Published: June 9th 2008June 2nd 2008
After spending 3 weeks at the farm with Ely´s grandparents, we moved our way closer to the coast, staying with her aunt and uncle for a week in 17. The name of the town is 17 because it is 17 kilometers from the nearest bigger city, Tela. Not exactly the most creative of names, but it does the job. Sort of reminds me of something we read a while back. In Bali, they give their first born the name ´1,´´the second born ´2,´ and the third born... you get the picture. So there are a lot of 1´s 2´s 3´s and 4´s running around everywhere in Bali. What a mess!
Her uncle has a little convenient store, which is attached to their house, so we spent most of our time there. Aaron kept himself busy by cooking for everyone. Spagetti, brushetta, chicken salad sandwiches, mango salsa, and even a pizza (using a flour tortilla as the crust). The brushetta and Salsa Aaron were a real hit.
I have commented during the past month and a half that I am really living the life of a 14 year old boy. We go swimming a lot, in rivers, lakes, streams, the
ocean. I jump off rocks, throw rocks, climb trees to jump off, skip rocks. I am not generally allowed to clean, cook, or wash dishes. ´Watch TV,´ Ely´s grandma said. ´It´s better than cleaning.´ How can I disagree with that? It is better. So, I sit around, watching TV, not cleaning or cooking for sure, not working because there isn´t work to be done. Or maybe it is just too hot for work. Same Same. At 630 nightly I would turn on the tube to watch the NBA playoffs. Ely forgot to pack most of my reading books, so if I really want to read, my choices are fairly limited to Spanish grammar books. I would rather give myself paper cuts between my fingers.
What I did for fun in the US is quite different from what we do here!
1. go out to eat
2. consume alcohol
3. go golfing
4. go to the movies
In Honduras, none of these things are at all too popular. Cooking is fairly limited to the home, which is fine, because I think the food at home is probably better than restaurants. Alcohol is just expensive. When you make $50
per week, it is pretty hard to justify spending $1 for a bottle of beer. Golfing is the same way, it is a sport limited to dentists and politicians. And the movies cost quite a lot too, though theaters are pretty sparse. So...what does that leave us with? Well... there is a lot of sitting...and eating. A lot of relaxing. When you think you just can´t relax any more, you need to push through it and just rest some more! Completely opposite to the way I am used to living. I have come to realize that I just don´t like to sit down. I would rather stand and lean. But, learning to live like this is probably good for me. We work too hard in the US (not me, of course, but I heard a story about some people who do).
The national dance of Honduras, the punta, is a bonified booty shake. No...not even bonified. It just is a plain and obvious booty shake. I found this out at the carnival in La Ceiba. Apparently there is no sexual connotations attached to this kind of dancing. 5 year olds dancing on the stage would turn around, backs facing
the audience, and shake their booty for all to see. I was completely suprised. Everyone wanted me to try to dance like that, and frankly I was embarassed. If we aren´t drinking booze, and a lot of it at that, it would just be out of the question.
Apparently the dance came from the Garifunas, black people indiginious to Africa but brought here during the slave trading years. They also brought along their songs and food, which are still popular today. On the beaches, the Garifunas sell coconut bread, bread that tastes like Gingerbread cookies, tableta (a heavenly milk candy), specialty fried fish, and a few other things.
After a few days in 17, we visited another little town, The Pine. Some of Ely´s relatives owned land next to a really famous resort. The resort, and their land is next to a place called Beautiful Peak. It was mountainous and tropical. There were huge pine trees of course, and little cabanas for relaxation. The river was as clear as clear water can be. The kids even killed a 5 foot cobra with rocks right before it pounced on someone. All and all, a really relaxing place to spend
time. We came here for 3 days. Last month, so too did Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones. A good place to escape the heat.
Yesterday we visited a fortress in the city of Omoa. It was built by the Spaniards in colonial periods, and is one of the biggest in Central America. Though there are oodles of stories about the fortress, the pictures should suffice. It was made with 3 walls, not four, and was positioned so that the walls sort of cut into the tropical storm waves, instead of just getting hit with a direct impact. At the time, there was no such thing as cement, so the mortar in between the bricks was stuck together by ostrich egg yolks! And a lot of them at that.
A few days ago we visited the Mayan ruins of Copan. Mayan history is really interesting stuff. They studied astrology in depth and even performed advanced medical operations. After we walked through the ruins, we went in to the museum, where we met an old local man who supposadley discovered lots of the important findings here. He told us a lot of details that weren´t written in the subtitles.
Apparently, the Mayans of Copan predicted there own death. Their was a cycle of 16 generations, they said, and after the 16th generation, they were to die. What happened? Yes, they died. They also predicted the end of the world...in 2012.
They probably died because they outgrew their resources. They used too many trees to build houses, which affected the weather and caused drought, which caused crops shortages and starvation. The last structure they completed in Copan was filled with skulls and bones. Interesting to think what was actually going on with them at that time.
Here we are a thousand plus years later doing the same things, outliving our resources. Except this time we are doing so on a much larger scale, affecting a lot more people. But, I am a big believer in innovation out of necessity. Some of the most successful countries in the world have very little as far as natural resources. They were forced to adapt, just as we will have to. When gas hits $10 per gallon and all the drinkable water is gone, we will adapt pretty quickly, I am sure of it.
The food here is still good. Anyone
heard of platanos? They are like a banana but bigger, and are popular in Africa and Latin countries, used sort of like potatoes in the US. Well, our favorite food here is platanos. I like mine baked, topped with butter. Ely likes hers fried. Then, add a layer of refried beans, a layer of cheese, and a layer of sour cream. Perfection. And yes, obviously the belly has temporarily returned
There are more photos below