Getting my fix
I am in Tegus right now as the internet on the Ranch is being withheld from the volunteers, employees, and kids as some kind of punishment for passwords being changed and general chaos in the internet lab. Of course, the volunteers who have no motivation to change passwords and cause problems in the lab, suffer the most as we are cut off from friends and family without notice. We are admittedly very upset and there´s unfortunately not much we can do about it, so we are grumbling and making treks to Tegus to feed our internet addiction. There is a meeting about this tomorrow and so, hopefully, there can be some new, stricter rules limited the kids´use of the lab and I can return to my friendly little internet hut in the Honduran countryside.
Spending the day in Tegus is always some kind of adventure. Today, I went shopping. The best deals for anything from sparkly high heels to blender parts to lacy underwear are often found on the street. You can hardly walk on the sidewalks there are so many vendors. First, I decided to buy some shoes which is always difficult because I wear size 9 1/2 (39 European) and that is grotesquely big compared to most Honduran feet. So, first I have to find a style I like, then the size, and then deal with the price. Tons of vendors sell the exact same thing, so you usually are best off to shop around. No one, for some reason, likes to bargain over shoes. Finally found what I was looking for--100 lemp (about $5) black sandals. Hilary wanted to find some of these Puma zip-up sweatshirts (70 lemp each) which are sold by a woman named Elizabeth with whom we are friendly. She wasn´t at the normal booth, but we picked up a couple of these shirts and mosied on. Had a Mochacchino in Parque Central almost not bothered by the men staring and shouting "gringa" and had a lunch of pinchos (shishkabobs), rice, salad, plátano, lime, tortillas, and Coca-Cola (35 lemps for everything) at Doña Tere´s, a stand in Plaza Dolores with the shouts of men selling carrots and tomatoes and women passing by with coolers full of bags of water punctuating our conversation.
After that, we bought groceries and then, I had to make some copies of keys. There is a place that advertises that they make keys just a couple doors down from the internet place so I thought I would try that. The hand-written sign that says "Se hacen llaves" is between two businesses. One is an electronics shop, the other, a Mexican restaurant. I, torn between my options, try the electronics shop. Nope. They tell me to go into the restuarant and ask for Jorge. They also advise, "No tenga miedo"--Don´t be scared. Unsure as to why I should be scared, I am now a little scared. I go in and the restaurant turns into a little Honduran version of a mini-mall. There is a seamstress working, a computer place (which is closed), but no sign of a key place. I ask the women working on sewing machines in a dark room with no door. They tell me to go up the stairs. I look at the stairs. They lead up to what looks to be someone´s house, complete with a live chicken, gate, and dripping water. I go up the stairs and meet a little girl. I ask her who is it that makes keys. She brings her mom from the living room and mom takes my keys and agrees to have them ready for me in 15 minutes.
There you have it. Soon, I will pick up my keys, jump in the back of a pick-up truck that stop collectively at the exit to Cerro Grande to haul hitchhikers up the big hill. From Cerro, catch another ride 36 kilometers through the countryside to the Ranch entrance. From there, it is a 15 to 20 minute walk to my room. Travel time: a little more than an hour with some good luck, but realistically more like an 1 1/2 trip when all is said and done.
Let´s hope the internet is back soon. I am in serious withdrawl and as you can see, it takes a lot of travel and energy to get my fix.