Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!
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
Do you have a frugal story to share with the ThriftyFun community? Submit your essay here: http://www.thriftyfun.com/post_myfrugallife.ldml
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
The Apart Hotel had small old beds, pots and pans are dirty and rusty. Kitchenette blinds were melting because the portable burners are right by the window (no other place for it.)
I had to sleep with the window blinds open as they wouldn't close. There were no lights on the outside because staff said that they would be stolen so they just left them out.
Linens were old and torn, bathroom is very small and had mold. Toliet paper is on the back of the toliet. The maid never replaced paper so we had to purchase additional. The furniture was very small and made of vinyl. We stuck to the seats every time we sat down. The t.v. was a small used looking 13" tv which didn't play but half the time.
Villa Nuria has armed security guards all over the place. They aren't there to protect but bully people, especially Americans, around. If you walk on the grass you'll get yelled or threatened. If you say anything back, they will put their hand on their gun! The complex is in a very bad neighbor hood and they have security not for their guest benefit but for their own benefit.
If you have visitors coming to the Apart/hotel, if they don't produce a photo identity card, then the management will make them wait outside the complex on the side of the road, in a bad neighborhood. Even if you go up and identify the people as being your guest, they'll still refuse them entry!
If you get in the swimming pool wearing a tank top or tee shirt, you'll be told that you have to get out of the pool as they don't allow you to wear clothing into the pool. (Although it's not posted anywhere!) But they don't allow people to protect their skin. Again,
They do this knowing that American's will burn in the hot Honduran sun.
When you sign in, they count every thing in the apartment and don't be surprised when some of the things become missing before you check out and don't be surprised when they charge you 10 times the amount of the actual value of the item.
Alex Obiols is the owner of Villa Nuria and despite having written him numerous times to try and resolve my complaint, he ignored my request. Hopefully now that I am beginning to file complaints, he'll realize how serious I am about letting others know about his criminal activities.
By Sara from Seattle, WA
Share on ThriftyFunCheck out these photos. Click at right to share your own photo in this guide.
This shipwreck is sunken on the opposite side of the pier when big ocean liners dock in Mahogany Bay, (Roatan Isle) Honduras. It is such a beautiful place, but this old rusty ship just seemed to belong there.
By Diane from Pingree, ID