W/E 12 August 2012

If Knot Y Knot
Patricia Day
Thu 9 Aug 2012 11:15
Monday 6 – Off to Brighton, said goodbye to Auntie Doreen and then Mum took me to Brighton and I caught a coach to London and got off at Gatwick Airport. 
No delay, straight onto a coach to Wales that stopped at Heathrow Airport.  I had 21 hours until my flight.
All you need for international travel is time, a passport and money cards. 
I checked for my credit cards and instantly knew where I had left them, back at the house next to the computer.
I phoned my mother to see if she could get a taxi company to bring them up - £87.
I arranged for my mother to drive to Lewes, Gill went to meet her at Tesco and then Miranda would then bring them to Gatwick.
The coach people would not put them on the coach, so I had to go back to Gatwick.
Heathrow>Brighton (via Gatwick) return £36.60.  Heathrow>Gatwick (less than half the distance) return £40 – because they can!
All went smoothly and by 8pm I was back at Heathrow, with only 15 hours to wait until my flight.
Tuesday 7 – A reasonable night in the comfy seats in Giraffe Cafe, but the airport wakes up at 4 and it was still 4 hours to check in.
The flight was ready to take off when they found a electronic panel that needed to be changed, this would take 45 minutes.  3 hours later we took off.
I arrived in Miami and had to get through immigration and it was going to take too long, so they gave me an express boarding pass and I went through the diplomatic line and then had to run and just made it to the gate.  Arrived in Guatamala and was going to stay in the airport, but there was a man taking people to a hotel.  I saw him last time and so decided to go. $25 a hot breakfast and they would drop me off at the coach stop in the morning.
Wednesday 8 – I had a shower, not sure there really was any breakfast and they took me back to the airport.  In the end they took me to the coach station, but it was the wrong company.  A lady came to my rescue and took me round the block to the correct bus.  I caught the 9am coach and it should take 6 hours.  9 hours later we got to the Rio.  Kevin owns the marina and lots of his family were coming in for his 50th wedding anniversary and he had been waiting for the bus since 3.30, so I got in his water taxi back to the boat.  It was late and all I could do was brush the mould off the bed and go to sleep.
Thursday 9 -  I packed a bag and 7.35 Marco brought the Marios launch and we were off to Honduras.  Donna and Jimmy, Bluewater Cat, Val and Lloyd, Puddlejumper, and Wily and Greg, Cajun Diva.  I had not seen BWC and PJ since the end of 2008 and CD since Trinidad, when they used to have a monohull, but it was now a cat.  It was good to see everybody, but I was tired.  We checked out of Guatamala and were checking in to Honduras when the immigration man wanted to know why he had 7 names on the paper, but had only seen 6 people.  The 7th was me, but I had fainted on the floor of the immigration hall – not existing in any country at the time. Luckily I was surrounded by nurses and I was carted off to the bathroom to recover, then I went back to check in.  We got to the hotel in the afternoon and I had an early night while the others went out to dinner.
Friday 10 – we went to Macaw Mountain which had lots of macaws, toucans, parrots and owls.  They are brought unwanted and confiscated pets and sick birds.  If they are unable to fend for themselves in the wild they are kept and where possible they are coupled and bred.  The chicks are trained to find food and released when they are old enough.  It was a very well kept facility.  They have a selection of birds that you can hold and have your picture taken.  Val was the official photographer and pictures will follow.  If the birds misbehave they are put in their cage for a week for a time out.
Back at the hotel there was one room out of our block of 5 that had Germans in, this was next to me and I had 7 of them outside my door.  I had been chased out of my room for the afternoon and in the evening I was waiting for one of the others to tell them to keep quiet.  Everybody was waiting for someone to do it, so I did.  Keep it down or go somewhere else – they disappeared immediately.
Saturday 11 – one German came and apologised at breakfast.  We headed for Copan, Mayan heritage site.  Lots of carved stones and structures, considered on a par with Paris for artistic quality.  There were a dozen magnificent macaws that had been released from Macaw Mountain and it was good to see them in the wild.  Marco had come back this morning with Myrna and we met them at the ruins.  After lunch we went into the museum and Val has about 800 photos and could have spent days there.  My new batteries were no good and so photos will be Val’s, so they should be good.
Sunday 12 – we went for a walk round town and left the hotel at 1030.  It was a short drive to the border, the man in immigration remembered me!
We didn’t have to check out of Honduras and when we got to the Guatamalan border they would not stamp the passports.  It did not matter for me, but 5 of the others needed a new 90 day visa and they were not going to get it.  Evidently we had been treated as visitors and not checked out of Guatamala and only given a tourist stamp for Honduras.  Jimmy had 2 days left on his visa so we were not leaving the border without a new one.
Luckily we had Marco to do the Spanish for us.  Much discussion and phone calls ensued.  They had to check out of Guatamala, check into Honduras, go somewhere in Honduras and come back later with a reason and check out of Honduras and back into Guatamala.  We did not have to go back into Honduras, although I was ready to faint on cue and provide the reason to get back to Guatamala – they were rewarded for their reasonableness with 
more than the usual fees.  It took over an hour at the border and then we continued back to Rio Dulce.  We got out of the minibus and into the launch and once again I was back at the boat.  5 days less on my visa and tomorrow I must start the big clean up.