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Tegucigalpa

Guatemala Journal
Wanderings

 

 tegucigalpa

21 febrero
The capital city of Honduras, not particularly a tourist destination but a pleasant place to live, according to my friend, a teacher I’d come to visit for a 3 day weekend. After a relaxing afternoon by a hotel pool in what could have been any city and a vigorous massage by a small but muscular woman, every shred of tension left my body. I was ready for dinner at an Italian restaurant, touted as "orgasmic pizza" by my host. It was delicious, but I wouldn’t have described it quite that way... The real treat of the evening came later - we were welcomed at a gay Valentines day at a neighbor’s, a warm, charming, attractive Honduran couple with impeccable English. Delicate red rose petals were scattered around the floor and over a white-clothed long table, elegantly set, on the open patio. Animated conversation with about a dozen interesting, professional young men, a handful of women, and a scrumptious second dinner we couldn’t possibly refuse. One of the young women and I exercised our garbled language skills - she was a native Spanish speaker, with French a strong second, and a smattering of English - each sentence was a jumble of all three languages, punctuated by laughter, yet we understood each other perfectly!

We took a Sunday drive to the nearby village of Valle del Angeles, stopping along the way at a dog training center to look at puppies. Jenn had planned to bring her dog with her to Honduras but finally decided it was too complicated to transport her, and she would look for another pet here. The moment she held Sam, a cocker spaniel puppy, the search was over. We would look for a "cajero" (ATM or money machine) and return for him on the way back. Valle was a quiet, picturesque town with shops and shops of striking Honduran black Linkin pottery, brightly painted cartoonish roosters, and dark carved wooden boxes. In one woodshop, the craftsman showed us the intricately carved landscapes on his boxes, I left with a small one and asked for a photo of an old man in the shop with a deeply lined face (his father?) as we left. We had to drive all the way back to the city to find a cajero, and returned for Sam just in time.

Jenn’s school was not closed for the American holiday, so I was on my own Monday. After a walk with the puppy, I settled him in his box in the bathroom as agreed, and called a taxi to explore downtown Teguc (tay-GOOSE), as it’s called by the locals. The apartment manager wrote down directions for me to read on the phone, and for my return - there are no addresses in Honduras, so I had to describe how to get there. The Parque Central (central park), closed for construction, was bounded by tin walls, over the top of one section workmen could be seen laying brick for a new structure. All around it and down several streets were booths piled high with things for sale - no tourist items here, but clothing, shoes, watches and alarm clocks, household goods. The large white cathedral facing the park was adorned with pigeons on every little ledge, I quietly entered and walked through to see the paintings and gleaming gold altar, side rooms of burning candles lit in offerings.

The National Art Museum, in need of visitors on this busy work day, held a nice mix of lovely and sensitive paintings from the past century and ancient pottery from the Mayans, the Spanish colonial period paintings were sadly dark with only the gold leaf accents showing unfaded color. In widening circles, I moved out from the downtown center and found another old church surrounded by carts of fruit in painted wheelbarrows, profuse flower displays and the competing odors of food booths. When the taxi dropped me back to the apartment, I snatched up Sam and took him for one more walk, before packing for my return flight.

17/48

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