I’m going to be murdered in a rainforest

Last week I wrote about the start of our trip to Honduras. Before we even left Boston, it was an interesting trip. We had two flights. The connecting flight was in Miami. The plane from Boston was late, but the next flight was also delayed. So we camped out at a restaurant waiting for the rain in Miami to subside. In my everyday life, I do my best to eat healthy. When I’m on a trip, my eating healthy rule goes right out the window. While we waited for the plane, the better half enjoyed some beers and I relished a greasy burger and fries. In my opinion, the trip starts when you leave your home with luggage.  This means I can start eating all the crap I want as soon as possible. I’ve even had a cab driver stop on the way to the airport for food.

After a couple of hours I started to get nervous knowing that when we arrived in Honduras, we still had a two hour drive to our destination. We had a car and driver hired for this trip. However, since our flight was delayed we started to worry if our ride would still be there. It was after working hours so we couldn’t contact the company we booked the trip through. The only thing we could do was hope for the best. Our short jaunt to Honduras was turning into an all day trip.

Finally, the rain stopped. The flight was a little over two hours. Then another hour in the customs line before we made our way outside of the airport in Honduras. There was a throng of people. Many of them were shouting to their loved ones. Eventually I spied a man holding a sign that had my first name and the better half’s last name. I approached. When I tried to verify if he was our driver I found out he didn’t speak any English. And my Spanish was rusty. I did my best to ask if he was driving up to our lodge. When I said the lodge’s name he looked at me like he had never heard of the place.

This did not give me a warm fuzzy feeling. Not at all. But it was one in the morning and seriously, what were the odds that he would have a combination of our names on his sign. We rolled the dice. Both of us were exhausted. Yet we didn’t want to fall asleep in the car. I still wasn’t completely convinced that this was our driver. I did my best to follow the road signs to see if we were heading in the right direction. One problem, I had never been there before. Second problem, I can’t read Spanish.

At one point the driver pulled into a deserted gas station. It was dark and foreboding. He asked me a question. I couldn’t understand. He got out of the car and disappeared behind the building. The better half and I exchanged nervous glances but we didn’t speak. My guess was he needed a bathroom. Seconds turned into minutes. My eyes kept scanning every square inch of that parking lot. Every horror film infiltrated my mind.

About five minutes later the driver returned. He looked at us and smiled. I should have mentioned that he had the sweetest smile and seemed super nice. An hour later we pulled off the main highway onto a gravel road. Our lodge was at the base of the Pico Bonito National Park. All I could see from the window was tall trees. There was a checkpoint and two men with big, black guns approached the driver’s window. There was a conversation and everyone kept pointing into the backseat at us. I have no clue what they said.

They waved the driver through and we pulled up in front of a building. We got out. Two more men approached us. They lifted our bags onto their backs and motioned with flashlights where we should walk. The walkway was gravel and the crunching sounds under my feet made me squirm. I didn’t know where I was. I didn’t know who I was with. There was no reception to check us in—I never saw a sign for our lodge. For all I knew, I would never see Boston again.

After a short walk, we were led to a small cabin. They unlocked the door, set our bags down, handed me the key, and then left. No words were said. I looked at the better half and asked, “Is this for real?” I didn’t get a response. I double locked our door. Both of us went to bed without changing our clothes. All night, some creature raced back and forth on the roof of our cabin. Neither of us got much sleep. Near day break, I could hear people walking back and forth outside. Crunching gravel is such an annoying noise.

Eventually I was brave enough to open the cabin door to see where in the heck I was. This is what I saw.

IMG_0070

Was he on the roof all night?

Was he on the roof all night?

IMG_0074As it turned out, our lodge was tracking our flights and was in constant contact with our driver to ensure that we would arrive safe and sound. The men with guns expected us. However, when you don’t know that, it is intimidating. First thing they did that morning after checking us in was to hand us our welcome drinks. It was still early in the morning. But I didn’t care. The drink was tasty and all of my tension left by body. We spent seven days in tropical paradise.

Now I hope to travel to South America in 2014. I need to brush up on my Spanish so I don’t repeat this situation.

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American living in England. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs, or reading. Not necessarily in that order.
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66 Responses to I’m going to be murdered in a rainforest

  1. Jennifer says:

    Wow, I am so like you, I would all those horror movies playing through my head. But what a sight to wake up to. Glad the rest of the holiday went well 🙂

    • TBM says:

      The holiday was fantastic. Everyone we met was super nice and you couldn’t ask for better scenery. We laugh now about the drive there and how freaked out we were.

  2. Great post…must commend you on that opening line…I was reeled right into you story 🙂

  3. jmgoyder says:

    This is wonderful and hilarious!

  4. niasunset says:

    It is so exciting to read this… Thank you dear TBM, love, nia

  5. Well, at least you ended up where you were supposed to! I was really expecting you to tell us that it was the wrong driver and you ended up in the middle of some drug deal gone wrong or something LOL!! Great post TBM! And the little guy in the second photo – he could be Zipper’s long lost cousin :).

    • TBM says:

      Drug deal did run through my mind, along with having my head severed, human trafficking, and other unpleasant images. My imagination can be my own worst enemy at times. I saw lots of Zipper’s long lost cousins. So cute!

  6. AussyDog says:

    Hahahaha that’s just…..awesome. That’ll stick in your mind and make the trip all the more memorable for ages to come. Regarding the Spanish ….get Rosetta Stone it works wonders. 😉

    • TBM says:

      Many have suggested Rosetta to me. When I save up enough cash I’ll give it a whirl. Maybe next time I can ask, “where are we going?”

  7. Carl V. says:

    Yep, that sounds frightening. 🙂 In the end you got one heck of an adventure and the fear you felt for a while no doubt impressed this trip on your memory in a way that will never have it fade, lol. It looks like it was all worth it given that gorgeous photo evidence.

    • TBM says:

      I don’t know if I can ever forget this part of the trip. Still can picture myself in that abandoned gas station in a small town at 2 in the morning. The place was stunning. One of those places you visit and wherever you look you have to pinch yourself to know you aren’t dreaming.

  8. ilargia64 says:

    Well!!!! You had a terrible time!!!! C, my better half, always says I have read too many books and seen too many films…So, I can, perfectly, understand you!!!
    I am glad the rest was great!!!!

    • TBM says:

      When the better half and I were living in different countries I was banned from watching my favorite, scary TV shows since I was not sleeping, hence the better half was not sleeping since I was calling. It was easier on both sides of the pond to read and watch happy things.

  9. this vicarious travel thing is workin’ out great for me lol. i’m so glad all turned out well. sounds like having someone plan your trip who is reputable and competent and in whom you can trust your very life is key.

  10. Dounia says:

    Since it all worked out it makes for a great story now! 😉 I would have been freaking out just as much as you, so it’s good to know the story ended well 🙂 Also, for learning spanish, Pimsleur is really great too – it really makes you learn the conversational side of things and focuses much more on spoken than written. I have no idea how it compares to Rosetta on price, but it’s a pretty good system too.

    • TBM says:

      I actually have Pimsleur lessons on my ipod. That reminds me, I need to listen to today’s lesson. I’m only on lesson 2, but so far I like it. I’m really hoping I can keep up with it. Not only would I like to avoid these situations, but I would like to make more of an effort to be conversational. I don’t want to be someone who insists everyone should speak English.

  11. hillarypat says:

    O my gosh that’s so scary! I would have been terrified! Luckily everything looked out! I would love to go to Honduras! Do you have any idea where you might be going in 2014?

    • TBM says:

      Hopefully Brazil for the World Cup so my Spanish lessons probably won’t help me much there since most speak Portuguese. However, we want to visit at least 2 other places, maybe more. Right now we are in the planning stages and are open to ideas.

      • hillarypat says:

        Brazil for the World Cup sounds amazing I would love to go to South America some day. I’m sure your trip will be great be great!

      • TBM says:

        I hope it works out. We went to South Africa for the Cup and loved it. Too early to say it’s a for sure, but we hope to make it.

  12. The Hook says:

    Quite the experience!
    At least they gave you great blog fodder!

  13. Wow I can so relate to this experience. It sounds exactly like when my best pal and I arrived in Fiji – I think our driver felt asleep for most of the journey and drove with his eyes shut which was rather cary in a rain storm!

  14. The Guat says:

    Oh my God this was too hilarious. Funny, but not. In the dark, middle of no where gasoline station…dude. You definitely to brush up on the Spanish. But in the end it was all good because your rich, green views were pretty cool.

    • TBM says:

      Yes I need to relearn my Spanish. I took some classes over 20 years ago. I hate being one of those travelers who immediately asks, “Do you speak English?” Obviously I can’t learn every language of every country I visit, but we are trying to pick up a few words. And when you ask locals how to say something, they rather enjoy helping out. At least that has been my experience.

  15. Wow, scary and funny at the same time! My favorite combo. 🙂

    Every time I travel, I tell myself I’m going to eat very lightly and only nutritious food. That lasts until I get to the airport. I’m impressed that you made a cabbie stop for food!

    • TBM says:

      In my defense I was too busy all day and didn’t have time to eat. Okay, that’s a lie, I just wanted to jump start the eating extravaganza!

  16. Jo Bryant says:

    when I saw the title I was a bit worried…glad it all worked out

  17. Guns have always made me nervous. But in much of Central and South America, they’re much more common, and it takes some getting used to. I’ve been to Colombia on business a couple of times, and when traveling in the narco/guerrilla areas, I had a bodyguard. It was very strange, and I think knowing that he had a gun made me more nervous, not less. Luckily, it all turned out well for you, and the place looks beautiful.

    • TBM says:

      A bodyguard–that would make me extra nervous in a way. Yes they are supposed to protect you, but if you need that protection–well that’s scary. Glad it all worked out for you. Not sure I can ever get used to seeing guns everywhere. Big guns at that.

  18. Terrifying! Glad you lived to tell the tale.

  19. Lucid Gypsy says:

    Brilliant reading and scarey! Maybe the answer is to find flights that arrive early int the morning.

  20. Shutterbug Sage says:

    Wow, what an experience! I think your plan to build additional knowledge of Spanish would be a brilliant idea. 🙂

  21. dadirri7 says:

    gosh, a nail-biting story! you were brave, but i guess you had no choice but to go along without the reassuring conversation you would have liked … it certainly made your trip unforgettable!!!

  22. pattisj says:

    You know how to take an adventure to the max, don’t you? It certainly makes good blog fodder. 🙂

  23. lynnsbooks says:

    Well, that heading certainly got my attention! What a great story – don’t you love the things that your own vivid imagination sometimes puts you through (could be we read too many books!!) LOL
    Lynn 😀

    • TBM says:

      I’m told that quite a lot–about reading too many books or watching too many crime shows and movies. But in this situation, I think it would be hard for many people not to let their imagination run wild.

  24. petit4chocolatier says:

    Wonderful story. Our fears sometimes can stop the pleasures in life. I loved this. So true!! Beautiful photos too!!

  25. Novroz says:

    I love the story TBM 🙂
    You remind me of that Indonesian traveler with her little trip stories

  26. Ha! What a great tale. I’ve read about Pico Bonito in an Audubon magazine. How many different bird species did you see?

    • TBM says:

      I wish I knew. Unfortunately we never got up early enough for the bird walk–but during our hikes our guides pointed out so many birds. Too many for me to remember. There was a serious birding family there and they had their own private guide tracking down a hummingbird–can’t remember the name. After a couple of days they did have success. If you love birds I would highly recommend this place. And I need to get better about learning about all the different species. This is a place that dazzled me with all that it offered.

      • I do love birds. I can’t imagine hiring a private guide to track down a specific bird, but hey! Whatever works.

      • TBM says:

        They were an interesting family. I didn’t ask, but I’m pretty certain that they were loaded. The grandmother was drinking gin straight. I like gin, but I need to mix it. She was cracking me up though since she wasn’t getting drunk and I was. I need more practice. and the wife was one of those go-getters. I was exhausted after every conversation since she talked to fast and included so much information. But I enjoyed the conversation. I love meeting people during our travels–there are a ton of characters out there.

      • Ha! For sure…meeting characters is one of the best things about travel. 😉

      • TBM says:

        Yes! You never know who you’ll meet.

  27. great story. the surprises that await when we just keep moving forward. my brother was in cairo during the time when there was a lot of unrest. he was wandering through the market and stopped to buy something. he was haggling with the merchant when he felt a stabbling pain in his shoulder and saw the merchant make a fist and aim it right at his face. he said he thought to himself at that moment, “this is why they told us not to leave the hotel without an escort”. the fist spun past his face and landing on the nose of the camel that had just bitten my brother.

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