Thursday, December 24, 2009

New Job!!! Moving to Roatan - Follow up

During April, eleven months after my arrival, I interviewed with one company and almost landed a job, but no dice...Still. Shortly after, I received a response to one of my posts requesting my resume, I sent it and scheduled a trip to Roatan for an interview. Once in Roatan, I interviewed and was asked to start ASAP. ASAP meant that day or the next, UNBELIEVEABLE! To me, this was like sinking a three point shot to win the game. No wait, to tie the game so I can demonstrate what I'm made of in overtime.

Overtime begins... aaaaaaaand my coach decides to sit me out. By "sit me out", I mean do anything to prevent me from completing my work. We have our differences like Artest being coached by Bobby Knight and... let's just say it didn't work out.

The game ends, I'm still on the bench, and my team loses. To make matters worse, I get released... as in fired. I got canned for the first time!!! Chet!

This place was so screwed up that I have to begin retelling some hilarious experiences I endured while working there (and living on Roatan.)

I now introduce: "Conversations in Honduraninan"

Employer: You speak Spanish right?

Los: Of course I do! I can read and write it (coming soon) too.

Employer: "Great! I need you to pretend like you don't. My employees don't like me and always talk about my wife and I. I want you to pretend like you don't speak Spanish and report what everyone is saying about us."

Los: Really? Are you joking right now?

Employer: I'm not joking, just do it. ok?

Los: ok...

Later that day I am escorted to my new office from where I was to fulfill my duties as "Accounting Manager". I am introduced and left with my new assistants to figure out to where to begin (as customary in Honduras, no direction is given because the employers don't know what the hell they are doing so they hope they can hire someone to tell them what they should be doing).

Within the first few minutes I am there, I'm asked:

Edith: "Carlos, usted habla Espanol?"

Los: "Claro que si" (thinking to myself: Dammit! I forgot that I wasn't supposed to speak Spanish.)

I should have guessed that this was not going to be a good fit for me...


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Socks for Christmas - Don't do it

Nothing disappoints like unwrapping a bundle of socks for a Christmas or birthday present. If the only other option you have for a gift is a hug and kind words, go with that. If you give socks, expect the reaction to look like this:

This reaction will also precede an Alllen Iverson type rant: "Socks?!?! Socks!! I was born on this date and I get socks! Not even ankles socks, which I prefer, but tube socks?!?! Phack mein! I got socks. You know what Hassan got? A car! I get socks. Not even Hanes socks, these are the socks you get from the callejones in Downtown L.A.!! I'm talking about Socks..."

My mother raised me as a single mother for many years. I know we didn't have much money for gifts and celebrations, but socks? I would have been satisfied with a burrito from Marielas. I'm Honduran, but I don't even play soccer. Why do I need these socks? Sometimes it was socks and more, but some years it was just socks. One of the most depressing childhood memories is unwrapping what I believed was a shoe box containing a new pair of shoes. Why would I think anything to the contrary? As I began unwrapping the gift, my mother calmly (cough, cough) reminds me to be careful so she can reuse the wrapper, "Si rompes el papel te quito el regalo". I noticed this was one of my old shoe boxes and thought she got the shoes downtown or something. That's cool, I don't mind shoes from downtown. I was so surprised I even folded the wrapping paper back up for her. I removed the top portion of the box and there they were; a bundle of tube socks.

Not even a bag of tube socks like Kmart sells, just a bunch of socks bundled together by a string. I should have torn the wrapping paper.

Life is funny though. This year my father offered me a "professional style" camera, I requested socks instead. I don't want to walk around with a big bulky camera, and I need socks.

Monday, December 21, 2009

You know you live in the ghetto when...

The bathroom at your favorite restaurant looks like this...

WATCH THE REVIEW HERE - This guy has poor taste in food though

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cayos Cochinos - God's Gift to Honduras

From Cayos 2


It's difficult to spot, but the sun set perfectly behind a tiny key. Close up below.


The key is growing in front of your eyes!

Coral Cays are delicate ecosystems. Varying currents, waves, climate patterns and sand accumulations over coral remains eventually create this habitat. The same factors that create this piece of heaven on earth can destroy it.

Cayos Cochinos (Hog Islands) is accessible from mainland Honduras and the Bay Islands. The 13 Coral Keys and 2 small islands correspond to the Islas de Las Bahia (Bay Islands) department. I insist on an overnight stay if you visit. A day trip does not allow sufficient time to experiencing the complete magnificence that Cayos Cochinos has to offer. You can visit Cayos on any budget; from backpacker bunk style (150 Lps per night) to resort accommodations ($120+) and even something in between ($50 - 70). "Todo Esta Aqui!" (It's all here).

I've only been on the backpacker and "something in between" budgets, and I only went on the "something in between" because we got hooked up! Thanks Pirate Island Divers!!!

The first time we visited we were celebrating our good friend's Birthday, KrH. We planned for a day trip, but decided to stay overnight last minute. We were en-route from La Ceiba so our point of departure was Sambo Creek. A brief visit to Cayo Menor is always the first stop for every visitor. Cayo Menor is the smaller of the two Islands. This is where visitors are introduced to the local wildlife and conservation efforts. You also pay your park fees here since Cayos Cochinos is protected under National Monument status. The fees are very reasonable, $5 for foreigners visiting with tour operators or resorts, $2 for Hondurans (woo - hoo!) and $10 for foreigners arriving without a tour operator or resort.

This friendly guy was posing for pics when our boat arrived on Cayo Menor.

After visiting Cayo Menor, you are free to explore Honduras' crown jewel. A snorkeling or hiking trip usually follow the briefing at Cayo Menor. If you opt for hiking you will basically be out looking for the "Pink Boa", a snake that only exists in Cayos Cochinos. If you go snorkeling, the common practice, you while see thriving coral, turtles, eagle rays, barracudas and immense schools of other fish. Lunch at Chachahuate, the only inhabited key, is a must. The menu isn't extensive, but they offer anything you could ever want to eat on a remote island: fresh-caught fish, lobster, conch, soups, and even BALEADAS. Of course, they have plenty of Salva Vida, Port Royal, Barena, rum and guifiti on hand to quench any thirst. Almost too fittingly, Coronas are also on hand so you can create your own corona commercial! Grab a cold one and enjoy the images...


From Cayos 2

From Cayos 2


William Bell vs. DTP vs. Dilated Peoples

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Proposal for Honduran Soccer Etiquette - National Anthems

Returning Catracho Report image

La Sele training in SPS - I didn't date this picture so I don't know when this happened - sometime in 08

My Proposal for Honduran Soccer Etiquette: Respect every visitor's national anthem.

I would also like to issue my sincerest apologies to every Jamaican, Puerto Rican, Canadian, Haitian, and Mexican (double apology to Rosa's family for that one) and their national soccer teams for disrespecting your anthem while hosting you during World Cup Classification.

This is what currently happens when we host a foreign soccer team.

Mexican National Anthem at Estadio Olimpico in San Pedro Sula

Honduran National Anthem at Estadio Olimpico in San Pedro Sula

I know that muffling a visitor's national anthem intimidates the team before the match, but I suggest we accomplish this with our pride instead of a display of poor manners. Other than creating a negative image, the current practice may provoke negative results. If you've ever participated in any level of organized sports, you know that athletes feed off negative energy. We don't want to set off a Landon Donovan or Cuauhtemoc Blanco. Don't motivate them, make them work for it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

You know you live in the ghetto when... - Los Angeles edition

Ice Cream trucks play Hip Hop

Your neighborhood is highlighted in red on the map at Domino's and Pizza Hut.

You can't wear a certain color.

Fliers advertising "TEEN JOBS - MAKE UP TO $50" are posted on every block.

Every block has a vending machine that dispenses a gallon of water for twenty five cents (quarter water)

You can make regular appearances on the news by running out to places nearby where they are reporting from live.

Someone comes around selling "raspados", identified by the ringing bells.

You have an abandoned building on your block.

Someone comes around and yells "Eloooooooooooooooteeeeeeeeeeeeeeees" or "Taaaaaaaaaammmaaaaaaaaaaaaaaleeeeeeeees".

A produce truck comes around and honks like you're in a third world country.

Stop signs have bullet holes on them

Stop signs read Cant STOP _______ enter name of local gang here
(I used to call the gangsters that hung out on my street the Mariposa St. gang)

You have two or more $1 Chinese food places within a 10 minute walk.

You have two or more doughnut shops within a 10 minute walk.

You have two or more 99 cent stores within a 10 minute walk.

You have two or more pawn shops within a 10 minute walk.

You have two or more laundromats within a 10 minute walk.

You can't walk 5 blocks without crossing a liquor store.

You hear police sirens at least once a week.

You hear police helicopters at least one a week.

People walk around with tattooed tears.

The local landmarks commemorate acts of violence. "That's were the Korean business owners pulled out AK's and oozies to defend their businesses during the riots." "That's where Robert Kennedy was assassinated.", "That's were the cops killed the crack head"

You know people by names like Spooky, Shorty, Snoopy, Tiny, (note to gangsters: If your name ends with a "Y", you probably need to change your name to something more intimidating.

Apartment buildings show a trace of bullets left behind by a drive by

You have a "neighborhood crackhead bum"

The "neighborhood crackhead bum" is always trying to sell you a car stereo that looks like it was just ripped out of a car

Shoes dangle from electrical wires.

Everyone greets each other by raising their chin.

Raising your chin can also be confused with an insult.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Maynor Figueroa Accomplishes Rare Feat for Honduran Soccer

Maynor Figueroa became the first Honduran to score a goal in England's Premier League on January 11, 2009. He ricocheted a corner kick off his head in a game against Tottenham to accomplish this milestone in Honduran soccer. Maynor stated that he was supposed to set a screen for a forward on his team but reacted on instinct instead.

The rare feat is Maynor Figueroa's goal being #2 on the Dec. 11 2009 edition of ESPN's SPORTCENTER TOP 10 LIST (considering that ESPN show's Honduras "no love"). I'm not sure, but I think this is the highest position any Honduran has ever reached on the "TOP 10" (not including the countdown the featured the national team).

This is a funny video of Maynor adapting to life in England...

Returning Catracho Report images

Monday, December 7, 2009


Returning Catracho Report images

Polache is one of the most entertaining performers in Honduras. I had the pleasure of attending many of his performances while I called San Pedro Sula my home. His TV show, "De Trova con Polache", was also very amusing and informative. In his show he traveled around Honduran cities and villages with the purpose of highlighting local culture there. While mingling with the locals he would improvise a song relating to whatever situation he was in. The lady making baleadas, bam! you got a song. The artisan making souvenirs, bam! that's a song. He is mostly recognized for writing songs riddled with Honduran slang.

I haven't heard one Polache song I didn't like, my favorite is Pedazo de Mujer. His songs with the most rotation are "Hablo Espanol", which is almost a dictionary of Honduran phrases and the two joints he put together to depict his love for Soccer, "La Potra" and "Volveremos a Celebrar". I can't listen to "La Potra" too often, it makes my heart beat irregularly with excitement, especially if they play Salvador Nasralla's voice over it. I used to bump this jam before heading to the Estadio Olympico with hopes that La Sele would stomp on Concacaf rivals.

To all the Catrachos, send this out to your girl. Don't bcc it, we have too many guiros running around already.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

To vote or not to vote? - The Questions

Voting is not only a right, but also a responsibility. I recognize that this is the most important Honduran presidential election of my lifetime. I know all the cliches (even the one about THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION IN YOUR LIFETIME) that the media tosses around every four years; every vote counts, if you don't vote someone else does it for you (that literally happens in Honduras), make your voice heard, change the nation, yadda yadda yadda. I've even received death threats from Diddy trying to force me to vote with his "Vote or Die" campaign. I bet you didn't know he owns a machete.

Trust me, I know the importance of voting in the elections. The "concept" of voting isn't what causes me to ruminate over my participation or abscence. It's the brutal and inevitable realities we will face after the elections, regardless of who is seated, that makes me not want to vote.

Will our health system improve?
NO! People will continue to die from deseases that are preventable and treatable in other countries. The best we can hope for is more Cuban doctors and health care missionaries from the States.

Will our living conditions improve?
NO! Hondurans will continue to live in the same uninhabitable "homes" that annually get swept away or damaged by flash flooding, rain, or earthquakes.

What about better public services?
Keep dreaming! Honduras will never see the day when potable water pours out of faucets. We will continue to only have access to water contaminated with pathogens and chemical run off, therefore fattening the pockets of the people who own Aguazul. What about the electricity? Let's just say you better not have a fridge full of food because you may be forced to sponsor a neighborhood barbecue when lights go off for more than 12 hours.

Will crime be reduced?
NO! If in the future, someone claims it has been reduced, then it's just being reported inaccurately. Crime will not be reduced because Honduran's will continue to live under the same desperate circumstances. i.e. I have a family, I don't have a source of income (and if I do, it probably doesn't pay enough), I don't have any help from my country = I need to jack someone and come up (for a day) so I can feed these guirros.

Will more employment be created?
I think we'll see a small growth in that sector, but solely because vulture (sorry, I meant to say venture) capitalists are probably drooling over Honduras like stock investors do when they see a giant like Nike or Pfizer temporarily drop in price. They know those stocks are going to bounce back, but they try to anticipate the lowest point they will drop to before investing in those stocks to maximize profit. That doesn't mean we'll see better working conditions though. The only reason why we see these multinational companies here is because our leaders guarantee a "low cost of labor". In other words, we'll continue to be expected to work for less money and in worse conditions than they would ever think of offering their own.

What about the economic state?
Thank G-d for credit!!! I would not be shocked to see the minimum wage reduced, or the Lempira loosing value against the Dollar, thus reducing the minimun wage. If the Lempira looses value against the Dollar, the Lempira price will increase on anything except labor. i.e. When the lempira goes to 25 (guessing) to $1, a 20 Lempira Baleada will go up to 25 lps (WE'RE CONSUMERS NOT PRODUCES, 90% OF ITEMS IN MARKETS COME FROM OTHER COUNTRIES, MOSTLY THE U.S.). Someone earning 5,500 lps ($291.08 @ current exchange 18.8951) as their monthly salary, will now earn 5,500 lps @ 25 = $220.00. That pay is pretty close to the minimum wage that was in place last year (3500 lps or $185.23 at 18.8951 ) .

What happens if you're not being represented by any of the candidates in contention?
Vote for the one that comes closest. NOT!!! Don't do that, I BEG YOU!!! You'll just be another sheep. Baaaaack up a little and think.

Are you trying to tell me not to vote Carlos?!?!

Then what is the best approach?
I'm (annything I say beggining with "I'm" is probably not the best approach, but it's my blog so too bad) inclined to actually go to the polling centers and protesting against all parties and corrupt politicians. You still have to vote though, or else someone will use your ID number and name to vote for any candidate that pays them. I would prefer to cast my ballot with mustaches and eyeglasses drawn on the candidates, rather than being forced to vote for someone that will not have my best interest in mind. Or even worse, have these guys pay someone to vote on your behalf.

That doesn't create change though. How do we create "change"?
You have to demand it. We need to stop asking these politicians "What are you going to do for us?" and start saying "WE NEED YOU TO _________ FOR US!!!" Even better than demanding, start working towards what you want. If you think we need improvements in our educational system, start turoring kids in your neighborhood. If you want a better health system, start teaching kids about the risks of sex and disease prevention. If you're thinking that you don't know how to do that, you're crazy. You have the internet in front of you right now. I can't think of a better resource at our disposal. For instace, I don't know how to make sushi, but I can google it and tell you how in five minutes.

"Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." A guy from La Colonia Kennedy.

Patti Labelle VRS. Kanye West!


Quincy Jones Vrs. The Pharcyde

For all the youngsters...



I would have included The Roots, but I can't embed "Clones"

Don't bump Hip Hop at Work! Kanye just doesn't know when to shut up!

"I'ma let you finish," but I had to say this...

If you've skimmed through my blog, you know I love HIP HOP. As much as I love it, I'm putting an end to hip hop at the workplace. I don't know where I will draw my inspiration from while at work, but it's done! Finnito! Over! No mas!

A few weeks ago, I was in my office getting my "grind on". My boss walks in as "Spaceship" is bumping from my computer speakers. I love that jam! If you're from "the hood" (wherever that is) and you've had to start at the bottom of the ladder, you should too. If you know what it's like to work like crazy and not have anything to show for it at the end of the day, but keep fighting to achieve your goals, you know what I'm talking about. Don't stop 'till you get it!

I didn't think to hit the mute button on my keyboard. I immediately directed my attention to my boss. A few seconds after we begin discussing expenses, Kanye's lyrics begin

If my manager insults me again I will be assaulting him
After I fuck the manager up then I`m gonna shorten the register up
Let`s go back, back to the Gap
Look at my check, wasn`t no scratch
So if I stole, wasn`t my fault
Yeah I stole, never got caught
They take me to the back and pat me
Askin` me about some khakis
But let some black people walk in
I bet they show off their token blackie
Oh now they love Kanye, let`s put him all in the front of the store
Saw him on break next to the `No Smoking` sign with a blunt and aMarl`

Takin` my hits, writin` my hits
Writin` my rhymes, playin` my mind
This fuckin` job can`t help him
So I quit, y`all welcome
Y`all don`t know my struggle
Y`all can`t match my hustle
You can`t catch my hustle
You can`t fathom my love dude
Lock yourself in a room doin` five beats a day for three summers
That`s a different world like three summers
I deserve to do these numbers
The kid that made that deserves that Mayback
So many records in my basement
I`m just waitin` on my spaceship, blaow

By the way, I'm the accounting manager so bumping lyrics that promote theft, not a good idea. Of course, I'm not going to follow this dude's example and that's difinetely not what inspires me about this song.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Montuca Sound System - November 10th 2008 Show photo album

Montuca - Welcome to San Pedro (acoustic)

"WELCOME TO SAN PEDRO! OOOooOOO" That's from a Montuca Sound System song. They're a ska/reggae/funk/rock/jazz band from San Pedro Sula. If you're in SPS, check them out for an appropriate welcome to San Pedro Sula. I can see these dudes reaching that Banda Blanca status and gaining international notoriety. When that CD hits the shelves, I'm getting TWO! One to bump and another to save and sell on Ebay 20 years from now.

The crowd at a Montuca show is usually a good mix of foreigners and locals. (the latter don't really appear in the image below) All the images below were taken at a Montuca Sound System show on November 10th, 2008.
Returning Catracho Report images


The foreigners are always caught off guard when they see MSS live for the first time. It usually starts with them nodding their head in approval of their riffs and smooth lyrics. By the end of the first song, they proceed to wiggle like they have ants in their pants. Two songs into a set and they get carried away jumping around like crazy. I've had to warn a few of them, "HEY, HEY, HEY, (enter all time favorite hip hop line here), calm down dude! Hondurans don't understand the concept of a moshpit!!!"

I've seen them play alongside other Honduran greats like Polache and Guillermo Anderson. In my opinion, this band is way ahead of its time for the Honduran audience. When they do "break on through to the other side", little girls will have posters of a shirtless Gary hanging over their beds and Carlos will rival the late, great Tito Puente with the facial gestures.


They also volunteer to play at many benefit concerts for worthy causes like HIV awareness. I give them (as is said in L.A.) MAD PROPS for dropping out of a concert after learning that it was in alliance with a politician. To me, this act represented them standing up against the system that has historically used the general Honduran population as sheep. Again, props!

Montuca Sound System will be playing at "The Crooked Palm" in Roatan for New Year's! I can't think of a better way to spend New Year's. This will be the second New Year's I spend with Los. I just hope we don't get stressed by the cops this year!


These dudes are real chill too. A good example of that is the following video I posted of them on Youtube. In this vid they imitate recognized Honduran soccer broadcasters like Copan Alvarez and Salvador Nasralla. Hilarious!!!!!

Montuca Playing Live


I didn't resize the images, for the entire album with pics of their Nov. 10, 2008 show click below!!!


Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Day in The Life of a Honduran - Herding Cows

Google maps images

I didn't expect to herd cows for my first job in Honduras. I arrived in May 08 and didn't immediately find work as I expected. Living in a little pueblo didn't help my efforts either. My half orange ("My better half" in Spanish,I don't get it) and I moved from L. A. to El Porvenir.

From a previous blog post:

This little town is in nestled in between hills and sugar cane fields of San Manuel, Cortes. Being the city slicker that I am, I immediately took note of how isolated this town is and said to myself “DAMN!” I knew my family is from a little village, but DAMN!!!
(I said it more like "DAAAAAYYYUMMMM!!!!")
Click here for entire post:

So you get a better picture of where El Porvenir is, take a look at the images below.
This is a close up of San Pedro Sula and El Porvenir at the same distance from Google maps.

El Porvenir is 35 minutes outside of San Pedro Sula, 45 by rapidito and an hour or more by chicken bus. I had no choice but to travel by bus because taxi drivers know better than to pick up passengers there. They wont even take you there from San Pedro Sula out of fear of being robbed (or worse) while navigating the desolate strech of road embedded by sugar cane fields that splits from the road to El Progreso. The piece of road highlighted in red on the first image is the "hot zone" or zona caliente, as dubbed by local media. This area is used to either murder people or dump limp bodies that were murdered elsewhere.

Finding work became impossible; I didn't want to move to San Pedro Sula without finding a job first and employers in SPS don't hire candidates residing outside of the "casco urbano". By this time, my "media Naranja" was understandably growing frustrated with our surroundings (possibly me too) and home sickness (or being sick of Carlos) made her go back to L.A. three times in the first couple of months. The last time she went away for over three weeks. I feared she wouldn't return. I would have understood too. I decided to move, and arrived in Honduras three months after. I was amazed that she decided to join by extending her fiancee contract agreement instead of opting out of it as a free agent. She had no time to plan for it, I unconsciously planned for decades.

The last time she left I became Atlas, carrying the weight of the heavens on my shoulders, wishing to become Heracles instead. The weight on my shoulders, represented by the tumultuous task that was finding work, became unbearable. I was being overwhelmed by the pressure I put on myself. I worried that I wouldn't find work or improve living conditions by the time Rosa returned. In the case she didn't return, I had to bounce up out of there anyway. During this mental and emotional struggle, I temporarily lost grasp of some of the reasons that drove me to move back to Honduras on impulse. I wasn't getting a taste of "Honduras Living", or getting to know "my people". I was in a place I wished to visit for years, my mother's little village, but I wasn't taking advantage of it.

Then... a revelation descended from the heavens, "WWLD?". What would "Los" do? I wasn't me anymore... I had to get back to ME. I thought about what would have become of me if I had lived there my while life. I came to the conclusion that I could very likely be in the same position; unemployed, alone, and lost. That was me, even though it wasn't. That same room, in that same village, that same day. I realized that it was time slow the wheels from Angeleno speed to Catracho speed.

I decided to join the only person in the village I befriended (not by lack of effort either) in his work. Byron, 20, is the nephew of a cattle farmer. Not like a Wild Wild West tycoon, they only owned 25 cows. Initially I didn't know what he did exactly. When I asked, he responded with "cuido las vacas" or "I take care of the cows". That didn't sound like he slaughtered them, so far so good. I told him I would like to "work" with him, for a day. He immediately responded with a burst of laughter. Our conversations usually consisted of me imposing some curiosity about life in Honduras and him responding with boisterous laughter.

C: Is there malaria and dengue here?

C: Do you brush your teeth with tap water?

C: Do you know what Dry Cleaning is?
B: JAJAJAJAJAJAJA!!!! You are lost (estas perdido compa)

C: Where can I get some trees?
B: JAJAJAJAJAJA!!! Follow me...

It was set. I was to work with Byron for 50 lps, half of his daily pay, 100 lps. FYI, that's $2.50 for a whole day of work, he earns $5.00 a day. That's tough cookies considering that a can of corn is more expensive here than it is in the states. He instructed me to join him at his uncles farm (more like a field with a fence around it) at 5 A.M. the following morning so we can milk the cows, he also said lunch would be provided. MILK THE COWS!?!?!?!? I don't know about all that! I didn't have a "Four H" club in my high school and I sure as heck never touched a cow. I would arrive fashionably late as to avoid milking cows. The rest of his day was built up by herding the cows while they graze and any other task he needs to take care of on the family properties.

When I arrived Byron had finished filling empty 1 liter soda bottles with fresh milk, tied bottles to rope and hung them over his shoulder and we were off. As we began our journey on foot, he delivered the milk and collected empty bottles delivered days before. There isn't much to do with the cows, they pretty much roamed in any direction they felt like. Byron complained about their eating habits. He asked "Why the hell can't they eat all this grass? Why do they have to go way up the hill to eat? It's the same gras!!!" By the time all the milk was delivered the grass grew to my torso and mosquitoes appeared to be flying spiders. These mosquitoes even big through jeans! After 4 hours of "herding", Byron called for a lunch break. He broke out a liter of Coke and four little bags of chips. That's it. That was our lunch. Needless to say, I was pissed. I didn't express my disappointment because I didn't want to offend him, but I was outraged. I later considered that he had already given me half of his pay, then used his half to buy our "lunch", leaving him with only a quarter of his regular pay.

After this hearty lunch, Byron told me he had to "chapiar" (clear a field with a machete) at his uncles house up on the hill. We arrived at the little house under siege by the grass. He went inside and brought out two machetes and a file, proceeded to sharpen the machetes and handed me one. While he did this I walked around kicking air and swinging my arms to keep the mosquitoes from biting. He gave me a quick training in machete skills. I proceeded to swing the machete like a bat at a t-ball. As expected from a city slicker, I failed miserably at my first experience with clearing a field. Pay attention to machete training to avoid back injuries or loss of digits.

We finally decided to head back to the village before sunset. I was dead tired by this time. We walked the cows back to the "farm" and to my surprise, many of the cows jumped over the fence to get back in. I didn't even know that cows can jump! He invited me into his home for dinner. Before entering he warned me, "I have three sister, if you mess with any of them, I'll kill you". ok... His sisters were nice and they CAN COOK!

After dinner I headed back home and began counting my blessings. I rolled something up, bumped some Talib Kweli and Kanye and began planning my take over on the world. That experience is just what I needed to "get back on the grind". I also decided that I would continue to try and experience a day in the life of a Honduran for research toward my 2039 presidential campaign. Seriously, well... maybe.

Month's later, a lady posted this on Honduras Living. Props to her! By this time I was living in La Ceiba selling coconuts on the beach. I'll write about that in another post.

> I have a challenge to those who think the average Honduran worker is paidenough. Take an average job working in a field or in a maquila, making the same average wage, for one month, all the time living in comparable conditions. Thenreport back to us on the adequacy of the average Honduran paycheck.>>

I love you for putting this out there. I'm actually doing this as research for my 2040 campaign. I'll start a new thread on it.Carlos M - La Ceiba - Not too good with a machete, cows or the hot sun...

My First Job - Carpet Cleaning Apprentice


Although my first taste of employment wasn't fun, sanitary or voluntary, I learned valuable lessons during my tenure as a carpet cleaning apprentice. My stepfather Antonio, or "Toño", owned carpet cleaning equipment that almost materialized his American Dream and at the same time created nightmares for me. Since I was the oldest child in the home, I was expected to assist with any jobs that didn't coincide with school hours. Although I wasn't thrilled to help or bond with my stepfather, I always tried to do a good job. After all, I was getting paid. Peanuts, but it's the lessons learned that count at that age.

We traveled in his pick up and I awaited our arrival impatiently like Hussein Bolt waiting to burst out of the blocks. After helping unload the cleaning equipment and supplies I scurried into the work site and meticulously scanned the carpet for any small objects that may damage the equipment and pretreated stains.
The main targets were staples, coins, nails (both kind, I'm gagging and the memories), and everything else that isn't dust or hair. At the same time Toño assembled his spin brush machine like someone putting a Harley Davidson back together. Milliseconds after the machine was put together he would always ask, "No has terminado?" and before that last tone in a sentence that identifies a question came out, he would proceed to shout in typical Honduran fashion "HEH!!! NO'MBE, NO ESTAS EN NADA! SI NO ESTUVIERAS ABRIENDO LA JETA YA HUBIERAS TERMINADO!" I don't know how you read "HEH!!!", but a million exclamation marks aren't enough to express his emphasis on that. I used to cringe at that sound. Every time he would burst one out I knew that was a penalty on my compensation.
Image from
The following hour or so became pretty uneventful for me, I blankly followed Toño around trying to keep the electric cord off the carpet behind him. When the brushing was finished I hurried over to the vacuum machine and connected the hose and head piece, filled it with water rolled it into the room where the carpet was brushed last. Since the vacuum absorbs the fluids that were emitted from both the spin brush and vacuum (final treatment), it will require emptying a few times before the objective was completed. Alone at the bottom of the latter, I had to shoulder this responsibility. This led me to despise any customers opting for dwelling in apartments higher than the first floor in buildings without elevators. The dirty water aspirated was like yoo-hoo. I could barely carry the five gallon bucket to the street without resting along the way. On more than one occasion, I spilled the filthy water on already cleaned carpet.

The compensation was a slap in the face. My "allowance" was $5 a week (no I didn't grow up in the 50's, we were po' folks), but if I worked I didn't get an allowance. I only got what I earned. How much you ask? $5 bucks... If I complained, then I got a slap in the face, literally.

Antonio would always promise to leave his equipment to me so I can carry on with the "family business". I would always think to myself, "The moment you look away, I'm rolling these things off a cliff." I always pictured the machines being blown up by dynamite, or falling of the back of the pick up and rolling until they collided with a train. I remember being really embarrassed by having to work, unlike my school friends. I also dreaded being seen carrying the carpet cleaning equipment. I laugh at young vanity, I'm now proud to have worked all these odd jobs in my early years.

I don't remember how long I had to help with this, but it was longer than I would have preferred. This job sucked, but you have to start somewhere. A few years after this dude separated from my mom he put a little business together. He set up a computers, ads (fliers), and a dedicated phone line for it. He didn't know how to use a computer, or even what he would use it for so he called me up to help. I became his "office manager" at the age of 16. I guess that was my first "office" gig. I didn't know what to do either, so I began setting up a schedule from the phone calls, and making fliers on paint. I didn't like the guy much, but now I have a deep appreciation for him because he taught me how to work hard. It was his lessons that lead me to believe that it's better to "work smart, not hard".

Image from

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Best Baleada in Honduras

A Baleada is a staple food in Honduras. Flour tortillas, beans, dry cheese, (censilla or plain) and whatever else you want on them (preparada or prepared, make sure you specify what you want though). A burrito you ask? No. The Baleada is one level down on the evolution chart.

Allow me to explain: A burrito wraps it's contents, thus allowing you more convenience while eating. In a Baleada, the tortilla merely folds over its contents, sometimes causing its contents to drip off the ends of tear through the tortilla. In short, you can ride a bike or skateboard (even drive, although I don't recommend it) while eating a burrito, you can't with a Baleada.

For me it is a must to immediately find the best Baleada when going somewhere in Honduras I've never been. I've had some hilarious conversations regarding the common belief that only certain women can make a good baleada. Apparently, the woman's (typical) hands must be at a certain temperature and right size produce a good tortilla.

If you'd like to join a Facebook group created in appreciation of the Baleada, you may do so here:


The best Baleadas in Honduran cities I've lived in:

San Pedro Sula, Cortes
  • I have to give this one to Baleadas Express. BE is quick, delicious, and they make them big there.
  • Runner up goes to the Texaco Station at Ave. Circumvalacion and 1ra calle. This place is open 24 Hrs, this is the place everyone heads to after the bars and dance clubs.
La Ceiba, Atlantida
  • The best place in La Ceiba has to be Super Baleadas, located near the Banana Republic Guesthouse and Las Guacamayas hostels.
  • Mazapan has good Baleadas too, but they premake tortillas and set them under a heat lamp.
  • "La linea" refers to the stretch of railroads where people set up shop and sell food. Baleadas are available there until the early hours, but I don't reccommend anyone go out there looking for them that late.
Tela, Atlantida
  • Ask anyone in Tela for the best Baleada and they will more than likely respond with "Tia Carmen". I don't know what the secret is, but they are BOMB! This place is located in front of Telamar. Good Coffee too!
El Porvenir, Cortes
  • The only place that sells baleadas in El Porvenir is located at the "Pavimentada". They're ok.
Roatan, Islas de la Bahia
  • Roatan hasn't mastered the art of the Baleada. (Update: I recently discovered a caseta that makes excellent Baleadas. I've had them there twice, great both times. I'm heading back tomorrow for a "special" baleada the owner offered me. It has to be good since she couldn't make it at that moment.
Chachahuate, Cayos Cochinos
  • I got awesome baleadas at the community restaurant on Chachahuate, on of the two inhabited keys on Cayos Chochinos. Although I ordered them at the restaurant, they came out of a house down the beach a bit. It appears that they distribute the orders to the homes when the restaurant kitchen was closed.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Hip Hop Vs. Classical

This song is in my top ten favorites of all time!!! When things aren't going right or I feel down, this puts me back on the grind. I rarely listen to this without tearing up. SERIOUSLY! I had to add the lyrics below for anyone that hasn't heard it before. "I know I can!"
For anyone of you struggling on a daily basis trying to improve your living conditions, get your mind staright, everything else will straighten out on its own.

"I Can"

I know I can (I know I can)
Be what I wanna be (be what I wanna be)
If I work hard at it (If I work hard at it)
I'll be where I wanna be (I'll be where I wanna be)

Be, B-Boys and girls, listen up
You can be anything in the world, in God we trust
An architect, doctor, maybe an actress
But nothing comes easy it takes much practice
Like, I met a woman who's becoming a star
She was very beautiful, leaving people in awe
Singing songs, Lina Horn, but the younger version
Hung with the wrong person
Got her strung on that
Heroin, cocaine, sniffin up drugs all in her nose...
Coulda died, so young, now looks ugly and old
No fun cause now when she reaches for hugs people hold they breath
Cause she smells of corrosion and death
Watch the company you keep and the crowd you bring
Cause they came to do drugs and you came to sing
So if you gonna be the best, I'ma tell you how,
Put your hands in the air, and take a vow

[Chorus - 2x (Nas and Kids)]
I know I can (I know I can)
Be what I wanna be (be what I wanna be)
If I work hard at it (If I work hard at it)
I'll be where I wanna be (I'll be where I wanna be)

Be, B-Boys and girls, listen again
This is for grown looking girls who's only ten
The ones who watch videos and do what they see
As cute as can be, up in the club with fake ID
Careful, 'fore you meet a man with HIV
You can host the TV like Oprah Winfrey
Whatever you decide, be careful, some men be
Rapists, so act your age, don't pretend to be
Older than you are, give yourself time to grow
You thinking he can give you wealth, but so
Young boys, you can use a lot of help, you know
You thinkin life's all about smokin weed and ice
You don't wanna be my age and can't read and write
Begging different women for a place to sleep at night
Smart boys turn to men and do whatever they wish
If you believe you can achieve, then say it like this


Be, be, 'fore we came to this country
We were kings and queens, never porch monkeys
There was empires in Africa called Kush
Timbuktu, where every race came to get books
To learn from black teachers who taught Greeks and Romans
Asian Arabs and gave them gold when
Gold was converted to money it all changed
Money then became empowerment for Europeans
The Persian military invaded
They heard about the gold, the teachings, and everything sacred
Africa was almost robbed naked
Slavery was money, so they began making slave ships
Egypt was the place that Alexander the Great went
He was so shocked at the mountains with black faces
Shot up they nose to impose what basically
Still goes on today, you see?
If the truth is told, the youth can grow
Then learn to survive until they gain control
Nobody says you have to be gangstas, hoes
Read more learn more, change the globe
Ghetto children, do your thing
Hold your head up, little man, you're a king
Young Princess when you get your wedding ring
Your man is saying "She's my queen"


Save the music y'all, save the music y'all
Save the music y'all, save the music y'all
Save the music

I had to put on a Throwback... not referring to a jersey - Bruce Hornsby Vrs. Tupac Amaru Shakur

Another post on Hip Hop!!!! I would have zero exposure to legendary artists without Hip Hop artists introducing me to them. I love the genre! It is ME. It voices my frustrations and highlights my achivements. It inspires me to see someone coming from "the gutter" and then "getting it" thourgh hard work and dedication. Someone rhyming about being on welfare and later on buying a house for "mama" is the type of ish that drives me. Not to say that other genres don't "keep it real", Hornsby is straight up truth on this song!

If you don't like or understand it, I don't blame you. It exposes the harsh realities experienced in an urban enviroment, also third world countries. The "man" whomever that is to you, would rather opaque Hip Hop's brilliance because it's the voice of people they are taking advantage of. Again, not all Hip Hop is worthy of my time or attention. But the songs I will post on here have powerful messages that should not be ignored. Messages that are so disturbing you'd rather turn away, but you shouldn't. You should make an attempt to understand it instead of fear it. It's poetry to my ears. Watch the youtube vids and then take a minute to read Tupac's lyrics below.

If you missed it, here is my first Hip Hop blog entry

Come on come on
I see no changes
wake up in the morning and I ask myself
is life worth living should I blast myself?
I'm tired of bein' poor & even worse I'm black
my stomach hurts so I'm lookin' for a purse to snatch
Cops give a damn about a negro
pull the trigger kill a nigga he's a hero
Give the crack to the kids who the hell cares
one less hungry mouth on the welfare
First ship 'em dope & let 'em deal the brothers
give 'em guns step back watch 'em kill each other
It's time to fight back that's what Huey said
2 shots in the dark now Huey's dead
I got love for my brother but we can never go nowhere
unless we share with each other
We gotta start makin' changes
learn to see me as a brother instead of 2 distant strangersand
that's how it's supposed to be
How can the Devil take a brother if he's close to me?
I'd love to go back to when we played as kids
but things changed, and that's the way it is
[Bridge w/ changing ad libs]
Come on come on
That's just the way it is
Things'll never be the same
That's just the way it is
aww yeah
I see no changes all I see is racist faces
misplaced hate makes disgrace to races
We under I wonder what it takes to make this
one better place, let's erase the wasted
Take the evil out the people they'll be acting right
'cause both black and white is smokin' crack tonight
and only time we chill is when we kill each other
it takes skill to be real, time to heal each other
And although it seems heaven sent
We ain't ready, to see a black President,
uhh It ain't a secret don't conceal the fact
the penitentiary's packed, and it's filled with blacks
But some things will never change
try to show another way but you stayin' in the dope game
Now tell me what's a mother to do
bein' real don't appeal to the brother in you
You gotta operate the easy way
"I made a G today" But you made it in a sleazy way
sellin' crack to the kid. " I gotta get paid,
"Well hey, well that's the way it is
We gotta make a change...It's time for us as a people to start makin' some changes.
Let's change the way we eat, let's change the way we live
and let's change the way we treat each other.
You see the old way wasn't working so it's on us to do
what we gotta do, to survive.
And still I see no changes
can't a brother get a little peace
It's war on the streets & the war in the Middle East
Instead of war on poverty they got a war on drugs
so the police can bother me
And I ain't never did a crime I ain't have to do
But now I'm back with the facts givin' it back to you
Don't let 'em jack you up, back you up,
crack you up and pimp smack you up
You gotta learn to hold ya own
they get jealous when they see ya with ya mobile phone
But tell the cops they can't touch this
I don't trust this when they try to rush I bust this
That's the sound of my tool you say it ain't cool
my mama didn't raise no fool
And as long as I stay black I gotta stay strapped
& I never get to lay back'
Cause I always got to worry 'bout the pay backs
some punk that I roughed up way back
comin' back after all these years
rat-tat-tat-tat-tat that's the way it is uhh
[Bridge 'til fade:]Some things will never change

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Yahoo Groups - La Migra

Although this blog entry is labeled "Honduras Living - The Yahoo Group", this post isn't about Honduras Living. It's about another Honduran related Yahoo group. One that doesn't (how do I say this without offending people?) . Judging by the fact that I was temporarily blocked from it for posting my opinions about foreigners and their employers abusing the Honduran labor laws in the tourism industry, they don't like me or my point of view much either. I have met cool people that frequently contribute to that group, but it is the right wing polar opposite to HL. The following set of posting are about the "migra", in Honduras, raiding an area dominated by foreigners and dive shops. The thread started with people looking to confirm or inquire about the raid.
The thread took a wrong turn when I responded to:
"Let's not forget that there are 500,000 illegal Hondurans living and working
in the US and double that in Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador."

Let's not forget that those Hondurans working in the counties you mentioned get
paid peanuts for work no one else will do, while all the foreign dive
instructors are here doing something they love and getting paid well for it. So
illegals in the States sing slave songs, while illegals in Honduras whistle
while they work.

Does this qualify as culture shock? I never imagined I'd hear about N. Americans
and Europeans hiding from raids. This is hilarious to me, to a certain degree.
My personal opinion is that immigration is a human right, but you have to adhere
to laws no matter what.

This was funny to me because when I left L.A., "La Migra" and police were raiding Latin communities and businesses to weed out the illegals. In the process of doing so, they were beating and harassing even US born Latinos. Old ladies, handicapped, they were all complaining about the unnecessary force used during those raids. I didn't hear any similar complaints from the Gringos "harassed" in that town. If those same cops were raiding Honduran criminals, someone would have shed blood for sure. So don't whine next Semana Santa.

Obviously offended, the same guy responded with:
Let's not forget that any Honduran can walk into any dive shop in Roatan or
Utila and get their certification to become a PADI Instructor for FREE, but
99.99% of them cannot pass the written exam sections of the PADI course.

I wanted to tell him that if businesses like his actually paid taxes like they are supposed to instead of keeping two sets of books, one to tell him what his business is actually doing and one to tell Tio Sam only what he thinks he should know, our educational system may not be doing so poorly. That would have resulted in a childish volley of jabs so I ignored it, but it did sting having him insult 99.99% of Hondurans like that. His statement is completely false. I think maybe one dive shop actually sponsors people for free. I'm considering doing a bookkeeping trade for certification, and that still doesn't cover the entire cost. Dive shops aren't exactly comfortable places to be in if you're a Spaniard (the Honduran kind). As soon as you walk in all the people there pause, stare, then proceed to slowly gather their cigarettes, cell phones, wallets and other personal belongings they are usually comfortable littering around a dive shop setting.

Becoming a dive instructor is officially on my list of immediate goals. I overcame my fear of swimming and now I hope to work illegally in other countries! As another group member posted in the same thread:
"there is NO better job then a PADI instructor! especially on a caribbean island."
Why wouldn't I want to do that myself? Because then I'll only eat beans and rice for a while. Hmmmmmmm?!?!?!

I did get a job offer from the following request in that thread, but that person's last name is Gonzales, so no points for that group.
Can you send me your resume off group please
Resort Manager

This group isn't all bad, just mostly.


Gringos hanging at Klein Bohemia in SPS - returning Catracho Report image

"I resent you people using that word! That's our word for making fun of you! We NEED it!" - Homer Simpson

Someone should have taken a stand long ago, this has gone too far. I'm taking it back. It's origins aren't even clear to me, but I want it anyway. I'd also like to clarify to all Canadians, Europeans, and yes - Australians that you are Gringos too. Even Asians when considering people from Israel, Russia, Armenia, and Turkey. Argentinians, Spaniards (the real ones, not the "Mainlanders"), you're also in the club. Sorry, I have to do it. It would not be fair to the Asian Gringos for you to be excluded from the label.

No one is certain of it's origin or exact definition. I've read countless possible references connecting the initial use of the word to Irish for wearing green uniforms while fighting in the Mexican America War, American soldiers singing a song with the words "Green" and "Grow" in the title, and even claims that the phrase "That's Greek to me!" gave roots to the term.

The use of the word isn't supposed to be humorous to you, you've taken all the fun out of it. It's supposed to be a racial connotation. Play fair! This word has been irresponsibly tossed around for long enough!

La Gringa: You get a Gringo Card, so you can keep the name.

Revision: I have to add that Gringo is not the same as the term "Yankee", Gringo is a milder offense.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Photo used by permission La Gringa's Blogicito

Shout out to Honduras_Living

"Honduras Living is an unbiased (noncommercial) forum where people can find up to date information about immigrating to Honduras, residency procedures, hotels, restaurants, sites to visit, experiences, crime/safety, places to avoid, and life in Honduras in general. Additionally, the group's files and links sections will be very helpful to anyone wishing to learn more about living in Honduras." I had writer's block trying to express how helpful and informative HL is so I copied that from the welcome message on the group's homepage. Most of the members are originating from N. America or a few European and South Americans countries. The Honduran members seem to have lived outside of the country part of their lives. If this group were a tangible place on earth, it would be your favorite bar.

This group has helped my fiancee and I with the move to Honduras in numerous ways. We've posted countless inquiries that we wouldn't know where else to impose. This group has proved to be the most reliable source for accurate information in comparison to a consulate or embassy in the U.S. or locally. Members post about their hardships and remind you that it can always get worse, they also share the highlights of their lives here and remind you that Honduras is filled with beauty despite being one of the poorest countries in the Americas. The archives provide an extensive library of previous threads that may answer any of your Honduran born curiosities. You'll find cooking recipies, gardening tips, legal info, twitter like news updates, restaurant and hotel reviews and tons more. My only other sources for info before HL were this link to Canal 6's live streaming and my mother. I did eventually begin reading the national newspapers but they are filled with inaccuracies. The latter wasn't so helpful considering she'd been back to Honduras in nearly 23 years and the former scared the life out of me with daily reports of kidnappings and violent crimes. This group is also well moderated to keep the folks in control and enable ease of browsing on terribly slow internet connections.

Since I don't contribute as much as I think I should, I've decided to give props with a label on my blog. I'll turn some of my HL posts into blog entries because I'm a lazy blogger like that. At some point, I'll also post some of my blogs in the group to give the Returning Catracho Report of things because I'm a lazy group member like that. I'm not really lazy, my HL post frequency is directly correlated to my work, no employment = lots of posts, employment = very little posts.

The first entry into this label will be a post questioning the cleaning and bathing procedures when you have doo doo water. I still don't know wxactly what was going on with the water, but named the condition after that came along with it. This incident occurred while residing on Tela, Atlantida. It's a nice place... To visit.

This is my post.
I thought I would just let the water run and it would clear up in a minute or two, but it's been nasty all day. Does this always happen after rainy days? How do people shower or wash clothes? Carlos M - Had to walk down the street for another 5 gallon

Response #1 It happens in a lot of places after a good rain. It can take 3-4 days to clear up. While it is like this you don't wash clothes and you either don't bathe or you get a large bottle of water and take a sponge bath. You can set up a rain barrel to catch clean water for hand washing some things. This is one of the trade-offs for living in paradise.

Response #2
I always imagined paradise haveing clean water.

Response #3

Or at least some water. We have none today. I knew I should have done the laundry yesterday. XX, at least the weather is paradisal today La Ceiba

This is what I meant about reminders that things can always get worse.

Response #4
Due to the rain, we went the entire month of October without running water. Wait thats a lie. They fixed the pipes once, on a Monday afternoon, (It had stopped raining for 2 or 3 days) and then Tuesday morning it began to rain again and we lost water by 9AM Tuesday morning. I think the entire month of October we had rain every day BUT those couple of days and a day or so at the beginning of the month. We didn't get running water back until November 3. At least I had a way to collect rain water for washing dishes and taking showers (ok bucket baths is probably a better term). The kids took showers in the rain, LOL. They loved it. The adventures of living in a 3rd world paradise, LOL.

Response #5

Build two pilas approx. chest high (as long as your over 5'5") first with a sloping bottom 4 feet at the bottom to 4 inches at the top (water level) go to a rocky stream and get 2" to 4" rocks with green slime on them. Keep them wet during transport. Put a drain in the bottom of the first pila for back flushing. Cruddy water goes into the deep end very slow (a diffuser would be nice) and Slowly moves to the shallow end through the rocks. Then into your second pila which is a slow sand bio-filter. then to your cistern. during really bad water times may need to clean the slow sand filter a couple of times a week but you will get water that is very low in turbidity...

Response #6 A simple little 5 micron filter takes care of that. It will be overwhelmed, then when the rain stops you change the filter the next day and it starts doing the job. Tela usually cuts off the water supply when it overflows the cistern filters on the mountain. When the water goes off, I usually cut all water to my house and leave the tap on for the garden (which is pre-filter) until I see it is working. When the brown gets to just a dirty tan, I start it back to the house. Usually no more than half a day without water.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Latarian Milton Remix - THANK YOU INTERNET!!!!

Posts labeled as THANK YOU INTERNET will highlight my appreciation for the internet making this world flat

Read this first!

I hate people who spread emails with viral videos, but I love the internet for exposing the world to things like this. Maybe I shouldn't think that the video on the link above is funny, I realize I have a twisted sense of humor. This video though, is freakin hilarious even if you didn't see the first. Again, this was remixed from his first of four encounters with the authorities and the media. They even chopped and screwed this at the end, classic.

Monday, July 27, 2009

So... Why were you deported and what gang were you in?

El Heraldo image

People aren't shy about asking these questions here in Honduras. If you're a returning Catracho you're either a deportee or crazy. After dengue, 2 armed robberies, a brief stay in a cell , and a few near-drowning experiences, I have to agree with my mother and label myself as crazy. I haven't seen any media coverage of "crazy" returning Catrachos so most people assume that everyone coming back has been deported, especially if you're young. In the defense of ignorance; La Prensa recently reported that 27,000 Hondurans have been deported from the U.S. in the first seven months of 2009 and the ICE doesn't try to deport people for "nuthin", unless you're Elian Gonzales. 58,000 Hondurans had their American dreams deflated last year. After seeing the numbers, I can understand why so many people impose these questions. Despite my understanding, it's still offensive.

I've had people ask me, "Why were you deported?" before asking my name, some people try to be smooth about it; they'll ask where I "was" before moving here. I may be exaggerating, but it feels like they're asking what jail I was in before being released for deportation. I was grilled about deportation at a job interview, once hired, I was expected to submit proof of non-deportation. Do you want page 193 from my journal or pictures of me at the airport without handcuffs? How would one go about proving a voluntary return to Honduras? I was thrilled to work there..... A "friend", more like acquaintance, finally asked about deportation after months of knowing me and was relieved to learn I had not been deported. She let out a sigh of relieve and said, "O.K. good, because my friend and I were wondering about that."

The other big question on the tip of everyone's tongue when meeting a returning Catracho is, "What gang were you in?" I met a lady running a dive shop in Roatan, after introducing ourselves and exchanging stories about where we're from, she said in her Texan (more like Tex-Mex) accent "Alright, take off the shirt and show me all them gang tattoos" All I could do is smile in return. She explained how she has met a bunch of deportees and yada, yada, yada, I wasn't listening much after the tattoo comment. I finished my cappuccino and "peaced out." I've since had great conversations with this lady and she even helped me find a house to rent.

My last boss asked me about being in gangs, or my little brother being in gangs or little cousins being in gangs. I thought to myself, "Tony?" When referring to where I come from he always says, "The east side of L.A. somewhere." The actual statement is funny, but the way he says it with his palms facing up, head tucked into his shoulders and a bewildered look on his face is hilarious! I doubt he's been there, I didn't even spend much time there. What movie is he getting that stereotype from? Born in East L.A. or A Million to Juan, both great movies by the way.

Did Dave Chapelle get asked crazy questions like this when he went to Africa? I guess he did, bad comparison, sorry. I'm always tempted to fulfill people's curiosity and answer with , "Yeah I got deported! I killed a man, no, two! [then I would proceed to bark in the person's face a la DMX. Yes, bark.]"

In further defense of people asking these questions, I have sometimes let myself go since my return to the motherland and sometimes look like this now. But still... That look's more like a sick bum than a criminal.El Heraldo image
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