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Voyages of los Testigos - Part x, Page 2

Ogling the oligarchs

"I'm thirsty," said Medio, "Is there a waitress?"

"She's waiting on the oligarchs," Nuco said, pointing to the adjoining gazebo where a large group of people sat. "I think you'd be better off going for beer yourself."

"If we had their purchasing power, we wouldn't have to get our own beer, they'd bring it to us," the BigGuy observed.

"They're Arabs," Medio said, his keen sense of ethnic detection honed by years of being mistaken for anyone but a gringo.

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"Right. A lot of the Honduran wealthy are Arabs," Nuco said.

"What do you think, Nuco, does this part of the oligarchy oppress its workers?" the BigGuy asked.

"Undoubtedly," Nuco said. "Look at the way they keep that waitress running. In addition to all their servants."

"No SAS team here," Medio observed."Servants don't rate social services," Nuco agreed.

Calmed by the weather and beautiful ocean view, the travelers settled into a quiet reverie and for the next couple hours they alternated between swimming and drinking beer. As the sun began to near the horizon, the BigGuy stirred himself. "Well, Señores," he said, "the bus to La Ceiba leaves in half an hour. Vamonos?"

"It's a shame to leave this behind," Medio said, waving at the beach.

"Can't stay," Nuco said, reenergizing his tired Teutonism. "The boat for Utila leaves tomorrow morning."

On the dock

The next morning, the travelers finished a breakfast of eggs, beans and tortillas, and walked to the dock in La Ceiba where they planned to wait for the departure of a boat to the island of Utila.

"How do you feel, Senor?" the BigGuy asked.

"Fine," Nuco said, setting down his suitcase. After a good night's sleep, he had partially recovered from the previous day's solar crisping.

"You passed out cold last night," the BigGuy said.

"The sun killed me," Nuco said.

"Is that the boat?" Medio asked, pointing to a twenty-five foot long tugboat-shaped vessel moored to the dock.

"That's it," Nuco said, "La Florita. Means little flower."

"Kind of small, isn't it?" Medio observed.

"The smallest on the dock," Nuco agreed.

"Does the little flower float?" Medio asked.

"It's made the crossing many times," Nuco replied. "Owned by Foster, one of Utila's most notorious pirates."

"Pirates," the BigGuy said in a deadpan tone that begged for more information.

"Utila was founded as a pirate community," Nuco explained. "They used to raid Spanish galleons carrying gold and silver plundered from the mainland."

"And Foster?" the BigGuy prompted.

"He's a descendant of pirates," Nuco said. "You'll know what I mean when you see the prices he charges in his store. Which reminds me, I'm gonna go buy some rum, to save money rather than buying it from the island pirates."

"I'll go with you," Capn said, setting down his backpack and following closely on Nuco's heels.

"Capn's lifeboat," the BigGuy observed, as the two walked away.

"What?" Medio asked.

"Nuco is Capn's lifeboat," the BigGuy explained. "Notice how he won't let the guy get further than ten feet from him."

"He went out for a beer with us last night after Nuco passed out," Medio said.

"After he locked the door to his room and took the key," the BigGuy said. "He locked his lifeboat in the room."

A series of loud cheers distracted Medio and the BigGuy. La Florita's crew members were celebrating the appearance of a bottle of Flor de Caña, a Honduran rum. While one of the crew opened the bottle, the others gathered around.

"Looks like we'll be getting a late start," the BigGuy predicted.

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