Adventure Almost in Honduras

The bus across Guatemala on the way to Honduras was called “first class”, but I was not convinced.  Yes, there was air conditioning which I greatly appreciated.  I was told there was a toilet, but I never had to check that out.  There were no assigned seats.  You got what you got, and for many people, it was standing room only.  I will never be convinced that anyone must stand in “first class”.
Once in Chiquimula, I transferred to the chicken bus going further south to the border.  And, in case you are wondering, I did see a woman with a handbag that moved and clucked.  It was, however, zipped up so it didn’t smell. 

I was crammed into a space with four adults that should have only held three.  When one man finally left, I stretched out my leg so far that the Honduran man next to me smiled and spoke in English.  He and his girlfriend were delightful.  And, I was distracted.  You should never let yourself get distracted while traveling in unique situations.  Life has taught me that lesson over and over.  I was about to learn it again.

Just like at any border crossing, I had to get out of the van, passport in hand, and go to immigrations.  I did this with no problem on the Guatemalan side.  Then, I looked at my new Honduran friends and asked, “Where is the van?”  I thought the same van would take us on to Copán.  Unfortunately, it only went as far as the border.  My van, with my luggage on top, had already turned around and headed to parts unknown and towns I´d never remember.  I’d never left my luggage before.

I remained calm.  The luggage mainly held clothing.  It was all replaceable.  There would not be much sentimental loss.  The real goodies were with me in my backpack.  Still, I needed some clothes.  I didn’t think there was much hope in getting a ride to the previous town.  Trying to locate an elusive chicken bus that I would never recognize would be next to impossible.  I was sure the contents of my luggage would already be passed around between a local family before I ever found that chicken bus, if I ever found the chicken bus. Well, they wouldn’t enjoy the clothing until most of it was washed.  I needed laundry service and soon! 

I raced back through immigrations into Guatemala, but like I said, my luggage was long gone.  One man aware of the situation told me to go to the police.  Very conveniently, a police station was just across the street.  Now, I know my Spanish is terrible, but I can pretty much tell anyone anything that needs to be communicated if they are patient enough to endure hear my Spanish.  And, this was one of those times when communication was needed.  I explained the whole problem. And, the police were patient.

Actually, my story didn´t faze the officer.  I´m sure it wasn’t the first time a crazy gringo lost luggage.  The officer knew the van was white.  I added that my bag was blue.  He called ahead to the next police checkpoint.  The van, and more importantly my luggage, had not passed by there yet.  My luggage would be collected and returned in a few minutes.  It was the only time in all of my travels that I was happy for a police checkpoint.

And, everything worked out just that way it was supposed to!

As we waited, I bought the police officers a cola.  When two more arrived, with my bag in hand, I shook hands with everyone and then took their picture circled around my luggage.  Everyone smiled.  Everyone, I´m sure, had a good laugh at the foolish gringo’s expense.  And, everyone surely knew they made my day.

Copyright 2015 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.