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Clown & COPANy

Originally uploaded by trackbrad.
We spent our evening enjoying the perfect weather, clean streets and cloudless sky of Copan, Honduras. We mostly lazed around in the serene calm of the town square, listened in on a Catholic mass and RedBeard took advantage of a working international phone and called Katie. It was the perfect night and ending to a long travel day. Our hostel cost $4.50, called the Manzana Verde – clean, but basic.

In the morning, first on the agenda was to convert some travelers checks to cash – but since RedBeard did not have his passport (we had to pay our restaurant bill to get them back), Hobo had to convert for the both of them. We waited in line and then stepped up to the teller, who then directed us to the business desk, claiming he could not cash travelers checks. So, after waiting our turn at the desk, the lady insisted she could not convert either, so we were forced to get back in line and wait for another teller. Whatever – we are a guest and that means we take things as they come and appreciate what we have…

As we were in line, the Scorpion Clown (an older Honduran man who spoke broken English and performs magic tricks with coins and performs as a clown at parties) started teasing Hobo about not being married… and then began acting as mediator/matchmaker for a young, attractive Honduran girl in front of us in line. As you can imagine, the fact that the girl (named “Flor”) seemed open to the proposition only brought the situations awkwardness to full maturity, in a way only the dynamic teamwork of Hobo and a circus clown could accomplish. When we found out Flor was 16, it brought down the casa.

Then, things got interesting.

Hobo got to the teller and signed his checks, with passport in hand and slid them across the counter. The teller compared the signature on his passport (from when he was 16) and the random scribble (which did not perfectly match) signatures on his checks and rejected the transaction. The problem is that those travelers checks would now be invalid and would have to be replaced… so we took it to the manager, who rejected them. We then took it to the overall bank manager, who was much more accommodating, who made photo copies of all the checks, the passports and got our contact information before reluctantly shelling out the cash. Close call – but it allowed us to purchase the shuttle to Antigua, get RedBeards passport back and then visit the amazingly preserved Copan Mayan ruins. The picture below shows the field in which Mayans played a game similar to soccer with a 10lb rubber ball. The losing captaion was decapitated and the head was placed on the round stone to allow the blood to be drained for use in religious ceremonies.

Our tour guide, Tony, claims to be in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the “best Copan guide, serving the longest in the most languages.” He speaks five languages fluently and can greet others in over 100 languages, which has come in handy over his 31 years as a guide. He was a wealth of random information and cheesy jokes, and when he smiled, he revealed he as missing his four front teeth. He also claims the sculpture below is of his brother.

After Copan, we loaded into a shuttle bus which promised to take us to Antigua in 6 hours… the trip started well, until we noticed that the driver would not get out of first gear when going up hill… and we literally never exceeded 10 mph on the incline. However, the driver took full advantage of the force of gravity on the downhill and road that baby for all she was worth. We were literally getting passed by ever car. Which was funny at first, but then a Californian couple started asking angrily what the problem was… and the driver, much to the couples aggravation, ignored their questions. It started to get really old, as we realized we were over 2 hours behind schedule and we were trying to make it to Antigua in enough time to find a place to watch the BCS championship game… (see video)

Eventually, the Californian couple got off, and everyone made fun of them and we made it to Antigua. We found an American-owned sports bar and caught the last three quarters of the upset. We then went to bed in a $4.50 hostel bed. Today we are going to explore the absolutely incredible town of Antigua... stay tuned.

I am so proud that the two of you are being sensitive to people's feelings as you travel. American's have such a reputation of being rude that it makes me happy that I have raised two wonderful ambassadors for the United States. Love to you both!

When I went to Honduras we rode buses everywhere. I agree they had extreme problems going up hills, one time ours started rolling back down the hill! Have fun guys stay safe, and I WANT MY MOVIE BACK MIKE!!!

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