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ruthless compassion
05 November 2003 @ 10:55 am
So, the main drawback on my trip to Honduras was the men. I know I should have expected a certain amount of difficulty as a single woman travelling alone in this part of the world, but being in Xela, where, while the men do have a bit of machismo happening, the culture is fairly conservative, didn't quite prepare me for the full brunt of the combination of latin machismo and tropical slime. Here, mostly you get hisses or "chch"s, which are fairly easy to ignore, and even if it's more, it's not very pushy. Almost immediately upon crossing the border into Honduras, that changed, which surprised me -- I didn't expect the border to make such a big difference (although it also may have been that I was going to Copan, which is a big tourist destination, so that may have been more of a factor than the border).

So, in the ruins of Copan, a park employee (mentioned yesterday) decided that he would be my personal tour guide, since I hadn't paid for one, and, by the by, my new latin boyfriend. When he introduced himself, he kissed my hand in a really affected way, and then insisted on HOLDING it while showing me around different parts of the park (especially leading off toward more secluded, hidden parts. talk about setting off warning bells!) I declined to go to the more secluded areas and insisted on steering us back to more trafficked areas, but was completely unable to shake him for approximately an hour. At one point, he got caught up in some business with other employees and I walked away but then he caught up with me a couple of minutes later. He kept trying to hold my hand and went on and on about how much he likes american women (*eyeroll*) and don't I like latin men? I wanted to get rid of him in a way that wouldn't put me in a dangerous situation of having pissed him off, and once I was in areas where there were other people in sight, I didn't feel immediately threatened, but he was just yucky. When I told him I needed more space from him, and that I didn't want to hold his hand, because I don't know him, he got all offended and hurt looking and said, "But I work for the park!" as though that should make me feel like going off to some secluded locked tunnel with him would be a good idea. Yuck.

Unfortunately, that kinda ruined my whole feeling about Copan, and the peaceful meditative experience I'd had BEFORE meeting slimy Antonio was fairly squashed, so I was happy to leave on the early bus the next day. But the kid who drove me (3 blocks) from the hotel to the bus, after dropping me off, tried to get me to give him my keychain clip as a "recuerdo". Does that ever work?? I'd seen him for a total of 2 minutes... why did he need a recuerdo? I only thought of it afterwards that I should have asked him if he knew my name, and if he did, then I would have given it to him. But really. Please.

Then on Roatan, there was an annoying guy at my first hotel, a local who was friends with someone who works at the hotel, and he would hang out on the porch in the evening. One night, I was going out to swim before dinner, and he wanted to come with me. No, thanks, I said, and forcibly dissuaded him. When I came back from swimming, he gave me some ridiculous line about how I looked cold out there and he thought he should come "warm me up". Does this ever work? I really wonder. Then he said I should go shower and get ready and we'd go out for a drink. Uh huh. I did shower, and get ready and then told him, "thanks for the offer, but I think I'll dine alone" as I headed out. The next day, more of the same. The day after that, I changed hotels. Yay!

And then there was the slimy and disgusting older man who liked to stand next to the porch of the dive shop and watch me get into my wetsuit. Or stop me on the street and have some kind of conversation. Yuck!

So, I got kinda overloaded with all that, and in a big way, it's a relief to be back in Xela where I can easily ignore the hisses and such.

That was really the main drawback of my trip, and, as I said yesterday, overall, it was a great time. But, wow, I'm done with travelling around here as a single woman for the time being! And tomorrow, I'll ramble on about some of the better aspects of my time away :)