I am officially halfway through, and about to say goodbye to Central America – a hotter, noisier, more playful kind of place than I ever imagined. I’m going to miss crazy travelling salesmen on buses, drivers honking hello at their friends, colourful markets and the patience of locals with my Spanish.
Places visited: Costa Rica (Cahuita, La Fortuna, Monteverde), Nicaragua (Isla Ometepe, Granada, Lagoa Ayopa, Leon), El Salvador, Honduras (Copan Ruinas, La Florida), Guatemala (Chiqimula, Flores, Tikal, Lanquin, Antigua, San Marcos la Laguna, Xela)
Currencies: Dollars, Cordobas, Lempiras, Quetzales
Time differences: -7 GMT all the way
Modes of transport: Taxi, tuk-tuk, car, shuttle bus, ferry, bicycle, jeep, chicken bus
Favourite things: Chicken buses! Travelling with Emily, the sloth sanctuary, rappelling down a waterfall, getting my hair cut, Leon, Antigua (a prettier, wider, easier Cusco), the lagoon inside La Fortuna volcano, Tikal ruins (very, very impressive), bat caves at Lanquin.
Worst things: Nicaraguan street harassment, Copan Ruinas town (spent the vast majority of my two days there crying), thinking I would have to spend an entire seven-plus hour bus journey stood up (a kind man gave me his seat after a few hours), Zephyr Lodge (abysmally run hostel in Lanquin, Guatemala).
That sounds like a lot on reflection, but I have really enjoyed my time here. It´s ridiculously beautiful, for one thing, and I´ve met some really nice people along the way. And it´s all a learning curve for future travels.
What I should have brought: Needle and thread, although patching can only go so far.
Items bought: T-shirt, earrings, foldable toothbrush, bag (to replace broken backpack), book
Items lost: Ipod. Although it was actually stolen, by another traveller.
Illness and injury: loss of appetite, bruised/broken (?) toe, scratches, mosquito bites, peeling skin, sunburn.
Books read: The Speed of Dark, The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul, We Need to Talk About Kevin, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, On the Road to Rouen, The Devil Wears Prada, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, Oryx and Crake.
Strange/ Interesting food: Chicken, rice and tortillas on the back of a very crowded, sweaty bus, or the same meal served in someone´s kitchen, by candlelight (no electricity), both eaten with my hands.
Best food: Rosemary chicken in Antigua, pancakes in Grenada at Kathy´s Waffle House. I did develop quite a taste for tortillas as well. Slightly concerned that I might be becoming addicted to Coca Cola.
Best hostels: Costa Rica Backpackers, Tortuga Balooda (Leon, Nicaragua)
Coming up in month four: I have ten days in Mexico before I fly into California. I am so excited and unexpectedly nervous. It´s going to be different.