Just joking. Don't
The next day early in the morning, I was picked up by an old offroader mangy with people and dusty bags of rice. All the relatively fine places in the vehicle were taken: even bags with rice were found in a more dignified position than me; that’s how miserable I felt hanging down from the back part of the truck. After four and a half hours ride down by the road covered with an orange dust, I resembled a freshly excavated statue from ancient Egypt. However, there was some good news, too. On the way I made friends with Harvey, an English teacher from La Mosquitia. He was so overwhelmed to meet someone from Russia that right away offered me a place to stay at his sister’s house.
After the fascinating road trip, we had 2 more hours of a boat adventure ahead. La Mosquitia is the land divided by scores of small rivers that fall into lagoons. Small local town are named after lagoons they surround. Harvey and I were heading for the Brus Lagoon. During the boat trip Harvey talked a mile a minute sharing with me all the wisdom he collected throughout his life. That’s what I found out within 2 hours: La Mosquitia got its name in honor of a native tribe called Miskito that has nothing to do with mosquitos. The Miskito habitat starts from a Caribbean coast of Honduras and stretches until Costa Rica. I personally liked the fact that La Mosquitia was situated in ‘departamento de gracias a dios’ (thanx god’s department). Taking into account that it is spoken miskito language in La Mosquitia, meeting Harvey came quite in handy. Their language is an odd mix of French with English, with dominating English part. That happened thanks to the captain Morgan, who reached the Caribbean before the Spaniards. It also explains why a lot of miskito people have English names and last names.
When our boat was about to touch the land, a fish with a large sharp bill jumped off the water and pierced a juicy hand of a chubby woman, who sat right in front of us. The entire scene was perfectly cinematic, I couldn’t help myself but burst into an inextinguishable laughter that lasted for good five minutes. Indeed, I was the only one laughing. The woman became a proud owner of a hole inside her hand that didn’t stop bleeding, and everyone else looked terrified. Harvey told me they called it a mad fish. However, at that moment it wasn’t the fish who seemed to be mad. The wounded woman glanced at me with a mix of rancor and rage. I couldn’t blame her, not everyday you get stabbed by a fish.
Brus Lagoon looks like as if Central Africa was placed in Central America by a mistake. Brown-skinned children run barefoot along dusty roads; nasty looking vultures sit on rooftops waiting for someone to die; fried bananas and coconut milk are served there for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Young women with babies peep out from the windows of their stilt houses. The most popular transport there is by no means cars or bikes, it’s boats. Every family has a cockleshell parked near their houses.
Aside from a couple of exceptions, next five days I mostly spent in the state of lying down on hammock watching scenes from fascinating life of geckos on ceiling. Sometimes I hang out with Harvey in his school or in a church, but soon I disappointed him with my reckless post-Soviet Union atheist mindset. By that time I have already made a new friend, a school colleague of Harvey, the history teacher Javier. Javier was a sarcastic little fellow with funny moustache and a dream to build a machine that would produce energy from his students’ poop. Together we went fishing piranhas and made a trip to a crocodile place.
At the lapse of five days I felt like I have exhausted all the leisure activities of Brus Lagoon: I was afraid the hammock pattern would remain on my back forever, and hospitality of Harvey’s sister Naomi could be abused if I stayed any longer. Unfortunately, what I also realized was that I didn’t have enough lempiras (Honduran money) to come back from La Mosquitia: boat rides were quite expensive. I had some Guatemalan money, though. Knowing that Harvey travel a lot to the capital, I offered him to exchange my quetzales to his lempiras, but for some reasons he didn’t like the idea. Instead he offered to put me on a sailor’s ship to La Ceiba for free. I didn’t mind.
The next day I climbed rusty stairs of a vessel that illegally shipped exotic animals from La Mosquitia. Apart from monkeys, iguanas tortoises and me, there was also a local woman that suffered from seasickness along the way, nine young shirtless sailors with their backs shiny from the sweat, a crazy cinematic cook, a captain and Javier that went with us, because he needed to use ATM. The journey wasn’t suppose to be long, about 7 hours, but obviously we ran out of fuel one hour after we left Brus Lagoon and had to wait for four hours for the help to come. Then we stumbled upon a sea patrol so everyone was running around trying to hide contraband animals in the ship’s basement. The crazy cook started singing opera-like improvisations tuning out potential monkey cries. However, the police wasn’t too enthusiastic about doing their job, so in half an hour we continued our journey without any problems. I fought with sailors who scared a monkey with an iguana, and took it to hang out with me. Though the monkey pissed me all over from fear at the beginning, soon it realized I wasn’t an enemy and calmed down.
We arrived to La Ceiba in a foggy morning at 5am. I was in such a bad temper that even said something rude to Javier. I was cold, sleepy and pissed by the monkey. We had to walk 3 kilometros until we found a hotel where they allowed us to shower without paying for a room. After a quick breakfast with a cold baleada and instant coffee, I waved good bye to Javier and sent myself on an errand to find a ride to the Guatemalan border.
My skin is so sticky I can work as an insect glue trap in a butcher’s shop. I lie down for a minute with my eyes closed trying to figure out what’s going on around. We are not moving anymore. I’m the only one in the truck. I lift my hands and legs checking out if they work at all: my body feels like my bones were ground while I was sleeping. Furious fever was changed into a weakness as if I have sweated out the will to live. I need to escape. These guys surely will want to put me in a hospital: as a foreigner without money I will be treated as a bag of shit, they’ll let me die pissing myself like a little monkey, then will feed vultures with my body and burn my passport. No. I have to run. For a sake of dignified death, I can do it. I jump of the bed and roll myself out of the truck. I start running. My exhausted body gets confused and actually I can feel how it’s becoming stronger. I think of Harvey. He had only three fingers on his right hand. He said he lost them when he was bad, when he didn’t believe in god and drank a lot of ron. I bet he was much more interesting as a person back those days. Maybe like Tony. How is Tony? Did he meet his wife at the airport? No, I won’t die. Not now. Fuck it. I will run until the Earth ends.