Friday, May 01, 2009

Low Expectations or Just No Expectations

Although I really love Honduras, and consider myself a 'Catracho' in my heart, there are many little things that just bug me. I've never really made a list of all of these things, but I know it would be pretty long. A couple of recent examples are:

1- My family and I recently went to one of the 'better' Chinese restaurants in Tegucigalpa. The table had been cleaned and we were seated. The place mats, however, were filthy. They had crumbs on them and caked on food and sauce. My wife pointed this out to the waitress. Her reaction?... She picked up a couple of them, slapped them together a couple of times, and put them back on the table. OK, the crumbs did fall off (probably on my wife's lap), but the caked on food was still pretty disgusting, so my wife took the place mats from the table and put them on the floor under a chair. The waitress seemed surprised by this, so my wife told her that we would rather have no place mats rather than dine on dirty ones.

2- For some reason, construction workers consider the street to be a part of their construction site, at least in residential neighborhoods. Construction debris litters the street during the entire construction of a house, which can sometimes be upwards of 1-2 years. There are piles of wood, dirt, and nails strewn everywhere. Usually, there will be a car parked directly opposite of all the debris making it virtually impossible to pass. Oh, did I say anything about getting flat tires from all the nails thrown onto the street? In the USA (and in other countries I'm sure), neighbors, neighborhood associations, and the municipal government would make the contractor's life hell if they did not regularly haul away the debris, but oh no, not in Honduras.

I've thought about all these things, and sometimes wonder if I'm being just a bit too knit-picky. Well, the more I think about it, I realize I'm not being too picky. Shouldn't place mats be clean in a restaurant? Shouldn't a contractor haul away his debris? These things happen in Honduras because the restaurant owner know people will still frequent his restaurant with the dirty place mats and not complain. The contractor knows that if you dare to complain about the debris, he will just say "Oh, I'll take care of that", knowing full well that he has no intention to, and the complainant knows he has no intention to. Things are just going to continue as they are, have always been, and always will be.

Why? Because Hondurans have low expectations or maybe, more precisely, no expectations


Grimfairy said...

I think they just gave up on expectations. My husband, who is from Tegucigalpa, says that most "upscale" restaurants wouldn't pass inspection by our standards. His uncle was an inspector and he would constantly get bribes to overlook things.

As far as construction goes...there's no authority. There's no codes to follow. It's only "Do as you will". It's scary to think how sturdy some of those houses are.

Kadmiel said...

But even though there are nor codes or things that are overlooked there is a common hospitality among all the resturants tha seems to make me feel at home. maybe its a sense of own freedom. even though that is no excuse not to be carful