Monday, June 09, 2008

The things they carried

Lots of the time in Honduras people carried weird things. For example, machetes. We were warned before we came that this is a normal tool that many people have, even in urban areas, and we should therefore not be alarmed. So, we weren't alarmed. Right. Lonely Planet told me all about how the guides on hikes in national parks would have them to clear the trail ahead, but we'd also see just your average San Pedro Sulan clearing brush or weeds from a totally urban lot with a machete. AND, our little B&B had a guy that kind of hung around at night, like a security guard, and he had one, too. Although he also did landscaping around the B&B yard during other times of the day...but he definitely had his machete with him while hanging at the gate at night.

There are also normal security guards with guns, of course. If you consider it "normal" to see a man with a rifle or an AK-47 outside of every bank, Western Union, some drugstores, factories...definitely anywhere there was a lot of money...ooh, and even at the gas station. Did I mention this is not considered a safe country? And yes, for what it's worth - and much to my 2nd Amendment chagrin - I felt safer to have the AK-47 men guarding the place. It could just be an illusion of safety, but you definitely had the idea that mega-violence would be unleashed any place there wasn't an armed guard. Like the city bus, for example. But I'll get to that story later. I'm busy talking about carried things.

They also have this thing with serving drinks to go in plastic bags. Not from, like, McDonalds. Not that we ate at McD's, but we did get fast food from the chicken place. They serve cups to go there. And they totally sold bottled water. But sometimes you'd see someone strolling down the road drinking their water from a little plastic bag. I guess it makes sense. I guess? When we went to the Mayan ruins at Copan, strolling around the cobblestoned town afterward I discovered a bar promising the "World Famous Uterus Shots." (Obviously) this place was run by and filled with expats. Four of us strolled up and promptly ordered them: aguardiente(the local nasty grain alcohol type thing), grenadine, and some whipped cream that floated in the now-red drink in a sort of congealed mass. Not bad. The deal at this bar was, $1 for your first uterus shot and then it was all the shots you could drink. But we had to catch the van back to San Pedro Sula, so the nice gringo expat bartender offered me one to go. In a plastic bag. Which, I might add, contained far more than a shot worth, but hey, it was free. And it's the Honduran way. I threw mine out before drinking even half of it. You really need a shot glass for that kind of thing.

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