Subscribe to far-flung places
Sign up here
and receive email alerts when this blog is updated.

 Add to your RSS reader

Friday, April 20, 2007

Boats, buses and a bucolic bed & breakfast

Wednesday, we transitioned from an island resort to a rural hacienda near the border with Guatemala. We opted to take a ferry to the coastal town of La Ceiba, then take the bus from La Ceiba to Copan Ruinas.

The ferry ride was easy (Serge gave us a good tip beforehand: buy the first-class ticket on the ferry, as your luggage comes off first). The bus company was organized, even if a bit slow in processing tickets. Security was tight, and a photo was taken of each passenger as they boarded the vehicle. I wondered if the measure was for our security or just to help identify bodies if the bus is hijacked by rebels. In all seriousness, Honduras is generally safe for travelers.

We arrived at La Hacienda San Lucas just as the sun was about to disappear over the mountains beyond the valley. It was a truly magical time. The ranch hands were just beginning to light the thousands of candles and oil lamps that bask the 100-year-old property in a golden glow.

The main house of the structure houses two kitchens (one is the original, which contains a traditional oven), a sitting area and the reception desk. A door leads out to the restaurant on the front patio.

Up a step hill are the two guest houses with four bedrooms each. The beds are covered with colorful Guatemalan bedspreads, and pillows made of woven mat material (the matting was used by Mayan royalty, and is a symbol of political power). The candles were already lit for us and black soot covered the white stuccoed walls above them.

Just outside the room hang two hammocks where we've spent several hours each day napping, reading or hanging out with the resident dogs, Luco, K'inich and Popi. Photo albums in the main house show them all as puppies, when the hacienda's owner, Flavia, moved to Honduras and began to restore the property, which had belonged to her grandfather.

Flavia, originally from this region, moved to Kentucky in her teens to attend a private high school. She went on to college, married, had kids, started a catering business, and eventually divorced--all in the United States. Her grown children thought she was crazy when she said she was going to return to her homeland and live at the hacienda. They said it was "her menopause project."

She couldn't be happier, she tells me on Thursday. However, she says she's a little crazed at the moment getting ready for a large dinner party that evening. Earlier in the week, the hacienda received a reservation for a party of 60 from the Ministry of Honduran Tourism. She appears to be keeping her cool, though, as she sits in the entry way smoking a cigarette. Around her, though, is a flurry of activity among her employees. One is replacing the flower arrangements with fresh stems of tropical flowers, an older woman is grinding corn to make tortillas, 12-year-old Octulio is raking the flowerbeds.

As sun was setting, the mariachi band arrived to set up and began playing some traditional tunes. That's when we and the rest of the guests left to go into town for dinner.

No comments: