I found out early that the adventure of the day would be going to the Cedano on the Pacific Ocean. Awesome!! I love a day at the beach anytime. I had been there once before on the previous trip. La Playa de Cedano has black sands and dark blue water. I had gone to the public beach in Cedano the last time and it was during the Holy week, Easter time. It was very crowded, an obvious hot spot for the vacationing Hondurenos during this very special of weeks. The only problem was the amount of trash lying around the beach. It had been a turn off for me the last time.
But this time we would be going to a private beach near Cedano in addition to the main beach. I figured that the private beach would be a better kept area than the public beach. As expected it was better kept and had some nice homes along the coast, certainly some of the best and most modern houses I had seen in Honduras. The beach was also well kept with larger rock walls erected near the houses as a measure to protect against erosion. A serious concern after the damaging results of Hurricane Mitch in 1998.
We drove up to the beach after asking for directions on getting there. Once there everybody jumped out of the truck and headed for the beach. I had my camera with me today, so I was ready for some photos. I had no idea I would be taking some very good photos this day. It was an absolutely beautiful day with a great view of the bay area, nice blue skies and a clean beach! Ledys and Foncito followed me down to the beach where I started snapping shots of the panorama. Then they gave me some poses with the ocean waves in the background.
The other guys started walking down the beach while we were taking pictures. I had no idea what they were doing at that point; I was just having fun getting some great pictures. After snapping several I looked up and the other guys were gone. It was just me, Ledys and Foncito. So we started heading down the beach in the direction they had gone. On our way there was a large rock formation at the edge of the beach, at least during high tide as was the case. Ledys and Foncito ran over and jumped on the rock so I could take some photos of them. While I was snapping the camera, a large wave came in and surrounded the rock formation they were on. It made for some cool photos, a before and after shot.
Continuing down the beach we found the guys at one of the beach houses. It was one not in the greatest of shape, but it was in the process of being repaired. They had found a guy that was probably the caretaker of the house as he had keys to let us in and take a look. All in all it was a nice place with some potential. It needed some work, but not bad. It was on a lot that was generously sized and it had a well. Like many of the other houses along the beach it was built with the living quarters locate don the second floor with only storage rooms and a patio down below. The design was for the possibility of a high ocean during a storm so the inhabitants would be protected from any water surges.
I continued to snap more photos from the vantage of the house's upstairs balcony and from the brick patio facing the ocean, a patio that had obviously fell victim to the sea on its outer edges. The beach side patio also had some large and beautiful coconut trees providing shade and interesting framing possibilities for my photos. The guys continued to talk to the guy about the property and its cost. Apparently Douglas was considering buying a beach house and was doing his research. I believe this particular property was going for about $750,000 Lempira, or about US$42,000. Not such a bad deal for a nice beach house on the Pacific.
After the conversation everybody headed back towards the truck to continue our adventure into Cedano's public beach. On our way back I grabbed my phone to check the time when I realized it was the 29th, it was my sister's birthday. So I quickly sent her a text to wish her a Happy Day. It was interesting to be spending the holidays out of the US for the first time ever, but it had not really hit me until this moment when I thought about my sister. I was hoping they had a wonderful Christmas. I wish they could all be here with me, but maybe some day as I do plan on living here at some point in my life.
We were almost back to the truck when we noticed another house that was for sale. We asked the neighbors about the house and lo and behold they knew the lady who had the key. After a quick call she met us at the gate and let us in. This house was in much better shape than the first one. It still needed some work, but not as much as the first house. But Douglas made a good point that it might be cheaper to buy the vacant lot down the beach and build a new house from scratch than to buy and repair either of the houses we had just looked at. The land would be cheap and it would only cost about US$20-25,000 to build a new house the way they wanted it. We thanked the lady for letting us look and then we started back towards the gate. Kevin called the real estate person and found out the price for the house, which was about US$35,000 or so.
While we were standing at the gate word had got out we were there looking at the houses for sale. Now we had other people there wanting us to look at the houses they were taking care of and that were also for sale. It seemed every house was for sale that day. Maybe it was because we were Americans and they thought they could get more money for them than they otherwise could. I think many of these houses were old and falling apart, perhaps because people quit taking care of them due to bad seas or something. But definitely a nice place when the sea was calm.
We then followed the next guy to go see his house. It turned out to be the last house we looked at that day. This was the best house of the ones we had looked at. It was recently remodeled and looked much newer and more modern than any of the others. It was even completely furnished including a new Sony TV and DVD player. It had two or more beds in each of the three rooms; with one room have a set of bunk beds to sleep four. It also had two full bathrooms each with a shower.
The patio on the first level, covered by the living area of the house above, was all red tile with a nice size front yard area prior to the beach front. The front of the yard was heavily protected with the retaining walls consisting of large boulders entwined in chicken wire to hold them together. The current owner was preparing to re-do the front and build a dock out to the ocean for docking boats. He must have been doing a lot of work refurbishing this house in recent weeks. He had a container in the backyard probably full of construction tools and materials he was using to remodel. This house also had a well in the backyard to supply ample water and a foot shower on the front patio for washing off the sand when returning from the beach.
This house was under US$50,000 and included all the new furniture and appliances; he even was going to throw in the new dock as part of the deal. Sounded like a good deal, but I advised Douglas to visit Roatan and looking at property there before making his decision. Roatan, a Caribbean Island off the North shore of Honduras has white sand beaches with the most incredibly beautiful blue/green waters like those of Jamaica and other islands in the Caribbean. He should at least take a look at the opportunity up there before buying anything on this coast, even though they are significantly cheaper pacific side.
This time we departed and made it back to the truck without further showings to hold us up. We piled back into the truck and drove on in to Cedano and parked at a restaurant on the beach. We all went inside and got a table near the edge of the balcony facing the water. The restaurant was built like the houses, but the underneath was simply stilts with enough room in between them to park the cars of the patrons. Worked out well that way allowing awesome views of the goings on at the beach below while drinking a few beers and having some lunch.
There were a lot of people in the restaurant that day, but only a handful on the beach or out in the water swimming. I was surprised to see that the beaches were much cleaner than on my previous visit. That was a very good thing for me as I hate to see such beautiful places mired in human garbage. Maybe it was clean because it was not overcrowded like it was during Holy Week a couple years back. Hopefully, it will be a standard that the local people hold dear and keep the place tidy all year!
Anyway, once we were seated Anibel ordered everyone a Coke. It was a tasty treat after looking at all those houses in the hot sun. While we were having our refreshment I noticed there was a table with another American behind us and another table with a lot of cute Honduras boys. I sat in the seat with the best view of the cute boys, which incidentally was right over the shoulders of Ledys and Foncito, a double whammy!
The Coke was almost empty and I was wondering if I should get another when Anibel sent Ledys off to get some Barena. I couldn't pass up my new favorite beer, so we started to drink. I even took a photo of my three empty beer bottles next to a pack of Belmont, a Honduras brand of cigarettes. I had to get a shot of my vices to remember them.
Ledys and Foncito decided they were going to go swimming in the ocean, so went and changed into shorts and headed down to the beach. I went closer to the railing on the balcony to steady my camera and get some good shots of the boys swimming. They were a little distance away, so I had to use 12x zoom, which is all calculated after 3x zoom, so any shaking in my hands would blur the photos. I took a lot just in case so I would be sure to get some goods ones. None of them turned out to be great, but there were a few decent ones worth hanging on to.
In addition the Ledys and Foncito, the American that was sitting behind us had finished his dinner too and had ventured down to the beach with his friend. On the beach he started doing gymnastic moves flipping and somersaulting in the sand. He was trying to teach his friend, who I assume to be a Hondureno, how to do the moves. He was a very cute, young American and his friend was very handsome as well. It was fun to watch them do their flips. After a few minutes his friend had exited the beach to return in his underwear. Now he had my full attention. He was even more handsome in his skivvies out there turning flips and doing somersaults!
While we were drinking beer Nahum asked if I was hungry, and I told him I was not that hungry. Douglas and I had eaten at a restaurant on our way to Cedano so we were not too hungry, but that is not to say I couldn't eat. Before I knew it five platters of food came to the table perfectly timed with the return of Ledys and Foncito from the water. The other guys had ordered some fish. The fish came out fully displayed on the plate with their heads and scales. Included were some banana chips and tortillas. It looked really good, which made my mouth start to water. But I did not get one as I had said I wasn't that hungry - if I had only known the consequences of what I would be missing.
Luckily, Anibel made me a fish taco with one of his tortillas and added some pickled vegetables and salsa to it. I can't begin to tell you how good this fish was, but I could not and didn't want to stop eating it! After I completed the first taco, Ledys had been working on making me a second one from his plate. Believe it or not I found room to take the second one in too without any problems. They were fairly large tacos, so I was quite full afterwards and relaxed into my chair continuing to sip down the Barena.
After eating Ledys and Foncito returned to the water and were jumping off of each other's shoulders as I tried to get some more shots. While they played I also took a few shots of the birds flying over the water. As it turns out I was a little educated on the types of birds out there flying. They were very similar, and certainly of the same families, as the bird species I had been reading about in my Galapagos book. The Frigates were the large bird flying around harassing the smaller birds. I knew the reason why was that the Frigates do not have sufficient oil on their feathers to dive and catch fish lest they risk the chance f getting water logged. So they harass the other fishing birds trying to get them to drop their catch, and when they do the Frigate will quickly swoop down and grab the fish right out of the water. They are the pirates of the ocean air!
There was also some lazy acting Pelicans in the bay as well. Most of them were flocking around the fishing boats further out waiting for a chance to snag a fish out of the fishermen's net. They are always on the look out for the handout. I did see a few in flight and tried to get some shots, but my camera does not handle the smaller, moving objects off in the near distance. I will have to try and get a way better camera before heading down tot the Galapagos.
After resting for a little while allowing the food and beer to settle it was time to go. Everybody started for the truck when I turned to Anibel and asked for he keys. I was joking that it was my turn to drive. But they didn't take it as joke and let me drive. I do not think I had driven in Honduras before this. I always had either Nahum or Anibel drive me around, so now I would get a chance to drive in this country. You definitely have to keep a watchful eye on all the other vehicles on the road because they did not always seem to follow the rules. The style of driving is much more selfish and everybody thinks they own the road passing you if you are slower than them, even if another car is coming up!
I did not have much trouble though and drove over the next town. This town had severe speed bumps forcing me to have to almost stop at each one and ease over them, if I didn't I would have tossed the boys out of the back. On the other side of this town I was instructed to take a right turn onto one of the residential streets. We were going to stop by Alphonso's house, the father of Foncito. Without any doubt we had wondered into one of those neighborhoods where you know you are in the third world. A very poor place with a lot of houses not meeting modern standards, certainly a way of living in which most Americans could not fathom.
We stopped at Alphonso's house but he was not home yet. He was out working as a salesman, but I never understood what it is he was selling. We did stay a few minutes visiting with his wife and asked her where we could get some coconuts. We were out of them back at the house and they were supposed to be more sweet this close to the ocean and the salt water. She told us that the guy at the end of the street had some coconut trees and would sell us some, so off we went.
We drove the block and took a look at the trees. They were loaded with fruit. Kevin and Nahum struck the deal with the lady living there and Ledys climbed up the stalk of the coconut tree with his bare hands. Once up there he realized he needed a machete to cut the coconuts free from the tree. The old man that lived in the house slowly trotted out with the machete to pass up to Ledys. He was definitely an old man, but I would have never pegged him to be 106 years old! But sure enough he was. It was amazing to find a man who lived in such rough conditions in a very poor third world country living a life of more than 100 years. But here was living proof.
The old man also had brought some rope out to help with passing up the machete. Foncito took the rope and threw it up towards Ledys, but it went over the power line. After he pulled the rope back down for another try another local guy came by and took a shot at it. He got the rope to Ledys and they tied the machete to the other end so he could pull it up to use it. Now that the machete was up there he was able to make quick with the cutting job.
While we were waiting I noticed a large stuffed, scarecrow looking thing on the balcony of one of the houses nearby. I had seen several around during the last week in people's yards in outside the front doors of many shops. I had asked a few times before their significance, but I do not think people really understood what I was talking about, or at least could not tell me what they were, not knowing my language. Kevin and I took off for the pulperia down the street and I asked him about them on our way. He said that it was a tradition for New Year's celebrations in Honduras. People would make and stuff a Muņeca (means 'doll' in Spanish) as a symbol for the year coming to an end. In addition to crate paper used as stuffing, the people would also load in some fireworks. At the close of the current year they set off the fireworks and blow up the muņeca symbolizing the end of the year, one in which could be put behind them in favor a new year holding more promise.
Ledys was still cutting down the last group of coconuts as we were returning to the group with Cokes in hand. We passed out the Cokes and stood around a few more minutes waiting for Ledys to finish the job. While I was waiting I noticed a humming bird getting nectar from the flowers of a nearby tree. I grabbed the camera and started shooting. Again, it was a case of a 12x zoom even though I was not that far from the tree, but it was a small bird in constant movement as is typical of a humming bird. I took a lot of photos trying to steady the camera, but they all came out pretty fuzzy. I did get one while it was in motion and one while it was perched taking a quick break. They were good enough to recognize the form of the bird, but nothing I could clearly identify the markings of such a beautiful creature. I also saw a bright green bird in the tree next to the one with the humming bird, so I grabbed a couple of shots of it too. He was a bit larger and his photos came out slightly better than those of his smaller cousin.
At this point Ledys was done and had shimmied down the tree and loaded up the fruits of his labor. Nahum paid the lady at the house for the fruit and we loaded up ready to head home. We did stop back by Alphonso's house to say goodbye to his wife. Then we made our way back to the ranch. It was Douglas' last night, so Melida was sure to throw a big fiesta to send him off properly.
Again the front room was cleared to make room for a dance floor and the new stereo was put into use blasting some reggaetone music. Someone had not forgotten the Barena and we drank and danced through the evening. I loaded the pictures of the day into the computer, which took a while as I had so many that day. While everybody was waiting to look at the photos I put the battery on charge. This was a good thing because soon enough everybody wanted their picture taken. And, because it was Douglas' last day everybody wanted a shot with him.
Of course, with digital cameras it is easy enough to get as many photos as you want to take, and on this night it was used a lot. We posed with the family for many, many photos including a full family shot. We got everybody (well most of them anyway) together in the living room for the shot and lined them up. I set the cameras on timing and set up the shot. I got it focused, hit the button and hurried to my spot just prior to the flash of the camera going off. We repeated this protocol three times to make sure we got a good one. We did get the good one and then went back to partying while Foncito took the camera and started shooting his own pics of me and the other members of the family. I definitely have no shortage on the family photos. I want to take them and frame up a bunch as a gift to Melida on my next visit.
By the end of the night we had run out of Barena, so we got out the grain alcohol again and Anibel mixed us a drink with the alcohol and the water from the coconuts we had got that day. It turned out to be a very tasty and sweet beverage. But the grain alcohol was still very strong, so we got a little bit lit off that drink. Finally everybody started winding down and off to bed we all went. Another day had come to a close and tomorrow we were driving into Tegucigalpa to take Douglas to the airport. So we needed our rest as this was a long drive there and then back, roughly three hours each way. Now we just had to wait for the roosters to give us our cue and then shit, shower and shave to be ready for the journey the next morning.