Church bells, Marc Anthony, tamales and tequila

3 Mar

I had a busy (but great) weekend, as evidenced by my lack of blog posts. I’ve been thinking up things to write about faster than I can type at the moment. I think this will pass once I settle in, but for now we’ll all have to push through the blogolanche of posts.

On Saturday afternoon my host mum and one of her work friends and I travelled to Comayagua. It’s a small colonial town about an hour and a half’s drive from Tegus. It’s a gorgeous little town, and (excitingly for me) a place where you can safely wander around the streets. I can tell already that the safety issues here in Tegus mean that I will treasure any place I visit where you have the freedom to roam the streets at will.

After having lunch at a local steakhouse on the outskirts of town, we ambled through the lovely little central plaza, before visiting a local anthropological museum. We then headed over to Comayagua’s famous cathedral–home to the world’s second oldest clock.

La Catedral

While we were up in the cathedral being shown how the clock works (with a series of gears and weights) we were also able to check out the great views of the town below.

Central Plaza

We also got to hear the 5o’clock ringing of the bells, which was tremendously noisy standing right next to them, but fascinating to watch how the bell ringer used a series of ropes to play all four bells at once.

Bell ringer

It was soon time to head back to Tegus because my host mum had managed to get us tickets to see the king of salsa himself, Mr Marc Anthony, live in concert. I have never been to a concert quite like it. The concert was an open air concert held at a sports ground. I didn’t realise this though, so didn’t take a jacket. Oops. Big mistake. We had an out of season cold snap and it was positively icy.

As we made our way down to the venue, after being dropped off by my host mum’s brother, it was pure chaos. There are no car parks at the venue, so in all the streets leading to it local ‘entrepreneurs’ set up their own car park system and double and triple park cars in any space on the sides of the road they can help guide the drivers into. They do this by waving rags and whistling shrilly.

Then as you head closer in the ticket scalpers start waving tickets at and yelling their prices, as do those selling cigarettes and chewing gum from trays they carry with them. The crowd then converges to get through to the actual sports ground where people carrying bottles of tequila or cases of beer add their shouts to the cacophony of noise.

In addition to this, street food vendors and the knock-off merchandise vendors line the walkways also noisily sprucing their wares. It’s a dark, crowded, noisy and crazy gauntlet that all the concert goers are funnelled through as they make their way to the entrance gates.

Once through the gates, we made our way to our chairs. We were in a VIP section, which meant rather than be up in the stadium’s unassigned seats, we were down the bottom closer to the front and had a plastic outdoor furniture chair to sit on. All the chairs have the relevant row and seat number sticky-taped to them, and cable ties are used to link the chairs together so people can’t rearrange the rows.

Although no one sat on the chairs. As soon as Marc Anthony came on the stage everyone stood up to get a better view… on top of the chairs! It was such a funny sight. The whole VIP section precariously balanced on plastic chairs, trying to dance salsa without falling off.

Apart from the cold and the shortness of the concert (apparently last week Juan Gabriel played for three hours, whereas Marc Anthony was lucky if he sang for and hour and a half) I loved it! Crazy Honduran fun.

I was still frozen to the bone once we got home, so my host mum kindly prepared me a snack of tamales with a small glass of tequila to warm me up. What a brilliant day.


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