Well, the good news is...I am living. The really interesting news is how I live here in Tegucigalpa, a large, yet very small community. This is a city of approximately 2 million people, yet one can go to any number of places: local restaurants, book stores, the grocery store nearby and run into people you know or have met.
I honestly can go to the mall in Ft. Myers, dine out or go for a walk and never see one person I know. Why is it different here? Because those who can afford to shop, eat out, or go to the theatre are a small percentage of the total population...and those of us with the resources to go have a night out, live in just a couple of areas of the city. For example, if I go to the stadium to walk at 5:30 a.m., guaranteed, I will run into a politician, Embassy people, owners of nearby restaurants and teachers at the private schools located in Las Lomas, an area where I live.
I looked at a new apartment option yesterday and the person who would be living above me is the Panamanian Ambassador...below me where I live now is a man running for President of Honduras. While I don't run in these exalted circles socially, I do get to interact, meet and know these people and their families. I have met the former US Ambassador to Honduras, Charles Ford and really enjoy/ed him. Smart, sharp, great communicator and now working in Miami and DC. Hope to see him there.
Life on a day to day basis, besides the earlier commentary on driving is quite entertaining...when one is in the mood. There is no central air conditioning here and I have a wall mounted air conditioning unit on my wall in my bedroom. Not a window unit...a metal contraption mounted near the ceiling which makes an inordinate amount of noise. So, I freeze the bedroom before going to sleep. Cut off the air, snuggle under a mountain of blankies and shed them til I need a blast of cool and reverse the process. Add to that barking dogs, newspaper delivery at 4 a.m. on motorcyles, roosters crowing at all hours of the night (thought this was an early morning/daybreak kind of activity) and a building elevator that comes and goes all through the night (just who is using this at 3 a.m.??) and I am awake all night, every 30-45 minutes. Exhausting.
One stop shopping does not happen here. I have my favorite grocery store, La Colonia. There are three I frequent. Why three? Because the concept of stocking the shelves is non-existent here. I can buy hot salami for crackers and cheese today, and next week, there is no indication they ever had it. So, to have a dinner party takes some serious advance planning. One may have to hit all of the La Colonia, Pais, Mas x Menos stores in town to find almost all of the ingredients needed to cook or entertain. And often, I end up buying things just not found down here. One month, I bought cornmeal, chili powder, prepared horseradish and sunflower seeds...for myself and three other families. Yes, there is cornmeal down here, but its texture is unusual and makes lousy muffins or bread.
We have a place called STOCK which could be a mix of a K-Mart and Dollar Store where one can buy stuff for the house and inexpensive but good South American wines. And PriceSmart is a Sam's Club, Honduran style. So, when I want or need an adventure and a challenge, I plan a dinner party. Bound to cause serious stress...and all before I start the cooking.
And home security is a serious issue here. I live in a gated, guarded building with an alarm system which is in use constantly. My alarm is set when I decide to stay in for the night and taken off when I wake up. This has caused some issues because I am prone to getting up at 4:30 a.m. and wanting to look out to see what new and annoying noise I have heard. Forget to UNSET the alarm and there is a God awful wailing which I am sure wakes the neighbors up. Only happened twice, once at night and once in the madrugada!
I cannot walk here in the streets. Not safe. This is truly annoying but I have conformed. When I first started coming, I refused but after hearing and seeing what goes on...I now walk nowhere. Getting fat as a result!
More another time!