|A typical lunch: arroz blanco, pollo gisado, guandole gisado con jama, Coca-Cola|
My state of mind in the last three days has alternated between varying levels of acceptance and disbelief. While I am no stranger to some of the sights and sounds of Latin America's developing countries, the comparisons between my past experiences and this overwhelm me in scale and degree. Whereas there were roosters in Honduras, there are as many roosters here times three. If the hour at which they crow is early, their calls are twice as early here. If in Guatemala the stereos and engines of cars and loudspeakers of vendors were loud, here they shake the walls.
Scarcely an acre in each block of my barrio is free of asphalt, cement, cinderblock structures, enormous mango trees. On every block there is a building whose walls announce in foot-high neon-colored lettering that it is a banca, a kind of gambling establishment. Another Oregonian could not be blamed for mistaking the noise outside my window on this Saturday afternoon for a parade, fair, or rodeo, complete with booming music, announcer's voice, and the chatter of crowds, both on television and in person. The illusion is only broken by the occaisional table saw, jackhammer, or bomba (motor for pumping water into a rooftop reservoir).
|My enormous bed with mosquito net. I heard through the grapevine that this room usually belongs to the don and doña.|