Horsing around (January 2002)index | prev | next

At dinner the first night, we worked out a schedule for our three days in Copan. Our "package" included, in addition to Eli, our friendly tour guide, a horseback riding trip up into the hills on the outskirts of town. Having never been on a horse before, I was keen to give it a shot. So we woke early the next morning and went to meet our new equine friends.

My horse was called Camarone. He was a little smaller than the other horses, and I think he had a bit of an attitude about it.

Here I am trying to reassure my transportation that spinning around in circles is not what I meant when I tried to get him to stop.

We rode by some tobacco fields...

...and eventually made it up far enough to have a lovely view of Copan tucked into the hillside down below.

Our mounted journey ended in a small village where the kids were engaged in a rousing game of football.

The schoolhouse in the village had a mural copying the carvings on an altar in the nearby Mayan ruins (known as Altar Q) depicting the first ruler of Copan passing the ruling baton to the sixteenth. The second ruler sits on the left and the fifteenth on the right. The actual carving is on a square stone and all the intermediate rulers are carved on the other three faces. Too bad for the previous seven rulers, for whom the geometry wouldn't work out so nicely.

We then wandered into the hills on foot where we bumped into a bunch of kids on some sort of art school field trip. They were photographing and sketching these frog sculptures. The site is purported to be some sort of fertility grounds where Mayan women would come to give birth.

The trek continued onward, passing the occasional dwelling perched alone in the hills. I don't imagine the property taxes are too bad in these parts.

A rather kinky scene unfolded along the trail as two dragonflies mated while a third watched longingly from a nearby branch.

Our trek ended at a hacienda where one could avail themselves of some fine Honduran cuisine.

They had laid out coffee beans on the front porch to dry; surely the sign of a people that are serious about the flavor of their brew.

I discovered a hammock hanging in the back which I quickly put to good use.

While waiting for lunch, we discovered a written account of the history of the hacienda and how its original owner Jose, had dictated in his will that his beloved donkey Pepi, and its direct descendents, must be looked after in perpetuity by the future owners of the hacienda, lest it be turned over to charity. Pepi and sons were apparently to be allowed to wander freely through the house and even have a drink at the bar. We discovered the latest in Pepi's glorious lineage grazing quietly in a nearby field.

Following our afternoon at the hacienda, we met up with our horses and rode back into town. I was surprised when I awoke the next day with full use of the muscles in my groin, but the life of the cowboy caught up with me the day after and I was walking a bit bowlegged.

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©2002 michael bayne  <mdb@samskivert.com>