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Va, at 87 years old, wanted to visit Copan. She'd been there before in 1941, when her husband had helped to unearth and restore a Mayan maize god. At the time, she and her two babies had travelled by horseback from Guatemala to "Las Ruinas" to see Leonard and his discovery.
Well, she wanted to go back, partly in honor of her recently deceased husband, but also to visit her daughter, who was the oldest Peace Corps volunteer there in Honduras.
So, in May 2001, we - Va; Betty and Bill (Va's youngest daughter and her husband); Bob (Va's son) and I (Bob's friend) - flew from Miami to San Pedro Sula. Barbara met us at the airport, along with a mayor turned driver and a battered red pickup. We all "scrooched" in and looked like locals, except that one of us had to ride out back with the luggage, even when it rained.
Fifteen minutes out of the airport, our truck had a flat tire. But, despite that, we were all in "espiritus allegres" when we reached our destination, a 100 year old adobe house overlooking Copan Valley. And there, waiting at the front door, was Flavia, the owner, whose open arms and friendly smiles reassured us that we had, indeed, chosen the perfect place to stay.
Everything went well that first night, except that Va sat down too hard (fell?) on the toilet seat; the tank broke open and water flooded the room. But Flavia didn't seem to mind that Bill had to replace the Hunter Green tank (a specialty order from the U.S.) with a black tank (the only one he could find in the nearby market.)
Another minor setback awaited us the next day, which was to be Va's big one at the archaeological site. According to Bill, she wouldn't be able to walk more than a few steps. The grounds were too uneven for a wheelchair; and as Bob said later, "There were no golf carts." What to do? What to do?
Fortunately, Resourceful Bill and Willing to Please Flavia saved the day with a great idea: a sedan chair. You know, like the ones the slaves used in the olden days to carry queens around.
Within minutes, several young men were summoned to complete the task. First, they chopped down two strong, straight saplings and stripped them of leaves and branches. Then they "commandeered" one of Flavia's rockers and--using purple twine--they bound the poles to either side of the seat. Voila! A sedan chair!
Finally, all of us--Flavia, her workmen, housekeepers and cooks, our family--gathered in the front yard for a trial run. Tiny, birdlike Va, clad in her blue and white shirtwaist, sturdy tan shoes, white socks, and glasses, perched, then eased herself back into the chair. The workers lifted her up and started off down the road--a bit shakily at first, but then more confidently. Everyone cheered and clapped and later posed for photos of themselves carrying Va.
At Copan, Va was a good sport and let us carry her around everywhere, so our story ended happily. But it could have been marred, had we bemoaned our misfortunes--by the battered truck, the rain, the flat tire, the broken toilet, the seeming lack of mobility.
Instead, we all remained positive, flexible, creative problem solvers. Bill and Flavia, for instance, came to the rescue by substituting, improvising, and making do with whatever was on hand--just as we all have to do back home from time to time. My friend Bob, as an example, can open a wine bottle with his shoe, and I've been known to keep flowers fresh in a bidet when there's no vase around. It's the incongruity of it all that surprises us, tickles our fancy, makes us smile--laugh even. I guess you can turn anything around with a little laughter.
By Viaux from Miami, Florida
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When I saw Villa Nuria on the internet, It looked nice. I read the good reviews and ignored the bad ones. Wrong thing to do! - The bad reviews were right so I am filing this complaint so others can be
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