When visiting a foreign country it’s easy to get swept off your feet by the all the changes. I wanted to take the time and convey to all of you some of this culture shock. Especially before it becomes a common place and every day-to-day. So here’s a few things I’ve noticed since day 1.
1) Traffic. The roads here are insane somewhat on their own accord; too narrow, and winding, there is no “shoulder” sometimes a rough pull out where the asphalt ends. The streets are worse, dirt road with various water run off crossings. However what is strikingly different from the states is the insane drivers. I should actually refer to them as professional drivers. Defensive/offensive… There seems to be a chaotic aggressiveness towards motor travel. Cars and busses passing when there is not enough room on oncoming traffic. People practically merging into one another. Driving mock 180 racecar speed every chance they get. Along with the general “I will never let you in” during a traffic jam ( bumper to bumper takes on a whole new meaning). Motor bikes seem to follow no rules and weave around everyone. Cyclists are everywhere, pedestrians too. Cars come within inches of humans and each other at 40 mph. Young men lean halfway out of vans and busses to try to grab your stuff and hurry you onto a shuttle. Little buggies ( called Moto’s) zoom around passing and running you off the street. Dogs everywhere, small children all over. Endless honking of horns and always the blaring music!
2) Pulperia. Nearly everyone here is selling something in Honduras. There are little stores called pulperia which can have all kinds of goods. There are also fruit stands everywhere! Besides this there are people sitting in the middle of the road and aggressively approaching you at intersections. selling pop and water. The price for items varies greatly and is not set in stone. For instance if you buy a piece of fruit you may get another free because the man wants you to come back. If you walk away and snub a price too high it may be offered twice as less to you a moment later. Here I must say I am a victim. Speaking very little spanish and with my skin color/sex I get taken advantage of often. However whats a few lempiras to our US dollars.
3) Greetings. In the states you may occasionally find yourself saying hello or good morning to people you meet. Or when you see your friends you may stop and say hello. In our small community here in Brisas de Valle you speak to everyone you know. Not a hello as you pass by but an actual conversation. We as women embrace in a hug and kiss each others cheek. We pick up the children and hug and kiss them. The first day I was here I was hugging and kissing everyone. It’s a cultural thing that definitely catches me off guard. As you may once in a while be able to scoot around an adult without this fan fare, you will never escape the children. They skip, hop, run to you “Miss! Miss!” even if you have never met before. I know for many of these people I am the most interesting thing they will see all day.
4) Garbage, garbage, garbage everywhere. In Honduras the people finish a soda or bag of chips and throw the wrapper on the ground. The wind and traffic causes the debris to end up piled on the edges of the street. It pollutes all their waterways. Trash everywhere. The Hondurans than rake the trash into leave piles and they are constantly burning here. The people also regularly recycle glass bottles. Some of the people use trash cans as there is a garbage pick up. One of the big pushes at the school is to get all the kids to use the garbage baskets. We have designated class time to pick up garbage.
That’s this weeks update and thoughts. The culture here is so different I could write a book about it.Going on a trip today and I might just need my adventure hat!