Raphael Kessler

Home | Travel Photos | House | Friends and Family | Random | FAQs | Links | Contact Details| Search


South East Asia 1999

  1. Vietnam - February 1999
  2. Thailand - April 1999
  3. Malaysia and Singapore - May 1999
  4. Indonesia - June 1999
Africa to home, the long way
- Africa
  1. South Africa
  2. Namibia and Botswana
  3. Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya
  4. Uganda
  5. Ethiopia
  6. Egypt
- Middle East and Balkans
  1. Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey
  2. Balkans
  3. Turkey
  4. Iran
- Asia
  1. Pakistan
  2. China
  3. Tibet
  4. Nepal
  5. India 1
  6. India 2
  7. India 3
  8. Sri Lanka
  9. Bangladesh
  10. Myanmar
  11. Thailand
  12. Cambodia
  13. Laos
  14. China, Macao and Hong Kong
  15. Mongolia
- North America and Caribbean
  Caribbean, USA, Mexico and Canada
- Scandinavia and Eastern Europe
  1. Russia
  2. Sweden
  3. Baltics
  4. Poland and Czech Republic
South America 2002
  1. Brazil
  2. Argentina
  3. Chile and Easter Island
Central America and Mexico 2002
  1. Panama
  2. Costa Rica
  3. Nicaragua
  4. Honduras
  5. El Salvador
  6. Guatemala
  7. Belize
  8. Mexico
South America 2003-4
  1. Trinidad and Tobago
  2. Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana
  3. Venezuela
  4. Colombia
  5. Ecuador and The Galapagos Islands
  6. Peru
  7. Bolivia
  8. Argentina
  9. Uruguay and Paraguay
  10. Bolivia 2
  11. Peru 2
Specific Pacific
  1. California to Fiji+ French Polynesia & Cook Islands
  2. Samoa, Niue and American Samoa
  3. Tonga and New Zealand
  4. Australia 1
  5. Australia 2



I am a little more than half way though my time here in Central America and realised some time ago that I did not really allot enough time to this trip. Still I have been having a good time, it is only that I am moving more quickly through the places than I would otherwise like.

Since writing to you from Nicaragua I have been in Honduras which was pleasant. In Tegucigalpa (the capital) I stayed in an extremely basic place that has running water for about ten minutes every day (I think I was out for the time that the water was on). The town is not particularly attractive and the most interesting thing I saw was when I was leaving and rioters had set a car on fire on a bridge parallel to the one I was crossing. The traffic was all stopped so we could get a good look at what was going on, then everyone got back in their cars in a jocular manner, chuckling about those pesky rioters.

I was heading from Tegucigalpa to La Ceiba on the Caribbean coast where I was going to visit some islands to do some more diving. In the bus station on the way I met John and Jason from San Francisco who were good fun. In La Ceiba we had an amusing night where we went to the town’s hottest spot which turned out to be a Karaoke place where the locals would humiliate themselves convincingly.

The following morning we got the boat over to Utila where I decided I would take an underwater photography specialty course, in addition to doing several fun dives. The diving was good and I saw various nice things and the photography course was of some use although I still need practice as underwater photography is much trickier than the surface based variety. I won’t bother listing what I saw on the dives but there was a lot of nice stuff of both the small and large variety.  On the way to a dive site on my second day there were thirty or forty bottle nosed dolphins that would jump in sequence with maybe twenty in a row all leaping out of the water in unison which was lovely to see. A couple of days later

Whilst in Utila it was the US Baseball World Series which John and Jason made me watch and explained as their team the San Francisco Giants were in the playoffs. After a couple of very disappointing matches that I saw they lost to the Anaheim Angels. This in itself was quite uninteresting to me, what was amusing was the locals who were also watching the match and the way they enjoyed slagging off the Giants, much to the chagrin of John and Jason. The locals on the Bay Islands of Honduras (like most of the inhabitants of the Caribbean coast and islands of Central America) are either descended from slaves if they are black or pirates if they are white. Some of these people obviously haven’t learned any tact or diplomacy since the days of their buccaneering antecedents. This made for an amusing banter between the locals and the yanks.

I was also on Utila for Halloween which was a big party night on the island with many people dressing up and a good time had by all. Nicole, A Dutch girl I had previously met in Panama at the beginning of this trip turned up that evening and it was good to see her again.

From Utila I went to another of the bay islands Roatan, which is larger, more developed, more expensive and more attractive. I also did some diving there which was also very good and bumped into Darren and Natasha a couple I had previously met in Nicaragua. I had a nice time on Roatan, it being a more social place than Utila. Again I won’t bore you with a list of what I saw when diving except to tell you about one special incident.

After a dive the small group I was in was picked up by the boat, which was then joined by a pod of spinner dolphins that enjoyed swimming around the bow. The number of them was probably as many as twenty although mostly there were about seven. They jumped and dove around as PJ (the captain drove round in circles. When we finally picked up another dive group, Chris the DiveMaster and I jumped in and used the alternate air sources of the DM and Instructor from that group so we could watch the dolphins as they swam through the water and dove down and shot past us as PJ went round in circles. It was a very special experience to see wild dolphins both above and below water and have them come so close.

From there I went to Copan where there are some impressive Mayan ruins with ornate carvings. There are several pyramids and a wealth of carvings all over the site with interesting designs and images. A particularly rich part is the hieroglyphic stairway, which is a long stone stairway covered in interesting carvings. Unfortunately there is a cordon around this part and a tarpaulin roof over it making it more difficult to view and photograph.

As the most recent structures were built on pre-existing structures, the archaeologists have tunnelled within some of the buildings in order to see what is within. The entrance to these tunnels was quite expensive but I managed to bribe a guard to let me in for a third of the price which made it much more reasonable. It was interesting to see the thick walls and better preserved buildings within.

The museum at the site was also very interesting with an excellent reproduction of one of the buildings within the main pyramid and a collection of many of the stele, statues, altars and other carvings from the area. Many of these have very ornate carving with hieroglyphics and representations of gods and anamorphic figures with good explanations.



All the images and text on this website are the copyright sole property of Raphael Kessler and cannot be copied or reproduced without his express permission. 
If you want to use any of his intellectual material please contact him via the link above