Sunday, September 25, 2011

Día de la Independencia

September 15th is Independence Day. This past July 4th I watched the fire works with a view of the White House, so I felt like I needed to do something patriotic here! There was a night parade in town, but I didn't hear about it until it was over!
Even Google joined in the celebration
We had a four-day weekend at school, so the girls and I were bouncing around ideas of beach, camping or at least doing something out of the ordinary. We all needed a little change of scenery.

We ended up taking the bus into San Pedro Sula for the day! We figured we'd take San Pedro for a test drive, and then figure out the rest of the weekend later. Planning is tough with limited location knowledge and spotty internet. Mrs. Bueso was kind enough to offer to be our navigational assistant, and I was very appreciative of her for that. Taking the bus from town is easy enough, we live a short walk to the stop, and the stop is conveniently directly in front of a woman who sells morning baleadas. The ride into the city is between 1.5-2 hours depending on how many stops they make, but it was a fun time. I chatted it up with Mrs. Bueso, and got the scoop on fun things to do around the area, and different projects I can try with my students. There are two types of buses, one is more of an over-sized van, and the other is an old school bus. The school bus is 7lps cheaper, and I was perfectly comfortable. They play music on the buses, and we had a good time singing and dancing along. The bus ride back we ended up singing and dancing so much the couple behind us commented on how happy we were. I think I surprised him with my Spanish when I responded that yes, we are incredibly happy and almost all the time.

The bus takes you to this huge terminal in San Pedro, and from there you can take a taxi or another, smaller bus into the centro. I am so glad we had Mrs. Bueso with us, because this next part could have been incredibly overwhelming. As soon as we exited the terminal and walked into the bus waiting area we were bombarded. Everyone seemed to want us to get on their bus, and they didn't seem to care where we were going! They all talked so fast, and all at the same time, and all wanted to be so close to you when they were talking. Whoo I'm getting all worked up just typing about it! Once we got onto the proper bus and nestled into our seats I let out a deep breath. Now that I know what to expect I'll be good for next time, but the bombardment totally caught me off guard!

There was a big parade going on in the centro, and we posted-up to watch that for a bit. Drum lines, cheer leaders and girls in pretty dresses. It must be such an honor to march in the Independence Day parade in the big city, but those poor kids looked so hot walking down the street. It was a gorgeous, sunny day, but dang if it wasn't hot. It was neat to hear the different beats and see all the costumes and dresses. There was even a guy on stilts! It was awfully warm standing watching the parade, so I suggested a walk around town. Mrs. Bueso gave us a little tour of the square, took us into a few clothing stores so we could see what they were like and then showed us the "do not go beyond this street unless you want to return without your purse" intersection. The clothing store was pretty cool--it sort of reminded me of H&M and made me wish I was earning a paycheck over this next year :) Mrs. Bueso's sons live in San Pedro, so she headed off to meet with them and do some banking, leaving us girls to explore the city! We walked around the square and listened to what must be a revolutionist group--they were loud but interesting to hear.

We wandered into tons of shops, and found a few thrift stores that were fun to poke around. There was a huge "American Clothing" thrift store filled with rows and rows of clothes for everyone in the family! There were people set up all along the streets selling fruit, veggies, hair accessories and all sorts of jewelry. Maryann was quite pleased when we noticed the Wendy's, and all of us were excited to see the bakery. I was sort of surprised at how tough it was to find a place that seemed good for lunch, but with the holiday crowds it was difficult to walk along the main street, which is I guess where most of the restaurants are. We found a place and all enjoyed a good meal. Maryann tried (and I think enjoyed) mole for the first time, and people still look confused when I assure them that I really wouldn't care for any meat with my lunch.

Irene was on a mission for bed sheets and a water bottle. We found a place that had such a variety of items for sale. They had everything from toys to bedroom and kitchen accessories. They even sold ovens and washers/dryers! I started noticing all this plastic kitchenware with odd quotes on them in English. I couldn't understand why so many of the quotes seemed so random. They were made somewhere in Asia, and I'm now thinking they are products that couldn't sell due to translation err, so they were donated for Honduran sale. We've been seeing more and more that there is a big trade here with countries in Asia.
I think this one was our favorite. They had a ton of them, and we could not stop laughing when we read it. I'm still not sure what it's trying to say, but I love it!

I am pretty sure all of us were ready for a nap when it was time to take the bus home. I had been guzzling water, and knew I ought to pop by the servicios before the 2hr ride home. You have to pay to potty at the San Pedro terminal! It was only 3lps, but I almost decided to just try and hold it when I found out it wasn't free. They hand you a section of a roll of toilet paper when they give you your change, so that made me laugh. It was worth the 3lps, because it was a long ride home! We all had a snack from the bakery, and I think we each fought hard not to devour them before the bus had even left the terminal. We picked up lots of travelers along the way, and it got so crowded there were people standing right on top of you! I had flashbacks of rush hour metros. Well now that I say that, I'm not sure it was quite that crowded, but when you've been sweating through the city all day, you don't need to be that up close and personal with so many people! The bulk of the ride was full seats but no one standing, it was just once we got about an hour out that people started packing on. It didn't stay crowded for long, and it was neat to see people in outfits from the parade in their towns.

I saw my first Honduran rainbow on the bus ride home! I looked to my left and was so taken aback by the openness of the empty field topped by big, curvy mountains. I was taking in the interesting shape of one of the clouds when I realized there was a rainbow hanging out up there! It was so pretty, and huge. It was the perfect spread of peace after an exciting day in the city.

We took it easy the rest of the night. Lisa/Gordon et al and Douglas came over for a game night. We played Pictionary/Charades and laughed our butts off at some of the actions. I still can't believe "Bear With a Head Wound" was on one of the cards. Oh board games in Spanish. We found out Lisa was anxious for a change of scenery as well, so we agreed to go to Las Vegas and maybe the caves at some point over the weekend.