This morning we woke up bright and early in order to catch our camioneta for Tegucigalpa. This was one of the nicest camionetas we have been on. The seats were nicely upholstered and there was ample elbow room.
After about an hour we could see the great city of Tegucigalpa over the horizon. Teguz is a massive city built in the valley of surrounding mountains – it’s impressive how much the city sprawls in all directions. When we arrived, we had a quick bite to eat – a huge baleada which is a flour tortilla stuffed with beans, cheese, chicken, avocado, eggs and crema. And then we walked through the city to our hotel so we could drop off some stuff that we didn’t want to carry around all day.
From our hotel we hoped on a bus that took us to the north part of the city to a park called Cristo El Picacho. This is an expansive park on top of one of the many mountains. There is a zoo, a huge garden and a 100 ft tall statue of Jesus that is over looking the city. Jorge says it is the only one is Central America though not quite as big as the one in Brazil. The zoo contains various animals that are native to Honduras. The monkeys were the highlight because the young ones were really hyper and loved to climb and chase each other. We also saw a Jaguar that was unbelievably fat, which we thought was quite funny. After the zoo we walked to the statue, which is right on the edge of the mountain and provides an amazing panorama of Teguz. We sat there for a couple minutes while Jorge gave us a quick historic breakdown about the city. Knowing that we had a quite of a bit of a hike back to the entrance we stopped at one of the little stands and bought some water. In Central America people drink water a little differently than they do in the north. They drink it out of bags, yup we bought some bagged water. The trick is to bite a little hole in one of the corners, tilt your head back and enjoy your ice cold bagged water. It is almost like drinking a melted Freezie or milk from the bag – not that we’ve ever tried that.
We made our way back to the city centre while watching “Walking Tall” which was playing on a big flat screen hanging at the front if the bus. Earlier in the day Jorge promised to take us to the best Liquado joint in the city, he didn’t disappoint. This place was like the Wild Wing of smoothies restaurants. There was over 100 different combinations that you could choose from – including Jorge’s flavor of choice, Carrot Peanut Butter. We know it sounds disgusting, but it is delicious!
Feeling energized we walked to the Museo para la Identidad Nacional (MIN) to take in some more history and culture. The first part of the tour was an exhibition for Jacques Miró. Jorge wasn’t too impressed and was convinced that he could be a famous modern artist in no time. His commentary had us smiling all the way through the exhibition. Next, there was a long history about Honduras, it’s founding fathers and other people that have helped shape Honduras into the country that it is today. After walking around all morning we headed back to the hotel for a quick siesta and catch up on some emails because we have been without Internet for a couple days.
For dinner Jorge took us to one of his go to joints – El Patio. Carling was happy to return, as she had been once before with the volunteers in February. This place gives you the biggest portions of food I have ever seen. We ordered a dinner for two people and the three of us could not finish everything. We got two 20 inch long skewers of barbecued meat with more sides than we could count. Beans and crema with a cheese fondue, cucumber salad, plantains and crema, rice and beans, Chimol, chips and deep fried cheese balls. After dinner we moved – slowly on account of the food – to a bar called Glen’s.
Glen’s is a small garage that was converted into a bar. It is a pretty cool place because you order your drinks and just hang out on the street listening to good music and meeting everyone that walks in. We had some seriously longer conversation about Canadian Politics and Isreal with Carlos, Jorge’s amigo. He was very interested in how we felt about Canada, if we would ever life in the states, our healthcare and more. Alas, no more limpiras means no more drinks, so we got a ride back to our hotel with Carlos. The two gentlemen continued onto a fancier bar while we called it a night.
Finally, our overall impression of notably the most dangerous city in Central America. Despite its rough edges and bad reputation Teguz isn’t the scary monster you hear about on the news. At times Jorge had us weaving across streets, and circling back to take the long way to avoid the occasional man that would lurk behind us. And yes we did see a man bleeding in the streets and heard a few gun shots in the middle of the night. However, we had an amazing day, luckily had the opportunity to see a side of Teguz that maybe a lot of travelers wouldn’t have the opportunity to see. All this to say, we are positive our experience would have been vastly different if we had not had the guidance and street smarts of Jorge. If you have a friend, someone who knows the city then give it a shot, you’ll be pleasantly surprised!