We were flying on a small commuter aircraft to Houston where we would have a four hour layover. But the ride was smooth and we got to Houston without incident. It was 5:00 am so we were all very tired at this point yet none of us could sleep to well at the airport. So we waited in a little agony. I must say thank goodness for the iPod!!! With it and Kelly Clarkson I got through the wait with relative ease.
Finally, they called for us to board the flight to Tegucigalpa! It was about a quarter after 9:00 Saturday morning. We boarded and then made out way to Honduras. I really liked flying Continental because they actually fed us. I am pretty sure it is the only US airline to still feed there passengers at meal time. I wish they still had a hub in Denver because I think I would fly them more often.
The ride to Honduras went by very quickly; before we knew it we were approaching the Tegucigalpa airport, a scary approach to say the least. It appeared the wings on either side were only inches from hitting the mountains. But we landed safely as always. The airport had been much revised since my prior visit. Now there were jetways instead of the big ladders to get us off the plane. Furthermore, the customs and immigration areas were all new and had updated equipment. I am sure the US had something to do with it in regard to improving their security for the terrorism purposes. But nonetheless it was good to see the new facilities.
Immigration went fast and we got our luggage out in customs quick enough as well. Once out it was a zoo! So many people were waiting for their loved ones to arrive. Kevin and Anibel were both waiting for us out there and lucky for us they found us first. Kevin guided the baggage carriers to the truck and helped them unload the bags. Anibel took Douglass and Nahum to the guy who exchanged money - it was a guy and not a formal booth! But after that we loaded up, shook off the beggars and got on our way to the ranch.
We only made one stop on the way and that was at a restaurant to have some food. Oddly enough this restaurant did not have the typical Honduras meal, so we had Beef skewers and grilled chicken instead. It was good! We also discovered our new favorite beer in Honduras. Previously I had drunk either Imperial or Port Royal beer while here. But Anibel suggested we try Barena beer. It was certainly the better of the three. Then after finishing the meal we loaded up for the remainder of the journey to the ranch. It was a long couple of hours before we made it in safely.
But we did make it where we were greeted by the family. Everybody was on hand to welcome us home. It was so good to see everybody again. For Douglas being his first time I am sure it was a bit overwhelming to have so many strangers coming at you hugging you and very graciously welcoming you into their home. But I knew that soon enough he would know them all by name just like I had done on my first visit. These are the nicest, most giving people I have ever met. I truly love this family and enjoy my time visiting with them. I am so happy I met Nahum and could have these experiences.
The other noteworthy event for me on arrival was the changes to the ranch since my last visit. The house was painted, the doors and windows had been installed, and the tile on the porch was all completed as was the railing around the edges and the steps up from the ground. Even more impressive was the landscaping. When I was here 21 months prior we had planted some coconut trees and some other fancy palms; a Traveler's Palm and a Triangle Palm. I was amazed to see that these trees had gone from about 2-3 feet in height to upwards of 20 feet in less than two years! In addition to these plants there were many more flowering plants and bushes around the house in full bloom. It was truly beautiful to see what a transformation the ranch had gone through in my absence. It was so pleasing to the eyes and to the heart. I am so very glad to be part of it all.
To end this day Nahum brought his traditional many suitcases of gifts for the family, mostly consisting of new clothes for everybody. This is not a small task. Douglas and I carried a large extra suitcase each bearing the clothing gifts and Nahum carried two himself. This is not to mention the extra carry on bags and the remaining part of our main bags that were stuffed with additional clothing for everyone. Because the airlines were being strict on the weight limits at check in with the limit set at 50 pounds per bag, we had to rearrange every bag as they were all at 60 pounds - Nahum measured them all and tried to sneak extra. But, he had taken a big Macy's shopping bag with him to the airport anticipating the possibility. So we emptied all size big bags of about 10 pounds each and stuffed them into the six carry on bags including the Macy's bag. In the end we got all the weight onto the plane although we had to bag check the bigger ones at the gate. Like the airlines have anything on Nahum!
Anyway, the family is big and they all need new clothes every visit to stay dressed. So here I will list the family tree and those present upon arrival.
To begin there is Nahum's mom, Melida and her husband Samuel. His siblings are Esperanza, Anibel, Kevin and Dinorah (my wife) that were present. Not in attendance were Elias (in Denver) and his estranged brother Alphonso. Esperanza has a total of eleven children ranging from less than one year to 20 years old. First is Jarida, Joel (back in Denver), Walter, Ariel, Miselis, Dustin, Roni, Alejandra, Haciel and the new baby Johana (one child died when younger). Anibel and his wife Carmina and their two children Nuzli and Alan and his child from another lady Meilin Jaritza. Elias's wife Ruth and his son Dennis and Janis. Alphonso's and wife Maria (in Denver) children Alphonso, Heidi (not present), Raquel, Kevin and Anna. Thirty two in total!!! And that is not to forget the two horses Morena and Rosio, the dog Jupi, seven cows and numerous chickens, a turkey, a guinea and a green pet bird. Two other visitors were Ruth's nephew Jaime and Melida's brother Bernardino.
Whew! I think I got them all. Finally Douglas and myself gave out and fell asleep in our room awaiting the events of the upcoming days in wonderful Honduras.