A Crazy, Busy, Fun, Delicious Week

I spent last week with co-workers in the Capital, Tegucigalpa.  I love that city and was happy to be there in the cool mountain air for 6 days.  We weren't 40 minutes down the road, headed back to San Pedro when someone turned the heat back on.  We stepped out of the car to investigate the supposed "Best" Chicharones in the area at what turned out to be a kind of culinary "rest stop" (with no  gas station) and the heat hit us like a shockwave.

Wood burning fire for tortillas de maize and more

We were in town to recruit employees for our new site.  It was busy days and nights filled with meeting new people, learning about the local environment and discovering amazing new sights and culinary treats.

What I found when I came home and began editing and uploading my photos was that I took a lot of photos of churches.  I am not sure why, but I've found the most shots I have taken in Honduras are of churches and of the photos I've printed and hung, churches outnumber them all.

Pope John Paul still in plaster at the Basilico de Suyapa

The Basilico de Suyapa in Tegucigalpa looms large with it's gray and white façade.  It feels a bit imposing, but after walking around for a while, the style grew on me.  It's relatively new and wasn't open to the public when we stopped by, but many make the pilgrimage during certain auspicious days during the year and for some, it's a day or more of walking each way.

We met one of these families when we stopped at a roadside stand for breakfast on our way out to Santa Lucia and Valle de Angeles and then again on our way back to San Pedro.

Basilica de Suyapa

The church overlooks the city

And no, I cannot explain why I seem to take so many photos of churches in Honduras.

Churches weren't the only thing that captured my attention as we left the hustle and bustle of the workweek.

The new front yard flamingo

Something about these ceramic roosters, found in the market in Valle de Angeles spoke to me.  I almost went home with one that was close to waist high, but had second thoughts.  Since I walked away from the market 4 days ago I haven't been able to stop thinking about them and that means one of these guys will adorn my balcony in the next few months.  I just have to decide what size.

Clay tile roof

Cobbled streets of Santa Lucia

Clay tile roofs and cobbled streets are not extraordinary in that they are seen everywhere, but they seem to say so much once they've weathered just a bit which makes them far from ordinary.

A flower grows in tile

Tiles for building

Clay tile roofs are not extraordinary in that they are seen everywhere, but they seem to say so much once they've weathered just a bit which makes them far from ordinary.  A flower or grass growing out of one roof tells me no one has been up there for a while.  Another, with a lot of lichen and mold says these tiles live in shade, humidity and rain and it makes me wonder if the tiles do a good job keeping the wet out.

Winding Roads in San Juacito

We drove down the mountain into an old mining town with an incredible amount of character -- San Juancito.  We were told we should stop in and see the recycling facility.  I couldn't get an answer to what was being recycled, so we decided to make a stop.  

Entry to Recycle Shop

This is more than a recycling shop.  It is a place of opportunity, especially for children.  The small town of 2000, far away from most modern conveniences, has a foundation -- Fundacion San Juancito -- an private non-profit that strives to provide resources to help people work toward economic, cultural and social development.

Paper and ceramics were just two of the products we saw in the shop and the adjacent cultural center.

The center has an auditorium for stage productions and concerts, a restaurant and a shop to look at and purchase locally made products made from recycled materials.  I did not go home empty-handed.

It was getting dark and the roads, with a rainy sky had no lighting so we made our purchases and headed back to Valle de Angeles for dinner.

What I didn't expect was for the sidewalks to be rolled up before 7pm.  We found a place to eat, had a delicious dinner and headed back to Tegucigalpa.

This tree was made from recycled snack bags

Some of the scenes we saw during our day-long break follow.

Between Santa Lucia and Valle de Angeles

Gauchos y caballos

Leather shop

I think they make shoes to order.  There will be another visit in my future.

Leather workshop

Lunch time

Pupusas with Cheese and Chicharones

Plate of Pupusas

I opted out of the chicharone filling because my experience has been that it turns to the texture of a sponge, but these cheese-filled tortillas de maíze were delicioso!

Working the Pupusa stand

Roadside deliciousness and a friendly family

We'll end this post with a view to the future -- the delicious part of the week. The next post will be all about food, the kindness and resiliency of people and a bit of humor so be sure to check back next week.

If you've ever thought of traveling to Honduras, I am adding Tegucigalpa and the surrounding area to my list of places to see along with Copán, Santa Rosa de Copán and the Spanish colonial towns and forts on the Western side and coast of the country. I've yet to explore farther east, but it's on my list.