Living in Honduras or Guatemala as a foreigner is sometimes hard, mostly fun and never boring. This Blog is about more than just the oddities of my years in the not-so tranquil, cobble-stoned town of Copán Ruinas and, more recently, Antigua Guatemala. Hence Serendipity, the gift of finding without seeking…
The months of April and May linger towards
the beginning of the rainy season, and are not my favourites. I prefer the temperature
of June, the morning mists of November, the clear blue sky of December, even
the crispy chill of January. But towards the end of April, the mountains turn
yellow, the roads dusty and the sky a nasty grey-yellow, charged with ashes
from slash-and-burn all through the valley. While the temperature rises and the
air gets drier every day, another nuisance appears: ticks! The tiny brown-red
bastards love my dog and me even
more! And in spite of the expensive Frontline and cheap home remedies such as a
few drops of oil in the neck, I’m picking ticks off my dog every day. Yuck!
This year, my not-so-favourite-months had another
surprise in store. On April 22 my dog turned 10. Pretty old for a medium sized
black lab. So I was quite surprised when not a week later, my dog, Luca, turned
out to be in the heat! Visions of Luca’s last heat entered my mind, my house
barricaded but nonetheless besieged and peed on by an army of male, horny dogs.
Not he prettiest ones either!
Now, Luca has been spayed when she was
about a year old, so she can’t have puppies., Unfortunately, the vet at the
time didn’t do a hysterectomy, just “tied her tubes”, so all these years, until
2010, Luca has been in the heat once or twice a year, or, if lucky and I caught
it on time, I’d give her a shot to prevent the heat from developing any
This time, our friend the vet from Guatemala happened
to be in town, so I asked him whether I should inject her again. He said I
shouldn’t. At Luca’s age, the symptoms would be barely noticeable.
That was the understatement of the century.
Luca was as HOT as never before. But she could wiggle her butt or lift her tail
all she wanted, most canine candidates were not interested in her. At least,
not the big ones, I had already noticed that smaller dogs, of the lapdog
variety, were very much into her. And since lapdogs are a bit of a trend in
Copán, there’re unfortunately plenty around. They would follow us on our long
hikes and I would even feel sorry for the animals and their short legs, and
afraid they might get run over. That was then.
About a week later, I was about to strangle
them. Two in specific. Tiny little monsters with a terrific sense of smell that made my life a living hell. I
couldn’t go out with Luca anymore, because she got jumped upon the minute we
set a foot on the street. Not very handy when your dog is trained not to do her necessities on the patio. At
night I couldn’t sleep, because the dogs were outside my neighbour’s door, whose
patio borders mine, wailing all night and scratching the door. The second
night, one of dogs learned how to push open the wooden door, through the iron
gate that protects it! One night later and the dog, by that time skinnier, I guess,
because of days without food, fit through the gate and started his hammock on
my neighbour’s patio. He scratched his way halfway through the wooden partition
that divided the patios and terrorized my cats. He would bite my neighbour
whenever she tried to kick him out and couldn’t care less if I threw a bucket
of water on him, about four times every night. In the meantime, Luca wouldn’t
eat, sleep, pee or poo, she was just on the alert 24hrs a day, constantly tried to rape my cats and wanted to be
cuddled a lot. Especially near her tail. Right.
After a week I was sleep deprived,
frustrated, cranky, on the edge and hallucinating with cruel visions of all
sorts of lapdog torture. Of torturing their owners too, who don’t care where
their dogs hang out, or vaccinate or neuter them.
Heat and more heat and ticks, what a hell!
And then, all of a sudden it was over. Yesterday
was the first day the tiny furry ogres where no where to seen. Today it started
to rain and the temperature dropped noticeably.
Even the milk company is cashing in on Mother's Day
Honduras is turning red. There’s nothing bloody or
political about it, it’s Mother’s Day Frenzy. Stores exhibit special displays overloaded
with kitchen supplies, frolic but trivial thingies, and artificial roses in all
colours and sizes, red being the predominant colour. The local warehouse stays
open late, hoping to catch last minute buyers with deafening music and a 30%
discount. The park is filled with women selling flowers while evangelists are
preparing an on-stage and very loud tribute to mothers and Jesus. Kids haven’t
received any classes the last few days, being too busy making Mother’s Day
gifts, memorizing Mother’s day poems, dancing Mother’s Day dances and singing
Mother’s Day songs. Restaurants have special offers for Mamá and there’s not a single business in town that hasn’t paid the
cable company to put a cheesy ad on TV, wishing Mamá a Felíz Día de la Madre.
high, tomorrow is the day.
Kids will happily
give their handmade flower vase or foam picture frame to Mamá, before starting to whine for breakfast. Husbands will take Mamá out for lunch or dinner and will
feel proud and good about themselves for the rest of the year, being such considerate
and sensitive husbands.
morning, everything is back to normal, except for some withering roses in hand
painted flower vases.
I think every
Sunday should me Mother’s Day in Honduras. Maybe without the loud
music and tacky presents, but a weekly break fore Mamá from all her duties and responsibilities, yes.
If any one
deserves it, it’s the Honduran Mother.
I think Mothers
rock all over the planet, but I happen to live in Honduras and I know for a fact that
this country wouldn’t be what it is without the mothers. Women know very well
is an unambiguously matriarchal society, even if that’s
something men don’t seem to realize or simply ignore. Seriously, all of Honduras’
main problems (corruption, violence narcotrafficking, abuse of power, waste of
natural resources): caused by men.
In the meantime, the women, whether abandoned
by their husband or not, keep on taking care of their kids, making somehow
three meals a day, doing laundry and cleaning the house, often with a fulltime
job on the side. If tomorrow mysteriously all women would disappear in thin
air, this country would fall on its butt and would never be able to stand up
again. However, if all men would disappear… Now, that would
So, here’s to all
you strong, beautiful, terrific Honduran mothers. Have a great day tomorrow! You women make the world go
Oh, and now we’re
at it…. Can you please teach your kids not to throw trash on the street? And
can you raise your sons to be just a tiny bit less macho???