“Where Ever We Go, That’s Where The Party’s At”

March 21, 2011 in Guatemala, Honduras, North America, Travelogue

It’s morning. Grey light is filtering through the old cotton sheet that doubles as a curtain. Tony and the girls are still snoozing beneath their blue blankets. Not a sound is filtering through the paper thin walls from the boys’ room upstairs, which I take as a good sign.

The relentless, pounding base and nnn-cha-nnn-cha-nnn-cha of the night’s festivities has stopped.

We have a knack for stumbling into enormous, raucous street parties around the world.

We rolled into New Orleans during Mardi Gras and the very day of the Saint’s Superbowl Victory Parade.

We’ve camped with masses of drunk, strung out young people partying until they pass out on park benches in Eastern Europe.

We taught math one morning in the former East Germany somewhere by counting the number of beer bottles in a crate, then counting the number of crates stacked sky high and strewn about the campground and doing the multiplication. “Mama, that guy is only half-way in his tent… do you think that’s because of the beer?” Asked a smaller Elisha.  “Could be.”

We cycled into Vienna the day the Donau Insel Fest began in 2008, purported to Europe’s largest outdoor music festival.  That was the weekend of tents erected so compactly on the field that we literally couldn’t move our bikes through them, midnight streakers (thankfully the children were in bed!) and Ezra and Daddy returning from the bathroom to report that some boys were using eye liner to draw a moustache and other art on their passed out friend’s face.

As we cycled beside the Danube, Gabe rode past me and quoted a line from a song he loves that has stuck, “Hey Mom, ‘Wherever we are, that’s where the party’s at!’”

So, no one was particularly surprised when we rolled into the sleepy town of Copan Ruinas, in Honduras, last night to find huge stages being erected, sound systems being set up and a disco ball being maneuvered into place beneath a tented scaffolding. Of course we’d arrive the night “the biggest disco in Honduras” is erupting on the plaza.

Who needs sleep? Certainly not Ruth who got up at 2 a.m., our time, yesterday to hop two planes to where we collected her in Guatemala. We then added a hair raising taxi ride through the capital (to the wrong bus station, naturally) three hours on a bus, another hour with thirty people packed into a 15 passenger Euro-van (not to be confused with the roomy American style 15 passenger vans) followed by the usual border crossing rodeo, another collectivo and then too much walking from hotel to hostel to hotel trying to find someplace that meets the three criteria: limpio, barrato y internet (clean, cheap and wi-fi).  Why would she be tired?

They started the party with fireworks around eight. We were just finishing dinner and the children ran straight out into the street to watch. I commented quietly to Ruth that I was quite sure that she got the one-day-distance award for person who’d come the furthest in 24 hours to be at the party. We took her picture next to an enormous “Salva Vida” blow up beer bottle, just to make her Daddy proud.

I took the kids back to the hotel and we crashed. Melatonin all around, or there’d have been no chance of them dozing off. Between starting the day with a chicken bus from Antigua, having an intense conversation with our disingenuous cab driver (did I mention he took us to where HE wanted us to go and not where I asked him to?) and nearly having to arm wrestle a couple of the bus barkers who were pushing just a bit too hard, I was tired.

And that was all before the dude at the border tried to “help” us by driving us across the border, for a small 400Q (50USD) propina (tip) because, “there are no drivers on the other side, you’ll be stranded.” He wouldn’t take no for an answer. No was my final answer. The German girl who was swayed by his fear tactics wasn’t helping my cause. It was my first order of business after getting rid of the collectivo driver to drop her, and her tattooed mate, like a hot rock before they got us into some sort of trouble.

Crossing the border was a piece of cake. We changed our money on the black market and even got close to the bank rate. Then, we hopped into the collectivo (the one that absolutely WASN’T there, remember?) and paid 20 lempira a piece (1USD and change) for the 10 km wind through “curvas peligrosos” and into town.

Tony and Ruth went back out to see the party. I plugged in my earphones and promptly went to sleep. I’ve learned the art of getting rest no matter how hard the rest of town is partying.

This morning, we’re up, and probably the least hung over folks within a mile’s radius. We’ve got big plans to walk the mile or so to the site of the ancient city of Copan and climb the last big set of ruins north of South America that we haven’t yet.  Want to join us?