My last weeks in Honduras were the perfect wrap up to the trip.  The invert team had a LOT of sample sorting to do. Hundreds and hundreds of little plastic sample bags full of our pitfall trap catches.  The first step was to sort the dung beetles from all the debris and other insects. Afterwards, beetles were sorted into morphospecies, which means we grouped them by appearance.  Then groups were identified to species level, and the data was input using a special phone app.  Because I was sent back to Guanales unexpectedly, I actually missed out on almost all of this, instead having a cruisey time running light traps and going out on other people’s surveys. That suited me just fine though, as I got to go out on a small mammal survey and see very cute spiny pocket mice.

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One of my best friends Dylan weighing a lil mouse 

When I got back to basecamp, I also finally got to go on a night-time herpetology survey which was really fun – we saw lots of cool insects, frogs, lizards and even a salamander!

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We also got to leave Cusuco for the first time, to visit the nearest town, Buenos Aires. It was a really long walk, but once we got there it was worth it because I had plantain chips, beer, salad, and ICECREAM!  Speaking of food, I don’t think I’ve really mentioned the food in Honduras yet. Which is very out of character for me. So here’s what we’ve been eating!

Breakfast

Breakfast is the same everyday. Flour tortillas with artificial grape jam or honey. Or very occasionally, peanut butter. There’s also oats for porridge, although usually that comes with some token dead bees, which infested all the breakfast foods very early on.

Lunch & Tea

Our meals were simple but yummy. There was a rotation of about 10 meals that we ate on repeat for all our lunches and dinners.  Beans, pasta and cabbage featured very heavily in the rotation. One of our main sources of entertainment during the day would be trying to predict what the evening meal would be. High octane entertainment as you can imagine.

By far the two best meals were typica and pastillitos. Typica is the typical Honduran dinner. It’s veggie rice, fried plantains, refried beans and sour cream, and it is really delicious. It was definitely a love it or hate it meal that was a regular source of arguments among the staff.

Pastillitos are like a Honduran pastie of happiness. Almost everyone’s favourite meal in camp. No one will forget the tragic occurrence of early July when the cooks misjudged numbers and we were only allowed two each…

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Pastillitos! Bit hard to see under the mountain of carrot and cabbage they’re inexplicably served with.

Our other meals:

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Not pictured here: the dreaded quarter cabbage soup… feared by all

Coffee & Snacks

Coffee is a BIG part of the culture in Honduras. It’d be made every morning and afternoon for us, plus we could buy it from locals to make ourselves. I went in not really drinking any coffee and came out drinking up to five cups a day…   On our day trip to Buenos Aires we stopped at a little woman’s house who showed us the whole process of how she makes coffee, and then she gave us all free cups and biscuits. What a lovely lady.

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Bright plastic cups = coffee time!
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Helping to bash up the beans
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The very nice lady who showed us the process. 

Near basecamp there were a bunch of locals with little stalls selling snacks – mostly chips and chocolate biscuits. Satellite camps also had mini versions of this. These guys had a captive market and boy did they take advantage of it.

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Camp manager Josh being sprung buying more snacks at a satellite camp

Leaving Honduras was bittersweet. It was an extremely intense experience, and everyone was ready to have a hot shower, comfy bed and contact with family.  But while leaving was exciting, it was also really sad. I made so many great friends on this trip, people I want around forever. We got to have a night out together for dinner and drinks in San Pedro Sula, before all going our separate ways the next day.

I’m so glad that I made the decision to go to Honduras, despite the extremely short turn around after Malaysia and having to turn down another job for it!   It was challenging, educational, fun and unforgettable.

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In the back of the car ready to leave 😦