Friday, August 6, 2010
The World Cup in Motion... or How to Drink a Heineken in Honduras
While planning our trip to Honduras I was delighted to find out that Honduras had qualified for the World Cup... The last time they qualified I was in braces... well I never actually wore braces... but if I had it would have probably been sometime around 1982. In this years cup they were underdogs for sure... but I was rooting for them all the same.
By the time we arrived they had already been eliminated... but there were still plenty of soccer fans to be found...and I was excited about watching soccer in a country where people actually care about the game. Due to the timing of our trip, however, the first day of the quarter finals was set to be on one of our day long travel days. We actually considered staying in Roatán one day longer just so that we could watch the games... but alas we decided to head for the mountains on our fourth day in Honduras and hopefully catch the games on the road.
We caught the first half of the Netherlands vs Brazil game on the ferry to the mainland. Thankfully the ride was smooth sailing compared to the stomach churning ride we had experienced just a few days earlier and I was able to watch the game. My husband was born in the Netherlands... and most of the people on the ferry were fans of Brazil... but it was a good natured rivalry with a lot of laughing and back slapping. Maybe it was just because Honduras and the US were both out of the running... but somehow I don't think that was the whole story. Honduras just seems a little mellower about their soccer than my World Cup experiences in Mexico.
The taxi ride to the bus station in La Ceiba was a bit scary. We were one of three fares stuffed into a small Toyota... honking, swearing and swerving down narrow streets. We stopped somewhere Central... and then made our way to the hospital with a girl with a broken leg...then finally we arrived at the bus station. We were able to watch a little more of the game on a small TV while we waited in line for our tickets... we got to see the Netherlands pull ahead... but we had to leave with ten minutes left on the clock.
It was hours before we arrived in San Pedro...and no one seemed to know the final score. We had a long layover in a room full of other people who had been on the move most of the day... While we were there we watched most of the game between Ghana and Uruguay. The room would fill and empty with each coming and going... Everyone trying to catch a glimpse of history in the making on their way to some place else. The game was just reaching its exciting conclusion...there had been a red card and the game was still tied after overtime... it was a shoot out and we had to board the bus. Thankfully the bus driver put the radio on so that we weren't left on pins and needles...It was a sad day for Ghana... but it was a beautiful day in Honduras.
For the next few days in Copan Ruinas we caught games at bars and cafes around town. We enjoyed a meal here... a beer there... the company of other travelers with jerseys supporting this team or that. It was a lot of fun meeting people and cheering with them or against them. My favorite world cup experience of the journey happened after one of the worst moments of our trip... it will be a story for another day... but let's just say when your staying in a finca in the mountains don't leave nothin' in your clothes. We returned to Copan a day early after a trip to a coffee plantation in search of a place to stay. The hotel we chose just happened to be owned by a Dutch Ex-pat... so we watched the Netherlands vs Uruguay while eating Dutch food and sipping on Heineken. Dutch food isn't all that great... and I'm not a huge fan of Heineken either... but it sure tasted better than the Honduran beer I'd been drinking for days...It also put a postive spin on an otherwise crappy day. It was nice to share a beer with fellow soccer fans and to let the negativity of a bad experience wash away in stream of Heineken. I enjoyed the moment under a canopy of orange and white streamers , marveled at what a wild and wacked out world we live in ,and lived to enjoy another day of travel.