Fri, Feb. 14th: Valentines Day (our 4th
one on the road)! We left Copan Ruinas early in the morning as we had a long day of riding
ahead of us, some 400 kilometers east to the Caribbean coast. Surprisingly, we had very
little traffic and made good time, arriving to La Ceiba around 3pm. Here we found the
guesthouse which all the other m/c travelers had told us about and settled in to wait for
my brothers arrival on Sunday.
As sunset approached we walked down to the beach to enjoy a beautiful, romantic purple
sunset just right for Valentines Day. Then we walked down the beach a ways and found
a nice spot to enjoy a fresh fish dinner and a few beers while we were cooled by the
strong ocean winds. After dinner we stopped at a small bar/club which was recommended to
us by several people for its authentic Punta music. Our friend Ed, from www.EdsGoneSouth.com, wrote a
wonderfully accurate account of this place for his website and thought Id display it
here, as I could not have done it near the justice it deserves
After dinner we ask BangBang where to go for a little nightlife. He
points us across the street to the local gringo hangout. Overpriced beers, "where are
you from?" conversation, and no music -- not what we're in the mood for. We ask where
the locals hang, and his eyes brighten. Obviously, no one ever asks this question. He
sends us down the road to "the place after the parking lot with the bamboo on the
outside." These are better directions than we've gotten in a month, so we're off.
Sure enough about half a mile down the road, as we start hearing the thump of drums,
loud chants, and a crooning horn sound, we notice the bamboo wall. We step inside, and all
eyes are on us, but we don't feel unwelcome.
We're in a local Garifuna club. The Garifuna are a people descended from escaped slaves
from the 17th Century. Communities of African descendants like this line the Central
American caribbean coast. In Honduras they calls themselves Garifuna (Gar-EE-funa). In
other parts they are creole.
The tables, scattered around a concrete dance floor, sport what look like fifths of
liquor and some cut limes. BangBang told us they have a special drink we should be sure to
order, Gifiti. I presume that's what everyone has on the table, and order one bottle for
us to share. "Just one?" asks the bartender.
In the center, the entertainment is well underway. Two shirtless men beat out African
rhythms on homemade cowskin drums, another stands with a shaker, and two women in very
plain clothes sing and dance. This is no made for tourists show that you'll get in Hawaii.
They perform in call and response. The leader, a young, beautiful man with deep black
skin sings in a high tenor and plays the main drum. The women dancing to the side sing
their responses and sway to the beat. They take turns dancing a jig in the middle. They
shake their hips ferociously, almost like hula dancers, and glide about the floor. Their
torsos remain completely still. Every so often one of the women blows into a conch,
filling the room with a loud bellow, as if calling the sailors back from the sea.
Watching the performance, I sip at the Gifiti. It is a pungent red liquor made with
herbs and rum. It is steeped in old wine bottles out back and served with sliced lime and
sea salt, sea brine and all. The little bottle are just what they serve it in. We find out
later it originated as a medicinal tincture used to cleanse the blood and maintain general
wellness. Now, it's mainly used for getting looped."
We enjoyed it so much we came back on Saturday night too, and brought some other
travellers from the hostel with us. Great fun!!!