Long hard road to Cuzco

Next destination was Nazca in order to see the famed Nazca lines. It took another 3 hour bus ride to get there from Ica. Nazca itself is a fairly plain town which lives off the sand drawings that attracts hordes of tourists from everywhere. In order to see the lines you can buy a trip in a small airplane or go to one of the viewpoints in the desert. The flight was a bit expensive ($55) so we opted on the viewpoints instead. We had to take the Soyus-bus there (2 soles each) which was a 15 minutes drive away. The drawings are located next to the highway in the middle of the desert and we felt they were a bit disappointing as we could only see a fraction of them. However, we got a general idea of how they looked. We thought we could grab a bus back but they didn't allow more passengers so we had to drive back to the town with a nice Peruvian family from Ica.

Some Nazca drawings in the background


Poor Man’s Galapagos

Four hours after leaving Lima the bus dropped us off on the highway in the afternoon and we went to the nearby city Pisco to get Lisa's shot done with. Apparently there were two hospitals in Pisco and they wouldn't let us in at the nice one for some reason, so we had to try out the worn down hospital. The hospital consisted mostly of old army tents but we saw a doctor in a concrete building who gave Lisa her injection for free. The rest of Pisco didn't look like much as an earthquake had laid waste to most of the city two years ago.


Scaaary Lima

Other travelers told us lots of bad things about Lima so we expected a dull super dangerous capital inhabited by criminals and murderers. We booked a hotel in advance with airport pickup included as we just wanted to stay there a single night before heading off to a safer place. Everything we had heard about Lima turned out to be lies. Lima is a nice and fairly safe city with plenty of cafés, restaurants and bars and many historical sites and colonial buildings. Most of the city is a result of overpopulation and poverty but downtown and a few of the surrounding areas were interesting and safe to explore by foot. Of course you just have to use common sense and not flash your jewelry and camera. We stayed at Magdalen House, a nice hotel located in the mellow Magdalena area, for $20 (breakfast included) and the staff was the nicest and most helpful people we've met so far. Definitely recommendable.


Panama to Peru

Our stay in Panama was unfortunately limited to Panama City as we only had three days before our plane went south to Peru. Lisa's never ending fever got worse once again which indicated the doctor in Costa Rica probably had no clue of what was wrong when she said we should quit the malaria pills. We went to a hospital and got incompetent overpriced advice and after some complaining we finally got an appointment with a so-called infection specialist. This specialist concluded, with lots of pride, that Lisa had contracted a kidney infection and should get a shot of antibiotics every day for 10 days. Quite inconvenient but it was nice to finally get a solid answer from someone.


Racing through Costa Rica

In San José we were reminded why shared bathrooms are a bad thing as we both started the day off with a nasty diarrhea probably caused by some of the Nicaraguan food on Ometepe. Hooray! We had planned to get on the early bus to a town called La Fortuna 4½ hours away by bus so we stuffed ourselves with Imodium and got going.

La Fortuna is a touristy town in the mountains close to Volcán Arenal, which is the most active volcano in Costa Rica. We found a cheap ant-infested place to let Lisa's fever drop and our stomachs rest. The following day we saw a doctor to let her have a look at Lisa who have had a randomly returning fever for about 4 months now. She blamed our malaria pills and generally too much antibiotics so she gave us even more medication and let us go.


Pitstop in Nicaragua

We finally got out of Honduras but spent too much time there mainly because of the stubbornness of ex-president Zelaya. Even though he tried to land several times with his chartered jet no airport gave him clearance. We took the chance and got ferried to the mainland on Monday and caught the Tica bus to Tegucigalpa.
The trip took us 7 hours and we arrived in the capital at nightfall. Tegucigalpa looks a bit like San Salvador as everything seemed to be tightly locked down.
We found a hotel guarded by heavily armed troops - not because of the hotel, though, but because the mayor lived in a huge mansion next block. We managed to sleep a few hours before the next bus trip to Managua, Nicaragua the following day. This took us 8 hours before showing up late in Nicaragua's capital. At first sight Managua seems less paranoid with security and therefore more welcoming. We found a really nice guest house to rest our weary bodies after eating at restaurant “The Other Fish”.


Still stuck on Roatan

This is a heavily self-censored post essentially saying that we're still stuck on Roatan because of the ex-president, Zelaya. He is threatening to return to Honduras tomorrow (Sunday) and if he does there will probably be all sorts of trouble on the mainland which is where we need to go in order to catch a bus to Nicaragua. He probably won't return, though, but if he does we don't want to be stuck in a riot in Tegucigalpa - or anywhere else for that matter.
We've met some other Danes who are going in the same direction as us, so we're planning on traveling together south on Monday after we see how things play out.

Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124623220955866301.html Honduras Defends Its Democracy. Source


Military coup in Honduras

A couple of days after we got to Roatan island, Manuel Zelaya, the president, got tossed out of Honduras by the military and the event caused quite a stir on the main land. On the island, though, we are still scuba diving, snorkeling, eating burritos and enjoying the tropical climate. We hear the locals discuss the current political chaos once in a while but the easy going islanders don't seem to fear the future. We are currently only affected by the temporary curfew the new government has issued which dictates nobody should be out after 10 PM. And after a hard days diving (and in Lisa's case, snorkeling) we are ready to sleep early anyway.


Saw the ruins

Hah! Finally got to see the damned ruins. Lisa's persistent fever dropped after the seventh day in Copán and we ventured out to see the Mayan ruins which are located only a short walk outside of town. The ruins themselves are good fun to explore on your own and you are for some reason allowed to climb many of the millennium old buildings. I guess the buildings survived the elements for so long that the caretakers figured a few tourists wouldn't do much of a difference. The weather was hot and sunny, unlike the previous couple of cloudy and rainy days, and that obviously added a extra pleasantness to the tour. Our guide book described many of the ancient buildings and statues and we hope that it justified not spending $25 on a guide. We also had the opportunity of walking through some of the ancient tunnels beneath the complex, but were too stingy to spend the extra $15 per person. A krone sparet is a krone tjent, as we say in Jutland...


Wasting time in Copán

Being absolutely battered after surfing we headed for San Salvador once again and the plan was to stay one night before heading north towards the border. I caught myself a fever so we ended up staying in San Salvador for 4 nights before being able to function normally. We went by bus to La Palma, a very northern mountain town with great views. This place was really cozy and after battling mosquitoes for two nights we pulled ourselves together to visit the great unknown Honduras. Wasn't that bad really as even the border police was nice. We were ultimately heading for Copán Ruinas, a small mountain town in western Honduras very close to the Guatemalan border.

To get there we had to go by five different buses and there are absolutely no information available on the bus terminals. But people are nice if you seem lost and are always willing to point you in the right direction. The trip itself was very scenic and prettier than the mountain roads in El Salvador, so we enjoyed the bumpy ride and shot some photos out the window.