Our Trip to Honduras – Filming a Documentary – Day 2
Day 2- 4-27-18
We are up with the sun and off to catch a plane to Puerto Lempira! The camp where we will be staying is in a very remote part of Honduras, called Mabita. So we must fly into the small town if Puerto Lempira, and then drive another 4 hours or so into our village.
Marcell picked us up at our hotel and took us to the airport. He was kind enough to stop at Dunkin Donuts (yes, the city has several American restaurants, including McDonalds) so we could eat breakfast on the way.
At the airport, he called the owner of the airline we are flying on (a friend of his) to ensure they would accept our generator for the trip. We need that generator in order to charge our camera batteries and equipment, as there is no electricity in our camp.
He even treated us to some pastries at one of the airport coffee shops, that just happen to be pastries made by his company – a business he started in his garage 20 some years ago. They were delicious!
Soon after we boarded the small plane, propellers only, to the coastal village of Puerto Lempira.
Waiting for us there, is an employee with the Honduran Forestry Service, Juan Carlos, who works on this project, and a friend of his, Celso, who is to be our hired driver for the time we are here.
Just after 1PM we touched down on the hard packed dirt airstrip, and stepped out into a completely different world.
Run down buildings and shanties served as ticket counters and a baggage claim. And numerous chickens and cows competed for space with our plane and the passengers who disembarked.
We had to show our passports to the heavily armed police who met us at the plane, as their canines sniffed our bags. Puerto Lempira is a port often used by drugrunners, traffickers and poachers trying to move cash or export stolen parrots and macaws.
We were scheduled to interview the police chief in Puerto Lempira today, but we were told he no longer works or lives in the area, because the poachers threatened his life. He was cracking down on the illegal bird trade, and the poachers didn’t like it.
Since we had no interview today, we went into town and purchased groceries, gas, and other supplies that we will need for our stay here. This is the closest place to get any supplies or food of any kind, about four hours away from where we will ultimately be staying.
Our truck was fully loaded with all of our baggage, camera gear, groceries, and seven passengers! I’m not sure how they do it, but evidently this is the norm around here.
We drove to Mabita down a winding, bumpy, dirt road. Much of the scenery reminded me of Fort Bragg, and it’s training fields with the tall Pines and heavy underbrush.
Another familiar sight (from this military wife’s perspective) – guards armed with automatic rifles!
They were running a checkpoint about halfway through the countryside. Again, we had to show our passports and sign in before we were allowed to proceed the rest of the way.
Finally, just after dark around 7 PM, we pulled into our camp at Mabita . It was a pleasant sight, even though we couldn’t really see much. Just knowing that it was time to rest was good enough.
The local women fed us a dinner of beans and rice, and we were shown to our rooms. For a camp seemingly out in the middle of nowhere, our accommodations were very nice. The locals had built a visitor’s center, which consisted of several camp-style wooden rooms.
It was very clean and comfortable, and we were grateful.