“So, entonces,” Keila said reduntantly, “for the next hour we only speak Spanish.” Austin and I agreed. Keila and Austin continued to chat as we walked downtown in Tegucigalpa, the myriads of fresco colors slowly blending together beside us. “Jon, all of a sudden you’re quiet,” Keila said in Spanish five minutes later. We decided (nonverbally) to dropthe hour of Spanish. It was the first time we had left the house without a purpose, other than to be spontaneous in a given perimeter. Yesterday, Monday, we left the house to go to a public swimming pool so that Samuel y Daniela (Keila’s niece and nephew) could attend their swimming lesson. I decided to run around the track as they swam. I had about an hour to burn and only my Puma slip-ons for support. The track lay at the foot of a mountain, and the eye candy would have been enough to distract me from the pain of running; a distraction is necessary so that I don’t continually ask myself, “What the HELL am I doing?!” as I run. But I still used the ol’ iPhone and I decided to listen to Mew, my soundtrack for running around the campus track in China. For some reason it felt meaningful to run around a track to the same music in China and Honduras. After a few (hundred) laps I spotted Daniela, Austin, and Keila in the stands. Class was cancelled, Austin told me. He pointed to the other side of the track and told me to retrieve Samuel, who, for a six year old, seemed to fit right in with the other runners as he jogged in his blue track jacket. So I sprinted after him, snuck up on him and scared him. Fear is still fun for a six year old; so he couldn’t help laughing as he screamed and tried to escape. Sunday we basically spent just recovering on couches from the previous day, which was a good 24 hours long. Austin and I had woken up at 5 o’clock on Saturday morning at the orphanage in Jalaca and ended the day back in Tegucigalpa, just getting in bed as the sun was rising after a night of dancing (or “grading the cheese” as the locals call it).
Today our goal was to walk around downtown, try snacks, see the church, and return my boxers. We accomplished all but one. We went to a hole-in-the-wall snack joint and ate Tortas, which seemed like a Honduran version of a bbq sandwich, but only in texture and look. The taste was far from it, and delicious. We also drank Horchata, which, thanks to Vampire Weekend, is now an exciting drink to drink. It’s made from a seed called Morro, mixed with cinnamon, water, and sugar. It wasn’t bad, but I’m not sure it’s anything to write a song about. We also saw a beautiful peach colored Catholic Cathedral, where a group of monks were carrying around a glass case containing an embalmed dead body of a priest named Don Brono. A mob followed the the monks, singing songs to him, saying “long live Don Brono!” It was weird. But what was weirder was the traveling performers out front, and the shirtless drunk man who was imitating their breakdancing by laying on the ground and convulsing. After each dance he did what all drunk people do: put his fingers to his lips and shushed everyone. Then we went to a thrift store and randomly found Austin and I’s favorite book, A Severe Mercy, on the shelf, and an obscure MXPX Ep called “Move to Bremerton,” which was quite meaningful to me and Bryce and Mark about 12 years ago.
Then we went to the mall to return my boxers. They were too small, not around the waist, just everywhere else (just so you don’t think I can’t read the waist size number). It was already frustrating to settle on two pairs of army-colored boxers, and even more when they didn’t fit. The security guard directed us to customer service. The woman looked at the receipt, extracted the boxers from my shopping bag, and shook her head at me. Keila translated: “they don’t accept underwear returns.” “Porque?” I tried my cute face, but it bounced off her like bullets off Superman’s S. Begrudgingly, I moped back to the underwear section searching for alternate pairs. I grabbed a few and decided, “I’m going to try these on so I don’t run into the same problem. Fool me once, shame on me; fool me twice… you don’t fool me twice.” I offered the boxers to the sales attendant at the fitting rooms. She looked at me with the same face. This time Austin translated: “you can’t try on underwear.” What is this: Bizarro World? How do I know which boxers fit me if I can’t a) try them on at the store or b) return them when they don’t. The answer is that I might as well just flush money down the toilet and go commando. Granted, most people know their size, but I chose 32 when I bought the army boxers; I wear 32. But take this into account: last year I did an overhaul and totally switched from boxer briefs to boxers, and I’m still relatively new to the neighborhood. I still don’t really know what brands and materials and sizes are best. So, this time around I went with a different sizing system and chose a couple pairs of “L” boxers. I figure too big is better than too small. Thanks a lot, Honduran department store called Marrios! Is it like this in the States? Anyone work at TJ Max and can answer me?
Tomorrow, Austin, Keila, and I go to Nicaragua for a few days. I am a quarter Nicaraguan; don’t let the skin color fool you. Come to find out, my great grandfather’s uncle was the President of Nicaragua from 1925 to 1926: Carlos Jose Solorzano (my mother’s maiden name). Unfortunately, though my Nicaraguan family tree is full of infidelity and illegitimate children, my relatives are all but gone there. I just hope I’ll be able to feel the tie to the land once I get there, right down to my marrow. Hopefully, after my trip, I can “grate the cheese” with a little more hip movement, and a little less head bobbing.
El Presidente Carlos Jose Solorzano. Keila says I have his nose.