12.02.2012 - 12.02.2012
We leave Roatan tomorrow, and nerves are all a-jangle knowing we have a 2-day journey--no, rather three--to Nicaragua, with one stop in what seems like Central America's most dangerous city. Our bus will drop us in the Comoyaguella district of Tegucigalpa, through which the guidebooks say we shouldn't walk significant distances, even in the daytime. Normally I would take such warnings with a grain of salt, but I did not relish my experiences in La Ceiba. Even Roatan belies its laid back Caribbean Island vibe: our scuba guide told us that there had been two mysterious murders recently--one of a scuba instructor and the other of the man who runs the boat between Utila (one of the other Bay Islands) and Roatan. So, yes, for now you can't get from one island to the other except through the mainland because the captain was killed. That sounds dramatic. My fear is getting the better of me.
Nonetheless, Honduras gives me a certain sensation, which I can only tie back to the way I felt reading Robert Stone's Flag for Sunrise. This sense that lives--even American lives--are cheap, that the animal nature in each of us is lurking very close beneath our skin, that in Central America anything goes, and that no one gives a damn about you. You imagine a person would kill you with a switchblade and a grin, and it may be the only time someone would smile at you. I've met the friendliest and surliest people here. There was the chicken vendor who would only answer our questions with the barest twitch of his head, the vegetable stall proprietress with her curt replies, and then there was the tour bus driver who gave us a free ride and the orange salesman who brought us to the bus stop and expected nothing of us but conversation. I cannot say how the rest of it will go--only that by the time we leave Honduras we will have criss-crossed the country by bus without having seen hardly any of it, and that's a shame.