Sunday, January 25, 2009

On returning to Honduras

When I think of Honduras...

I think of Baleadas – thick, tasteless wraps sold on the street and in convenience stores, stacked in tinfoil pyramids – cold, with beans and salty quesillo of unknown age and origin.

I think of lychees, hawked by children in 10-piece bags, their blood-red hairs crushed into plastic submission, looking like sea-urchins… purveyed by street urchins.

I think of flooded streets, market lean-tos painted watery green with amorphous figures huddled underneath against the driving rain, chewing tiny bananas and looking at me as I cower too, below a store awning across the street: drenched, myopic, alien.

I think of internet cafes with no connection, hotels with mildewed walls, sullen staff, and the smell of a hurricane on its way.

Broken-up sidewalks.


Chickens roaming dirt roads, pecking at old chewing gum and fruit pits.

El Pico Bonito.

Rainbows at Golosón Airport.

Miles and miles of pineapples... sprouting prodigiously up out of the clay, bound for everywhere else in the world.

Men who cut the pineapples - their heads wrapped in t-shirts under the violent sun.

I think of my grandmother frying maduros and eggs (the smell of heaven) and of my aunt shelling garbanzo beans, fanning herself intermittently, a chunk of ice bobbing in a glass of South American wine at her elbow.

I think of driftwood and trash and seaweed, of cheap rum and unwashed gringos, and of Sopa de Mariscos with a whole crab claw in the center, served with a plastic spoon.

I think of greasy paper napkins and glittering Garifuna waiters, in bowties.

And the smell of the sea.

I think of tilting, stinking streets, blaring music, and a sun which burns my forehead in seconds. Pouty little girls beckoning me into the air-condition shops: “Pase(n) joven!”

I can barely hear their voices.

I think of homes on stilts which pose -like rabbits frozen in fear- along a blustering beachfront, and of my dying grandfather’s words:

“Oh, just leave Honduras to the Hondurans!

But Papá… ¿Cómo?


Gene said...

Wonderful post, with wonderful pictures.

Ranty said...

Thanks Gene. It's sorta random... but then hey, so am I! :-)

Jeff Skrenes said...

Wow. That brings back the memories...heating lunch in a plastic container in boiling water because there's no microwave...the kids calling me a "coca-col-ero" and seeing if they could slip a Pepsi past me and still get the 2-lemp bonus for bringing me my soda...the fact that in a corruption-ridden country, Taco Bell went out of business means there's some degree of justice...I could go on and on. Thanks.

Ed said...

Ranty, your expose' is poetic. I kind of feel sad when a think of Honduras,too. Your pictures and your grandpa's words captured the essence of what you mean.
Great post.

Guanaja Sharon said...

This is my first time to your Blog and LaGringa sent it to me. Loved the words about "On Returning to Honduras". I live on the island of Guanaja off the coast and have been to the coast many times, therefore, I can relate to all you say....with exception to a Pepsi. I LOVE Pepsi and can never get it! I would have to pay them extra to get it!
Yes, this third-world country has its surprises, some good and some bad, but there are many places which are even more "backward" and I prefer the "civilization" of Honduras to those countries.
I, too, am formerly from Minneapolis and give you greetings. It is a small world after all!
Sharon de Guanaja

Andrea said...

Its the only place in the world I want to be.

Ranty said...

Thank you Ed. You are right that there is a vein or two of sadness in my thoughts of this place... but I do still love it fiercely anyway.

Sharon, of course I recognize you (well your name anyway) from the group - thanks for visiting. I didn't recall you were from Minneapolis... what a small world! (Of course you probably know that Courtney in SPS is too!)

I also love Pepsi.

And Honduras.

Andrea - I know how you feel. I'm glad you commented, and that I found your blog too as a result!