First of all, I should wish you a Happy New Year and a great belated Christmas. I’ve spent indulging like the rest of you, as well as creating the website for my business, which will be online in 2015, wedding stuff and house stuff. A nice break from work, but also a time of resolutions and building a bright 2015. Jobs, weddings, moving house, business; it’s going to be a big year.
Yesterday, I spent the morning in one of my favourite towns in the world, let alone Honduras, which is the beautiful Santa Lucía. I have written about it before, although I never grow tired of its ambience and I go back as often as I can. One issue which really frustrates me about Tegucigalpa is that it’s not that easy to leave it for a good day out if you’ve not got your own transport. The bus stations are dotted about Comayaguela, sometimes parked up dodgy side streets where it’s not clever to hang around for long, which is a kind of must with Tegucigalpa’s buses. They have their own schedule i.e. when they feel they have filled the bus substantially enough, then they go. Even though it is about time I bought my own car after three to four years year (next week will be four years since I first came to Honduras, and this week is the four year anniversary of my love affair with this blog), I like catching the buses here and listening to the animated chatter and the unsophisticatedness of it all; it almost reminds me of catching the number 11 back home. That’s an interesting non stopping trip in itself (I was once chased off the bus by a man in a vest feeding his rottweiler kebab meat!). Going back to transport links, it’s never that easy to leave. To get down to Amapala means catching two buses, with maybe a long break in between. Once you arrive, you feel you’ve made such an effort that the thought of returning the same day doesn’t encourage anyone. That goes for anywhere more than two hours away by bus. Comayagua, Esperanza, Danli and Pespire, maybe, are just within. Otherwise you’re stuck with just a handful of touristy places, consisting of La Tigra (well worth it), Valle de Angeles (also great), Ojojona (great for buying cheap crafts), Yuscaran (pleasant but not a fat lot to do but see the various shrines to the dead), Tatumbla (where the whole Honduran adventure started), Cataranas (never been), Picacho (a strange zoo, but with amazing views, nice gardens and lovely statue of Jesus) and Santa Lucía (my favourite). I might be leaving others out. 2014 hasn’t been my best travelling year in Honduras. But I am just saying bus at the moment. If you know of any other bus’able places, do correct me.
I remember when I went to Santa Lucía for the first time. It must have March 2011. I went alone after a friend who said she would take me had to work at the last minute. I felt a bit lonely and pissed off to be honest. Catching the bus on the other side of the road to San Felipe Hospital, I was nervous and paranoid about being robbed. These days, I’m so worryingly chilled about it that it makes me wonder if I’m being a bit too chilled. Off we went. I had an old lady sitting next to me who I kept asking if we were there yet. I almost got off at El Chimbo by mistake. But I made it and strolled un yonder, up to the cross and down to the church, being extremely relaxed. I had a homemade paleta (ice lolly) by a sweet granby who way to generous with the rum with the rum and raisin lolly. I then sat by the lagoon, read a book and got sunburnt, turning me beetroot red. Well, yesterday wasn’t that dissimilar, as I got sunburnt again, half sleeping, half reading Alistair Cooke’s Letters from America (a book that I can only dip into once in a while).
Santa Lucía is different from most towns in Central America, actually, which usually has a plaza outside the town’s cathedral or at least close by. Not the case with Santa Lucía, which has a plaza at the bottom of some steep steps up to the cross on a hill. The church sits pleasantly in a separate corner of the town, in front of an astonishing hilly landscape of pine trees, which let off a ghostly whistle as they gently sway from the constant mountain breezes, and the arse end of Tegus in the distance. There is a shaman like tea cafe that sits to the left of the church and not far is a library named after Guillmero Yuscaran (in English he is known as William Lewis), a North American Honduran painter and writer, who I’ve enjoyed various works and reported on the blog. Apparently he still lives in Santa Lucía by the lake, which is filled with terrapins. I went to the library and did some writing, as well as see a few works of art.
Unfortunately the tea place and the church was closed. However, it didn’t stop me from enjoying it, just like the first time I went. There is a tranquil buzz. Maybe due it’s proximity with nature, because it is kind of in La Tigra National Park.
Most tourists combine Valle de Angeles and Santa Lucía in one day, but there is a great contrast to the two towns. I like Valle, which is a great selling hub for Tegucigalpa’s artists and craft makers, as well as many nice eateries, whereas Santa Lucía has maybe less to do, but it is less touristy and more residential giving it a more homely and friendly charm. A nice corner of the world. Correct me. A beautiful corner of the world. I prefer it to Valle de Angeles for the above reasons. I can go alone but not feel alone, feeling content with my anonymity, where I can’t do that in Valle. It makes it one of my favourite getaways in the world. Kind of a secret one. I feel I’m betraying my secret by writing about it to all you riff-raff. Clear off.
Kind of an anniversary of sorts, with being happy and lonesome in this sweet tranquil haven. Definitely not down abd out in the beautiful Santa Lucía.
Happy New Year folks!