an interpreter and a van to take us out.

Their advice was not to go there on foot.

Sounds like good advice to me!

So, plan B is now being hatched and we are looking at the same plan, but heading out of the city to perhaps a small village that we can be real tourists in, and safe. The kids, or young adults as they like to be called, wonít be going. Itís a shame, but safety first.

This is our "why we feel safe" photo

Everyoneís tired, although in very high spirits and as the tournament gets closer, they get more and more nervous, excited, apprehensive, and energetic!                 See below

Oh, yes, after reading this morningís messages, a few corrections for you. Firstly, Burger King is $45 Lempira, which is not $45 NZ, itís only $4.50 NZ!

We are the only team in the hotel, apparently our hosts brought the other teams packs with them and we thought they were here with us, so to date, we havenít seen anyone else yet.

Scratch that last statement, the Argentine team has just arrived.

Hola Argentina, buenos dias amigos!

This morning the team had a training session in the car park, just fitness work, but they worked hard. Then off to the pool to cool off and do some team building.

Part of this included dragging Dan into the pool after pushing in Mike and Dave. This is him just going in.

So, it is now 5:30 and we have just gotten back from our trip to the mountains, and what a trip, it was great. Best of all, it was safe and we found a small town that had a huge variety of shops, and even better we are looking at taking the young adults tomorrow! But I am getting ahead of myself.

At 1:pm the adults gathered in the lobby to wait for Senor Cesar Reconco, in fact, hereís his business card (and my hand, hopefully you can enlarge it and read the writing).

Anyway, Cesar is a terrific guy with quite a sense of humour, he speaks very good English and was our driver and interpreter for the afternoon. And here he is!

I had a good chat with him on the way and learned the following.

The street beggars are not supported by the government. There is no unemployment benefit (unemployment is 40% here) and their only source of income is begging, apparently the locals donít support them much either. Petrol here is about half the price it is in NZ.

Oh, and something else I learnt was that Tegucigalpa is a much safer place today. Apparently the government had enough 2 years ago and arrested all the gang chiefs, so there are not as many guns around, and the crime rate has dropped significantly. Safer and safer every day!

Remember all those power lines hanging down. Well Cesar told me that the locals do just climb the poles and attach wires when ever they feel like it. Many of them get electrocuted (well Duh!), and the power company has recently gone bust.

Our first stop was the beautiful village of Santa Lucia. This is the village church which is 400 years old.

Unfortunately it was locked, which it isnít usually so we couldnít get inside.

Anne made the comment that it was alright for me to put her picture on the website, but where is mine. Well here it is. Blocking the view in what would have been a nice scenery shot.

The trip continued at a mind numbing top speed of 60 kmh, not because of the roads which were a bit windy, but because of all the swerving we had to keep doing to avoid people and animals. See below.

After Santa Lucia, we traveled more windy roads to this tourist town with an unpronounceable name (journalist talk for forgetting to write it down). There we were amazed at the shops, shops, and more shops. Thank goodness I didnít have the wife with me, however other husbands were not so lucky as their wives descended on the town with a fervent determination, gleefully as happy as a hemophiliac flea on a St Bernard.

This is the shop I brought something in, not saying what either, but you can guess. This gorgeous little girl was having her birthday today, just like Sam and me, only she was eight. When I asked her mother if I could take her picture, she got up and stood next to the piñata she had been making. How cool is that!

Some of us also walked into a factory making boxes and other wooden trinkets etc by mistake (no it wasnít me). But the manager graciously allowed us to take the workers pictures. I think he thought the whole thing was pretty funny. Stupid tourists!

 

We spent more time in the town with the unpronounceable name than we should have, and missed seeing the last town. However the upside of this is like I said, Mike decided that it was such a great place, and a safe place, that he asked me to negotiate a price with Cesar (no pun intended) to bring the kids up tomorrow.

On the way back down the mountain, there was this small truck trying to pass us. The driver was getting pretty keen, and finally managed to pass closer to town. It turned out to be an orange juice delivery truck. Not really exciting you think? Neither did I until I saw the shotgun sticking out of the window on the passengers side. Now that either gives a whole new meaning to the term "riding shotgun", or orange juice here is very expensive.

So, that was pretty much the day that the adults had. The kids however had an adventure all their own, and since I wasnít on their trip, I have cleverly engaged the services of Jess Walker to tell you all about it. Should come through in the next report.