Friday, February 26, 2010

A day in the life of a Honduran - My first Volvo

I didn't do this for a day either. I just helped for a bit.



Thursday, February 25, 2010

Honduran Words and Expressions - Pubikini

This isn't a traditional word in Honduras, but it was created here so I think it applies to Honduran Words and Expressions. The definition below is a true story. Fortunately, it's not my true story.

The Urban Dictionary entry to make it official (Click here)


1. The illusion of a bikini bottom formed by unkempt pubic hair.

A woman who was naked from the waist down was once walking down the street and I thought she had on a t-shirt and bikini bottoms, but as I got closer, I realized it was a pubikini.

Please accept my apologies for not submitting an image with this entry. I don't think I can paint an image for this entry either. In an effort to provide all four of my readers with quality blog posts, I will embark on a hunt for the wandering Pubikini lady. The chills running down my spine tell me it may be dangerous, the little bit of vomit that just spewed into my mouth foreshadows my reaction upon spotting this supposedly extinct species.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Common Sights in Honduras - Hanging Laundry

Hand washing is an art form. If you don't know what you're doing, you'll end up stretching your shirt collars and wearing them 80's style.

From Returning Catracho Report
You can do it yourself or pay someone to do it for you.
From Returning Catracho Report

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Honduran Words and Expressions - Chepos


Noun. A police officer. The term "chepo" is derived from "Chepe," a nickname commonly used for a person named Jose. It is believed that the majority of Honduran police officers are named Jose, causing the generalized nickname to stick to the entire force. Transit officials, military, and specialized "Cobra" forces are exempt from this nickname, although it is safe to assume that the majority of those officers are also name Jose, or Carlos.

"Chepos" are characterized by honesty, professionalism, and commitment to service.

Updated February 25th
It should be noted that police officers are not fond of the term "chepo."

#1. Se metieron a mi casa unos ladrones. Nos dejaron hule!

#2. Que pasada! Y el wachi?

#1. No vio nada, ese man estaba fundiado!

#2. No te preocupes, ahorita llamo a los Chepos. Ellos responderan de immediato y estan capacitados en ciencia forense.

1# Esta bien. Hare lo posible por preservar la escena del crimen.

From Returning Catracho Report

Taken from inside the cell in the "movil." Wachi in the background

From Returning Catracho Report

Before being escorted to the movil...

Urban Dictionary definition

TuBabel Definition

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Iced Coffee - The Wet Spot

Friday, February 19, 2010

Common Sights in Honduras - Electrical / Phone poles

This is a common sight in Honduras: Electric / Phone poles overrun with cables.

From Teguz

From Teguz

From Teguz

A Day in the Life of a Honduran - Selling Ice Cream

Although this is labeled as "A Day in the Life of a Honduran", I can't claim to have done this for an entire day. It only lasted for a few minutes, but I did sell ice cream. To my little brother, but a sale is a sale.

From Teguz

This will also be labeled, "You know you live in the ghetto when," Ice cream trucks compete against ice cream carts, cool points awarded to the cart vendors that have welded a bicycle to their carts...

From Teguz

Hurry up and pick kid, I'm losing sales here...
From Teguz

Seleccion Nacional de Honduras - Amado Guevara A.K.A. "El Lobo"

Amado Guevara, our National team captain, our fearless leader; first became a Honduran household name playing for Motagua and Olimpia. He gained international notoriety after short stints in Spain, Mexico and Costa Rica; finally, concreting his name in MLS history by earning MVP and Soring leader in 2004 while playing for the New York Metrostars.


My question: "Amado! Que prefieres; tortillas de maiz o harina?"
His response: "Me encantan las Baleadas, asi que harina."

My Follow up: "Que tan importante es mantener una dieta balanceada de baleadas y fresco en preparacion para el hexagonal?"

His response: just chuckles...


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Shout out to the Hondura National Soccer Team!

La Sele training at Estadio Morazan in San Pedro Sula. November or December 09.

It's amazing what buying someone a soda gets you access to in Honduras!


Pouring out a little liqour for Klien Bohemia - SPS

Klein Bohemia was my favorite hang out spot while calling myself a Jampedrano. This was the quintessential dive bar; a place where the attire of patrons could range from basketball shorts to suits, the type of bar where you can have a blast without consuming alcohol (That was my personal favorite), and it was the only "expat" hang out that I knew of in SPS. For all the real Sampedrano's, my condolences...

On any given day, what appeared to be "quite nights" could turn into a surprise performance from Honduran greats like Guillermo Anderson, Polache, and Montuca Sound System. Programmed concerts featured rock, ska, jazz, metal, electronic, trova, reggae, salsa, and so much more. From what I hear and have read, Klein Bohemia has been around for a long time and previously operated as the "Kulture Cafe". The bar eventually closed it's doors, but it's spirit will always survive in the memory of Sampedranos and transplants alike.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

This bill has been "payed"...

Thank you Credomatic...

Sly & the Fam vrs. Black Eyed Peas

It's the weekend... NBA All Star Weekend too!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Honduran Words and Expressions - Wachiman


Someone employed as a caretaker, or watch man; more commonly known as "wachi." Not to be confused with a security guard, this hired help serves as a mere illusion of security; notorious for drinking / sleeping on the job and often accused of participating as the "inside man" in crimes. The machete is the traditional weapon of choice, although some carry firearms... and some of those firearms are actually loaded... and some of the loaded firearms actually work.

Synonym: Rent-a-cop


#1. Se metieron a mi casa unos ladrones. Nos dejaron hule!

#2. Que pasada! Y el wachi?

#1. No vio nada, ese man estaba fundiado!

This is an actual wachi, a master at work...

Please excuse the lack of Spanish punctuations.

To Live and Die in L.A. - Santa Monica Pier

My current home doesn't offer many options for entertainment; I miss being able to run away somewhere, even if only for a few hours. In Los Angeles, The Santa Monica Pier is a perfect place for a little distraction. You can find anything from fine dining, fast food, shopping, and even an amusement park (ON THE PIER!!!). In the amusement park, you can board a roller coaster, Ferris wheel (the world's only solar powered Ferris wheel), and a sea dragon.

Not your cup of tea you say? If amusement park rides and eating out isn't your thing, go fish... You can also fish off the end of the pier (and it's not $50 an hour). I once caught a small Tiger Shark there (at 3 AM)! People fish from there at ALL hours of the day.

Still not your "thang"? Then just chill out on the beach or go enjoy the waves (we don't even have waves here!).

Still not enough... Well, the 3rd Street Promenade is only blocks away!

santa monica

To Live and Die in L.A. - Murals II

Elvis (or so I thought. Who the hell is this guy?) mural off the 101 freeway

Selena and Jim Morrison here!!!




Honduran Corn Dogs

This is a Honduran corn dog. I should know better...

Ice Skating in SPS  - Corn Dogs

Ice Skating in SPS

Monday, February 8, 2010

A day in the life of a Honduran - Selling Coconuts

In an effort to only use my own images on my blog, I will now be creating stick figure scenarios for anything I haven't captured a picture of.

"God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in his shoes
'Cause then you might know what it's like to sing the Blues"
Everlast - What It's Like

My life began anew when I arrived in Honduras. Pierre Ferrand, Blue Crab Enchiladas, Korean BBQ, Sushi, online grocery shopping, Gucci driving moccasins (before I owned I car of course!), Cali's finest (ooouuweee!) and an expensive apartment in a trendy neighborhood all became things of the past. Baleadas, fried chicken with plantains, a pulperia, the early retirement of ridiculously expensive shoes, and moto-taxi rides on dirt roads became my new reality. I was in a third world country (not exactly a developing country); no idea what I was going to do for work, no friends or family to help, and depleting resources. It is taking forever for me to find a niche here. In frustration over not immediately finding a job, I began performing average Honduran jobs to entertain myself (and as research for my future Presidential campaign). These are the type of jobs that most of the Honduran population depends on. In El Porvenir, it was herding cows. In Tela, it was selling coconuts on the beach.

Tela doesn't offer many options for entertainment, a bar and the beach sums up the options. Tela is nice... To visit, not live in. It's a beautiful place with marvelous people. I just didn't fit into the little town setting. maybe for retirement, but not at this age. When going to the beach, we always headed to Telamar because that's the only strip of beach in Tela where you don't have to worry about your belongings while you're in the water. If you sit at the Telamar beach, it's only a matter of minutes before a Garifuna comes by to offer you a fresh coconut or coconut bread or coconut tablets. After becoming a "regular" customer of the coconut products, I began befriending these guys. Most of them are trilingual, speaking Spanish, English and Garifuna. I began a language exchange with two of them, Garifuna for English words. All I remember is "uduruh weity" - big fish, "duna" - water, "idibilla" - waddup, and "tanki" - thank you. During one of our conversations, I inquired about their food; they mentioned machuca, guifiti, and cassabe (obviously the coconut bread and tabletas). I was intrigued by this "cassabe," a cassava (yuca) based hard bread (like a crispy tortilla or toasted pita bread). I love fried yucca, so I had to taste this.

I went to San Juan on a mission: to find Cassabe and an adventure. I only knew the direction to San Juan, no other reference. I hoped on the chicken bus heading to Tornabe. As I boarded the bus, my eyes immediately scanned the passengers in search for an empty seat next to an old lady to direct me (you have to trust old ladies right? Just hope they're not senile!). No luck. I took a seat next to a mean looking Garifuna wearing a tilted baseball cap and a muscle shirt, showing tattoos that were difficult to make out, due to the quality and his dark complexion. You know, the type of guy you want to call "Debo". As I approached the seat, I extended my right fist in his direction; he met it with his in mid air and proceeded to bring it against his chest. I wasn't "down" with the greetings yet, so my reaction was a little delayed. We proceeded to chat and upon request, he told me where to get off the bus and pointed out places to ask for Cassabe. This made me think of all the times I mislead people on L.A. public transportation system. My bad...

I got off the bus and immediately felt out of place. I had to take off my shirt to fit in a little better. I don't know why, but that's what I felt and did. My search wasn't well timed as yucca crops were only beginning to grow. Even though it was scarce, everyone I asked told me they would do everything within their power to land some for me. I was extremely disappointed; I was to return home empty handed. No Cassabe and no adventure. On the walk back to the bus stop (the road), I bumped into one of the guys that sells coconuts on the beach, Noel. He was shocked to see me there. I explained about my search. He responded with guilt about not having told me that it was hard to find at that time. He refused to accept that it was nothing to worry about, and asked if I'd eaten lunch. Before I could finish telling him that I was heading home for that, he insisted on me joining his family for lunch. "My woman and grandmother are cooking now", he added. I found it impossible to reject the offer and begrudgingly accepted. The fish was being fried over a clay stove outside their palm tree hut - by palm tree hut, I mean palm tree hut... It was delicious! I'm glad I didn't turn that offer down.

After lunch, Noel invited me to the San Juan radio station, Radio Durugubuty. "That's my other job", he said, "I'm the programming director." We walked into the radio station blasting Punta and Reggae. It was a small, hot, muggy, cement room with equipment from 1895 (kudos if you know the reference). He stood over the Darma Initiative controls with a huge grin and said, "Watch this!". He muted the speakers within the station, so only the radios from the surrounding homes could be heard. The surrounding homes were blasting Radio Durugubuty's signal. That moment filled me with excitement, I could only respond with, "DAYYYUUUM!!!"

I decided to head home as the sun was about to set and I thought Rosa may be worried about me. Before leaving I asked if I could help sell coconuts one day. A bewildered look came over his face. "Serious?", he asked. "Of course", I replied. He told me to meet him there the following morning at 7 A.M. if in fact I was serious. It was on and poppin!

The next day I arrived in San Juan eager for the adventure that awaited. I met up with Noel and his friends. The first thing that came out of my mouth was, "Where do we buy the coconuts?" Everyone erupted in laughter. One guy asked Noel, "Where did you get this guy?!?!?!" "Can you imagine how poor we would be if we had to buy coconuts? We go GET coconuts." They explained that the owners of the nice homes in between Tela and San Juan pay them to bring down the coconuts ( to prevent roof damage when they fall on their own) and let them keep them. They also bring them down from coconut palms around San Juan and when the free supply doesn't meet the demand... Let's just say they get coconuts one way or the other. This meant that we would be climbing palm trees and bringing them down ourselves. I couldn't even get both feet on the trunk of the palm, so I was eliminated from that portion of the day. I was demoted to the guy that puts the coconuts in the sacks, a job that is usually delegated to the youngest of the group. It's a cut throat industry, and you have to start somewhere.

We finally filled a sack for each of us. My next question was, "Will we have to pay double for taking the sacks on the bus?" Again... Everyone cracks up, falling over each other in support as if their legs had been weakened by the laughter. "Can you believe this guy?" Noel, fighting back the laughter explained that we will be walking to Tela. I thought to myself "Phack mein!"

By the time the laughter subsided, it was after 9 A.M. and the sun was already beaming over the beautiful beaches of Honduras' north coast. I began smoldering before we even left San Juan. During the walk, I was forced to alternate the weight of the coconuts on both shoulders because the sack was beginning to irritate my already sun-burnt skin. The guys taught me Garifuna chants that we marched to. They had the same rhythm as the ARMY chants in movies, but the words were Garifuna proverbs passed down by their version of Griots. I was exhausted and cotton mouthed by the time we reached Telamar. I had to sit out for a bit, the guys got right to work. When I finally got back on my feet, I discovered how difficult it is to pitch coconuts in a 100 yard strip of beach while competing against a half dozen other coconut vendors.

People must not have been thirsty that day. It took a long time before I had my first sale. After hours of foiled attempts, an elderly Canadian couple finally gave in. I called for Noel's machete (I didn't have one), he rushed over with excitement and handed it over. I took one whack at the coconut, nothing. I took a second whack and the machete bounced off. Noel requested the machete and said "we don't want you to cut off your hand". He effortlessly used the machete to slice through the coconut husk. I stood on the sidelines and claimed to have softened it up already. I think that by this time, it had become obvious to the Canadians that this wasn't my day job.

Without stating it, we agreed that I would stay away from the machete like I stayed away from cow nipples. I was demoted once again. Since there wasn't a basement floor in this company, I had to create my own position. I turned into the "hype man" like the guy on the Lopez Tonight show. I began shouting out sales slogans for delicious and refreshing coconut water. All the colleagues were laughing and looking at me like I was crazy. It actually worked though. Some people actually walked towards us and bought the coconuts. I don't think it would have worked well if I didn't speak English.

I couldn't possibly take any of the earnings, but I did walk away with an amazing experience and new friendships.

After my "A Day in the life of a Honduran" experiences, I've developed endless respect for the people in Honduras that have to overcome similar circumstances for daily survival (as in what you make that day determines what you eat that day). Selling coconuts to tourists is a "regular job" for some people. Employment opportunities are scarce in Honduras, especially if you are from one of the geographically (and maybe racially) isolated communities.

Our strength as a nation will always be determined by our weakest links. The first and most obvious need of attention in these communities are the roads to and from more developed areas. Without access to schools, health care, employment and food, for all our citizens, we can't expect growth as a nation. I hope they get some "Cambio YA!"

To Live and Die in L.A. - Murals

These are two of my favorite landmarks in Los Angeles: The Jim Morrison tribute in a Venice Beach alley and The Selena tribute near MacArthur Park in Downtown Los Angeles. These are some of the few images that were recovered after my hard drive crashed! I'm still upset at myself for never taking the time to back up my files.

Selena,murals,los angeles

Selena,murals,los angeles

Selena,murals,los angeles

Selena,murals,los angeles

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Day in The Life of a Honduran - Herding Cows II

I had to Simpsonize B!

In the first installment of A Day in the Life of a Honduran (click here), I briefly spoke of friend from El Porvenir, Bairon.

Months after the cattle herding experience with him and many conversations about my life in Los Angeles, Bairon decided he would head north himself. No visa, no coyote, no map, no plan, just himself and a backpack. His only compass was a recollection of stories from other people that attempted the trip and failed, or others that made it and were later deported. I was shocked. Maybe I over hyped life in the States...

Bairon left El Porvenir, I didn't hear from him for over two months. Then, I get the call; "Ey compa, que onda?" asked the voice on the phone. I was puzzled as no one called me in Spanish at this time and replied with, "(enter upside down question mark here)quien es?". He calmly stated, "Soy Bairon. Estoy en Houston, Texas". I blew up like the players on the bench during an NBA All Star dunk competition. This call was the equivalent to Nate flying over Dwight. I could not believe it. He proceeded to explain that the trip lasted two months, hitchhiking the whole way through. I was filled with joy and relieve to know that the "Grupo Z" or Minutemen didn't kill him.

Despite having reconnected after he arrived in the US, we once again lost communication when my phone got jacked in La Ceiba. A few days ago I was talking to Rosa about going to El Porvenir in search for his family and a contact, Rosa agreed on the necessity of the trip. Later THAT SAME DAY, I log into MySpace and I have a freakin' message from Bairon. This dude never touched a computer in his life and now he's sending me a MySpace invite. That's wild!


Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Bus Bar - San Pedro Sula

I would like to offer my condolences to all the Sampedranos for the loss of the Bus Bar. The Bus Bar was a fully operational bus converted into a bar; stationed at the zona viva, with a grill outside to feed the hungry. Although I only visited once, I'm saddened to learn that it will not be there when I return to the heaven's gates (it seems that way right now).

To Live and Die in L.A. - Aroma Sports and Spa Driving Range

I've decided to dedicate a label to things I miss about L.A. The label will be "To Live and Die in L.A."

I hope you enjoy!

I miss the Aroma Sports and Spa Driving Range in Wilshire Center. This was the best way to kill time. When I needed to get away from home or blow off some steam, I would go to the driving range for a distraction.

The golf balls are reloaded on automated tees after every swing, with a foot/ club control that lowers or raises the tee. They also have a bar service with the press of a button!

Rosa was way better than me...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

How does Honduras celebrate triumph on the soccer field?

With a Caravan. Duh!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Guifiti, A Garifuna Tradition

Guifiti is a staple drink of the Garifuna culture. It is said that this concoction can treat the cold, flu, menstrual cramps, impotence, both high and low blood pressure (both??) and repel mosquitoes if taken regularly. Other common side effects may include belligerence, unrealistic self image, lack of depth perception during conversations, loss of consciousness, and mud butt. It's also said that Guifiti is the reason behind 25% of pregnancies in Honduras. I kid. Rum, garlic, palo de hombre, and cinnamon are the most common ingredients in Gufiti. I promised my friends Bagna and Noel not to share ALL the ingredients, so I will go no further. The recipe for this elixir, like the Garifuna language, varies from place to place. Some recipes can include dozens of ingredients including herbs, roots, seeds and leafs.

View Larger Map

On one of my first trips to San Juan, a Garifuna community just outside of Tela, I sampled three varieties of Guifiti. It was like wine tasting in Napa. One was strong and bitter, the second was sweet, the last stronger than the first and spicy. You definitely have to acquire the taste of Guifiti. The taste is like a mix between Jearggermister and Robitussin. Like sip sip sipping on some sizzurp. Not that I know that I know what that's like


My first encounters with Guifiti in SPS - Klein Bohemia (RIP)

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