After a week of successful studies at Ixbalanque Spanish School, and recovering from a respiratory illness for stupidly wading through dirty, muddy, flood waters in the streets, I thought the rest would be easy. Wrong!!
Central American countries don’t have any OSHA oversight, so you have to use a little intelligence on your own.
In the town of Copan Ruinas, You need to watch where you walk. There are some holes in the street grates, sidewalks, and some very poorly designed steps. Some of the streets have inclines as illustrated by this photo:
My last day in Copan, I was hurrying back to the school to pick up something I had left behind. I was trying to be really careful, but just before I got to the school, I slipped down some slick steps and twisted my ankle really bad. I had not had anything hurt like that in a long time.
On the way home, I saw a store owner who recognized me and asked what had happened. He said there was a clinic in town, but he would not recommend it. I hobbled home and just fell into bed in pain. I was supposed to leave on a bus the next morning at 4:45 a.m.
There was a small store across the street from my house and after I awoke I limped over to buy some Ibuprofen–the pharmacies were all closed. The owner was very concerned about me when I told him I had to walk 4 blocks to the bus station with my suitcase early the next morning. He cautioned me that it would dark and in my shape, I could easily fall. He said he would get up at 4 a.m. and carry my bag for me and made sure I got there safe. Needless to say I accepted.
When I got up the next a.m. I could barely walk. Thank goodness, the store owner was sitting outside the door of my house waiting for me as promised. He helped me to the station and made sure I got on the bus.
From Copan, I traveled 3 hours by bus back to the station in San Pedro Sula. On the bus, I met another student who offered to help me get back to the airport. I was glad for the assistance.
When I arrived in Oklahoma City, bruised, battered, and limping, my wife met me at the airport and just looked at me and said “when are you going to learn?”
In spite of everything, on the way home, I just smiled to myself and thought about the challenges of the trip and how I managed to survive everything and have such great memories.
P.S.-BTW-it was a bad ankle sprain and it took several months to heal. It still gives me a little trouble from time to time.
Ok, I have some other trips to write about. I will start those next week.
Steve Barrymore firstname.lastname@example.org
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