Monday, August 7, 2006

Return to Base Camp, Party at Buenos Aires

Day 28, Monday, August 7
Today we return to Base Camp from Cantiles. I get up and head down to the latrine field for the last time. I have not even attempted to use the funnel (to pee) at this camp. At each camp, we are to pee in a pvc pipe that goes into the ground, and that is done separately from the area for "solids". But these urinals are very tall, obviously made by men who didn't consider that it is easier for a woman to squat, and are pretty much impossible for me to use. On the way down the muddy path, which runs with water from last night’s rain, I run into Steve who points out a female quetzal sitting in a tree. Her green, red, and white colors are hard to distinguish where she sits so high up and still. I am happy that this is my last trip to the trenches, but the quetzal is an awesome reminder of the beauty all around out here, even along a morning walk to the bathroom, I see one of the most beautiful birds in central america. I am excited to pack up and have been overtaken for days with thoughts that my month out here is coming to a manageable close. I can now handle any hike, or anything else that I have to do because I know I will be home in my own bed, talking with people who know me, very soon. We finally leave around 9 hiking at a moderate steady pace. I am light on my feet on the hike out of Cantiles. I talk with one of the students from UK about her travels to Africa, and talk to the primatologist Kim for a good portion of the hike. .At the river my foot slides off the rock and my foot is doused in my boot. Along the trail I slip my boot fully in the mud a couple times, but mostly I have sure footing and my legs and knees hold up well over the hike. As we near the end, we are told that the time has changed back an hour in honduras, which strikes us as being quite random. We are not sure if this has just occurred and there are rumors that honduras had gone on daylight savings a while ago, but had decided to change back, prompting this seemingly out of the blue conversion. At any rate and whatever time it was, we made it back to base camp and I felt euphoric that my hiking treks were done. Email checking and an eventual final bucket shower were next on the agenda, followed by clothes sorting and repacking. Had a rum and coke with Kym. Talked with Mandy and Sarah.
All that is left after I return to Base Camp is to reorganize my stuff for one last time and decide how best to spend my last night. I decide to walk the hour down the mountain to Buenos Aires, because there'll be a party at the Ecolodge. Sergio is going, and insists on carrying my pack since my knees are a bit sore from my long hike earlier today. My larger pack will go down on a pickup that is heading down later. That way, I’ll be ready to go to the town of Cofradia, and then the airport tomorrow. I hike with Sergio, Edwardo, and John, who has returned from his evacuation adventure and 2 day stay in the hospital. He is going to be fine. Also, the senior herpetogist, the NM herpetologist and Kim the primatologist. It is a nice group to walk with. I get the scoop on John’s evacuation and hospital stay, which was top notch. Along the way, we stop to visit a well liked family. A guide and his guide son (the young fast one that raced the antivenom serum back to camp after the snake bite). The guide’s wife, and their children, and her mother are all so gracious, invite us in for coffee. The mother wonders if I am from latin america. It is so beautiful to share a cup of coffee with happy gracious strangers, proud of their beautifully simple home and willing to share their time and smiles. On down the hill we go.

Party at Buenos Aires, sleeping bag blues (intoxicated Steve plays his guitar, supine in a sleeping bag); about 12 bottles of vodka and whiskey, as well as two cases of beer are consumed by young people who have had nothing but rice and beans and an occasional coke for the last few weeks. I doubt I need to explain the joy, intensity, urgency they had to make up for lost time. To somehow get it all back, that time they were without.

Tuesday, August 8, Early departure to San Pedro Sula.
Wake early despite very little sleep. The ecolodge is a mess of empty beer cans and two liter bottles of coke, and in the night some dogs have come and pulled everything out of the trash. One by one everyone is waking up, some have slept on floors, others on benches, outside and inside rooms, wherever there was an open spot. Amid the still passed out on the porch and the hung over faces of the arisen, I eat 2 fried breads plus some porridge and two cups of fresh coffee, which is quite good. I eat slow, drink my coffee and think, "I am here, right now." Then, I quickly pack my things, hike the very steep hill to the little toucan restaurant where I wait for my pickup with the others.

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