Price of beer in a bar: US$1.85 for 1 liter
Song currently stuck in my head: Boys Better (The Dandy Warhols)

Okay, here’s our path across Honduras and into Nicaragua, starting in Utila and ending in Esteli:

We took the 6:20am Utila Princess Ferry to La Ceiba, where a taxi was waiting for us. We called Rafael (aka “Orlando”, phone: 9731 2676) the day before to arrange this pickup. We got his name and number from a receptionist at Mango Inn and we can further recommend him. He took us across town to the Viana bus station in the Esso Minimart on “15th of September Blvd”. Once there we purchased tickets for the 10:30am bus to San Pedro Sula, economy class, which was still plush. We arrived at the bus station in San Pedro Sula around 1pm. I crossed the hall to the Ticabus station and purchased 2 tickets to Managua, Nicaragua for the next day. We had already arranged a hotel in San Pedro Sula for the night, based on a recommendation from a traveling expat and a collection of glowing internet reviews. Luis, the proprietor of Dos Molinos B&B (los2molinos@yahoo.com), picked us up at the bus station and dropped us off there the next morning. The hotel was nearby in a safe, upscale shopping disrict. Security is a primary concern in San Pedro Sula, 2009’s runner up for Murder Capital of The World (reigning champ: Ju├írez) and, here of all places, we wanted as hassle free of an experience as possible. Luis provided exactly this.

The next morning we arrived at the bus station at 4am, our bus departed at 5am, stopped briefly in Tegucigalpa, Honduras before crossing the border and deboarding in Leon around 3 in the afternoon. We took a taxi from the bus station into town to Bigfoot Hostel, which was full, so we went across the street to Via Via Hostel and got exactly the room I was imagining/hoping for; huge old colonial building, well maintained, all tile and plaster and gardens with a good bar/restaurant in front. We considered staying on another day, but wanderlust held sway and we had the hostel staff recommend us a taxi driver to the Leon bus station. There we caught a chicken bus and rode for about 2.5 hours to Esteli, took a taxi to town from the bus station (paying double (US$2) for “expresso”, meaning the driver won’t pick up additional strangers on the way. We went directly to Hostel Luna, which is run by an english speaking woman (we could really use that foothold to get started here). We’re a little (but only a little) off the major backpacker path and now we’ve mostly decided to make a month of it here while investigating one or two of the other towns in this region as well.

Mostly we’re hiding from the rain, which has been near constant for the last couple of days and is likely to last a couple more. As we understand it, we got off the Bay Islands just in time to avoid a serious tropical storm. We haven’t talked to anyone back on the islands yet, so I can’t speak to the extent of the chaos.

So here we are in Esteli, Nicaragua; the intersection of high quality cigars, coffee and rum all in a pleasantly cool climate. If I ever see the sun I just might experience a perfect day, but for now it’s cold, torrential and, paradoxically, the water keeps getting shut off.