After managing the border crossing of Barrio El Poy, this one seeming to be the most inefficient so far with a senseless amount of copies required of every piece of paperwork under then sun, requiring walking back and forth between offices and banks placed a signifiant distance apart from each other. Possibly only so you would stop and buy fruit or snacks the from the street sellers that had set up in the huge expanse between the offices. After gathering my book of paperwork, I get the entry stamp for Honduras and I am on my way.
I ride from the heat of the plains into the misty mountains, playing slalam with the potholes big enough to hide a small child. Though I am wary of the effects of hitting one too hard, having just read about these poor people
with a cracked rim in the south part of the country.
The road, despite the potholes is ok as I enter the small town of Gracias for the evening, and find a simple hotel with my own room and bathroom for $5. The water is cold in the shower but I delight in pulling out my camping stove (which I travel with but have few occasions to use at the moment) and boiling up a steaming tub.
Following a lonely planet recommendation for a supposed amazing lencan, organic meal, and possibly the most traditional in the country I head out into the rainy darkness to see if I can find the restaurant. They state that the hours can be strange, but if in anyway you can eat here, do. Thats a pretty heavy recommendation. I cannot find the place as the streets are not marked well, and I am not quite sure where to go. I ask a man in the street, and after a few misunderstood exchanges pass our lips he calls over his wife. She understands my request and walks up with me to the restaurant. It is closed. She calls out to an old woman down the street. They exchange words. The owner and chef Lizeth Perdomo is at a meeting. The woman calls her on the phone. She will be back at 9. They open up the restaurant and say I can wait inside. The old woman is Lizeth's mother. She oscillates between standing by the door looking down the street, and coming to sit and talk with me. It seems Spanish is her second language and she has a thick accent. We talk in stilted conversation. She goes to the fridge and gets me desert. Pastel con tres leche. A white cake soaked in sweet milk. Dinner is starting backwards.
Forty minutes later Lizeth arrives her young daughter rugged up for the cold in her arms. She asks me what I would like to eat and I put the meal in her hands.
The rapid childlike conversation of her daughter, mostly singing and talking to herself, and the smells of amazing cooking start to come out of the kitchen.
The room is rustic and arty. Lencan pottery decorate the table. Art decorates the walls. Wooden chairs are covered with hessian sack cushions. I am alone in the room and it's kind of strange. I hope for something lovely.
The meal comes out, warm in the cold evening. Its Pollo con creama con Flores de roco she tells me. Everything made fresh.
I eat happily. And then her daughter Victoria Maria comes out to give me some light entertainment - finishing off my bread, and loving it when I spread it with extra honey from my tea. She delights in telling me about her day, her kindergarten, her boyfriend. And whatever else goes through her head. She is an interesting and happy child and her mother loves her a lot. This is obvious.
Lizeth tells me about her plans, her dream to build an eco hostel at the back of the restaurant. With solar host water and natural paints. "Poco en poco" she says. Everything takes time here. And with a charge of $5 for dinner I start to understand why.
I walk back after a lovely meal in the evening mist. The rounded cobblestones are wet and slippery. The streets are almost deserted bar one. Chairs lined up down the footpath. People eating of styrofoam plates. This must have been the meeting that I dragged my cook away from....