New friends and lots of dancing…

The great thing about life in Tegus is that you just never know what’s going to happen next – I mentioned in my last blog that you can be having a really bad day and then something random will happen and that bad day will suddenly be amazing. There is always something going on and the chance to be spontaneous. And this weekend was  no different…

It was the birthday of Lurvin at my project last week and on Wednesday our team from my project went for lunch to celebrate – we went for Chinese, which in Honduras means a big plate of rice with veg and different meats, rico! Although I do miss prawn crackers a lot! Anyway the meal came to around 400L which is about $20 – so I thought I would treat everyone as it’s just nothing. In my head I worked it out as around £15, but it actually came out as just £10 on my bank statement – so a meal for 6 people was just £10!! Amazing! It is Kelvin’s birthday tomorrow so looking forward to some more Chinese food for lunch then 😉

 That evening there was a jazz concert which Joel had told me about – he couldn’t go in the end but I went with Julia and another friend, Macarena and a friend of hers. I like jazz music but I would never usually go out to a concert to listen to it – but it’s Honduras and you’ve gotta make the most of it 😀 In the end it was a really great night and the music was amazing – we ended up getting soaked when we left though as the usual Honduran downpours appeared. We hid in a supermarket nearby until a friend of Macarena’s turned up to drive us somewhere for dinner (in Honduras you can randomly call a friend and they most likely will just come and pick you up, it’s so random but lovely!).

http://youtu.be/E6_9U1alMnA

For the weekend Joel and I had a ‘maybe’ plan to go to Yoro (a town in the north) to visit his family but we didn’t end up going. Hopefully we will in a couple of weeks 🙂 I hadn’t made any other plans as I thought I might be away so it could have been a really quiet weekend… but of course not, I live in Tegus!! 😀 Another of the new volunteers, Sophie, who lives in Sabanagrande was in Tegus for the weekend and also our ICYE coordinator was changing so we all met for lunch on Saturday. Me, Julia and Sophie then went to my house to watch a film on my host Dad’s huge TV. Then that evening all my family and Teddy went for an impromptu visit to the cinema to see The Heat (it’s hilarious!). We got home around 9 and me and Sophie had earlier decided to go out… but I was feeling super tired and just wanted to go to bed. But as Sophie doesn’t live in Tegus and really wanted to go out I persuaded myself to get in the party mood… and I thought I could sneak off home early… silly me! We ended up going out with a guy called Maury, a friend of Joel’s, and went to somewhere I hadn’t been in ages, called Angry Beaver, and met some Maury’s friends. Angry Beaver is normally really packed at the weekend but it was super quiet for some reason so we left around 1am to go get some beers and go to someones house. Me and Sophie were desperate to do some dancing and we definitely managed that – seriously, I love it! I learnt some new moves and one of the guys said I was better than him and I’m a true catracha now 😀 (a catracho or catracha is a name Hondurans give themselves 🙂 ) We had a great night and didn’t end up going home until 5.30 in the morning when it was already light outside, whoops!

The next day we dragged ourselves out of bed and headed to the centre with Julia to get some hangover food… we ended up going to Chili’s and a place nearby for some yummy crepes. I will post a picture when Julia puts them on Facebook, they were seriously delicious! We’ve also been planning a weekend away soon – I have been to most of the touristy places in Honduras now (and I’m saving Roatan until I have holiday time at Xmas) so I’m happy to go wherever the girls decide 🙂 I have two days off my project this week too as it’s a bank holiday for Honduras so I’m going to try find somewhere new to go and make the most of it…

I also managed to skype with some of my best friends from university this weekend when they all met up in Leamington, I was quite jealous of them all being together and having some banter but it was great  to skype for a bit 🙂 however sad I am to leave Honduras in January, the excitement to see so many people I miss will help to ease the pain! 😀 and my dogs of course, miss them so much!!!

Image

Until next time… saludos!!!

Advertisements

El Progreso

One of my favourite things about Honduras is that just when you’ve had a really bad week and you’re feeling pretty low, something will happen to pick it all right back up again. For the first time in 8 months, last week I was feeling ready to go home… not a good thing. I want to make the most of my remaining time here and if I was wishing I was back home the whole time, I doubt that would happen. Luckily, I wasn’t feeling like this for too long thanks to an amazing weekend in El Progreso…

Julia, from Austria, was at my house on Friday evening and we were debating whether to go away for the weekend… when my good friend Teddy phoned saying that he was going to El Progreso for the weekend for a parade and did we want to come? Well of course we did. After some speedy packing, yummy snacks and a car rave later we arrived in El Progreso around 11pm. A great thing about Honduras is that it can be so spontaneous… we went straight to the house of Teddy’s cousins to pick them up and then zoomed around the town picking up more friends. With around 9 or 10 of us in the car, including people in the boot and occasionally someone hanging off the side of the car, we blasted the music and got in the party mood… the party always starts in the car in Honduras!! We then went to a Salva Vida (a brand of beer here) bar that was set up the weekend and proceeding to dance the night away while drinking beer for 20L… 20L is equal to $1, so pretty cheap!! When the bar closed at 2am, me and Julia assumed it was time for bed… but instead we headed to a club in the town, danced and drank some more… before heading to a 24 hour baleada place. Baleadas are the food of El Progreso – it was almost all we ate, which made me and Julia very happy! I think I am having baleada withdrawal symptoms now…

So we eventually got to bed around 5am and then it was up at 9am to go to one of the guys from the night before’s farm… two of his horses were going to be in the parade later on. The north of Honduras is extremely hot and humid so standing around in a field with some horses, which scare me, wasn’t my idea of fun… but Julia was in horse heaven! We then took the horses in a trailer to the waiting area for the parade for the horses where we also had lunch in a tent full of cowboys. Gotta love the cowboys! We then went into the town to watch the parade which was really great and reminded me of when we had an annual parade in Wootton Bassett. At one point, some dancers came past and when they saw me and Julia, random gringas, in the crowd they ran forward to bring us to dance… me being me (slightly crazy) I ran straight into it and danced some raggaeton in front of all the people in the crowd! One of my more crazy moments in Honduras… but it was amazing! 🙂 

That evening, after some more baleadas, we headed to the bar from the night before and did some more dancing. Teddy is an awesome dancer and he has taught me the basics of salsa; I really love dancing it and think I may have to find some classes in England to carry it on! And of course, I got my hips moving for some catracho dancing too! 😀 I am going to miss proper dancing so much… Hondurans don’t just go out to party and get drunk; they dance amazingly and it is really fun to watch and be part of it. We ended up going home at 5 in the morning again and me and Teddy ended up getting very little sleep as we debated the similarity between the lack of milk chocolate in Honduras and the lack of purpose of the royal family in the UK. Obviously, I feel the lack of milk chocolate is a far bigger tragedy. 

The next day we somehow didn’t leave until 4 in the afternoon (I’m not really sure what we did all day!) and we ended up having dinner at Lago de Yajoa. The views of the lake as the sun was setting were amazing and of course the fried fish – delicioso! We even had a little adventure after that when the car ran out of petrol – of course in Honduras they don’t just wait for the AA to come and fix it, so we reversed about half a mile down a dark hill and Teddy, somehow, found some petrol in the middle of nowhere. It was the most spontaneous few days I’ve had in a while and we had some really hilarious car journeys 😀 and of course I loved the copious amounts of baleadas, salva vidas and dancing… all my favourite things! Hopefully we will do it again 🙂 

I’m just a little bit too British for that…

As you would expect there are many things about Honduras that are very different from home and some of these things are difficult to get used to… the food, the way of life, the culture etc. But one of the things that I think, due to my Britishness, I will never be able to pick up is… the dancing. Music is a huge part of the culture in Honduras with so many influences from its people and its surrounding countries. They have salsa, merengue, reggaeton and punta to name a few. And from these musical influences comes the dancing.  One of the most popular types of music in Honduras, and my favourite, is reggaeton. Here is a Urban Dictionary definition for it: 

Reggaeton is the most popular music in Latin America, as well as a huge youth-based cultural phenomenon. It is not a form of Spanish Reggae, but instead an evolution of the modern Jamaican popular music, called dancehall. Upon listening to both dancehall and reggaeton songs, the similarity becomes obvious. Reggaeton also can draw influences from Merengue, Bachata, Salsa, Vallenato, and House, and combine these forms of music in a new and unique way. It is this mix of different styles found throughout latin america that continues to drive the music forward and keep it from becoming overly repetetive. 

Reggaeton is based upon the “Dem-Bow” beat. Though many westerners may critique the music for hoving the same beat in every song, the fact is, this is the same as any form of latin music. Every salsa song has the same rhythm, as does every cumbia, every merengue, etc… Any music intended specifically for dancing, as reggaeton is, will always have the same beat to make it easier and more fun to dance to. 

Also, though many reggaeton songs have explicit lyrics, this is only one form of the genre, called “Perreo,” which is usually accompanied by a form of grinding which goes by the same name. However, there are other forms of reggaeton: “Bachateo” and “Romantico” are two of the most common, both typically based around love. Reggaeton can be danced fast, slow, in pairs, or even single. 

As this short definition hinted at the lyrics tend to be quite explicit and sometimes even sexist. Music videos follow this by showing men in suits with lots of money surrounded by girls in barely any clothes dancing and shaking their bums. Me and Loui were in a cafe yesterday and there was a reggaeton music video on which I swear could have been a porn film!! Someone mentioned that reggaeton music is even banned in Cuba as it is so sexually charged but I’m not sure if this is true… 

Anyway, as these ‘sexy’ styles of music are played in bars and clubs, the dance style follows and the dancefloor becomes a sea of people grinding against each other. People often say that the style of dancing was introduced because (due to the no sex before marriage tradition) people couldn’t have sex so they introduced a dance that was as close to doing it as possible. Obviously in the UK we like to go out and party, have a dance and maybe even find someone to dance with. But myself and Laura have discovered that we are just far too British to grind up against some random guy and move our hips like the Hondurans do – we’re just too reserved and self conscious! I do have a lovely dance partner though (who happens to be gay) and I give the hip shaking my best with him but most of the time I’m just too shy to go for it! It is fun to watch though and our Honduran friends have the most amazing dance moves! But being as British as possible me and Laura really get moving when the classic British songs come on like Flo Rida telling us to get low!!! I even managed to look so British last night that a guy came up to me and asked me in english if I wanted to dance… I’m clearly just so white. 

Here are some of my favourite songs I’ve discovered in Honduras so far – if you want an even better idea of how the Hondurans dance just type ‘reggaeton dancing’ into youtube. Enjoy!