The day started out early. 4 am. Elmer picked me up at 4:30 to go to the airport for a 6 am flight. I carried on my camera bag and my backpack so they searched my backpack and didn’t allow me to bring my mosquito repellent. No clue why. It is the La Moskitia region…professional courtesy? And I couldn’t have more than 4 AA batteries so they took 2 away. And so it goes.
I was #13 and Elmer was #14 to board. But, there were only 5 people on our plane. Again, no clue. The hour-long flight to Puerto Lempira was uneventful and the land below was mountainous and beautiful although my vision was obscured by the haze and the aging acrylic window. Elmer said he thought it was an old Russian plane.
We landed on the smallest airfield I have ever seen. I have seen some small ones, but this was still surprising–like something from the third world. Oh. Wait. Dirt runway. Shacks for the “terminal”. And soldiers to meet us and check our ids—they wanted to make sure we weren’t drug smugglers. You would think they would check the people leaving, not arriving, but it wasn’t a big deal.
We grabbed a taxi to go to our hotel. Imagine my thoughts at this point. No paved roads. The smallest airport in the world. What is the hotel going to be like? I had pretty much resolved that it was going to be basic before we got here, but my imagination was really spinning. Hot water? I was hoping for that.
As we pulled up I was pleasantly surprised to discover a very nice place. We got to choose between air conditioning all day, or from 6 pm to 6 am, or fans. We chose the middle option, although at 4:30 as I write this, there is no electricity anywhere in the building so had we paid for the extended air conditioning, we wouldn’t have it. The court yard outside the rooms gets a very nice ocean breeze making it a very comfortable place to sit.
One of the more amusing things about the place, the only paved road anywhere in Puerto Lempira is 50 feet of pavement in front of our hotel. That’s it. Nowhere else. Elmer said the owner of the hotel used to be the governor of this state. So, I guess he has connections. He also has his own water treatment/bottling company.
Ironically, hot water in the rooms is the only thing it doesn’t have.
Quick addendum: I have now flown back to La Ceiba. The security at the airport leaving was pretty amusing. There were a couple 20-year-olds with M16s standing around, but not much else. We walked across the landing strip to the “terminal” and hung out. Then boarded the plane and left. No one checked our bags or anything. Well, that is until we got back to La Ceiba. I guess the odds on anyone carrying anything dangerous on board the plane are pretty low, but they wanted to make sure we didn’t bring anything into the city. Very funny. Just sit back, close your eyes and trust they know where they are going..