16MR08 – IKEA?

To market, to market to buy a fat pig;
Home again, home again, jiggety-jig.
To market, to market, to buy a fat hog;
Home again, home again, jiggety-jog.

To market, to market, to buy a plum cake;
Home again, home again, market is late.
To market, to market, to buy a plum bun;
Home again, home again, market is done.

To market, to market, a gallop a trot,
To buy some meat to put in the pot;
Three pence a quarter, a groat a side,
If it hadn't been killed it must have died

Time to go to IKEA and get all those little things I need to set up my new apartment. Rita and Puran arrived at 8:30 am and cooed over what a nice apartment I had, and what a luxury my wardrobe was, and how nice that the entire place is tiled in nice terra cotta coloured ceramic.

We went to the market in Rita’s nice big 4x4 truck (just joking about the IKEA, I’m sure there isn’t one for a thousand miles). 4x4’s are popular here, most people that are well enough off have one. We first had to pick up Rita’s mother-in-law and sister-in-law. The boys sat in the back. Aodhan was incensed about having to sit where the windows won’t open in the car and decided to choose that moment to have an Aodhan moment. After I physically shoved him in the back while whispering evil threats, I noticed that he had stepped in a piece of dog crap before getting in the car. This was now lovingly smeared on the creamy upholstery of Rita’s car right where her elderly mother-in-law in her pretty floral print skirt was about to sit. I managed to get most of it wiped up with wet wipes before she sat down. If anyone noticed me, they were polite and didn’t let on. We dropped off Rita’s sister-in-law at the clinic where she works, and took her mother to the market. We parked in the grocery parking lot, which costs 50L if you are not shopping at the store. We went through the store and into the market. This was definitely not IKEA. Everyone was selling vegetables and beans and so many other items. There was clothing and tools and restaurants etc. The market was narrow and crowded – and huge. Tiny streets with cars and even taxis and busses honking and pushing their way through the crowds of people, narrow aisles in buildings with so many stalls, and people trying to get through with long narrow carts full of produce. Stray dogs worked the aisles like cleaning staff, tidying up spills and I never saw one try to grab a piece of meat from a vendor. The stray dogs are not wild, they are like homeless people. They are unpredictable, and can fight with one another, but are generally quite docile, just looking in the garbage for a snack. I was able to find most of the things I needed – I have no idea how much I spent – 20L for a cauliflower, 120L for some dishes. Rita’s mother-in-law kept wandering off, and Rita had to keep one eye on us and one on her. She had to leave us with the bags a couple of times to find her! I bought a few things on my own, and Rita helped me with lots of it. Aodhan found the pigs heads fascinating. I just tried to keep an eye on Rita and Puran, as I have no idea how to get home. We bought the last few things at the grocery store, and Rita drove me right to my apartment. I asked Rita how to tell a taxi driver my address and she came up blank. People don’t use addresses here, just landmarks and apparently I don’t live near any… Maybe I could tell him about the yellow house on the corner? Well anyway, tell him to take me to Bank Atlanide and then go two more streets, turn left, go two blocks and turn right at the yellow house – but be careful because they get right and left mixed up – even the police tend to get mixed up with right and left. No one here has ever seen a map and they don’t know the names of the streets. I showed my homestay lady a map when I arrived and asked where we were and she stared at me blankly like I had just shown her a page of complex chemical formulas. She showed her teenage son and he turned the map around six times and looked out the door and shook his head. I think he realized that the little lines on the page corresponded to streets, but you could see he was not sure if this was a map of Comayagua or Toronto or Timbuktu, and he had no idea even of the name of the street he had lived on his whole life.

Puran came back at 3pm and took me over to the Jumbo (pronounced Joombo) It is about 4-5 blocks away – no problem to go get my regular groceries and is quite a well stocked little grocery store. I still haven’t found a pump for my giant water bottle. Everyone uses the big blue water bottles that go in a water cooler. Some people have a big metal frame with a rotisserie thing on it that holds the big bottle and lets you tip it to pour it. Other people have a pump that lets you pump the water from the bottle. Punam tried to ask the store person to help me find hangers – he said they didn’t have any. I could see from years of dealing with international students that he hadn’t got it, so I took out my little book and drew a hanger. His face lit up and he took us right over. I guess the students have taught me more than I realize. Punam took me back to her apartment which is attached to Rita’s house. Punam had some extra cotton sheets and a couple of pillows that she gave me. Rita lives on a really nice little street. All the houses are painted green or yellow or white etc. They all have beautiful wrought iron fences and beautifully manicured bushes etc. Quite a few have armed guards patrolling their front walk. I live a few blocks away down a dirt road. It is a little compound with about a dozen tiny one story “townhouse apartments”. I have met two of the families here. Amber is quite young (maybe about 24) and grew up in Florida. Her mother is Honduran, so they visited here regularly. She married a Honduran man 7 months ago, and they have no intentions of leaving Honduras. She said life in Florida was so stressful, nothing but bills and anxieties. Everything here is so much more relaxed. The other family has a little boy about 6 years old. Aodhan brought out his bag of cars and now they are great friends. The family doesn’t speak English. The father of the boy is always carrying their baby (about 6 months old) around on their porch. He is really nice and opened a can for me when I realized I had no opener. The baby’s name seems to be Manuel Diablo? I think I will stay with my little apartment instead of moving to Rita’s other apartment, and I know I will miss it when I leave.

We made our way home and cooked our first supper on our little two burner hotplate on the floor. We had beef with onions, green peppers, tomatoes, green beans and black beans spiced with garlic, salt and especias (which is a popular mixture of cumin, black pepper and salt). Ciaran and I cooked it together, which took quite a while because the little burners aren’t so hot … literally. Aodhan relaxed in our little courtyard on two white plastic lawn chairs, beside the lovely hedge with purple flowers, under our palm tree, and drew a beautiful picture of Comayagua, and showed me his beat up little school bus and told me that now he knew that this was a Comayagua bus, not a Toronto school bus.

The polyester sheets make lovely curtains.