Adventure in Honduras

Life has ripples.  There should be no doubt about it.  Sometimes everything is simple, obvious and quick.  Other times those ripples take longer to splash at us.  But, things in the past can certainly cause events to happen in the future.  Things that we could never imagine!

I’m a creature of habit.  When I arrived in Copán Ruinas, I considered for a moment going to a nicer hotel in the town square.  It would have cost more.  It would have been convenient.  But, I already knew where I would stay.  Humberto found me as I got down from my bus the last time I visited.  I was going back to at Casa Lastenia.  It was part of my ripple experience.  Going there once was enough to bring me back.

And, I’m so glad I did!

At a nice hotel, you rarely get a family experience.  That’s what I received, and it really wasn’t because I stayed with them last year.  I remembered my hosts.  Sad to say, I didn’t make an impression.  They didn’t recognize me.  There was no red carpet thrown out to welcome the most non-famous world famous artist to ever cross their steps.  Nope, a 24 hour visit just didn’t do it.  However, Humberto vaguely remembered the story about my luggage.  Well, at least he said he did.

The second stay was a totally different experience.  I stayed with them.  I worked on my laptop at their kitchen table, the center of their home.  Eventually, I ate my meals with them.  Yes, I was swept up into the lives of Humberto and Gilma.  And, of course, after they found me a wall to paint at the orphanage, they both came to paint with me.  I made enough of an impression that I’d be remembered from now on.

Part of being swept up into a Honduran family is meeting some of the rest of the family.  My hosts spoke very little English.  It was a great way for me to practice my pathetic Spanish.  But, I was delighted when Gilma’s brother showed up speaking perfect English.  I would have been happy with pathetic English!

Inmar said he’d return with some photos to help me plan my mural.  He showed up after 9:00 one night, well after the design was completed.  Even though he was too late to make any difference, I wanted to see his pictures.  And, I was completely blown away.  He had photos of his Mayan dance troupe, in full make-up and costumes, that were exactly the kind of thing I craved when I travel.  Portraits!  Portraits!  Portraits!  Was there any chance that they would perform while I was in town?


As luck would have it, they were!  A ceremony was planned to be held at the Mayan archaeological site of Copán, just outside of town.  Yes, I salivated at the thought of getting Mayan portraits while at the historic site. The dance troupe ranged in size from five to eighty performers, depending on the event.  I didn’t care how many participated as long as I had the opportunity to take photos. 

Copán is a UNESCO Heritage Site and was the capital of the region when the Mayacivilization flourished between the 5th and 9th centuries AD.  It’s the main reason why anyone and everyone comes to Copán Ruinas.  And, this celebration was not just for anyone or everyone.  It certainly wasn’t for the most non-famous world famous artist to ever visit Copán.  It was for the President of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández, and the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon!

I would have missed it if I hadn’t come back to Casa Lastenia!  What a neat ripple!


The best part of this ripple started atop Casa Lastenia up on the terrace.  Nobody told me that was where the Mayan troupe came for make-up and wardrobe.  I got to watch a group of normal looking teenage boys in jeans and t-shirts transform into Mayan warriors that I couldn’t recognize.  Again, I would have missed all of this if I’d stayed anywhere else.

Once the group was transformed, we climbed into the back of a pickup truck and headed to Copán.  I was designated the official photographer of the group which gave me access to the museum that envious tourists and much of the press outside were denied.  I loved every moment of it.  And, as official photographer, I just had to take a lot of portraits.  I could never have imagined this opportunity.

Chaos reigned as the President and Secretary General of the United Nations arrived.  I was part of the sixty or so people permitted in the museum.  I got close photos of them.  However, I didn’t get to shake hands and greet Ban Ki-moon.  When the dignitaries had their luncheon, I was not permitted in the area.  Instead of lingering around, my sense of duty to my mural took over.  It had to be completed by the next day, so I went on to the orphanage to paint. 

Perhaps my sense of obligation deprived me of an opportunity.  I learned later that the two celebrities had to have their photos taken with “my” troupe.  Okay, so I missed a photo opportunity, but I already had portraits taken of much better looking people.

Copyright 2015 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.