Oddball Conversations in Honduras

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I had met Ron at a dive bar on the island of Utila just the night before and had chatted with him about his life here as an expat. We had had hung out, swapping lies while downing several rum and cokes. Tonight, though, there’s a manic gleam in his eye that hints of more than just a rum buzz and the stories are tumbling forth, each more outlandish than the last.

“Yeah, there’s a lot of food that’s not only healthy, it’s medicinal. Like honey, man. Honey can cure all kinds of things!” he shouts, eager to be heard over the music and drunken laughter of a busy Friday night. “You ever had a sty? You know, in your eye?”

I shake my head no and he leans forward and continues, “Honey will clear that right up. Especially a local, organic honey. Rub that in there… it’s the best thing. Wait! No, the best thing… If you really want to get rid of a sty fast, you know what the best thing is?”

Oddball Conversations in Honduras - Travel HumorI shake my head again, which I’ve been doing a lot tonight. “The best thing to cure a sty is breast milk!” he declares, nodding vigorously in agreement with himself. This time I merely blink, which is kind of a nice change from the constant head-shaking.

“Just last year I had a sty in my right… no, left eye. I was walking down the street here and this local guy about forty years old sees me and waves me over. When he saw my eye, he shouted into the house and sat me down on the porch. He pulled my head back like this and held my eye open.” (Ron helpfully pantomimes all of this so that I don’t lose the narrative.) “His sister –who’d just had a baby– ran out the door, pulled her shirt up and squirted milk in my eye.”

“It was totally healed by the next morning.” He leans back and crosses his arms, nodding once more. I blink again.

“So you’re saying,” I venture slowly, “that a complete stranger held you down while his sister exposed herself and squirted breast milk in your face?”

He leans back and barks a laugh, face screwed up in mock-astonishment. “Well, yeah! You think I’d lie about something like that?!”

 

The German is in his fifties, with wavy grey hair and a lined face that suggests he collects frowns as a hobby. It’s 9:45 in the morning in Copan Ruinas and he’s here at the ViaVia Cafe to catch a 10:00am minivan shuttle that isn’t running today. He’s not happy.

The ViaVia is one of those catch-all places that functions as a hotel, cafe, tour and transport service. They do it all and in my experience, do it well. I’ll later book my shuttle to Antigua with them and be quite pleased with the service.

“Did you make a reservation?” the cafe manager asks.
The German just shakes his head and points for the fifth time to the board with the prices and names painted on it. I haven’t really been paying attention up to this point and am not even sure where he wants to go, so let’s just call his destination “Jerk Town”.

The manager calmly explains. “The shuttle doesn’t stop here if we don’t have any reservations — it’s already gone to the next stop. We didn’t call, so the driver bypassed us. There are no other direct shuttles, so you’ll have to go tomorrow.”

“You advertise a 10:00am shuttle to Jerk Town so you must find me a way. I have to be there today for business. It’s very important!” His arms are crossed, his face flushed, and his chin is thrust out like a mantelpiece. Frown #87 for the day is firmly locked in.

“Ok, ok,” says the manager. “Let me see if we can find something…” He walks off and consults with his assistant, who spreads out several charts and a large map on a desk. After a busy fifteen minutes, he walks back to the German.

Oddball Conversations in Honduras - Travel Humor“It’s possible but it will take some work. You’ll need to take the local bus to Ass Hat — it leaves in ten minutes. Don’t mind the chickens –they’re harmless– but try not to sit next to the goats. They bite.”

“From Ass Hat, you’ll catch the bus to Karma Sucks but have the driver drop you off at the unsigned crossroads twenty miles outside of town so you can catch the bus to Shoulda Planned Ahead as it passes by. It’s usually running late so you should be fine. If you miss it, sleep in a tree for safety then catch the next one tomorrow.”

“From there it’s a straight shot to Jerk Town and you should arrive just after midnight, about an hour after the taxi stand closes. The transvestites will still be up, though, and they can lead you to your hotel.”

The German has closed his eyes about halfway through this discussion and now just sits there unmoving for a good 30 seconds. I’m starting to wonder if he’s dead when he finally speaks up.

“I think I’d like to reserve a ticket for tomorrow.”

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Dean December 1, 2011 at 6:35 am

That’s hilarious. I’ll have to pass on the breast milk tip to a mate of mine who gets styes quite often. :)

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Matt Hope December 1, 2011 at 8:38 am

Ah I caught that shuttle to Antigua but I got off in Guate City. They pulled over on the side of a road and paid a taxi to take me where I needed to go. Cab driver couldn’t find it so I had to walk around by myself with my backpack for like 45 minutes. Awesome time… Should have just gone to Antigua…

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wes December 14, 2011 at 6:42 am

That’s quality service :)

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Lauren December 2, 2011 at 12:54 am

I like how the manager, while “helping” the German, simultaneously sticks it to him.

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Natalie December 3, 2011 at 1:29 pm

TI heard an old wife’s tale that a cold tea bag is best for a sty. Think I will stick with that one rather than the breast milk. Not exactly like they package it and stock it on supermarket shelves!!

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wes December 14, 2011 at 6:42 am

Definitely more convenient…

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Brooke vs. the World December 5, 2011 at 7:03 am

Honey… no, breast milk for a sty?! Ha, I always wonder how people “discover” this stuff.

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wes December 10, 2011 at 4:03 am

Ha! Yeah, I bet there’s one helluva story behind that.

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Doug December 5, 2011 at 9:36 am

Good stuff! Keep ‘em coming.

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Red Hunt December 11, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Great little story, ha ha. I can picture this happening in Copan too. haveto agree that the bus network in Central can get pretty insane if you don’t plan ahead…

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Tim December 11, 2011 at 8:31 pm

wonderful story. thanks

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Rebecca December 27, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Breast milk?! That’s a new one! :-)

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Caz Makepeace January 6, 2012 at 11:50 pm

Being a mother I knew about the breastmilk. Had to squirt it in my baby’s eye to help clear up her gunky eye! Breastmilk is the bomb and has so mnay antibodies! I’m afraid I have none left to bottle up for you Wes!

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wes January 9, 2012 at 9:51 am

OMG, it’s true! Thanks, Caz :)

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