Thursday, September 20, 2012

Food

I love to eat my way through new places. Luckily for me, the food in Honduras was awesome. 

Here are some things I enjoyed while there...

Papusas filled with meat and cheese and a cold local beer


Honduran grown coffee


Seafood Soup with Crab and Conch


Pastelitos de Perro (nah, there's cow in there. I think)


Buckets of Chismol (kinda like pico de gallo)


Big Mac with Cheese  - American chains are big in Honduras


Typical plate with sausage, avocado, and fried plantains


Frozen fruit juices made into Popsicles 


Fajitas with pickled veggies


Lots of fresh juices (some with a little kick in them)


Micheladas for the morning after


Crazy fruit bought from the side of the road with marshmallow insides


Other crazy fruit with eyeball insides


About 150 tortillas later, I loved the food! YUM!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Home again, home again

I am home! A whole week earlier than I expected!

 So happy that we were safe and productive, and even on the tougher days we always laughed a crazy amount. Couldn't have done it without these peeps, my team, my partners-in-crime, my research assistants, my bodyguards...


We ended up on a Caribbean island and with a few Monkey Lalas (the perfectly ridiculous drink in our hands), so no complaints there.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Born, Again



On Wednesday I saw a baby being born.

The image has stuck with me, but not for the reasons you may think - not for all the gory, gooey, gross reasons.

But instead because I was blown away by the simplicity of the scene, by how understated it was in this particular setting. And that is one word I never thought I would use to describe child birth, the act of adding another squirming, needy, human being to live temporarily on this planet - simple.

We were surveying the labor and delivery ward at a very large public hospital. This means looking at each piece of medical equipment up close and personal, including those attached to patients who are getting up close and personal with their doctors.

The delivery room was a wide open area with a big sign above the entrance reading "expulsivo", the perfect Spanish name for delivery. In the room, a dozen delivery beds were placed next to each other so close that if the women wanted to, they could have reached out and grabbed their neighbor's hand for support. In front of each woman sat a single nurse.

The whole operation had an assembly line sense about it, each woman lined up and ready to go, the nurse ready to catch and clean, the moans from the laboring room next door from moms waiting their turn. The nurses were so calm to the point where they looked bored, as if they could have been working on the floor of any factory in the world, waiting for the next jar of pickles or box of crayons to come their way for inspection.

And out the babies came. I was failing miserably at ignoring the women. Here I was in the presence of a new life arriving. Where was the hoopla? Where were the crying soon-to-be-grandmas? The overwhelmed husbands? The video-camera wielding sisters? The monitors and the doctors and the birthing coaches? Here is the MIRACLE OF LIFE people! Show some respect (or at least bring a balloon!)!

Instead, these women, like women for thousands and thousands of years, summoned a uniquely feminine strength from inside themselves, narrowed their eyebrows in intense focus, and pushed.

Bam. Baby. Simple.

It was there that I added to my list of universal human traits - the sublimely proud look of a mother holding her baby for the very. first. time.

__________
And now a Caribbean beach shout out to the one who did all of that for me ....

Sunday, September 9, 2012

This Weekend

I had an adventurous weekend really starting on Thursday.

On Thursday while at Applebee's in a smaller city, there was karaoke (yes, at Applebee's. both big american chains and karaoke are big here). We spent twenty minutes trying to convince our sober selves to sing, and when we finally did, the DJ played this video instead of the kareoke words and we were left to giggle and lipsync while the Honduran diners looked on at the gringos.

 


On Friday, Justin and I walked to the end of an old shipping pier. After waiting for a while to see if people would go away so that I could more comfortably strip down into my swim suit and then realizing they were going no where, I jumped off this pier into the warm caribbean sea just to swim around long enough to both draw a crowd and for the tide to go out just enough so that I was entirely unsuccessful at pulling myself up onto the small landing with the ladder to go back onto the pier. Even after several attempts by Justin and no help at all from the three 15 year old local who circled like sharks and cackled at me. As the crowd grew larger to see the white girl attempt to flop and flip onto the platform a foot and a half above my head, I decided that swimming for shore was a better option. Justin swam with me (as he says to me, this is exactly what I want to be doing after a few beers), along with the teen boys who I am sure were just so amused and just so incredulous that we would make it to shore. We did. And then did the walk of shame back down the pier (this time with just our bathing suits) to collect our clothes and shoes. I have the biggest bruises to show my efforts, and a bit of hurt pride too. But the swim was worth it.
On Saturday we took a tour of the jungle by boat. The walk through the jungle part was a bust because we had to sprint through thick patches of mosquitoes to get from one beach to the next and didn't get a chance to look for the animals like we had hoped. The beach parts however were just dreamy. Lagoons once used by pirates and clear blue water and a long boat ride, followed by fresh seafood soup for lunch. Heaven, really. We had lunch at a Garifuna village, where one drunk man told me "I have three things to tell you. One, you are nice and friendly, two, you are beautiful, and three you can stay here with me in my village if you want." I told him I would take the first two.


We love the beach!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

I capture the Ruins


Yesterday we went to the Mayan ruins of Copan.

I managed to not be a human sacrifice! Success! If I were a human sacrifice, my head would rest on this stone. See where the blood would drip to the ground? (Eeeeewww).


Turns out that the Mayans played a team sport kind of like soccer (only using their shoulders, knees and hips instead of heads and feet) in this field shown here. The goal was to hit the ball so that it touched the big statues on the top of the angled part. So, really, its Mayan skeeball. The captain of the winning team was then sacrificed. This was an honor because the person went to live in heaven with the gods and their family was taken care of back on Earth.


I love going to places that used to be homes to ancient civilization. Isn't it crazy to think that they could not imagine my presence there 1500 years later? That I arrived here by jet, then by car? That I was wearing plastic sunglasses from a place called Target? That Justin was one his cell phone talking with his friends at home about his fantasy football team?

Then I start to think about who will be tromping around my back yard in 1500 years and what their life will be like. Will there be aliens? Will we live in apartments in the sky? Will there still be polar bears? Will we still love cheeseburgers?

My favorite part was seeing the Macaws, the big colorful rainbow birds. They remind me of giraffes, in their impossibility. Giraffes are impossibly shaped, Macaws are impossibly colorful.



All over the ruins there are trees that have grown on top of the temples, and intertwined their roots among the centuries old stones, a physical representation of the movement of one era to another. 





What a day! I am happy for the time to ponder things abstract and far away,
 and time to nap and drink free cocktails.
 But tomorrow, back to work. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Shawnty's Dementia


While on the road, it is difficult to work out or get in much exercise, besides walking through hospitals all day. 

So I brought with me workout DVDs called Insanity, lead by this guy. Shaun T. Or as Rony puts it, Shawnty. (Sorry ladies, it looks like that's a wedding ring in this picture)


Insanity is kind of like P90X, but you don't need a pull-up bar so its a bit more travel friendly. It is rough and a great way to get sweaty in a hurry. 

As a team, we have been doing the Insanity workouts together. Or as Insanity translates into in Spanish, 

Dementia.

Which seems more appropriate because I often forget why I agreed to start the workout 
about two minutes in.

Maybe it was to beat Rony at arm-wrestling one day.