Monthly Archives: May 2014

Baleadas

Dear readers,

This morning my mother sent me a famous Honduran recipe that was in the Guardian today. I have talked about them before. I think I even wrote a poem about them. They are similar to burritos (don’t tell Hondurans that) but they are fuller with ingredients and tastier (don’t tell Mexicans that). If you open up a baleada stand in Broad Street, you would be minted and making drunk revellers very content. They’re also a good hangover cure. I think it was published in the Guardian for a football world special with ingredients from around the world. And while Hondurans know they probably won’t win the football world cup, they filmly believe that their baleada recipe should land them with a world champion prize of some sort.

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If you come to Honduras, I recommend you go to La Ceiba to try them. They put a special ingredient up there but I just don’t know what it is. In Tegucugalpa, the best I’ve had are in Dolores market or on the street (hecho con cariño – made with care), a close second is Baleadas de Kennedy, which began as a small cafe/restaurant in the Kennedy area of Tegucigalpa. You should stay away from Baleadas Express and Coco Baleadas. Commercialised baleadas just don’t work in my humble opinion. Anyway, here’s a baleada from Baleadas de Kennedy that I’ve just scoffed.

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Try this at home. I promise that you’ll enjoy it.

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ESPN – SIXTH BLOG ARTICLE

Dear readers,

I am plonking my sixth ESPN article on my blog. I finished at stupid o’clock in the morning while my now former housemate Bruno was having his leaving do in the apartment before he returned to Italy today. It’s a shame he couldn’t stay a fortnight longer so we could watch English rip Italy to pieces together (I know I’m going to be choking with regret on these words in two weeks, but it’s good to ignite a bantering flame).

As for the Catracho game with Turkey, I couldn’t believe my shite luck. Five minutes in, I had a beer in hand, Honduras were looking good, knocking the ball around sweetly, then the power went out. And it stayed out. I needed to see it for my ESPN blog. Nacho and Wilmer were returning with another former housemate Martin. We then went to a nearby petrol station to watch the game and had a beer or four. Whatever happened to Honduras when the lights went out, I don’t know, but the life seemed to have been sucked out of Honduras. They gave away two really daft goals away and could barely string a pass together against a Turkish team that wasn’t playing their select 11 nor made it to the World Cup. It doesn’t bode well. Honduras usually raise their game with better opposition, so I expect them to give England a test. But I expect England to break them down quite easily if Honduras gift goals like the other night.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TEliKRp49Vo

After that, we went to a bar named Tres Tintas where we saw this rather bizarre artwork. Pamela doesn’t like it. I can see why.

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Anyway, here’s a link to the ESPN blog. Enjoy.

http://www.espnfc.com/blog/_/name/honduras/id/54


ESPN – FIFTH ARTICLE

Dear readers,

Not a massive update today. Just to update you with my ESPN column. Luckily I don’t have dengue (touch wood), but the cold has left me with a sore throat as nasty as a Joey Barton tackle. Honduras play Turkey today. World Cup fever is reaching ‘fever pitch’ (excuse the poor pun). England v Honduras a week Saturday. Rooney vs Muma. Nick vs Pam. Nick vs all of Honduras. My last full weekend alive then will be spent at the national park, La Tigra. Be sure that I’ll add a few photos. One of my favourite places in this country (that will lose to England). Enjoy.

http://www.espnfc.com/blog/_/name/honduras/id/49?cc=3888


Maya Angelou/Aaron Gallardo

Dear readers,

I guess you have read that Maya Angelou died today. She had quite an amazing life, it must be said, growing up face to face with racism in St. Louis, being sexually abused by her mother’s boyfriend (who was jailed for just one day, but was murdered just four days after his release), which made her become mute for five years. As a young adult, she had various jobs, ” including fry cook, prostitute, night-club dancer and performer, cast-member of the opera Porgy and Bess, coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and journalist in Egypt and Ghana during the days of decolonization” (taken from Wikipedia) She later became an activist, marched alongside Martin Luther King, published books and poetry, as well as a director. An inspiration for women and the black population all over the world (I know that my cousin Hannah was especially fond of her).

At a quite fantastic 86 years young, she passed away today. I have to admit, I have not read too much of her work, but I am well aware of the book “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.” It is on my bookshelf back in Brum, and I wanted to bring it to Honduras. My stingy luggage allowance wouldn’t allow it. I am sure her book sales will increase by a few million over the next few months. I am including a link from the Guardian website with a few of her most inspiring quotes. I especially like, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you” , “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain” , “Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option” and my favourite, which I try to live by, “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” Here’s a link for you to check out: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/may/28/maya-angelou-in-fifteen-quotes.

My father told me on Sunday of another wonderful Tory decision was to cut American literature from English GCSEs. That means English teenagers won’t be embracing the likes of Arthur Miller, John Steinbeck, Joseph Heller, Ernest Hemingway, Ray Bradbury, Trueman Capote, Charles Buskowski and, last but definitely by no means least, Maya Angelou, in their studies. Some of these authors built my love of literature, inspired me to write myself, writing fantastic books which mark very important events in my own life. There are many other great American authors which have been left off my list. English literature is of course fantastic, with Shakespeare, Orwell, Dickens, Greene, Dahl, just to name a few, but my gosh, leaving English kids will miss out on Maya’s wisdom. And what kind of person would make a decision like this? Oh yes. A bleedin’ Tory. Who else! The man who chose to do this is Michael Gove, who if he prevents Irish literature entering the GCSE syllabus too, kids in England will lose a very important piece of language that describe people just like him, a feckin’ eejit!

Tonight, my housemate Wilmer has his six month old son in the house. His name is Aaron Emilio Gallardo, who is in the below photo with a very pretty young man indeed. He’s a Danli boy, his dad insists he’s a Real Madrid fan through and through, he says Papa and Gol a lot, and he has curly hair.

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I am including a poem by Maya, which is a kind of “going out with the old and coming in with the new” type of poem, without wanting to sound so cold about Maya’s passing, but also look at new horizons as Aaron keeps growing into the little man he is. The poem is a celebration of life. The poem is called Passing Time. I rarely, if ever, include poetry by other people. In fact it’s a first. It’s short. It’s sweet. Enjoy.

Passing Time
Your skin like dawn
Mine like musk

One paints the beginning
of a certain end.

The other, the end of
a sure beginning.


Spit colliding

Dear readers,

It’s the end of the day at work, the clock’s ticking by so slowly that it couldn’t be more irritating, I’ve done loads, I’m waiting for ESPN to sort out two articles I’ve written for them, I was messing around with a pen and ‘post-it’ note, thinking of Pamela, listening to Howard Stern (who I think is hilarious) interviewing Paul McCartney in the background. This is a poem I’ve written. It’s tongue and cheek. Enjoy.

 

Spit Colliding

I love you,

I like to show it with a kiss,

A peck on the cheek or a great slutty snog,

A gulp of spit I can’t miss.

 

I love you,

Your hugs warm me inside,

The thought fills me with emphatic joy,

When our bodies raucously collide.

 


ESPN – FOURTH BLOG ARTICLE

Dear all,

I am currently ill with some sort of virus, which has made every joint of my body extremely achy, given me a bad headache and a nasty sore throat. I have been told by the doctor at work that it is an infection, although the symptoms are very similar to dengue, which is what my housemate Nacho has had recently. His girlfriend Mariela has brought home her pet, Clotty, a three year old terrapin/turtle (I don’t know which, nor do I know her Latin name, but she has a lovely shade of orange) that hides within the plants and eats fruit and chicken all day. Lovely little thing, although she has the claws of a velociraptor. I found out when I picked her up. I don’t know if she’s moody or shy, but she’s the new guest in the house. My housemates asked if I could write a blog about her, but she doesn’t do much and I don’t think she would grab your attention, so I might give Clotty Watch a miss for now.

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Now, for the reason that you might have come to my blog, my fourth article for ESPN.

http://www.espnfc.com/blog/_/name/honduras/id/35?cc=3888


ESPN – THIRD BLOG ARTICLE

Dear readers,

The last week of school. I feel like shards. Shards of a human being. Other teachers feel the same. The kids want to leave. The staff want to leave. Yhe only people who don’t want the kids to leave are the parents. Everyone is shattered, but the end is near, and so are our holidays. I can almost smell Britain. The World Cup too.

I’ve been doing comprehension games with the kids at school. I’ve got the book club to collect books from other students. Over 500 in fact. We’re taking them to a public school in Tegucigalpa named Instituto Nimia Baquedano. It’s not far from Villa Olimpica where I sometimes go running. I’ve already taken the members of the book club. Some of them said they felt it was hostile. Just a tad dramatic in my opinion. It’s a humble place, that’s for sure, and the library needed more books and refurbishing the last time we saw it. The school gets barely any funding, only just enough for maintenence of the building. The last and current cronies in power prefer to rob the money or spend it on trams that will never take place or military even though there is no war (the war on narcos is a very phony one, considering many politicians are in their pockets.

Back to the book club. The students have been making posters and looking at other ways to improve the library. Tomorrow we return to take the books. These are images of the library before.

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I will send you some pictures of the finished product.

I am currently reading Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño, a Chilean, who I believe died not long ago. Talking of book donations, the copy of the book I’m reading was donated to the Dowal School Library by a volunteer named Melissa Crane, who came to Honduras with ICYE a few months before me. We met at a preparation camp in Essex and we bumped into each other in the ICYE office when I first arrived back in January 2011, just before she was going to return home, and gave me some helpful hints that came in handy. I don’t know where she is in life now. I do think it’s beautiful how books can change hands like this, stories holding so much emotion and great characters, being shared at different times by people who have lived experiences in a country so far from our comfort zone. There’s one thing about working in a library, you do end up building ridiculous emotional connections with the oddest of books, feeling how emotionally demanding it is for books being borrowed and used and being away from home so much, so often. Maybe they feel like a whore. Maybe they like the used feeling, being kept off the shelf and collecting dust. Maybe I need real friends.

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The book has been good so far, set Mexico City in the 1970s about a group of young bohemian poets from rich and poor backgrounds who live recklessly, drinking, taking drugs, having sex and messing with other people’s emotions and lives. One day, a poet is murdered, and there are different accounts and experiences with the group and victim from various people. It reminds me of a few characters that I’ve met in Tegucigalpa. I wonder if Melissa thought the same. It’s funny, sexy and muted in tragedy, a very clever style of writing that inspires me. I hope you read it and it inspires you too. It’s 500 pages long. It’s a nice companion. (Note to self: stop making friends with books).

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Anyway, here’s the real reason you came to the blog. The 3rd update to the ESPN Honduras blog. Enjoy.

http://www.espnfc.com/blog/_/name/honduras/id/29?cc=3888