Travel Poker

Gina and Mikayla snooze at a bus station.
© Cheryl Crockett Lezovich

What we’ve learned about travel in South and Central America can be summed up like this: pack a deck of playing cards. For it matters not where you want to go, you can bet that it will take twice as long as planned to reach your desired destination. With the cards at least you’ll have some way to entertain yourself.

When Mikayla, Gina Gardner and I arrived in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, at 1:00 a.m. from Fort Lauderdale, there was nothing much to do but play cards. After that lost its charm, the girls watched a video and I tried to catch 40 winks. There are half a dozen comfortable chairs in the airport, and I was lucky enough to snag one. Another was held by Jennifer, a five-year resident of Honduras who left behind 10 kids to visit her mother in the States.

What were we doing in the airport at that time of night? Easy answer: It’s safer than the bus station. Many cruisers leave the Rio Dulce in Guatemala and take the bus to San Pedro, fly out of that city on Spirit Air for a low price ($149US + junk fees) and reverse the process on the way back. The big drawback to the return trip is that there’s only one daily bus to the Rio Dulce from San Pedro Sula, and it leaves at 5:30 a.m.

Honduras and Guatemala meet at this crossing.
© Cheryl Crockett Lezovich

Our other choice was to fly in and out of Guatemala City, a concrete jungle formed by block after block of unbearable sameness. That flight is slightly higher and requires a 5½ hour bus ride. The distance from San Pedro to Rio Dulce is shorter than the distance from Guate to Rio Dulce, but the bus trip takes almost as long due to two border checks; one for immigration, one for customs. I didn’t know that when I booked our flights.

After spending a month in the USA visiting family and friends in Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Michigan, there’s only one thing on my mind: getting home to Happy Times. My planning unfortunately means that that will take longer than I want. What’s worse is that I must break the news to Mikayla that we get to repeat this travel exercise in another week when we accompany Gina to the airport for her return flight.

Break out the playing cards, girls.

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About Cheryl Crockett Lezovich

Mom, first mate and writer aboard a 40' Manta catamaran, S/V Happy Times.
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