For both Christmas and New Year, I was in Minas de Oro in the Honduras province of Comayagua. It was my first Christmas away from the British Isles and away from family, so going to a village in Central America was always going to be a bit different.
The town is between three and four hours from Tegucigalpa, but it feels a bit more as part of the journey is on dirty roads, which with all the banging from side to side, leaves you with bruises on your head and it gives you an ache in your arse. That’s right, it’s royal arse ache. There were three families in all, 15 people in all, if my maths is right, who came and went in the 10 days we were there, in a nice old home belonging to Pamela’s mother’s family.
It is a campesino town, quite traditional and macho. I remember walking around town with Pamela and the family, getting funny stares from everyone. I felt many hadn’t seen a gringo before, but also, the men felt that I might steal their women away. I wouldn’t call it hostility, but the locals certainly didn’t seem as friendly as people in Pespire or other towns I’ve been to.
It was nice lazing around, doing nothing, exploring and visiting different places, drinking strong egg nog, loads of beer and whiskey, a feeling a slight intoxication, while being fed food, hecho con cariño, which almost translates as, made with love, of Pam’s caring granny, who insists that I call her Mami Mina. I’ve been told not to call her Abuela, granny, because she might chop me open or wrap me into a tamal and feed me to dogs, so I am only to call her Mami Mina.
During the whole time, Pamela’s cousins, Santiago and Moises, as well as her uncle, and her brother, Juanjo, set off fire crackers. I chose not to until the last night because the fuses to these mini little bombs looked too short for comfort. But the last night, New Years Eve, I gave in and started experimenting by putting fire crackers in cans and bottles, as well as tying three or four together to see how much of a bang I could make. I was like a little boy with a new toy and trying to make sure EVERYONE knew about it.
We went on a couple of walks, one which was to see old people play football, and then to a grave yard, strangely. But then on Christmas Eve, men dressed as zombies or creatures from the horror genre, also wearing with bras and pretending to be ladies, with strange hair and make up, parading around town, dancing with the villagers, collecting money and setting off fireworks. Celebrating the dead, or something like it. It’s the type of thing that could only happen here, in Minas de Oro, but I have heard about this fascination with the dead throughout Latin America, especially Honduras.