Thursday, December 25, 2008

Nacimientos in Arada pt 2

Here is a montage I made of Arada during the Christmas season. It features several nativity scenes that were all in contention for the local contest. The first gentlemen (with silver hair) shown creates a large park-like nacimiento with various scenes each year. He also has a music system and has converted most of the battery-operated toys in the nativity to electricity. In the second half, you'll see a man wearing a hoodie, who is the creator of all the city-style houses. He builds them every year and then sells them to local people after the Christmas season. Both gentlemen present a unique and creative nativity, taking into consideration many modern influences.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Nacimientos in Arada pt 1

Last Christmas I was fortunate to visit the small town of Arada, Santa Barbara. The skill of local artisans was impressive. There are many people there who sell their crafts, such as weaving and the churro purse. In addition to their year round crafting, the residents of Arada use their creativity during the holiday season to make elaborate nacimientos or nativity scenes that they enter into the local competition for best nacimiento.

The above picture is one of the first nacimientos I saw. The ornaments hanging from the ceiling are a typical feature of many Honduran nativity scenes. They represent the sky and stars. Another traditional feature is the floor of the nacimiento covered in toys that the owner has collected over the years. Underneath the toys is a covering of sawdust. It is very common for the nativity scenes to be open for public visitation, so the owner may close off the area like shown in the first picture. More from Arada to come...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Climb on over

There are no gyms in my adopted hometown, but I don't think I really need a stairmaster anymore. I just have to walk up the street to my house to stay in shape. This exercise is not always done gracefully, as noted in the number of times I have fallen up or down the street. I am in awe of the people who can carry heavy things on their heads while walking up it as well.

The street condition and shape is subject to the effects of rain. No need for street cleanup. Everything will roll off eventually. At times, my husband will chisel stairs into it, which inevitably are erased a few weeks later. The passing of bestias on the street also continually alter it.

Here is another photo of the angle of the street, from when we were connecting our house to the town water supply.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Raise the Roof

A house across from the bus station in Santa Barbara.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Family Memento

How to commemorate a family member or special time in your life? In Honduras (and beyond) you need look no further than your neighborhood portrait artist. Perhaps this is a lost art but many of these paintings are still displayed often beside a diploma with a little picture attached.
This picture is of the mister's grandmother and uncle. Reportedly, they never owned these clothes or accessories, but were dressed up by the painter. Antiquated airbrushing maybe...
Hopefully this tradition will stay alive with future generations.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fresh Fish at Lago Yojoa

Here was the selection of freshly caught fish that I had to choose from at Lake Yojoa.
Here is the finished product served with fried green plantains.
The great view of Lake Yojoa from the back of the restaurant.
This particular restaurant had something for the kids and adults.

Friday, September 12, 2008

ídolo americano roooner ooop

This post is to exclusively give props to my friend Leslie who got to meet this half-Honduran nugget of cuteness. Si se puede!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Country Bags

Wherever you go there seems to be a common trend in what kind of bag is used to carry things around. In the Honduras countryside there are at least 2 types of commonly carried bags. A lot of times they are used to bring lunch when a person will be spending all day working in the fields (often referred to as "monte"- Me voy pa' el monte). Frequently this bag is strapped to a bestia, so the straps need to be long enough to tie. These bags are handmade and are durable to meet the demands.

The picture above on the right is of a bag called "argania", it kind of has a plastic feel to it. This bag can be seen in a multitude of colors.

On the left and on top is an open net-like bag that is often referred to as "matatas". The version on top I would describe as straw-like texture, for lack of a better word. The matata on the left is plastic and waxy.

I've heard these bags are also good for crazy gringo(as) that like to carry around toilet paper and cameras.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hanging shoes out to dry

Photo taken in La Planeta neighborhood of San Pedro Sula

Brother in law: You should stay off the street one block up from here. There are a lot of mareros on that street.
Me: Oh, you mean the street with all the shoes hanging on the power lines?
Brother in law: Yeah, that one.
Me: Oh, I know that one. We walked down it and I took pictures.

I tried to convince my husband that shoes hanging on lines can mean various things. After doing some research later I found there is no definitive reason, but it is generally thought that some sort of negative activity occurs underneath them. The mister says a lot of times Hondurans just throw them up there for fun. Maybe it is a way of disposing of unwanted old shoes :)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Carrera de Cinta

During the August fair and other assorted times throughout the year, an event called Carrera de Cinta takes place in the border town of Naranjito, SB. The event is called this because there is a line hanging across a street with rings hanging by strings from it. The goal of this event is to ride down the street fast and catch a ring by putting a pencil through it. Normally the rider holds the pencil high after he has captured the ring because it won't count if the ring falls off at the end of the ride. The task is difficult because of the speed and size of the hole the pencil must go through. Normally a handful of riders will accomplish this in each competition. The horses that participate in the event are well-fed and well-groomed unlike the majority which are usually skinny. One rider says that he uses a bottle of shampoo a day to keep his horse looking nice.

Here are a couple short clips of the event:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Pobre Monkey

While attending a graduation party, one of the fellow guests told me there was a "mona" in the back of the yard. "A what?" I thought, never imagining what I would see when I went back to check it out. I went back with a father and child, toting a flashlight to see what was there in the dark. Sure enough, a mona was to be found. It is a pretty depressing sight to see an animal chained to a tree that probably doesn't get much interaction. She reportedly has been there many years. Anyone want to take part in a night liberation operation?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Abandoned Shoes

Yet another reason why I am considered to be crazy is my hobby of taking pictures of abandoned shoes in Honduras. I don't think I would be so interested in them if I just saw one every once and awhile. However, they are on just about every street in the border town I call home. It is curious because there is usually just one half of the pair left behind. Is the other shoe still being used? Was this the location where the shoe gave out, never to be worn again? Perhaps the lack of a reliable trash disposal system is one factor in the random placement of old shoes. I can't imagine burning shoes would be very pleasant either.

Here are some examples of the abandoned shoe phenomenon:

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Identity Theft: Honduran Style

We are all aware of the problems and financial devastation that occur when someone has his/her identity stolen. Often the most risky aspect is the compromise of the social security number. Well, the mister and I can also testify to another phenomenon that did not involve financial information: cross border identity theft.

Approximately two years ago, everything was in order for my husband to get his K-3 visa and come to the US. He went to Tegucigalpa to get his medical exam and brought all the required paperwork for a second trip to Tegucigalpa to have his interview at the US Embassy. The interview went smoothly, he had every document that was requested and answered all the questions appropriately. However, at the end of the interview he was told by the official, "All your documents are in order, but your case has been flagged." Hmm, why would his visa petition raise concern? Well, sir, "Someone with your exact name and birthday is wanted for murder in the US." To add further fright he was told "If you were on US soil, we would arrest you right now." To resolve the issue he was told to come back in the afternoon so they could take his fingerprints.

The mister left and went to his aunt's house for lunch. He told her what they had told him and she said "You are not going to go back there!" out of fear that he would be detained. Of course he returned and had the fingerprints taken and traveled home to wait for the results. Six weeks later he got the call that his fingerprints had come back clean and that he could return to Tegucigalpa to get the visa stamped in his passport. He was told that it was suspected that someone from his hometown took his information and used it when he entered the US illegally.

We aren't sure of all the criminal details more than that this person was wanted for murder. When my husband told me this story, I immediately started searching online for any criminal incidents with his name listed. I never found a record with all four parts of his name in order. The closest match I found was with his first name and 1st last name. The nickname of this criminal is "the doctor and angel of death". I still occasionally refer to him as "the doctor" to joke about our past troubles.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Churro Purse

While shopping in Valle de Angeles a few years ago I saw a churro purse for the first time. I thought it was a neat idea, but ended up not getting it because it was small and probably overpriced because of the tourist market there. But this item had been in the back of my mind since then.

While visiting Arada, Santa Barbara recently to get to know the hometown of a friend, I was able to come in contact again with the churro purse. We were visiting the nacimientos of the town and my friend told me there was one where the owner was also know for his churro artesania. Not only does he make purses out of chip wrappers, he also makes earrings, in addition to belts made out of pop can tabs. He is the owner of a pulperia and his customers leave their chip wrappers behind as material for his craft. The purses are sold for 100 lempira or around $5. Here is the artist:

Pretty much any type of glossy paper can be used. Here are some directions to make your own glossy recycled purse.

Updated to add the pics of his earrings and belt.