Jake Gordon

Coke snorting policeman

11 August 2003

Travelling aint quite the same as tourism. Difference being that tourists follow tours, getting everything done for them, whilst they just relax. Travellers - like me - on the other hand, do everything themselves, usually taking the cheapest options, usually the same as what the locals take everywhere. The last two days have been big travelling days. I finished by diving on the Cay off of Utila, did a few fun dives then went back to Utila for a night. There was a pretty cool bar there, Coco-Loco, which was all outisde on the dock. Crap, that reminds me to mention Sun Jam which was a big ‘cool’ party that happened on a Cay near my one last weekend. It was, apparently, really good, but I was just way too tired for it and ended up basically just trying to sleep on manky hard sand. Then, when the sun came up, I did a half hour swim back to my Cay. Fun!

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, you want to find out about the coke snorting policeman right? In a minute.

So, yeah, I was talking about ‘travelling’. On Utila then woke at 5.30 to get a 6.30 ferry back to Honduras mainland, a town called La Ceiba. That took a couple of hours, cost $10. Then got a 3 hour $3 bus to San Pedro. Then from there a ‘chicken-bus’ for another 1hours/$1. Then another 2.5hour/$1.50 jourey to the border town, Corinto. No other foreigners/gringos at all by this point. Got an exit stamp in my passport, and jumped on the back of a pickup truck for $.50. What has to be mentioned, though, is that I only just had enough local money for the whole thing. Like, with about $1 left over!!! I was pretty damn lucky really.

Yeah, so then I’m on this pickup truck going into Guatemala. Get off it, get an entry visa, jump back in. Then I’ve got like $30 of Guatemalan money left over from my last visit there a week or so ago. So budget yet again. Jump out the pickup, and into another little minibus/’collectivo’ which takes me, surprisingly, all the way to Puerto Barrios for just $1. Nice.

So I’m walking to a nice $5 budget hotel to get one night before getting a boat to Belize the next morning, and some guy tells me, in Spanish of course, which I do pretty well to understand/converse in, that the hotel I’m going to is a bit skanky, and people steal your stuff. Of course I’m not stupid so think he’s just trying to make a bit of commission by taking me to some other place. But then he shows me his police badge, so I figure he’s pretty legit. He explains how he’s out of uniform, but makes a pretty big thing of his badge. He’s in the ‘information’ police, which sounds a bit 1984 Orwellian, but basically means tourist police. People who help tourists. So he takes me to this other cheap hotel. I’m thinking he wants some commission still, then he’ll get lost. But he stays around, and comes to my room and asks if I wanna get a beer with him in a bit. Nope… but I tell him yeah, whatever, anyway. Then a couple of minutes later he comes back again and he’s got a beer and a Pepsi. Gives the beer to me, and I’m like, crap, I’m gonna have to pay for that, I’d better have enough money for that boat tomorrow, being the cheapskate that I am. Oh, I should mention that I don’t actually have any US $ after having done some money swapping with fellow diver Phoebe the day before - in a cunning attempt to save myself around $30 and Phoebe about $10 - so if I ran out of Guatemalan currency then I was kinda a bit screwed. But I drink some with him, and he goes into the room next door which has a nicer fan. Then he gets a little plastic bag, real small, out his pocket with some white ‘stuff’ in it. Which he kindly explains is coke, offering me some.

Shite. Is this guy trying to set me up? Get me doing some hard drugs then busting me and bribing me? Wanker. I don’t even want any of the shit. “No para mi, todo bien gracias” so he says he’ll just do it himself, on my bed mind you. “No acqi, en autro habitacion por favor”. By now he’s putting the cocaine on some paper, and explains to me that he’s going to be snorting the stuff. Anyway, after a few minutes of gentle persuasion, I manage to get this dick out of my room and lock the door. He keeps coming back though, asking me if I wanna be his friend and all kinds of crap. I tell him “tengo sueno, duermo ahora” and turn my light off so he thinks I’m sleeping. Then I sneak out to get some food because I haven’t actually eaten or drunk all day, as I didn’t have enough Honduran money.

Well, get back from the restaurant and realise he’s actually staying in the room next to mine. And he still wants to be my friend. Of course he’s a bit whacked out on coke by now, or whatever it does to you. Oh, yeah, and I only drunk half the beer beause I thought it might have been drugged in a cunning scheme to get all my money, as per a story I heard when I was in India about a women who was drugged up in Bangkok and had thousands taken on her credit cards. Anyway, I paid him over-the-odds ($2) for this half-drunk beer, and tell him to get lost again. And he tells me how he’s my friend, and he’s gonna help me get the boat the next day. Hell no. Next morning, after fearing I’d get a police raid during the night, probably part of the reason for inducing yet more bizarre dreams (this time involving an orgy Rosanna decided to have back home), I made a quick and quiet escape. Phew!

Err, yeah, this is getting pretty long. Let’s wrap it up: so I don’t have quite enough Guatemalan money now. Not enough to get my exit stamp and boat ticket. Screw. Fortunately though, the boat place accepts credit cards, so I use that. And get out of Honduras, get a bus up to Placencia, and am there now. Yay!!!

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by Jake Gordon, some rights reserved