We arrived a mere four hours ago, but already I feel huge relief just to see the place. Few things are worse than reading all the crazy news stories from afar about events in Honduras - it started to feel like we were on a suicide mission. Instead, we arrived at a perfectly nice airport in what appears to be a perfectly nice city, albeit one that even the locals warn us not to go wandering around at night.
But we did brave a short walk to the Mas Por Menos supermercado near our little Hotel Alsacia, a charming blink-and-you-miss-it guest house that Cuso International has put us up at while we take the "in-country" training to get ready for the work I'll be doing with the Comision de Social Accion de Menonita in Copan Ruinas.
We even went to a bank machine and nothing happened. People smiled, we all said friendly holas to each other, and I survived several tentative communications in Spanish, including asking the clerk at the Mas Por Menos whether we could buy a smaller piece of cheese.
We've already sampled the local beer (Barena, pretty good) and marvelled at the prices of packaged goods at the grocery store, many of which were comparable to home. Can't be too many Hondurans shopping at those prices - the minimum wage here is equivalent to $200 a month. There's certainly no escaping North American-style fast food just because you're deep in Central America - we walked past a Wendy's and a McDonald's on our way to the store. Is there no city those guys haven't colonized?
Later I pulled out the accordion - which has spent much of the last two days stuffed into the carry-on bins of our various planes - and played a few tunes later this afternoon in the garden at the hotel. It made me feel like I'd arrived. But it gets dark here early, this close to the equator, so it looks like 6 p.m. will have to be my outdoor-accordion wrapup time in this new homeland.
Paul has found a Spanish version of "Bonanza" on TV. It gives Lorne Green more of an edge.