This is yet another post that we will preface with "where we live" in Honduras, because just like anywhere climate can change from place to place based on altitude/coast or inland/and MUCH more.  For example, many times we leave Pastor Fredy's house at the bottom of our hill and by the time we get home on the top (15min. later) it's much cooler. Although the change in altitude seems fairly minor (probably around 1000 feet or so), the altitude does seem to dramatically affect the temperature, around 10 degrees F.

Looking at the above map (a little bit low res), you can see that there is a little green dot in the western half. We live in that little dot. It is somewhat of a micro climate, receiving nearly triple the amount of rainfall (~3400mm or around 134 inches a year) that the surrounding areas typically record. So, needless to say, the climate certainly varies. It's a small country with extensive jungles, rain forest, pine/oak covered hills, tropical islands, sweltering coastal plains, cloud forest and even true desert in the southeast.

We have experienced pretty much 3 seasons here.  Each year the starting and stopping of each season varies a bit, just like it would for us back in PA or OH.

Feb - May "Summer" Also called the dry season.  It rains only about every 2 weeks or so and is very hot.  These are the hardest times because the rain does cool it off substantially not to mention that it is essential for life, especially since our village doesn't have a water system.  Everyone depends on rain water.  It's in the mid-high 90s every day and doesn't drop below 80 at night.

May - Nov. "Normal" This is the best time of year in our opinion.  It's warm/hot and sunny every day from sunrise until about 4pm or so.  Some time between 4pm and 4am a rain shower or thunderstorm sweeps in.  It can be very hot in the sun.  But our thermometer in the shade usually shows high 80s - low 90s at the hottest point of the day and mid 70s or low 80s at night with occasional dips into the 60s.

Nov. - Jan/Feb "Winter" Cool. High of 70-80 F during the day and the lowest we've seen is 50 at night.  But sometimes it can stay in the 50s all day.  Almost non-stop rain with the exception of a few days here and there where the sun will break through.  This is when the whole place turns into mud and unfortunately mudslides are common. 50 might not seem that cold, but factor in the constant rain/fog/cloud cover and the lack of insulation or windows that truly shut, things can get pretty chilly. Add a concrete floor for your delicate little feet and (really) cold water for your shower, then you're actually cold (and typically with a little stronger odor than usual until the sun comes out).



As I’ve been told (many, many times), “Babies change things.” The urgency of some of these changes are more obvious than others. One of these immediate changes was vehicle. As anyone who has ridden in the back of our old Suzuki Samurai could tell you, it was no place for a small child (or any human being for that matter). It seems that when Suzuki was in their final design phases with this vehicle that they suddenly realized that they hadn’t designed a back seat. Some intern then ran out back and pulled off some metal trash can lids and wrapped some old pants around them, which Suzuki apparently promptly worked into production as a finished design.

So, we’ve purchased a brand new used vehicle, a 1991 Nissan Pathfinder. We’ve been slowly making it Honduras ready (roof rack, decent all-terrain tires, additional lighting, etc). It’s kind of unique because it has a motor that they didn’t sell in the US, a 2.7 Turbo Diesel, which has already won me over. Stacey is won over by the AC, real back seats, and a suspension that doesn’t necessitate a kidney transplant.

 I do miss the Suzuki already (we made the swap in December), but it was a necessary change. In tribute, I’ve written a review below.

1996 Suzuki Samurai
When you first check out a Samurai, the production year is immediately brought into question. Round, sealed-beam headlights? No power steering? Is that a choke-knob? Manually-tightened  seat-belts? No air conditioning? No torsion bars or coils? No carpet? The thing is a true throwback, not just in styling like the wave of posers from the early 2000s.

 To say the thing lacks refinement would be a cruel understatement to a potential buyer. Golden Corral lacks refinement, but it is at least an environment suitable for human life. Driven on Honduran roads, the Suzuki is rough. It seems that its sole purpose is to bruise you with its sparsely-adorned, all-metal, sharp-cornered interior, of which all surfaces are always ~2.5” inches away at any moment. This brutality is mostly due to its Medifast curb weight and cutting edge leaf springs at all four corners. That being said, in two years of truly abusive usage on terrible unpaved roads, over rocks, through mud, into car-slaying potholes, never once did the suspension need an ounce of adjustment. It is tough.

The motor is a thing of beautiful simplicity. Four tiny cylinders in a straight line with a carburetor on top. It doesn’t take an Audi certified master mechanic to understand this vehicle’s mechanicals. It is almost like it was built to show people how motors work. I’m not sure if you caught the word “tiny” earlier, but tiny here means that all said and done, the displacement of this motor barely competes with a standard Nalgene bottle. 1.3 liters working for a grand total of 63 hp. I hope you’re not in a hurry. All-in-all, it was a great little motor except for the little detail of consistent overheating. To be fair, we are in a really hot environment and would often abuse it on terrible rural roads then drive it at full speed into the city and then sit in 100 degree traffic for an hour. I was overheated, no wonder the car was. Those being said, once you warp the heads on these things, get ready to spend some cash to get it reworked or better yet replaced.

The simple, slick-shifting five-speed transmission never failed and was one of the snickiest stick-shift experiences I’ve had in a 4x4 vehicle. Placement was easy, quick, and sure. Handy since you often need both hands to crank the wheel in tough off-road type situations. The 4x4 transfer was pretty finicky and once replaced. With the new used one, I often had to pull out the shift arm and boot to realign the internal pins. Caught without a screwdriver once about two-hours away from pavement, we did the operation with a machete tip.

Despite its overwhelming downfalls, this has to be one of my favorite vehicles that I’ve ever owned. Its (painful) simplicity draws you in. On top of that, once you’re actually off-road, this goofy little thing is nearly unstoppable. Part of that has to do with the confidence it gives you. It weighs nothing, so you feel like you can hit obstacles at three-times the speed recommended by your chiropractor (forget about your back, watch your head). The simple manual hubs lock everything together to make sure you’re spinning things where they should be spinning. I can’t count the times that we’ve scooted in somewhere where the rest either didn’t fit or couldn’t continue.. Its slight size is clearly an advantage in tight spaces, but even then, its ability to get through the muck is magical.

Never has a vehicle inspired such a loving hatred within me. It abuses, but simultaneously woos you. I’m a fairly big guy and it makes a Mini Cooper seem Mega, but somehow it was always accommodating. (Also, please realize that I’m speaking as the car-loving driver, I’m not sure my wife would agree with that, and certainly no one in the back seat would agree). The Suzukito was a part of our identity here for two years. Everyone this side of Mexico knew we were the Suzuki’s Gringos. Its fame proceeded us. It was cheap, capable, fun, and ready for the down and dirty, but I’m so glad my little daughter won’t have to ride in the back of it