HONDURAS – WHEN THINGS DID NOT GO AS PLANNED

As I mentioned in my border crossing story posted recently, Honduras is plagued with a reputation of being one of the most dangerous countries in the world. Murder, poverty, gang wars, and violence are the way of life here, and constant political unrest is all too common. I experienced it firsthand the moment I arrived in Tegucigalpa, the capital city.

WHAT HAPPENED?

During my border crossing from El Salvador to Honduras, some of my bus mates were already commenting that there was something going on in Tegucigalpa, and we discovered that it was a city-wide protest against President Juan Orlando Hernandez. I thought at first that it was nothing. Protests, after all, are usually resolved within the day (as per my experience in the Philippines), but I forgot that this is Latin America, where political unrest can be brutal.

Tegucigalpa Town Center
Tegucigalpa Town Center

I only planned to stay in Tegucigalpa for a day, and then travel the next day to Zambrano where my couchsurfer host lives. So the moment we arrived at the bus station, I immediately called my host to know the situation. He informed me that the protest was still active, and they were blocking all major roads to and from Tegucigalpa. He told me to look for a hostel in the city, and then travel to his place the next day as soon as I can.

STUCK AT THE BUS STATION

Stuck at the Ticabus station
Stuck at the Ticabus station

I felt so nervous then. It was the first time it happened in my travels and I honestly didn’t know what to do. Another problem arose – there were neither taxis nor buses around, and apparently, all gas stations ran out of gasoline. I waited for an hour at the station before a taxi finally agreed to take me at an inflated price. I just said yes because I was already exhausted and so stressed that I didn’t care. We passed by some traffic and gas stations with the “NO GAS” sign.

On the way to the city center
On the way to the city center

The moment I settled in at the hostel, I immediately called my sister to inform her of my situation. She just told me to keep her updated. I also insisted not to tell my parents for fear of them over worrying. Lo and behold, 30 minutes after we talked, my father called telling me that they were super worried and that my mother cannot sleep because of me (good job keeping a secret sis!). I assured them that I was ok and that I will keep them updated.

COUCHSURF CANCELLED

I spoke to the receptionist the next day to know the situation in the city, and she told me that there were still some protests and roadblocks on major roads. So I informed my Couchsurfing host that I was still looking for the best moment to get to Zambrano. At the back of my mind though, I didn’t feel comfortable staying in Honduras already and already wanted to leave before the protest escalates. That resolve became more apparent after my father called me. He told me that they were extremely worried, and it didn’t help that he was reading stuff about Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula. He forcefully told me to get out immediately from the city or else they won’t be able to sleep again all night.

Tegucigalpa Cathedral
Tegucigalpa Cathedral

I don’t want them to worry non-stop, so I decided then to cancel my couchsurf plan and get a ticket out of Honduras the next day. I messaged my host informing him about my decision, and he told me he understood the situation and wished me good luck.

TOURING TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS

Police in full battle gear swarming the center
Police in full battle gear swarming the center

So what to do on my free afternoon? Tour Tegucigalpa of course! Before going out, I made sure that there were no protests in the city center. It took me 10 minutes to reach it by walking from my hostel, and I grabbed some local food along the way. The city center of Tegucigalpa is just small and can be toured in less than an hour. However, I felt uneasy; there were tons of policemen in full gear patrolling the area, and there were shady guys who approached me asking for money, and I pretended that I don’t speak Spanish so they left me alone. I just looked for some fridge magnets and went back to the hostel.

Honduran souvenirs
Honduran souvenirs

I prepared for the night, and come the next day – I immediately booked a taxi to the Ticabus station to travel to Nicaragua.

MY FEELINGS ABOUT HONDURAS

Tegucigalpa
Tegucigalpa

I regret to tell that my visit to Honduras was one of the most stressful I’ve experienced in my backpacking adventure. It didn’t help that I was paranoid all throughout my stay so I was not able to enjoy it. But I got to say this, Hondurans are really friendly, and they went out of their way to assist me when I needed help. I hope I can visit the country in the future and enjoy it to the full extent.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *