Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Live in New Orleans-- Guillermo Anderson

This past Saturday, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation held its second annual 'Fiesta Latina'. Their was non-stop music from 11:00 A.M to 10:00 P.M. on two stages, as well as stands with crafts and food. It was a great time for all who attended. There was a stand with great Honduran food, and the Honduran consulate in New Orleans also had a stand promoting Honduran tourism.

All the bands were great. Of note, I particularly enjoyed Freddy Omar y su Banda. Freddy is originally from Tegucigalpa and is well known in the local New Orleans music scene.

But the highlight of the event was the opportunity to hear Guillermo Anderson. I had heard a lot about him. There is even a link on this blog site to his blog site (check it out!). But I must admit I was more favorably impressed than I had anticipated. His band really put on a great act...with music ranging from folk to Caribbean, even some Garifuna punta. The act was of international caliber.

Guillermo is a Ceibeno, and it really shows in his music. His sincerity and love for Honduras was reflected throughout the show.

If you ever have the opportunity to hear Guillermo and his band, I highly recommend it. If not, then buy one of his cd's, put on your dancing shoes and enjoy!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Did You Know?

Did you know that in Honduras, at least in Tegucigalpa, gas station attendants insist that you turn off your cell phone while they pump gas? Yes, that's right...if they see you talking on the phone, they insist you turn it off because they somehow believe the radio waves or frequency will ignite the gasoline and everything will explode.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The good, the bad, and the ugly...

The stable of franchise restaurants in Honduras keeps growing. Almost every imaginable American fast food, pizza and casual dining restuarant already has establishments in Honduras, so why not one more? During my recent visit to Tegucigalpa, I noticed that Chili's is the latest to join the pack. They had large advertisements in the local papers seeking job applicants. Supposedly, they need 250 employees. This is the good thing. Honduras needs jobs.

Now the bad thing, among the listed job requirements are being between the age of 18 and 35 years and excellent presentation. Yes, they want your photo along with the resume. So now I know that I don't qualify for a position as a dishwasher at Chili's. And, I'm disqualified on both counts- age and beauty. Well, I really didn't want that job anyway...At least there won't be any homely or average looking barmaids.

Unfortunately this type of blantant discrimination is not just commonplace in Honduras, it is totally acceptable and expected. However, since the Chili's franchisee has a large portfolio of various American fast food restaurants, I do find it reasonable to have higher expectations of their hiring practices.

Now for the ugly...Even if the local franchisee has no sense of ethics with regards to discrimination, the American franchisor, in this case Brinker International (think Chili's, Macaroni Grill, On the Border), should hold it's international franchisees to higher standards of non-discrimination. They expect international franchisees to meet corporate imposed levels of quality, consistancy, sanitation, etc., so why not impose franchise-wide policies of non-discrimination? (At least the franchisee should be tactful enough to avoid using Chili's logo in the job advertisements).

Now, as I step down from my soapbox, I am pleased to report that I did not eat at a single American franchise during my entire eight day visit, well, almost... I admit to having coffee at Espresso Americano, and we did go through the drive-thru at Pollo Campero...But that doesn't count because it's Guatemalan.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Getting There!!!

The end is in sight!!! Our house is almost finished. Below are some pictures so you can see our progress and maybe, even, share our exceitement...

Monday, July 09, 2007

Defying Silence in Honduras

A recent BBC News story reports that "Honduran journalist Dina Meza has won the @007 Amnesty International Special Award for Human Rights Journalism Under Threat". It is very 'eye-opening'. She has been investigating abuses by private security companies in Honduras. Her lawyer was murdered late last year, and the case is remains 'unsolved'. You may find her online magazine at: www.revistazo.com

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Guillermo Anderson

For all music lovers, and especially lovers of Honduran culture, I have added a link to the website and blog of Guillermo Anderson, one of Honduras' most renowned and talented singers and performers.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The best time to visit Tegucigalpa

Without doubt, the best time to visit Tegucigalpa is during 'Semana Santa' or 'Holy Week'. I found this out during my recent trip to Central America as I spent Easter week in Tegucigalpa with my family.

It seemed that everyone had left town. There was virtually no traffic. I even used the opportunity to practice driving in the city. Normally, I'm too afraid to drive in Tegucigalpa because the traffic is so bad and nobody follows any traffic rules, so I take the coward's way out and let my wife do the driving (yes, I come from a long line of chickens).

The restaurants were more or less empty, so the waiters actually attempted to give better service than their normal shrug and contempt. The hotels were empty, so the rates were slashed. We stayed at the Marriott which normally has a weekday rate of $169.00 per night, but during 'Semana Santa' the rate was $69.00.

The people left in town somehow seemed more relaxed. It was like a lazy Sunday afternoon that lasted for an entire week. I think the criminals even took a holiday and went to 'la playa'.

Be careful when opening your door, you never know who's knocking

Recently, the door bell rang at my in-laws house, where my wife and children are currently living. There is an intercom system so my father in-law asked who it was. A man replied that he was there to deliver a package, that the package was from Miami. He asked my wife if she was expecting any delivery, she said no. They went to the upstairs window and looked out. There was a truck backed up to the gate, with no markings of any kind.

Fortunately, my father in-law is not the most trusting person, being an ex-colonel and now in the security business. He went back to the intercom and screamed with quite a few expletives, that they should leave immediately. He made it very clear in no uncertain terms, so the men jumped back into the cab of the truck and sped away.

Unfortunately, this type of crime happens all too often in Honduras. Criminals patrol neighborhoods, especially upper class ones, looking for someone coming out or in to their house. They then force their way in, holding the people hostage while they load up a truck or large van with everything of value.

The moral of the story: Be suspicious of everyone that rings your bell!

Monday, April 09, 2007


In case anyone is wondering, I'm AWL (Absent with leave).

I was in Argentina for business for 10 days in March, returned to my office for a few days, then it was off to Central America for pleasure and business. I've been in Honduras for the past two weeks (business and pleasure) and was able to spend Semana Santa with my wife and kids. Today, I arrived in El Salvador (work), then off to Guatemala and Panama (both work). I'll be returning to what's left of the Crescent City in about two weeks. I promise to update my blog and follow up with the Honduras Living forum upon my return. Till then, I will slap my wrist daily...

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Mental block, Help Wanted

In addition to our house, my wife is overseeing the renovation of an old 'campesino' house that we are renovating and will turn into a cafe. It's coming along very slowly because the house has priority. It is close to Valle de Angeles, and we hope it will be the type of place where people will come on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon with their family or significant other, hang out, eat some food, play boce, and enjoy some wine or coffee. It is a place where the air is fresh, and guests will be surrounded by nature and tranquility. Hopefully, it will be a spot where one will linger, romances will begin, conversations will be meaningful, and life's problems will be solved.

Only one problem, we can't decide on a name for the cafe. Any ideas? Please leave them in the comments section.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Galloping along at a snail's pace

We have been building for the past 10 months now. Progress is soooo slooooowww!! To all those who send emails asking if it is possible to build via remote control in Honduras (from another country) I say to you "BEWARE". My wife is honduran and she has been there for the past 6 months and even then we have had our share of problems. We have changed contractors twice. Yes, just started with our third contractor and feel very confident. We ended up going with a renowned firm. They are very thorough and meticulous when it comes to details. That is what we were looking for. They visit the site 4 days a week. The other 2 days they do administrative work (get estimates, find suppliers, do payroll, etc). Our previous contractor only visited 1 - 2 times a week.

But at least it's coming along...maybe another 3-4 months and we'll be finished!!!

Sunday, January 28, 2007


From time to time, I want to post what I consider to be vital info for the visitor to Honduras. One such topic is Honduran beer. I used to poo-poo Honduran beer because I found the quality to be very inconsistent. Instead, I used to buy Heineken, the real stuff imported from Holland. It was a real bargain compared to the States. A bottle of Heineken was normally only $1.50-$1.80 in a restaurant. But now things have changed. The Cerveceria Hondurena was bought a few years ago by SABMiller, and the quality has markedly improved. At the same time, Heineken is no longer imported from Holland and is now imported from Costa Rica where it is bottle under license. One swallow and you will know its not the 'real' thing.

So now I proudly drink Honduran beer. In general Honduran beers are quite light and contain 4.5% - 5% alcohol.

What are the local brews? Here's my take on the Honduran brands:

Barena- Think Honduran Corona. It's in a clear, transparent bottle with a light flavor and very easy to drink.

Port Royal- Think Honduran Michelob. The namesake comes from Roatan. It's a cold filtered beer, and the one most people are familiar with since it's the one that's exported. This is considered the Honduran quality beer

Salva Vida- Think Honduran Budweiser. It's a very light tasting beer. Personally, I find it has very little flavor, but then I don't think Budweiser has any flavor either. This is probably the most popular Honduran beer.

Imperial- Think Honduran Heineken. This is a pilsner style beer with a little more intense flavor. This classic formula has been brewed since 1930, and is sometimes considered Tegucigalpa beer. While all the beers are brewed in San Pedro Sula, Imperial is more widely distributed in the capital.

Imperial is my personal preference, but when its not available I drink Port Royal.

Finally, beer in Honduras is quite a bargain, generally selling for about 20-30 lemperas ($1.00- $1.50). With prices like this, one can afford to, as they say in New Orleans, 'laissez les bons temps roulez!'

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Incredible or Incredulous? Only in Honduras!!

My wife invited her mother and aunt out for lunch one day last week to 'La Creperia' (reviewed in blog post of Nov. 29). My wife and I had really enjoyed the place and she wanted to share it with her mom and aunt. This restaurant was one of Don Godo's favorites, but no more. My mother in law ordered a sandwich and later asked the waiter to bring her some mustard. Everyone enjoyed their lunch. Incredibly, and beyond their wildest dreams, when the bill came, there was a 20 lempera charge for the mustard! That's $1.05 for mustard served as condiment for a sandwich!! Hello, Tegucigalpa isn't Paris or Tokyo...

My wife, her mom and aunt incredulously looked at the waiter and then proceeded to tell him their thoughts on the subject. He explained that the mustard was an additional service, not included on the menu, and the restaurant policy was to charge an extra 'service charge'.

Needless to say, my family will never patronize 'La Creperia' again. I'm just glad that they didn't order ketchup and mayonnaise as well!!

Well... I guess that's Honduras Living!

Saturday, January 20, 2007


The dry season is here!! For the past 2 months we have been trying to get running water in our property in Valle de Angeles. We had to determine where we wanted spigots (for watering the yard); place all the pvc tubes needed to run the water; build a brick shed to protect the pump and tank for the cistern; have iron doors made for the shed and get the ENEE (the electric company) to hook up the electricity. After everything was said and done and exactly 3 days before we had the pump installed, someone broke into the property and stole the electric cables and spigots . Everything for a grand total of Lps. 1,500 (about $75!!!!) The damages are almost twice as much as what they took, go figure.... Here is a piece of advice: Put up a fence. A tall fence.

We had the average wooden posts with 3 lines of barb wire. It was rustic and was there more as a way of defining the property line as opposed to security - Valle is very safe. Now we are in the process of building a security fence before we install the pump and tank. About a week ago, the newspaper had a story about a man that went around stealing electric cables in Valle. In his last robery, he made a mistake while cutting the cable. Needless to say, he is not with us anymore....

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Get Involved!! or at least, Make a Difference!!

Anybody that has ever visited Honduras knows it's a very poor country with a lot of problems and needs. For me, it's especially troubling to see young children living in abject poverty with no hope for a better life. If these children could somehow get an education, they will have hope for the future. Touching the life of just one child impacts the life of an entire family.

If you are reading this blog, then I know that you have an interest in Honduras and its future. So I want to encourage you, no, I challenge you, to sponsor just one child on a monthly basis. Its not expensive, $25.$35. per month. Collectively, just imagine how many lives could be made brighter!!

Below are links to some charitable organizations in Honduras. Check them out and help make 2007 a year of promise for some needy children. You'll be glad you did!

Bilingual Education for Central America

Helping Honduras Kids

Olancho Aid Foundation

Trujillo Christian School

World Gospel Outreach

The above list is by no means comprehensive. If you know of a worthy organization that is not mentioned, please feel free to list it in my comments section.

Regardless of each of our own personal circumstances, we are all more fortunate than the poor children in Honduras. So please take a few moments and reflect on what you are able to do, and then do it!!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Health Insurance

My wife and children just got health insurance. They opted for one provided by the Honduras Medical Center. You can only get service at this hospital and one in San Pedro Sula, which is fine with us, since these are the most advanced hospitals right now. The cost for both of my kids is Lps. 330 /month for each one and for my wife Lps. 625/month. Any person over 45 is charged Lps. 985/month and needs to get an extensive physical test done. All others are exempt. The cost of the test is Lps. 1,500. For the first 3 months you are only covered if you have an emergency. From months 3-12 you are covered for routine doctor visits. After the first year you are covered for pretty much any disease that was not pre-existent, except diabetes, which is covered if it is diagnosed after the 2nd year. Then, you are pretty much covered for any treatment if it is available in Honduras. You pay Lps. 100 per doctors visit (usually about Lps 500) and then you get a 60% discount on lab work and medications.

One drawback is that you are automatically dropped from coverage when you turn 75.

Tegucigalpa Restaurants

El Patio, ($$/***, Blvd. Morazan), Typical Honduran Cuisine. If you want typical Honduran food, this is the place to go!!. The restaurant is open-air, so avoid cold days. All the dinners come with 'anafres'. I recommend the 'pinchos'.

($$$/***, Bvld. Juan Pablo II, tel. 239.1396/239.1349), One of the better Chinese restaurants, with huge portions. A Taiwanese diplomat told a friend that this is his favorite Chinese restaurant outside of Taiwan. I'm not sure it's that good, but it's where we always go when we want to eat Chinese. The restaurant is large, with a children's play area, and very clean!

Gourmet Grill
, ($$$/**, Col. Palmira paseo Rep. de Argentina, Edificio Bakery Center, tel. 235.7137), American diner-style food. American style breakfasts, sandwiches, burgers, entrees. My son devours the linguini with mussels ($6.50). We ate there on Thanksgiving day, and sure enough their daily special was turkey with dressing and cranberry sauce. When you have a craving for American food, but are tired of the franchise places, Gourmet Grill hits the spot!

Thursday, January 04, 2007


My friend and fellow blogger, La Gringa (please see link on right hand side), has created a new Yahoo group aptly named "Honduras Living". La Gringa and myself are the moderators.

The group is intended as a discussion forum for all of you who are interested in moving to, retiring in, investing in, or simply vacationing in Honduras. All are welcome, whether expats or 'Catrachos'. We hope this will become the 'go to' spot for exchanging information, ideas, candid comments, experiences, and reviews regarding Honduras. We hope the questions, comments and information will cover the broadest range of topics from residency to restaurants, from where to go and what to see, to what and where to avoid.

Please keep your posts commercial free.

If you are interested, please join. There is a link on the right hand side.

We look forward to a lively conversation that will benefit all.