Friday, December 19, 2008

Greetz from Melaque

Wow... sitting down to write a blog post after so much time brings back strange memories. Namely of typing these things up on sticky keyboards in the stifling heat of Choluteca, my backpack and several bags of groceries sitting next to me. It's strange that only traveling seems to motivate me to do this.

We had an epic journey getting here. When I left Bellingham on Wednesday afternoon, there was about an inch of new snow on the ground and it was piling up fast. Mount Vernon already had at least three to four new inches as I drove through. Amber, leaving Bellingham around 1:30, later reported to me that there were already four inches of new snow by the time she left.

Seattle was bizarrely clear; I spent the rest of Wednesday there visiting with Maya and Jake while waiting for the flight out at 5:00 a.m. on Thursday. The plan was to meet Amber & co. at the airport. She called me at about 9:00, however, to say that our flight to Phoenix had been cancelled and the next one didn't leave until Friday. We resolved to drive down to Portland and catch another flight leaving at 11:20; from there we could catch a later flight from Phoenix to Puerto Vallarta.

So that night, Maya dropped me off at a hotel in Sea-Tac where I got about four hours of sleep before we piled into the car again and continued on through the dark and lots more snow, four hours down to Portland. As we parked and walked to the bus stop to go to the airplane, it was snowing so hard that my bag was covered in seconds. Things looked grim, but it cleared up almost immediately afterwards and our plane was able to take off without incident.

Because the delay resulted in us arriving in Puerto Vallarta at 9:30 pm, we had to stay the night at a hotel there and finish the drive to Melaque, another 3.5 hours by car, this morning. We got settled into our hotel and have been relaxing and exploring our surroundings. In some ways this town reminds me of the Honduran beach town of Tela. It's about the same size and has a similarly laid-back atmosphere. The beach is stunningly beautiful though, better than any I have been on before, and the town is clean and quite full of gringos.

So much of this area reminds me of southern Honduras, and so much is different. Oddly, the trees are similar but the small plants are not. One of my favorite sights has been the plantations of light blue agave plants, hiding behind big front gates and elaborate wooden signs of the inevitable tequila distillery in the middle of the plantation.

Our hotel is beautiful and not the least bit ostentatious. Nuff said about that. The weather is absolutely frickin gorgeous. 80-85 in the daytime, cool at night, sunny.

Travelling with Amber's family is going to be an interesting experience, I can tell already. She is a rock and her grandma, the trip sponsor, is a travelling expert. Link and Amber's mom, however, are pretty green. They have enjoyed the heck out of themselves thus far though, which I'm especially glad is true for Link, since it's a bit hard for him to be outside his comfort zone.

I expected this all to be a big jolt (weather, culture, suddenly being back in Latin America), but it's almost ucanny how natural it feels to be here. The two weeks that stretch in front of us, which I first worried might be a bit long, now suddenly seem far, far too short.

Love to everybody,



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