On the evening of our fifth day in Honduras we ordered a bottle (or two) of wine and dined on cheese and bread at a cosy wine bar not far from the central plaza in Copán Ruinas. We enjoyed an assortment of breads and crackers with smoked mozzarella, an aged Gouda, and a soft cheese with Herbes de Provence. It was all nicely presented on a cheese board with a handful of pecan halves. Other than the crackers (club crackers rather than water biscuits), it was something that you would find in a cafe anywhere in the world at at least twice the cost. It was a lovely place, and the perfect place to end a pleasant day.
The day started out with a wonderful breakfast at our hotel. Eggs and toast served with rich coffee in a beautiful garden by a friendly staff. We walked around town and caught the World Cup games. We even found a few cute gifts for our daughters. I couldn't have asked for more. Well maybe I could have asked for a room with reliable hot water... or at least someplace with electricity that didn't flicker out at even the suggestion of a thunderstorm. Dining by candlelight is romantic... but stumbling back to the hotel in a blackout, using snatches of reality seen through lightning strikes, can be a bit tricky... and taking a cold shower (or no shower at all) after a night of candlelight and wine can do a lot to kill a mood.
But that is Honduras. Things that most of the world sees as luxuries not only grow on trees... but fall to the ground and rot because they are so common... Beauty abounds and it seems that you could never go hungry with so much life surrounding you. But what if you get sick and need a doctor? What if you just want a glass of clean water? Or what if you want to do something as trivial as mail a letter, buy a watch, or make a phone call? That is when the rose color glasses come off. The lack of hot water in my hotel room is a petty gripe in comparison to the real problems that people face in a country that lacks infrastructure.
Don't get me wrong... I'm not saying that Honduras isn't a wonderful place to vacation... In fact I think that you should go there and spend lots of money, if you are so inclined. Buy wine and cheese with abandon, get a good massage by the ocean, and shop yourself silly. Sure there are better ways to give money to those in need (and you should do those things as well)... and I'm sure most of the tourist dollars spent in Honduras don't go to those who need it most... But a vacation is to be enjoyed not something to feel guilty about. Go there and have a good time. Just remember that when you take that cold shower.... for god's sake have the sensitivity not to complain about it.... because things could be a lot worse.