Thursday, May 20, 2010

The real Honduran experience

So we’re riding home from the training center on the bus the other day and we begin to hear a sort of rumbling, like the engine of the bus is overheating or making a lot of noise. The bus driver is fidgeting with something next to his foot every couple of seconds to get the noise to stop; we all of course start to wonder what it is. A few minutes later we realize it’s the gas pedal that is sticking to the floor and every few seconds the driver has to lean over and literally lift it up to get the bus to stop accelerating. Did I mention the road is a windy, mountain two-lane with a sheer cliff face dropping off on one side? The guy proceeds to drive along and fix the pedal as needed, while we proceed to question his having been hired in the first place as our conductor. He makes a quick stop finally and does something with a rag to the pedal, wiping it off?? No, he’s tying a rag to the pedal so instead of bending over to lift it up, he can just tug on the rag to lift it, por supuesto! We made it home alive, luckily the breaks were still functioning….

Other funny Hondureñismos:

People point with their lips, not their finger, hand, or arm. It’s a subtle mouth motion and maybe a little head jerk in there to say, “That guy” or “Drop it there” or “He lives up the hill” You almost have to see it to understand. They also have this amazing snap or rather it’s like whipping your wrist so fast that your fingers hit each other and make a clicking noise. It has a lot of meanings, like ‘ohhh man or ohh wow’ or ‘que barbaridad’ or just whenever you feel like it. The kids here learn to do it in school, and we gringos have been trying to pick it up, few have succeeded.

It’s also very impolite to throw things to people, even candy in a game. They will think you are implying they are a dog. You might also be implying a child is a dog if while showing how tall he is you use a horizontal hand rather than a vertical hand.

Another lovely thing is that donkeys roam free here, usually trotting along the side of the road for no reason in particular, munching away at the grass. They also might stop in the road, just for fun, or at a pulperia (like a corner store). Horses are sometimes in the same situation, but mostly it’s the donkeys.

People also tend to throw their trash off the sides of mountain roads into the ravines, a lot.

The lights sometimes go out, especially when it’s rainy, and at the moment the lights go out, it becomes pitch black and everyone simultaneously chimes in with “Se fue la luz” (there went the light basically). It would be funny if it was a rare saying, but EVERYONE says it EVERYTIME the lights go out, even if they go out five times in one night, you’ll get it five times, this makes it somewhat hilarious and mildly obnoxious.

People also overuse the word ‘bien,’ especially in front of other adjectives to add emphasis. “Ella es bien bonita” (literally she is good pretty, more like, she’s really pretty). However, the best part is, when people use it with negative descriptions “Estoy bien enferma” (literally I’m good sick, or like I’m really pretty darn sick” or my favorite, “bien feo” which is more like an oxymoron than anything I’ve ever heard.

1 comment:

  1. I had a Salvadoran roommate a couple of years as an ungergrad and she definitely pointed with her lips! :)