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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Weekend Away

I am in the capital of Honduras, Tegucigalpa, for the weekend.  The theoretical reason is to take a Microsoft test (that I bombed badly), but really it is to give me a break from my usual surroundings.  I'm in the InterConental Hotel.  They take really good care of me here, mostly know me by name, are across the street from the Multiplaza Mall, and have a special rate that I qualify for.  What's not to like?

I took the 'Executive' bus up last night after work.  I was worried about getting into Tegucigalpa in an area I'm not familiar with (which includes most of the city), after dark and having to get a taxi in a city where most do not speak English.  As I was waiting for the bus to leave 2 of the soldiers in their civilian clothes walked up.  We stick out like sore thumbs down here.  They were going to a different hotel in the same area as the IC and so I shared a cab with them.  I feel fairly safe when I have 2 young male American soldier-types to watch out for me. I was glad to have their company as it was raining besides being dark when we arrived.   And so I paid 70L, which is about $3.50 for the bus, and 100L, about $5, (a bit more than my share to repay the kindness of having the protection) for the taxi.

This morning I studied for a couple of hours, but it obviously wasn't enough.  I had the doorman tell the taxi driver where I needed to go for the test.  I was only about a mile away, all uphill.  The people at the test center were nice.  I failed the test, then walked downhill to Dennys for breakfast.  When I asked the test center guy for directions so I wasn't wandering around the hillside lost, he said he could give me a shortcut, but it was lonely and known for assaults. So I asked for the longer way, and it was less than 5 minutes to Dennys.

No one spoke English at Dennys, but I managed to order, eat and pay for breakfast without incident.  I just have to let go of the outcome when I order, but since most of the chain restaurants here have the name of the meal in English, I just can't tweek the basics like I used to do when I shared a common language with the wait staff.

I walked down the main boulevard from Denny's back to the hotel.  That took about 10 or 15 minutes.  Figured out where the Do It hardware store is that I had been to when Chris was here to drive me around.  Walked past the President's house.  It said Casa Presidente and I was wondering it it was the actual place when I noticed all walls and fencing and a couple of Honduran soldiers guarding the gates.  I think it really was his house.

Got back and decided to check out the Mall.  Ended up getting my hair washed and trimmed. One woman knew a few words of English, so I could make her understand what I wanted as we both used hand motions to fill in the gaps.  The woman who was going to wash my hair asked me a question and I think the only thing my attempted answer in Spanish told her was that I didn't understand a thing she asked.  I walked out with what I wanted, and a 10 minute detailed application of conditioner.  I think that happened when I asked her to braid it for me as it had been when I walked in.  Oh, well, looks better down anyway.

A nap back at the hotel, some more wandering around the Mall.  Every display TV is tuned to a soccer game, and there are crowds cheering intermittently around the TVs.  I got a cup of coffee at Dunkin' Donuts and just looked.  If you notice that the restaurants are all US chains (or at least we assume they are originally from the US...), well, that's the way it is here.  It's the US, only in Spanish, on the richer side of town.

Tomorrow I'll catch the free bus from the post back home.  No plans for the evening.  I
didn't bring any nicer clothes to go out in, and I have no real need for entertainment
anyway.  And, I'll be back soon to retake the test.  No pictures this time because
yesterday when I tried to take a picture of the tree with the combination of orange flowers and green leaves that it now has, I found that the battery in the camera was dead, and didn't have time to dig out my charger before I left.

2 comments:

  1. One thing about it,You'll never be accused of being a Photo Journalist!!
    I would have walked and tried to talk and eaten different stuff all day long in that situation. ( probably had a couple of good beers also)

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  2. I have been in 11 foreign countries and I can relate to problems ordering food.(to the point of being laughable. France was the worst and Italy was by far the best.)

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