The purpose of traveling, to me, is stepping out of my comfort zone. I travel hoping to experience a life different from my own and for as long as I’m able to escape. Honduras certainly fulfilled those requirements. There were points in my adventure south of the border where I felt as if I were operating in a universe polar opposite from my standard routine. It was bliss. I hope with my next few blog entries to explain how I learned life in Honduras could be so different, yet wonderful, from my daily life in Chicago.
Visiting a third-world country caused a certain amount of anxiety on my part. Having never traveled somewhere with that classification, I didn’t now what to expect - especially in the way of cuisine options. Sara has lived in Honduras since July. She has not mentioned being on a starvation diet - just a little sick of eating rice and beans. I figured at the very least I wouldn’t starve. I could eat beans and rice for a week if need be.
Our first day in Honduras consisted of a long drive up to the north coast. It gave Kristin, Sara and me plenty of time to catch up and view the country in a way I would not have otherwise. We saw the terrain change from the burnt-colored grass and trees of Tegucigalpa in the dry season to the lush greenery of the tropical north coast. And sprinkling the side of the road throughout our journey were people selling all sorts of goods and food. At one point we stopped and bought litchi nuts - a prickly, red fruit with a sweet, pulp center. We also stopped for this sugary, fig like fruit and pollen, which I’ve been eating on my Cheerios the past week.
I describe my vacation as a Honduran roadtrip. And what is a roadtrip without pit stops. Our first stop was also my first expose to licuados - something Sara has already said she will miss greatly when she returns to the States in August. Licuados are like smoothies, only better. Made with fresh squeezed oranges or milk and additives ranging from fresh papaya, mango, strawberries and granola, they proved to be as delicious as Sara said.
As much as I would have loved to feast on licuados the entire time, we did not. What I think I ate even more of, was French fries. They were served with almost every meal I ate. Tuesday morning, we ate breakfast on a veranda overlooking the Caribbean at the Hotel Canadien . It was delicious meal of eggs, fresh fruit, toast, beans and French fries.
But beyond the very American French fry, I can say I felt very at home when we made our way to the D&D Brewery. We spent our Wednesday night in Honduras at the tiny brewery run by Bob, an ex-pat from Oregon. We cozied into our cabin nestled in the jungle, played some cards and then proceeded to stuff ourselves silly with corn dogs, onion rings, potato soup, cerviche and, in the morning, hearty blueberry pancakes. Sara has stayed at the D&D many times, with many other visitors and she told us it was a place to chill out and eat. So we did. The selection of beer wasn't all that bad either.
Needless to say, we ate well the entire trip. Something that Sara admits isn’t necessarily a daily occurrence on the ranch. Sara often says the monotony of beans, rice and hot soup leaves a lot to be desired. Kristin and I only ate one meal on the ranch. The saving grace of Sara’s diet on the ranch is the fruit. The children for the most part grow and raise their own food, but fruit, depending on what is in season, is delivered to the ranch daily. I can say if I lived in Honduras I would eat a steady diet of fresh fruits.
As Kristin and I arrived, mangos were coming into season. We stopped in the town of Tela on Thursday on our way to the ranch. We paused there to collect some souvenirs, get some cash, retrieve a hoodie for one of Sara's friends and find some bathrooms. On the way out of town, Sara stopped the car and I jumped out to buy some fresh mangoes from a roadside vendor. I purchased three small bags brimming with fresh mangoes. As Kristin, Sara and I pulled out of Tela and onto the next leg of our adventure, we ate the sweet fruit. It was mango like I have never tasted before. The juice instantly began running down my fingers and I started to understand how living life in a third-world country could certainly be sweet.