|The Rugrats doing what they do best--nothing.|
|Tail end of the market|
|Beginning of my running path|
|A mango tree in the middle of the arid land|
|One of the largest trees I've ever seen|
I have to admit that I am getting pretty bored in the house for Semana Santa. Although it is extremely relaxing, I would rather be working or swimming in a crystal clear ocean. Today, I went on a long walk on my new running path. It is completely different than "El Matador". Instead of steep climbs and river crossings I get flat dirt roads and farm lands with a mountain view in the distance. It is a nice change of pace, and I am enjoying alternating between the two. It is also much safer to alternate between two different paths and to run at different times of the day. I have heard horror stories from Peace Corps volunteers about running the same path at the same times--pretty easy to target.
In Honduras, and quite possibly the entire Latin American world, you are either "Barca" or "Real", referring to the Spanish Futbol clubs Barcelona and Real Madrid. It is one of the first questions someone will ask you here. It is as though they are asking you whether you are a Red Sox or Yankees fan, a White Sox or Cubs fan, a U of A or ASU fan, or an Ohio State or Michigan fan. Real Madrid and Barcelona have played twice in the last two weeks and will play twice more in the upcoming weeks due to their tournament schedules. The two teams are extremely popular here--you will see bumper stickers, key chains, and flags around the city almost as though you are walking the streets of Spain--only much, much dirtier. I of course chose sides based on who my friends root for, but I have become a fan of Christiano Ronaldo in the process. As a soccer player myself I love watching the games, which are a pleasant change from the American football dominated sports world of the United States.
I have some groupies in town that will wait outside my house for me to come chat with them. The town calls them the "Rugrats", because they are basically a wanna be gang of teenagers that group together because they resent the fact that as individuals they are just kids. It has definitely been good for my Spanish to get to know these kids, but just as it is with the basketball players, their language is just a scramble of vulgarity with a few personal pronouns mixed in. I doubt most of them have a good family life and I feel more like a father toward them than a friend. They haven't shown any signs of aggression or any bad intentions to other people so I don't see a problem with them hanging out and talking. Although I appreciate the practice in Spanish, I resent the fact that I can now express myself using whatever Spanish expletive I choose. I feel like that foreign guy who says inappropriate things because he has no idea whether the words are bad or not.
I included a picture from outside my window of the busting market. I took that picture as it was wrapping up, so usually there are many more buyers and sellers. What amazes me is the efficiency of the whole operation. They set up their goods at around 4:30 in the morning and end the market around 1 pm. The market is elaborate with a large amount of goods for sale. This time, they were selling fish right outside my window. The fish were cut in half, dried, and salted. I woke up the other day to the smell of dead fish in the rotting sun. It was such a pleasant smell to wake up to--if pleasant meant vomit inducing. Despite the morning noise and the stench, the market is fascinating as one minute it is bustling with products and people and the next minute is a ghost town where the only thing that is left is a few scraps of trash.
The electricity continues to be unreliable in Olancho and we lost power for much of the evening. The lack of electricity is actually a blessing because I get a lot of reading done. I finished another book, "Imperial Life in the Emerald City", which I had started reading a while back and just now finished. I tried to read this book after reading Steve Coll's "Ghost Wars", which basically gives the history of the CIA and their involvement in Afghanistan from the Soviet Invasion to September 11th. I wasn't quite in the mood for more talk about the Middle East and how we are supposedly screwing it up. So, I took a break from reading it and just finished it tonight. It is an intimate look at the occupation of Iraq and how things could have gone much better. Definitely a worthy read.
C.S. One Hundred Dollar Challenge-- I was floored by the price of a chicken here. When I say chicken, I mean an actual living and breathing chicken. With 100 dollars you could buy 75 chickens. Each chicken costs 25 Lempira or 1.32 dollars. That is amazing.