Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Learning Honduran

I think it is important to always realize that although most of Latin America speaks Spanish- it is never the same. The few words of Spanish that I knew before I came to Honduras would be better described as Mexican. This seems especially true in terms of food. Churros in Mexican is sweet bread, in Honduran (and what I can tell Central America) it is the word for chips. Tacos in Mexican, are fresh tortillas with meat and veggies inside. In Honduran tacos are a rolled up fried tortilla with meat inside, cabbage and salsa on top. The picture above, that is in Honduran an enchilada. So often I wonder what words I learn in Honduran that might get me in trouble in another country.

Monday, November 30, 2009


The elections, came and left. Pepe won as most predicted, but I still am disappointed. I applied to be an international observer, in Catacamas. I was told that yes I could be an international observer, but would get back to me if I could be in Catacamas. So I waited and waited and then finally I e-mail and then called TSE they told me no- they would only have observers in Tegus. I thought that was pretty stupid, but what can you do. I told them no ,I could not be in Tegus.

Sunday came around I was in Catacamas- doing nothing, nothing at all. Then I was told by the locals that there were two international observers in Catacamas, down and the main school, from Idaho.

Highly Disappointed. I applied, had such high expectations and then nothing. The friends of mine that applied to be an observer never heard anything back. If the words fraud are heard well I have lost sympathy- the TSE have no one to blame but themselves.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Rules to Follow

Last month I unfortunately had to attend another funeral, my husbands cousins- who was murdered in Tegus. Funerals are not something I think anyone enjoys, and that would include me. In Honduras I have attended more funerals than I would ever think possible for living in a country a relatively short time. This time around the experience was more personal- and because of it there anywhere more rules to follow, a culture to abide by.

In Honduras funerals happen the day after, or the day of, there is no pretty make-up to hide anything, the family dresses the deceased, the family moves the body. When you are the family of the deceased you don't wear bright colors, red is the worst. In Tegus we used a funeral home, the house of his family was too small. Funerals are literally a time of mourning, there is no speeches or pamphlets. People are there to see the body, and mourn. If you knew the person, you go, simple as that.

The person that is at the center of the morning, the person that the people come to visit, is the mother. I have always found this curious, as it does not matter if the person is married, the mother is the center. This is what I have seen. My husband tells me because in most cases the wife is not the only significant other the husband has/had.

The cousin worked here at the store and was close to his family here in Juti, because of this the store is in morning also. We do not play music, and we have a black bow above the business to show we are in mourning.
I will not wear red clothes for a few months, go to the theater, or play music. I have been told that it is suppose to be followed for about 6 months.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Day of the Dead

The Day of the Dead in Honduras is a day, not of parades and parties- but a day to visit the graves of families to clean the graves, and remember. Graveyards as you can see above are a little less organized, but not limited to those without money. The gravestones vary from nothing, to small house with locked doors. The rich lay next to the poor, but no one seems to mind. In a country thats culture surrounds its self with family, I always wonder what the the people deep inside the ground did, not to have flowers put on their graves.

The People of Mel

Today is a day that shows what the people of Mel are like.
This morning the husband of a Congress woman was kidnapped- she supports Micheletti. They just found the husbands car and blood in it.
Then just now at 8:15p.m. the news man of Olancho (anchor and the whole show) was shot. He supports Micheletti.
How do I know that it is Mel supporters? Because it is Olancho and in Olancho, and specifically Juticalpa everyone knows everyone.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The cheating ways

One part of Honduran culture that I will never understand- nor agree with is the cheating. Honduran men, I will admit, are not completely to blame, the women are a part of it also.
In Honduran culture cheating on your wife or girlfriend is acceptable, not necessarily encouraged, but acceptable.

I will give an example (true story, names changed)
Juan has a girlfriend that his family knows, Maria, and he will bring Maria to family events, and she is considered Juans main girlfriend. Juan, if asked, will say his girlfriend is Maria, but he has other girlfriends, some are aware of Maria's existence- some are not.
This is very common, if not the norm. Juan, I would even say, is pretty low key compared to some people I know.

I have seen countless examples of men that are married, with children, have complete other families with a girlfriend, and while the girlfriend and the wife would never talk to each other, the other persons existence is well known.

I don't believe that it's right to put all the blame on the men (the act yes, the flirting- no)
My husband and I married legally in the US and then had a huge wedding here- everyone that knows my husband knows that he is married to me, the gringa.

The fact that he is married does not defer girls from somehow getting his number and texting him and or calling him. Some girls I have decided fish for guys just text random numbers till they get someone to flirt with them, but most of the time the girls know the guy. As a women I find this infuriating, but always I wonder what do these girls want, a boyfriend, money, a husband?

Sunday, October 25, 2009


There is a pharmacy in town that name translates to "The Immaculate Conception Pharmacy." They sell birth control.
Does anyone find that ironic, besides me?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

La Sarca

The people here in Olancho have different ways of approaching me, or referring to me. The most obvious one of course is the gringa, or gringita. I do occasionally get asked if I am Honduran, which I think more because the accent of my Spanish- not so much the grammar.
The one that always gets a good laugh out of my husbands family and the employees here at the store is when people call me sarca. Sarca translates to clear eyes, mostly referring albinos. There is a lady that always comes by and when she leaves, she calls out to me "adios, sarca!" the employees always chuckle at her. By calling me sarca she is saying I am Honduran, the idea is just plain silly to them. I just smile back "adios!"

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Collecting the Loot

Here at the store we have a fenced off area of the parking lot that is the designated garbage area. This area fills up in about a week and a half with the help of the market owners, and the neighbors. The men at the store have the wonderful task of loading up this garbage and taking it to the dump out of town. As you can imagine this is not a pleasant task.
So yesterday as normal they took the garbage to the every so pleasant smelling dump- but this time they came back with stuff. It seems that someone had dumped perfectly good things at the dump. They brought back wall clocks, calculators, and a few toys.
Let me take a quick side trip...
In Honduras people will buy pretty much anything, I have sold toys that are more that just broken, people sell clothes with holes in them, buckets that are broken- It is only sold for a few lempiras, but still it sells.
The stuff the employees brought back was good. The calculators were in the little boxes, and worked, the wall clock were not broken, and worked the toy even had a battery and worked! I was confused, almost as much as they were. The stuff was not from the store, so they did not steal it, but why would someone throw away good stuff?

My husband thought about it, and the only thing he could come up with that made sense- the Zelayist. When the people for Zelaya and broke into all those stores and stole everything, well we think they dumped the stuff they did not want, or did not want to be caught with at the dump outside of Juticalpa. Just a guess, but lets be honest here- who throws away anything that is not really garbage in Honduras?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Protest for Mel

In Juticalpa today we had a pro- Zelaya protest today. While the march was not overall impressive it did different in one distinct way. There were people WALKING!! The people walking may not seem such a big deal, but all the previous protest have just involved people in only cars going up the street honking their horns with the red liberal flags (Mel's political party) waiving. To me this represented people that are most likely going to loose a lot if Mel comes back, they have cars and money, and seem the most upset about the situation. They are feeding out of Mel's proverbial trough. This time around though people were walking- which concerned me, do they really think Mel is for the people? I am not sure if they were really there to protest, or if they were being paid to be there but they were there.
The protest was overall pretty calm- they say they wont destroy things here in Juticalpa, because here everyone knows everyone. We shall see, and hope this is the case.
Public school here still has not started up, the people that Mel supposedly supports are missing school and falling behind.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The country of Honduras

There is a curfew again in Honduras.
I find it discouraging that everything seems to lie on party lines.
I wish to talk to people of the world, not as a republican, not as a democrat but as a person living in Honduras. This country lives and breathes corruption, as with most poor countries, but lets not assume that there is no limit. The people here tolerate the corruption, because people understand here more than many places that this corruption, as with most things, it will pass.
The corruption that the people will not stand for is blatant corruption, a complete disregard for the law.
I speak to you as a foreigner, a gringa. The people in Honduras are fighting for their freedom, a fight tragically that has turned into party lines.
The former president Manuel Zelaya broke a constitutional law and as noted in the Honduran constitution and he was removed from office.
He was asking permission to change the constitution. Manuel Zelaya had organized voting centers, rationed money for the publicity of the election. The supreme court of Honduras told Manuel Zelaya that he could not hold the election, it was unconstitutional, but he continued. Sunday June 28th the day of the election they took Mel out of the country-out of office.
He was asking for permission to change the constitution, no specifics. I ask you, would you allow this? Just let your president to do what he wants to your constitution?

The whole world, minus two countries has asked for Manuel Zelaya to be put back in office.
Honduras is a poor Central American country, they don’t care about other countries party lines, they care about how they are going to feed their family.
So people of world, ask your country to support Honduras, not Manuel Zelaya.

Here is a petition for President Obama

Friday, September 18, 2009


In Honduras there is the day of the child, the day of the young, mothers day, fathers day, workers day, and the day of friendship and love. On these day it is always customary to tell people on the day that applies to them, congratulations. So if you are a child, every congratulates you on child's day. I have gotten use to that, although telling your friend on friendship day still seems a bit odd to me. The one I still think is just plain weird is that they tell my husband on fathers day congratulations, I ask him if has something to tell me... The reason is though is that because he will be a father in the future. I am not pregnant, but because he is of a suitable age, and as far as we know he can reproduce he gets congratulations. I think that might be one of the easiest congrats to fulfill of all time.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The price of love

...or lust depending on how you look at it, but what ever you want to call it it only costs seven limperas. Yup! seven, while the original condoms are fifteen.
The difference? Well nothing, besides the price. You see the German government subsidised the amor condoms, so they are cheaper. What a simple way for to bring contraceptives to the people. So while I am sure some people will say German as a country is going to hell, I would like to praise Germany for doing something that really does make a difference. So next time you purchase condoms remember, thank the German government and buy amor, condoms that is.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

"Behind the Honduran Mutiny" Olancho check

Okay I think this is a personal record for posts in one day but after reading an article from the Wall Street Journal "Behind the Honduran Mutiny" I had to write something.The complete article can be found here online. But here is a quote:

"Mr. Zelaya is a product of Olancho, a violent, macho state in central Honduras that is dominated by pistol-packing landowners who run huge estates. His family, involved in logging and ranching, has been one of the dominant forces in Olancho for decades... Jose Manuel, was put on trial for helping army officers torture and murder 14 rural activists, including two priests. Convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison, Mr. Zelaya's father served little more than a year before being freed in a general amnesty"

Let me clear up a few things Okay violent, yeah- as with the rest of the country.
Dominated by landowners who run huge estates? Ehh really? All the rich families I know have a business and with that money they might have a farm, for something to do. The families with money generally speaking are not ranchers. The families with huge estates at one point possibly had money but now they are generally trying to sell that land to get money.
The last one that usually gets the best looks when I ask Hondurans if the Zelayas have been a dominant force in Olancho. This is a big fat NO the Zelayas have not been a dominant force. The truth of it is if the Zelayas had been a dominate force in Olancho Zelayas dad would not have served one day in jail, heck the police would have not have not found who killed the people, because the police would be to afraid to arrest him.
I am just saying if you are doing an article lets try to stop scaring your audience into thinking that Honduras/Olancho is a big bad scary place. I am glad they did report about Mels dad killing the priests, but lets stop exaggerating.

News coverage

Yesterday the El heraldo reported on minuto a minuto that Micheletti was censuring the media. I don't want to sound mean but it took them that long to figure it out? It did not occur to them when Mel was trying to land at the airport a few weeks ago and all the national channels conveniently had a long public service announcement that had already played that day?

Keeping on the theme of bad coverage I thought I would point out that when you see Honduras coverage with video if you see in the upper corner Telesur please note that video was taken by a state run Venezualen news company. If you read Spanish check out the website at there is a good amount of propaganda, but also live telesur tv, which keeps you updated with what Mel is doing, which is always good entertainment.

A small thought do you ever think that this is all a soap opera? I mean Romeo Vasquez the head of the military is said to be good friends with Mel. Sometimes it just seems so tele novela.

My basil story

Mel just seems to be getting a too much attention lately so I thought I would write about something else.

I love fresh basil, but for some reason I have the hardest time finding it. I have found it once in Tegus but other than that one time I can only find dried basil.
So a while back I randomly found a packet of seeds for organic basil imported from Canada so I bought them, planted them, and patiently waited. When they started growing I was elated, I started having pasta for almost every dinner. A few of the basil plants naturally started getting bigger and bigger blocking out the sun for the little plants. I then decided to give a few of the plants to some employees. I brought them in paper towels with water in little baggies, I was then asked what the plants were, I answered (thank you online translator) albahaca! Albahaca? said one employee, that stuff grows all around my house...

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Don't you see?

Honduras wants peace, and peace does not involve Mel.
I understand the UN, they don't want the politically instability of when a country no longer wants the president they simply kick him out, that is not Democracy. I also understand the one system for all countries just doesn't work. How about we stop calling it Democracy in Honduras, we will call it Democracy h.1. You see this Democracy h.1 works here in Honduras, and when we get a president who thinks he needs to stay, and does illegal things to stay in power- we call him out, and look in no time flat we have a new president- completely legal!
If you still don't believe Mel wanted to stay in power, you can check out Chavez admission to Mel's ambition to become a dictator. I am not saying Honduras should not let Mel back into power simply because that is my feeling, look at the photo, people don't want Mel. Honduras is protesting because they don't want a dictator they had fliers passed around during protest say and I quote "Honduras Tierra de paz y democracia" (Honduras land of peace and democracy) .
So what do you say world Democracy h.1?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Olancho, Juticalpa, and Honduras

The question is often asked to me "what is it like?" Well it is first Olancho and second it is Juticalpa and thirdly it is Honduras.
Olancho can be best described as the wild west, the idea of Texas. People here generally speaking are very nice, and friendly- but don't mess with an Olanchano. My best example for this is here at the store people steal ALL the time, only once have we taken someone to the police station. Why? We don't know their family. We don't know if they come from a bad family. The one person we did take to the police was an employee that had work for three days and had already stolen a few pairs of shoes and pants, impressive really. So we don't take them to the police, but we charge them double and make a show, as they say in Spanish. In Olancho people say they are from "The Republic of Olancho" only half joking.
Juticalpa is the "metropolitan area" of Olancho. I say that in quotes because, yes it is the largest city in Olancho- but not a whole lot metropolitan about it. Juticalpa is full of people shopping but this is Olancho, most people are farmers they live in areas with out electricity, these people need only the basics. The stores are simple square cement, the streets are mostly dirt, the electricity and water are often absent with out reason. Danger generally comes from making one of the 'families' mad, having too much money, or being stupid.
Honduras is well Honduras, if we are doing the politically incorrect ranking it is third world. Living here is frustrating some days, and other days are simply wonderful. Sometimes these two seem to balance out, other times not even close. One good thing is you can bribe the police; one bad thing is you can bribe the police. As a foreigner I am often frustrated because of that- I am a foreigner. I cannot blend in and I will almost always be charged more, for anything. At the same time people remember who I am and are anxious to talk to me. I will not say Honduras and I have a love hate relationship. Honduras and I have a relationship, and that changes day by day.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

To Guatemala

The lack of water and heat here in Juticalpa has left me stinky and dirty, and with an invitation to head to Guatemala I did not see much of an option. Although the bus trip(s) were long Panachel, Guatemala was a literally a breath of fresh air. I can never seem to figure out how countries so close to each other can be so different. It also a bit strange for me to see a town with a relative low population, in comparison- so diverse. The streets lined with restaurants from cuisine around the world, and the people to mach. I did not take pictures of the people as I was told that is not looked on kindly for some populations. I suppose if Juticalpa was on a lake shore with a amazing volcano on one side that might help the tourism...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A mid-week trip

Taking a short break from the water deprived Juticalpa we went to Tegucigalpa, this week and during this short time it occurred to me there is no real good resource for finding good restaurants in Tegus. At least that I am aware of. There is Lonely Planet website- but I can honestly say I have not gone to a single one. They recommend Chinese and chicken restaurants. No offense I could probably find those blindfolded in Tegus. The travel books for Honduras are hit and miss, I have decided much of the time they just ask someone on the street where they eat and write that restaurant down. (In Juticalpa one book recommends the Chinese restaurant that has been closed by public health...) So with this in mind, hopefully I might be able to assist a few people like me that only get a few days in Tegus and would like to eat meal that is not the usual fare...

This restaurant serves crepes (hence the name) and salads. It is a perfect meal that is not heavy; they serve sweet and savory crepes. I have tried two savory vegetarian crepes, both were really good- I preferred the mushroom. The sweet crepes are very tasty, I prefer to split one. I have been here twice and each time I have been happy with the quality and price, the owner is very attentive and you can tell through the quality of the food. I will continue going, to me a perfect lunch spot.

The best sushi- sorry that is all I have tried! I have tasted a good selection on the sushi menu and the only sushi I have not liked was because of taste preference. The restaurant is quiet, they have a little Japanese food store in front, which is handy to pick up a few Japanese things. I cannot say enough good things about this restaurant, not as cheep as Honduran fare but well worth every penny.

Sabor Cubano-
A restaurant tucked in next to more high end restaurants but the prices here are fairly normally priced. The owners are Cuban, the food is Cuban. Pretty good equation. The menu options are not extensive- I had a tuna sandwich (I know daring) which to me had a Cuban flare. Esposo had a pork dish which he seemed to think was Miami Cuban good. I also had a mojito, admittedly I have never had one before but I thought it was pretty amazing. I will probably go back, Saturday night there is suppose to be dancing, and a good place to take a Honduran

Okay I have to write a bit more on this one- it is an Asian influenced restaurant. We had for appetizer Vietnamese rolls and for main course green curry and pad Thai. The Vietnamese rolls were good, the sauce was missing something.
Main course I had green curry- and perhaps if they had called it something else I would have liked it better. It was not green curry. It was a teaspoon of curry chili and coconut milk. Really disappointing. Esposo had the pad Thai which was just okay, it was missing a few things and the noodles were the wrong size (I know I am picky.) We also had two teas. It came to just under 1,000 lps. Not worth it. My recommendation make it yourself, it will probably taste better and for sure be cheaper.

I am pretty sure that is what it is called… I have yet to figure out why no book I have found recommends this place, a great Italian restaurant. I have only been once with my mother in law. We had a pizza half vegetarian half meat. The vegetarian side was (I think) Italian influenced with green olives and all. Hondurans say that it is better than Pizza Hut- which for is a really good compliment. I plan on going back it was unique restaurant and full of tasty options.

I know I did not put directions, if you are curious where these restaurants are located just leave a message and I will answer. I have visited a few more places and if I can just remember how to spell them with out embarrassing myself to much, I will write about them. I will soon get to the dining fare of Juticalpa, which is not so diverse- but perhaps it will be helpful to someone.

Monday, May 25, 2009


I once got a fortune cookie that said "The road to hell is paved with good intentions" well I think I am in blog hell. I have had intentions to blog, but never got to it. oops. It is Mango season now and my mango tree is producing more than I could possibly consume, I think I might try my hand at making jelly, because I cannot keep up with the amount this tree produces. In Honduras there are two different types of mangos, mango indio which are the mangos I have, they are small green and yellowish and are considered the sweeter mango. The other mango is much bigger it is red, yellow and a orange and is less sweet. For a while it has baffled me why Honduras has such a lack of creativity with food, for example mangos, Honduras don't really do anything with mangos except eat them raw and maybe with chili. Then it occurred to me it is because the food that has been around in this country is such a small percentage of the food that exists here. Pineapple, mangos, bananas, rice, plantains, yucca. All not native, and really have not been around for that long. Corn on the other hand they have that all figured out. The same way Chinese have rice figured out. So in the end Honduran food is a bit of everything, traditional I guess. My lunch today, rice, beans, tortilla, fried pork meat (if I ate it), and spaghetti (think noodles, butter, margarine, salt, onion, tomato paste.) I am sure exactly what you think of when you think traditional dishes, but yet that is what it is.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The price of music

Vicente Fernández is coming to Tegus this Wednesday which is exciting but unfortunately the price of the tickets are a bit expensive for my tastes. The cheapest ticket is $31 and the middle price range is $90. I had thought I was living in the second poorest country in the western hemisphere. Apparently music does not factor into this.
Needlessly to say I wont be going. There is a possibility that I will go to another concert this weekend, Cafe Tacvba, but no firm plans yet.
This is the second time I have noticed the price of concert tickets are so high. It is odd that I can buy his last 5 Cd's on one disc on the side of the street for a bit over a dollar but to go see him is live is so expensive! Perhaps they are making up for all the lost revenue from burnt Cd's
Here is a link to my favorite song of Vicente Fernández

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The end of the green mangos

Green mangos are in season, they sell them on the street with salt and chili, making them sour and spicy all in one. I eat them 10 leimpiras at a time. There is a lady at the corner that sells them all day long, which is really handy. I did discover there is a probable downside to green mango consumption-I got intestinal worms. Esposo seems to be convinced that the mangos are the culprit and as much as I love green mangos, the worms just are not worth it. I think my only option now is to start making them myself, clean water and all.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

My dear home in Olancho, and a new language

We have moved (again ) to a wonderful little house in town. It is small but perfect. We have a mango tree in the yard that already has a million little green mangos slowly growing. The house is adobe which means the walls are about a foot and half thick... I am told no bullet can pass through these (a big concern of mine) but it does keep the house cold which will be really nice in about a month. I will add pictures as soon as I remember...
So a few weeks ago Esposo and I were outside infront of the store speaking english and two little boys pass by, but then one stops. He looks up at me and says ¨usted hablo gringo?¨ (you speak gringo?) After laughing a while I explained that gringo infact is not a language, but I did speak english. The boy still seemed a bit confused that gringos dont speak gringo, but he went his way. So next time I get asked how many languages I know I can add gringo to list.

Dia de Amor y Amistad

February 14th has passed, a holiday in the states that is a bit over-rated, but here I enjoy it. In Honduras it is the day of love and friendship. Hondurans greet their friends with a congratulations and occasionally a gift. The congratulations is a bit odd to say, but I think that it is a wonderful tradition. So felicidades! (a bit late...)