Sunday, August 14, 2005

Sunday in Tegus

From somewhere above me, people are singing--a church service. A man is yelling Jesús, Jesús! I am at an internet cafe that I have never been to before, the last stop on our way back to the ranch. There is no window, only an opening with bars and a vinyl, stenciled internet sign hangs from the bars. Through the bars, I can see a papaya tree growing out of a parking lot and buildings with additions on every side, that can only be houses. Above it all hangs a knot of electrical lines with air plants growing out of the wirey nest.

It is a lovely day, a quiet morning with a touch of tropical heat balanced by a breeze. We had plantains, chorizo, eggs, and tortillas for breakfast, the plantains fried and sweet and golden. I love mornings like this in this city. Getting up early, walking the empty streets past shop after shop, closed and quiet, shuttered and locked. Even the street vendors aren´t up yet and those who are are gentler than usual and only promote their goods with a wave instead of a scream.

We walked around looking for grapefruits, and finally found them on the edge of Plaza Dolores. They are as big as canteloupes and their yellow rinds are splotched with pink. Their insides are a deep, alluring pink and sweet enough to eat like an orange, without sugar.

A friend, an ex-volunteer, wrote me recently and recounted how her feelings about Tegus were always in flux: how sometimes she hated this city and other times loved it. She is right. Tegucigalpa is a city of contrasts, hard contrasts. A woman with no legs and matted hair and a woman with a designer handbag and high heel shoes talking on a cell phone, who doesn´t even see her. Flowers blooming above piles of garbage.

My friend is right, sometimes you love this city, sometimes you hate it. And the second you think you know it, it changes.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have often felt the same about Minneapolis. I stand in line to board the bus behind a woman with a Prada handbag, and two frat boys talking about last weekend's kegger. Down the sidewalk a man fishes through the garbage for aluminum cans...

1:29 AM  

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