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The Astronaut Way

This article was written from Honduras, when everything had typically gone completely off the deep end wrong, when I was stuck in a sad little city, with all my stuff stolen, no money, and little hope of ever seeing my first aid kit again. I have long thought that travel is a lot like the NASA space program. There you are in your house, a sort of launch pad where you fuel up, fill the cargo hold with Tang, and get set for the countdown. Then you blast off, leaving behind most of the material evidence that you are a member of the world at large. Like an Apollo rocket, the biggest section gets dropped first because the biggest outlay of fuel is used right away, just to get off the pad. You blast off to the airport where you jettison your car, your favorite coffee cup, your CD collection in the trunk. You hit the atmosphere at maximum thrust using money as fuel, cooking through dollars, quetzales, lempiras.
Escape velocity costs almost everything you've got, but once you hit it you are free as double cuba libres on Ladies Night in Ricks Bar, Casablanca. Once in orbit, you could go forever. To boldly go where no man has gone before, to explore strange new worlds, new civilizations. In this metaphor, I am currently squatting in the Eagle Lunar Lander, Buzz and Ed are gone, Earth is obscured by the cold stone of the moon, It's just me and some Tang.
I'm on this line of thought because my backpack was stolen yesterday out of the executive class bus I was riding from Copan Ruinas to San Pedro Sula. I am currently in a hotel room in a minor city in Honduras. I have what I was wearing and carrying on the bus, where I was very happy for a couple hours, watching Gladiator and reading the spanish subtitles out loud. Here is my current total accoutrement:
306 Lempiras
1 pair socks
1 pair shoes
1 pair fatigue pants
1 t shirt (navy)
1 button shirt (olive)
1 Toshiba Satellite laptop so jammed with software and data you can't believe it
1 digital camera
1 nasty looking pocket knife
1 paperback (poor condition) "The Accidental Tourist"
1 passport (mine)
Also, the bus company issued me some toiletries, including the exact same toothbrush I had before, fittingly called the "Colgate Navigator"
That's it. The above list represents all the physical evidence that I am me. I don't want to list the stuff I had in my muchilla (pack) but I had to make a list (w/ aproximate values) for the bus company, who is supposed to do something about it.
For the loss of my elaborately detailed Tlingit totem pole raincoat which really belongs to brother Glenn (sorry, bro) I am sad. Also for some personal documents and photos that are irreplaceable. The backpack as well belonged to someone else, maybe any of my siblings. I hope it was Gary's because he lost a similar pack that belonged to me in a ditch in Montana. As for the rest of that stuff, the rotten thieves of the third world can roll it all up and smoke it. My load is lighter, and I now I have an excuse to buy some freaky hippy gear in the handmade markets of the next quaint little hamlet I get to. Maybe Leon, maybe Granada. Maybe I'll just make do with what I've got for a while.
Briefly, the travel news.
Since leaving Antigua, I have visited Tikal, Flores, Livingston, Copan, and now San Pedro Sula, where I will be leaving with haste as it is just another squalid desperate commercial and travel hub. Also a number of inbetween places that aren't really places in and of themselves, just spots on the way to someplace else. Those who are into going places might recall that there is often more "going" than there are "places". To illustrate the point, here is a sample day of travel from the reggae streets of Livingston to the colonial cobblestone of Copan Ruinas. 12 hours, 7 seperate manners of conveyance, $16.
From the Hotel Manhattan, San Pedro Sula, Honduras
With Escape Velocity,

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