After a great time in El Salvador I continued my journey to Honduras. This country had also aroused my curiosity. The name of the capital alone, "Tegucigalpa", could not sound more exotic.
From my last stop in El Salvador, El Tunco, I first returned to San Salvador, from where an international bus company, the Tica bus, brought me directly to Tegucigalpa. In front of the small bus building in San Salvador there was, as so often, a security guard with a shotgun. Behind the passengers were waiting for the bus in the pleasantly air-conditioned room.
Sweating to get into the country
We reached the Salvadoran-Honduran border, where long waiting times are common. The Honduran immigration authorities are very strict. Fingerprints and a photo were taken. Will this help to reduce the world's highest murder rate? Before it's your turn, you're sweating in a hot little house with all the other waiting people, so I longed for the air-conditioned bus waiting room again.
When I got back on the bus, the border police officer walked through the rows and occasionally looked in the pockets of the passengers. He also took a close look at my bag and found my beautiful knife, which I had bought in Guatemala and made big eyes. I explained to him that it was a "recuerdo", a souvenir and I could keep it. In order not to get into such a situation again, I later sent the knife from Mexico to Germany by parcel. It was never meant to arrive there - what a pity!
I arrived at the bus station of Tegucigalpa at about 8 pm. There the policeman explained to me that I should better leave here quickly, as the area is considered dangerous here in the dark. Together with an Argentinean I shared a taxi, during the ride even more passengers got on. The taxi dropped us off at our destination, the Palmira Hostel. It is the only hostel in the whole city. This alone shows how few tourists visit this city.
Shortly after I reached my hostel, I went together with a Costa Rican to a gas station, where I could taste the traditional Honduran dish "Baleada" for the first time.
A rundown city center
The next morning I met with a Honduran friend. Together we walked to the center of the city. When I took out my cell phone to check the way, she called me energetically to not show my cell phone on the street and advised me to use it in a shop. The danger of being mugged is just too high. Even if it seemed a bit overcautious, as a psychologist she had every reason to be so afraid of all the horror stories she has to listen to regularly (like rapes in public buses). As a result, I pulled out my cell phone a few times to take pictures. Anyway, the center of the Honduran capital is not one of the most beautiful in the world. It made a very shady impression. The houses are all very small and partly run down. Most of all I noticed the enormous power cable tangle. The cables don't run underground like in Germany, but get tangled up in an extreme tangle between the individual masts in an elevated position. There is also a whole heap of dirt on the cables (probably from birds). According to reports, people here have already been killed by electric shocks when one of the countless cables fell to the ground.
Staying in a gated community
I spent a total of 3 nights in this city. 2 nights I spend in a military-camp like hostel. In my room there were 16 people in total and the water for showering was literally freezing cold. I spent another night in an Airbnb accommodation to plan my stay in Honduras. The accommodation was in a gated-community, a closed flat-sharing community behind bars with private security. The family was very nice and made me something for dinner. Later I walked alone at night to the supermarket, which was only a few minutes walk away. But this alone made the Honduran family so worried that they made sure by whatsapp that I arrived safely at the accommodation.
There I also met a Romanian-Nicaraguan couple who were in Nicaragua for an event. The Nicaraguan is politically active in his country and due to the tense political situation there he is now classified as "Persona non grata" and fled to Europe.
The next morning the mother of the family took me to the bus station where I wanted to take a bus to the Atlantic coast of Honduras. The mother works in the trace investigation, so she has a lot to do in Honduras and therefore has the special license for fast driving. Almost the whole trip she gave full throttle and in no time I reached the bus station
The family had strongly advised me against the bus company Cristiana, with whom I wanted to go to La Ceiba. A week before, a group of women had attacked a bus of this company on behalf of the local youth gangs. The bus caught fire and the bus driver and the attackers were killed. I would have had the choice to choose a much more expensive bus, with darkened windows and more comfort, but I did not want this luxury.
Visiting the panoramic Picacho statue
About 2 weeks later I returned to Tegucigalpa and had booked a room with the Honduran family again. I had been looking forward to seeing them again. However, almost the whole family was on a trip abroad in the USA, only the brother of the landlady stayed behind and welcomed me. This time I got a bigger room, but with worse internet reception and also with a surveillance camera. This was a little strange feeling, as I did not know if the camera was activated or not. Such cameras are installed in many places in the house.
Anyway, the next day I drove to the Picacho statue. No, it's not a Pokémon statue, but rather a 20-metre tall Jesus statue looking out over the city from a hill. The statue is surrounded by the Picacho National Park and is also visible from the city at night because it is illuminated. Lillian, my Honduran friend, advised me to take a private radio taxi there. She was afraid to take the public buses because of the horror stories her patients had told her. The taxi there would have cost nearly $20. I took a taxi to the center instead and from there I took a local bus to the national park. Another unforgettable bus ride. It was Saturday and the market was just over, so all the market vendors with their belongings poured into the bus to go back home. I was one of the first to get on the bus and luckily got a seat. But it was not very comfortable, as there were so many passengers in the bus that the fat backside of one of them was hanging right in front of my face.
I got out of the bus and walked the last meters to the entrance of the national park. Situated on a hill, one enjoys a wonderful view from the national park to the city that is located on the plateau. Also the statue of Jesus is not less beautiful than the one in Rio de Janeiro. No wonder that a large group of American missionaries has gathered here to discuss their conversion activities. Many families and groups of friends walked there or had picnics to recover from the noise of the big city of Tegucigalpa. As I stood directly under the statue of Jesus, I heard the sounds of gunfire several times. Sadly, in Honduran cities this is part of everyday life. One Honduran tried to frighten me and told me that they were targeting foreigners like me. Yeah, yeah. A little later I returned to the centre by bus and took a normal taxi to my house. For a moment I felt a bit queasy as the taxi driver drove in the opposite direction, back to the National Park, past the poorer quarters. Where was the guy taking me?
He only made this detour to avoid the traffic jam in the centre. He had no bad intentions. He only had a pigeon on his conscience, which we pulverized on our way back by car.
Vall de Ángeles
The next day I visited Vall de Ángeles, a small village about 22 kilometers in the northeast of Honduras, which can be easily reached by a small minibus. The village is very popular with tourists because of its colonial architecture, crafts and the surrounding landscape. The cloud forest La Tigra, which is known for its biodiversity and beautiful hiking trails, is located in the immediate vicinity. Those who visit the village on Sundays as I did, have to expect a lot of visitors. In a restaurant I waited so long that the waiting time was too long for me and I left it without food.
My last day in Honduras I spent with souvenir shopping. But I found only one souvenir shop in the capital. In the evening I booked a bus back to Guatemala City and from there a flight back to Mexico City. The reason for the return to Mexico was a big music festival, where the German band Rammstein should also perform.