Backpacking in South America, Tegucigalpa
Eight Months On The Road
I had time to shop a little in Guatemala and pick up a watch for $1.50 because up until then I had no timepiece. This little watch served me well until it was later stolen from my backpack while I took an airliner to Trinidad, an incident that became a good reminder to lock my backpack and never carry anything that I couldn't ’t live without.
I traveled from Guatemala City to the country of El Salvador where I stayed in the capitol city of San Salvador, arriving at night and leaving the next day. From there I crossed the border at El Amatillo and stayed on the bus to Tegucigalpa where I booked a hotel two blocks from the Tica bus station. Tica Bus
On many backpack trips through Central America, I have never found the buses crowded. I just show up and buy a ticket; I never make reservations. This lack of itinerary might not be to some traveler’s liking and for them there is an option. A system called the Tica bus takes backpackers through Central America using the same bus and driver for the duration. The bus makes stops at hotels in the various countries, the driver putting up for the night along with the passengers. From Tapachula in Chiapas or Guatamala City these buses are an option for backpackers making a trip south to Panama City.
I like Tegucigalpa, It has an interesting central square, streets full of markets, and a hill that leads to a nice park overlooking the town. I started to walk up the hill for an evening view when a man ran up to me and insisted that I not go up to the park alone. at night, A kindness noted in a world that is not always kind.
In Tegucigalpa I stepped out of character momentarily and reserved a seat on the following morning’s bus, a futile attempt it would prove.
The bus was scheduled to leave the station at seven in the morning. A luxury bus, the first luxury bus that I had ridden on since leaving Missouri, had an upper deck and served breakfast. The traditional seating on the upper tier had picture windows while on the lower tier the bus had reclining seats that turned into beds.
The day before traveling, I booked a front seat on the upper deck and looked forward to enjoying the view through Honduras on the way to Nicaragua. That morning when I arrived at the station, however, the conductor would not give me the seat at the front. He gave me a seat on the upper deck but someone who had more clout or more money than I had would ride in my reserved front seat.
A traveler rolls with these pitches of the deck. When you are in a foreign country, your rights and privileges depend on what your money and connections can buy. If you have neither your only option is to be flexible.
From Tegucigalpa I went on to cross into Nicaragua and then on to Managua where I spent the night. Here I had a strange incident that reminded me to keep alert while walking the city streets. A man approached from the front and from the corner of my eye, I could see another one approaching from the back. The man coming towards me put his hand out to touch me. I grabbed his arm and pushed his hand aside while at the same time jumping away. I turned and faced them demanding to know what they wanted but they quickly turned and seemed to fade away down the street. I don’t know what they were up to but I was thankful that I had both arms free.
I prepare for incidents like this each day although they rarely happen. It doesn't'’t bother me when it does happen, its no big deal. You have to be hard-shelled as a prairie tortoise to make a backpacking trip like the one I am making, traveling alone through Central and South America, a place of frontier towns and at times frontier justice. Some people can do a trip like this, some cannot or prefer not to.
Most people who are robbed will get careless in a terminal or they will walk alone in a seamy area of the city. After you have done some backpack traveling, you get the feel for when someone is looking at you with robbery on their mind. For the most part, however, people all over the world are kind and helpful, just like the man who warned me about the park in Tegucigalpa.
Sure at times people call you names, “Whitey,” or “Gringo,” or worse but the kind people who run up to you and warn you not to walk in certain parts of the city make up for the few bandits out there who prey on backpacking road warriors.
South America, Backpacking, Tegucigalpa
Eight Months On The Road
By David Rice
Tica Bus: serving backpackers to Central America Tica runs a total of 38 air-conditioned buses that have reclining seats, restrooms, window curtains, TV and video Tica Bus through Central America