Monthly Archives: November 2012

Modelling (born to do it) and the first round of elections

Hi all

Even though they took place a couple of weeks ago, the preliminary elections took place here. To be honest, you can’t tell one thief from the next. Like you never know who’s going to mug you at any one time. It happens, and most likely, the criminal will get away with it. THAT’S HONDURAN POLITICS!! And politics in the UK, no doubt. It was interesting talking to different people. There were nerves in the air. The people in richer communities were nervous about the Libre party getting in and poorer people, well, just want a change. There were scams taking place, candidates paying off voters and ID passes being found which were going to be used for voting (all you need is a valid Honduran ID to vote). The National party, which comes across to me personally as a bit mafia like, were going to use all these lost IDs to win votes. There were in their tens of thousands if I remember right. I think the worst thing was the alcohol ban. What a load of shite! Bollocks to it. If a foreigner wants to drink beer, let them. Keep the ban to Hondurans. Dry weekend for voting. Pathetic. Absolutely astonishingly pathetic.

The day bef0re the voting took place, I got to do some modelling at UNITEC for Pam’s photography course. It was to do with different shades of light. I wasn’t taking much notice, just doing what I do best and look pretty. One picture was based on a photo of Erol Flynn. There’s an image of him with a pipe. We couldn’t find a pipe but we could find ciggies, which I had three during the shoot (I’m a model. I’m allowed to be pretentious and use professional lingo like that now.) The other one was based on a photo of a famous actor in the Western film genre. His surname was Rogers. I haven’t done the research and I’m not going to, so look for him yourself. My brother thinks I look more like Broke Back Mountain. Cheeky sod. The thing I liked was sitting there, doing nothing, but being thanked for it. I should have that everyday. But get paid for it.

Here are some photos anyway.

By Frank Morazan

By Frank Morazan

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By Pamela Cruz Lozano

By Pamela Cruz Lozano

By Pamela Cruz Lozano

By the way, I had to finish last weeks update prematurely to go and watch Motagua, a game they drew with Victoria from La Ceiba. The game was dull but important as it was the semi-final of the cup. First leg at home. It finished 1-1. Danny and myself didn’t even notice that Motagua were down to 10 men most of the game. And their best player got injured. Like watching the Blues really, except at least Motagua get a draw.

I have just finished reading Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski. It’s entertaining. He has a lively style of writing which makes me laugh. It has booze, sex, drugs, violence, bad language. All the good stuff then. Better than Fifty Shades of Grey no doubt. The British can boast many great authors, such as Orwell, Huxley, Dickens, Shakespeare, but how come Fifty Shades of Porn has hit the shelves – in sodding Honduras?? I’ll tell you why. It’s because women are perverts. That’s why. Filthy tarts.

For classes, I have been getting students to listen to Desert Island Discs and write/talk about 10 important life changing songs in their life, why they like the songs, etc. One of my students Mario (he’s great: he studies and works hard!) picked a song by Ladyhawke, who my good mate Tom Purvay plays for, called My Delirium. I saw them play in Wolverhampton once, supporting Ting Tings, who I thought were shit by the way (Ting Tings, that is). So I thought I would include the song. Here you go.

Mario also included another song that I like a lot, which is Star Guitar. It’s a beautiful soothing dance track with a nice simple video on a train. I have included a remake of the video. I’ve been feeling homesick of late, but this song makes me feel right at home, on the train going up to the city centre or down to London. There are no words, but it makes me feel emotional. Enjoy.

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Elvis

Dear all

Up to last week, I had a taxi driver to take me to work, named Elvis. He was a jolly fellow and I enjoyed chatting with him and formed something of a good friendship with him. I met him by chance and put my faith in him, which you have to do with all taxi drivers here to be fair. Yep. Elvis never really died at all. He just had a career change, became a taxi driver and went to live in Colonia Kennedy in Tegucigalpa. Where Mr E Presley left Earth getting a bit over weight, Elvis Martinez has kind of carried on the high carbohydrate diet in quiet a religious way. He would boast about buying slabs of meat and told me where I could sample the best gringas in town (by gringa I mean a yummy tortilla dish; not female North American prostitutes, in case you’re wondering). He was a devout Christian, Evangelical to be even more precise, and I noted his Bible in the side door of his car every time I entered. And every time I phoned him, his ring tone would tell me that I’m blessed by God and He is always with me. On some of the journeys, he would talk about how we are all administrators to God and the days he went to church. Like with the children at Casa Alianza, I always knew in a conversation about religion, they would turn to me hopefully and ask, “Nick, crees en Dios?” (Nick, do you believe in God?) at which I always felt a bit awkward. I once said that “I don’t know” but I got the 3rd degree about my doubts in the Almighty (they grab them young here!). I asked how they could believe in a God who has left Honduras on its knees. They always said it was humans who did that (and the yanks).

star_01

Enough about that. Anyway, one morning he put the song on a bit louder than was necessary and had a wide smile on his face. It was 6.45 in the morning. No one deserves that in the morning. And I could feel the question coming. It felt like the Jaws theme. And it came out. To save the trouble, I just said Catholic. If I had said Protestant, he would have asked me to come to his church, which he did anyway, but I said my parents would be upset because they are strict Catholics, which they are not by the way. Apart from Celtic and my girlfriend (who IS Catholic), I don’t really have much faith in the faith. I don’t particularly like the Pope, the Bible doesn’t really interest me and I think the best thing about the church is sitting down, having a peaceful nap and talking to my own God (Noel Gallagher)…..Back to Elvis, he looked a bit gutted. But I think he got the message. So there you have it. Catholicism is good for something: Actually getting out of going to church. How about that! The irony of it all. If I’d said I was atheist though, I think he would have put a gun to my head.

He would beep his horn loudly for a laugh to wake people up, and laugh at what I had to say. He kept telling me that I shop at Dispensa Familia, which is a cheap supermarket in Kennedy, supposedly. I would remind him that I had a perfectly good pulperia to buy my essentials and it wouldn’t mean me getting a taxi and being charged. He looked a bit disappointed. But I think the funniest thing he told me to do was write to the radio/tv show, Habla Como Habla, to be a journalist. I had no idea what this show was, so I asked Pamela, who had a horrified face. It is apparently a station where many people from, Libre party mainly, phone in to complain about whatever. Pam hates it. I now blackmail her by saying  if she doesn’t do what I want, I’m going to get a job there and talk about her on-air. But seriously, when I told her, her face was priceless.

Another time, he wanted me to give him an English pound coin. I only had one left and I didn’t want to part with it for sentimental reasons. So I gave him a 2 pence piece. The pound I keep safe.

Elvis was my taxi driver for about four weeks. But the more we became friends, the more his punctuality began to slip and I felt that he was taking me for a ride (excuse the pun). Some people were telling me that I should expect that from Latin American taxi drivers, especially those in Tegucigalpa with the traffic. But fuck it, if you have to rely on them, you need them to be there when they said. I would call him to come about 6:15, he would come at 6:30. I would tell him to come at 6:30, he would come at 6:45. I would tell him to come at 6:00, he would come at 6:45 still. There was no logic to his pattern. I would call him, he would say he was nearly there. So nearly there. I did my best to give him benefit of the doubt and say it was the traffic, but it became too frequent and being on time for classes was dicey. I then had to accept that he was prioritising other clients over me, which is fine, after all, it’s his job and he has to make as much money as he can, but he wouldn’t call me to say he was running late. Sometimes he would say that he was so nearly there and just to hold on, and then call, 20 minutes before a class, to say he couldn’t make it. The funny thing was, he would apologise on the next taxi journey, or if he was very late, by buying me a fruit juice. And being a fool, I fell for it. But then he would be very late the next day and leave me foaming at the mouth. Mr Nice Guy gets shat on again. Other times, I would tell him not to pick me up at the normal meeting time of, for example 1:30, but come a bit later. I don’t know if was out of pure cheek, but he decided to turn up on the dot at that time. Another time he said he forgot that he had to pick me up at 1:30. Other times he would be 20 minutes late but come by with other passengers, doing both rides at the same time. I told him that, environmentally, it’s a great. Customer service wise, he’s taking the piss. When I offered to pay him 13 lempiras, the price of a collectivo, the smile soon fell away from his mouth.

But then last Thursday, I finally had enough. I had to get to work for 7. I called him 6:35, he should have been there 6:30, only for him to say he was asleep. There was no apology, just advice that I should catch another taxi and that I should call him later to collect me. He had no intention to call me to say he wasn’t coming. He had no care in the world if I was late. His punctuality was shite. Dog shite. I knew then that I would never see him again. I knew I would never call him. I felt betrayed, cheated on. My love affair with Elvis had ended. The cheeky sod still had the balls to send me a message on Sunday night, the usual time I called him to confirm that he should pick me up the next morning, to see if he could still pick me up. I responded with a white lie that I had a free lift to work and that I would call him only if I needed him.

I have a new taxi driver now. He’s Christian too. He likes he’s Christian songs in the morning, he likes his Partido Libre and he smiles a lot. The main differences are he talks a whole lot less but he’s on time. Oh yeah, he also eats less.

Even though I think he took the piss quite a bit, I do kind of miss him. I feel I let him take the piss because I quite enjoyed the taxi rides with him. He made me laugh. But anyway, it’s over.

That was my experience with Elvis, the Tegucigalpa taxi driver. Here, I dedicate this song to him. Of course, it can only be, the man he was carnated from.

 


A month with no updates – lo siento

Hello all

I must say, I have been a been quiet on the blogging front. This is mainly because I have been working my chele arse off doing class plans. I said about a month ago that I am working at Academia Europea. It’s not my dream job, and in my opinion, the money is shite, but as many people have pointed out, I get paid more than many thousands of Hondurans, so I can’t complain too much. 12o lemps an hour is about £4. The minus point is that, like all English teaching jobs, I don’t get paid for the planning time. It’s been taking hours to do, mainly because I haven’t taught in a while, but also, some of my students are the most idle I have ever witnessed (saying that, I was even more idle than they were at school, so I can’t slate them too much), and they expect to come to class, without doing the homework, without revising, and expect to learn. It’s frustrating at times. It’s not all the students though, I must say. I have my favourites. I know I should be professional, but I don’t want to be. The ones who try, I’m more arsed about. Motivation to the ones who aren’t? If you pay a shit load of money to come to class but can’t be arsed to study, there is something twisted in your logic. It’s not my fault. Some of the students have had poor teaching in the past – one of the reasons for poor motivation. I am teaching an advanced class but they two of the students are still lower intermediate in my opinion. They are missing huge chunks of grammar, and I have to concentrate on newer things and push them forward with the programme. I’m not allowed to go back and reteach things. It’s hard work.

Another reason it takes so long doing class plans is that the students have a newer edition of the grammar text book. When doing activities, especially reading exercises, we aren’t always working from the same hymn sheet, so to speak. The school say they are waiting on new text books for the teachers. But myself?

I’m not too sure how true this is. The funny thing about the text book is that it is American, with topics that promote Americanism. The theme of the chapter I have just taught were the American elections (the Bush/Al Gore election though!!), so it has tied in well with the recent elections. Which brings me to the next part. My co-ordinator is great. Marie. She’s from the California but has lived in Hawaii (I have spelt that wrong, I think). She has been in banking for many years and is in her late 50s. She is fun and has a great character. She is in the process of making Academia Europea good because it has spent a long time being not very good. She fired lots of teachers who weren’t turning up or nearly 30 mins late for class! Teachers that is! Not students! She saw my CV, saw that I had the CELTA, then gave me a class the next day. There are a nice crowd of teachers, such as Mario, who has very loud and boisterious way of teaching. He is the eternal optimist, although he thinks saving Honduras from it’s problems is to drop a big bomb on the place. In my darkest moments, I can feel the same. His girlfriend Laura is from Oxford and is not like him at all: opposites match!  Frank is another great teacher. Funnily enough, I went to a rave with him about a year and a half ago at Pulphanzak and he drove. He’s a great guy who is intelligent, well read and fantastic to chat with.

Back to Marie though. She is changing the school. One of the problems has been mass disorganisation. Teachers were not able to do photocopying in school (one of the worst rules ever for teachers, ever. Ever. Ever). She is changing things like that, making sure people work in tandem. But even greater, is her dislike for Republicans. She hates them, which made it hilarious when talking about Romney and Ryan. I must say, if Americans had voted them in, I would have regarded yanks as stupid forever. Having voted for Bush junior twice, I lost a lot of respect for Americans as a whole. It’s a bit difficult for me to comment on, considering I have only stayed a day max in the USA, so I don’t know the feelings of yanks and the atmosphere with all the propaganda and media involved. It’s just my feeling on it.

It’s kind of taking up all my time so looking for other work has been infrequent. Like back home, there are very few job openings before xmas, so I have been told. I had a job interview with Global Brigades. It might have been a nice role, but they seem to have created a new rule about not being able to pay non-North Americans, even though they have employed a Spanish lad and my great Irish mate Hazel. It seems like a really shite excuse for not employing someone myself. I’d rather know the truth if I was bad interviewee or if I wasn’t the person they were looking for. I might be wrong.

Talking of Hazel, she is returning to Eire. I’m sad that she is leaving. She is a sister to me here. A really good friend. Her sister is having a “nipper” so, from a voice of experience of having a brilliant niece and nephew, it’s a fantastic new chapter in Hazel’s life.

It was my birthday earlier this week. It was spent sweetly with my beautiful girlfriend Pamela, and I have two wicked new pairs trainers, lots of money and a Union Jack flag cake.

I will be including information about my book, a taxi driver called Elvis and other things soon.

I have to pick up my pace. I’m off to see Motagua with another English friend right now.

I hope all is well back home.