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.