LAST WEEK I went on a jolly up to Lancashire. Despite this being a wonderful part of England, even the Red Rose County has its thorn – it’s a wretched 6 hour drive from my Devon home. So if, like me, you have the driving aptitude of a Norwegian salmon and the reactions of a 3 toed sloth, you do what I do, you go by bus. Being stuck in one seat for several hours with little more to do than vie for central armrest supremacy might sound like purgatory to some, but it does provide endless opportunity to read, to scratch, and, best of all, to daydream. Before we pulled in to Bolton bus station I was thinking back to my recent trip through Central America and, in particular, the Latino equivalent of our Luxury Coach Network – the ever faithful Chicken Bus. Read more
For the previous two months Guatemala had been my home. Sitting in a roadside cantina, a mere tortilla toss from the El Salvadoran frontier, there was a decision to be made. Should the Guatemalan adventure continue, or should El Salvador be the next port of call? Read more
Speak to anyone who has visited Honduras and they will undoubtedly talk of the idyllic Bay Islands lifestyle, or the famous ruins near Copán. I agree that, in terms of tourism, they are indeed the undisputed heavyweight champions, yet there is much more to this diverse Central American nation than sun, sea, and statues. Read more
Wading down the boulder-strewn river, hemmed in on both sides by thick jungle, I could hear the rumble grow louder. Oh man, I thought, here we go again. Read more
The return bike ride from the ferry port is just as lively as the trip out there. Eventually, though, the Stardust Guesthouse appears like a vision before me, and not before time. But knowing my luck, I’ll make it all the way back in one piece, climb off the bike, and promptly fall down a storm drain. I decide to keep the crash helmet on until I’m well away from the moped and safely back at reception. ‘You get ticket OK?’ the lady at the counter asks. ‘Yep, no sweat’ I lie. ‘I go to ferry port tomorrow morning’ I continue. ‘…and thanks for the ride.’
In view of the last 30 minutes of my life, she then delivers 4 words that could freeze bone marrow: ‘Tomorrow, you need motorbi…’
I cut her short. There’s no need to finish that sentence. ‘No, I’m good, thank you!’ I blurt in an overly keen, please-don’t-trouble-yourself kind of way.
‘I walk. I like to walk…I enjoy walking…every morning!I love it!’ Me? Enjoy walking? Meh. I think not. This is coming from a bloke who, in the normal run of events, generally qualifies the word ‘walk’ with ‘last resort’ and would only consider running on very special occasions, like if being chased by a bull elephant. Or a Grizzly bear, and a big angry one at that. But the words continue to spill out, each one unimpeded by any form of brain activity. Then, as if to brush away the last remaining fleck of personal credibility, from nowhere comes this ridiculously toothy grin and an accompanying hand signal to raise the weeee-taaard bar even further.
I look to my hand, which has now made it’s own way out and into the space between myself and counter lady, and my eyes are fixed firmly upon it as if to draw even more attention to what happens next. And the next stage is inevitable, there’s no going back – the hand is already out there and has no intention of retreating without putting on a show first. The index and middle fingers are fully extended and pointing downward and, as if they were an entity to themselves, start to flick rhythmically to and fro like something from a Yellow Pages advert. All the while, I’m bobbing my head and smiling like I’ve just been eating Prozac off Carmen Electra’s boobies and I’m saying ‘walk, walk, walk’ in time with finger flicking.