Monthly Archives: January 2017

Honduran cockerel sent to prison – part three

Dear readers,

“Cockle-doodle-doo,” said the cockerel as it walked free this morning, 48 hours after being imprisoned due to a domestic between two machete wielding neighbours.

Remembering that one human year equals five chicken years, those 48 traumatic hours must have felt a lot longer for the cockerel. However, considering that most feathered animals in captivity are kept in small cages anyway, the cockerel might well have enjoyed his few days in the slammer. Journalists were met with an unsurprisingly blank reaction when asking the former delicious inmate if they could expect a prison diary any time soon, and equally unsurprising was the fact that animal rights groups had very little to say.

It seems the neighbours settled their differences in court, but it seems journalists couldn’t have given a flying baleada about the judge’s decision.

Now, on the outside, the cockerel returns to the every day threat of death from resident hungry possoms, snakes, iguanas, pit bulls, alsations, savage French poodles, and Pollo Norteño (a big poultry business in Honduras). 

Keep your eyes peeled for more ridiculous news happening on these shores.


Honduran cockerel sent to prison – part two

Dear readers,

Following on from yesterday’s post about the cockerel being sent to prison in Trujillo, Colón, the story has been the source of the upmost concern (or mockery) in the Honduran newspapers, being front page news, with headlines such as:

“Cockerel passes second day in jail.”

The case is now a court issue, as they are waiting the owner to pay a fine for “vagancia de animales” – which roughly translates into “not taking due care of animals”. It seems the neighbour who tried to kill the cockerel because it was always trying to climb his trees. The owner also threatened to kill his neighbour on Facebook. It seems that the heat doesn’t turn just cheles slightly coo-coo in this part of the world; Catrachos struggle too.

Sub-inspector in Trujillo, Orlin Sequeira, informed the newspaper La Prensa that the cockerel is being fed corn by his colleagues, and has all the water it needs. It has no name as far as I know, but Luis Osavas from Secretary of Security took time out to commend the police on their decision of imprisoning a cockerel to resolve this domestic dispute. 
Whether the cockerel knows of the trouble it’s caused is another matter. I like to think it does; poultry with a sense of humour. 
We await day three.


Honduran Cockerel sent to prison

Dear readers,

Yes. You read that right. A cockerel has been sent to prison in Trujillo, Colón, in northern Honduras. Yep. Read it again. A cockerel; the national bird of France, was in the nick, the cop-shop, the slammer, the drunk-tank, whatever you want to call it. In the last 12 months, Leicester City has won the Premier League, Donald Trump has become President of the United States of America, Britons have voted to leave the EU (which might still be revoked) and now this. The world really is turning bonkers, like Alice’s Wonderland. Honduras is a country that never ceases to fascinate me, with its own version magic realism that even Gabriel Garcia Marquez wouldn’t have been able to fantom. 

But, here we are, in a country which many label the most dangerous in the world, where hardened criminals get away with murder, and corrupt politicians mix with them or buy condos in Miami, yet police are busy putting feathered creatures in prison, although the cockerel might prefer that to the destiny of ending up on some chump’s plate. This criminal, however, was unavailable to be interviewed and was more interested in plucking flies from mid-air while behind bars. No hunger strikes, no protests of “Libre el gallo“; just bemusement and giggles on social media.

Yes. I am exaggerating and deliberately mocking my adopted country. Cheeky, I know, but mockery is something that Hondurans are particularly experts at. If there was a World Cup in mockery, they would be champions every time. I am a novice in mockery to the average Honduran, so they can take these words with a pinch of salt. The story, of course, has a more to it, although it is still quite amusing.

According to the newspaper La Tribuna, it began with two neighbours fighting about a cockerel that climbed up a tree, and one of the neighbours threatened to kill it. Quite rightly, the owner didn’t like the idea of that, so they threatened the neighbour that if they slayed their cockerel, they would slay him. The heated discussion escalated into the warring parties brandishing machetes, at which point the police were called and put water on the fire by pretty much conviscating the cockerel, which still seems to be in custody. Watch this space, I suppose.

In other bizarre news (the newspapers are literally full of it everyday; I could be here all day if I were to include everything), a national league soccer referee has been arrested. The first thing that probably comes to your mind is probably corruption. Whereas English referees are usually accused of incompetency (remember the ref at Euro 2008 who awarded a player with three yellow cards?) or suffer trauma from Sir Alex Ferguson’s steely glares, and Italian referees are often caught accepting bribes for match-fixing, Honduran referees get caught for extortion. That’s right. Gerson Canales is to appear in court charged with extorting money from people. Who, I don’t know, and whether he is part of a syndicate or works independently isn’t clear, but I’m sure he won’t be refereeing any clasicos any time soon (unless it’s prison football).

That’s all for today, folks!


Nice message

Dear readers,

I don’t like to blow my own trumpet. Not all the time anyway. Bollocks to that, I won’t lie; of course I do. Why not! We live in an age of dirty politics that has divided communities and put everyone on edge. If you won’t give me a pat on the back, I will!

Joking aside, I received a message about my blog a couple of months ago. I’d had a particularly bad day at work and I was feeling miserable. When I got home, I didn’t want to do or say anything to anyone. Just curl up in bed. 

Then I received a very unexpected message about a blog post I wrote nearly six years ago. It seemed to have helped a young soul in the US. It is from an immigration lawyer.

You can imagine how happy this made me feel. So, if Sara is reading this, thank you so much for improving my mood that day.

To readers, maybe a call for action for each and every one of you, if you know someone who has done a good deed, who has made a difference in yours or someone else’s life, let them know. You don’t know just how much they might need to hear it.


Honduras win UNCAF

Dear readers,

What a topsy tervy time it is in the world of politics. With decisions being made on Brexit filling the papers back home, and Trump’s inauguration into the White House everywhere else, as well as the many protests in the streets, not to forget the rise of the “alt.right” (a fancy name for far right groups), it has left very few column inches for anything else. And that “anything else” would be a welcome break because for the vast majority, I think we’re just about politicked out. Worse to come here, 2017 is the year of elections, and with Juan Orlando Hernandez managing to swindle himself into the running (remember, in 2009 former President Mel Zelaya was kicked out for trying to swindle the exact same thing. Politics, as we know, is a dirty game, and an unjust world it is. But from a Brit looking on from a very powerless position from the outside, best to keep my mouth shut and my nose out of it, as no doubt I’ll be impolitely asked to do on social media by folk in desperate need of valium), the coming months will be filled with heated conversations, accusations of corruption and dirty tricks, and maybe a flying glass of water being chucked on live TV (anything’s possible when Marvin Ponce’s around). 

Let’s not get embroiled into politics though. As suggested above, a few more column inches need to be devoted to positive news. In international news, blink and you may very well have missed it, but Honduras was victorious in the UNCAF. The “beg your pardon” I hear you say. The UNCAF, I repeat, or the Copa Centroamericana as it is commonly known. I don’t think I need to translate that, but I will explain a little about it. It is, suffice to say, a football tournament held between seven Central American countries (Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Panama, Belize, Panama, and Guatemala, although Guatemala this year was not included due to a FIFA suspension (what for, I am a little unsure. Corruption maybe. But Honduras can’t talk. A certain Rafael Callejas comes to mind)). It is held every two years, I think, and the top four teams go through to the CONCACAF Gold Cup, held later in 2017. This year it was held in Panama, a country whose football team I love to hate because it plays very, very dull football, lacking any real quality or will to win, but they somehow grind out results against Honduras. I don’t think teams send out their creme-de-la-creme players, from looking at the line ups. However, the Honduran coach Jorge Luis Pinto might have been given food for thought in this tournament. Honduras has got off to a disasterous start to its world cup qualifications (losing at home to Panama), showing little drive or passion. A few swaps might be in order.

Not only did Honduras win, but they won in quite clearly, winning three of their four games, and drawing the other against Costa Rica; a game which the Catrachos largely dominated. Honduran midfielder Jorge Claros was awarded Player of the Tournament and striker Eddie Hernandez finished top goal scorer with three well poached goals. Rubio Castillo, who I think is quite a boy wonder coming through, also caught the eye. The victories were all narrow and maybe Honduras could have put a few more past the likes of Belize and Nicaragua, it is good to see the team coming together after some poor results, barring the Olympics in Rio. This is their fourth Copa Centroamericana victory, and before any Brits back home knock it, they are four cups more than England has won in 50 odd years (Pamela was quick to remind me of that statistic).

So, well done La H!


Body on the road

Dear readers,

We were at a birthday party last night. It was for someone in our couples group that was formed through the Catholic Church. When we go out as a group and we tell people we’re a church group, they sometimes take a step back (or in some cases run off), believing we’re part of a weird cult group, while others are curious and ask questions about what we say and do. For a joke I tell them we sacrifice a child once a month to bring rain. It brings me a somewhat perverse pleasure to see that look on their faces.

If you are curious about what we do say and do, meetings focus very little on religion, and end up with us all in stitches laughing about something completely indifferent to faith or God. We’re just great mates. That’s all you need to know.

The party finished about midnight. The birthday boy has a six month old daughter. To all youth reading this, it is not a myth that when you reach the age of 35+ years, for the large majority of you will not have the energy or desire to remain at parties past the witch’s hour. It really does catch up with you the next day, and when schedules are full and the weekends are short, you suddenly feel the urge to do something constructive with your weekends. Thus, a lesson to you guys, enjoy the fruits of youth while you can.

It was a cold night by Honduras standards, at least it felt like that. I’ve recently passed the six year anniversary since I arrived in Honduras. In this time I’ve laughed at Catrachos dressed in ski jackets and the like as soon as the temperature drops below 15°C. I am now one of them, and no offence meant, a tropical beast.

My friends live not far from the airport. The traffic at certain times of the day is horrendous, which for people in other parts of the city makes it feel like a million miles away. At midnight, however, when driving around with so few other cars (some times a drunken idiot weaves around you now and again, but again, I think this is what the witch’s hour does, as every city has their resident drunk drivers), you get a far better gauge of just how small Tegucigalpa is. 

Then, about 150 metres before the overpass, my wife and I saw some emergency vehicles up ahead. The odd cars still out on the road joined a small line of traffic that now had to squeeze down a lane on a two lane road. Fire engines and ambulances were there. It caught my eye straight away. Not the nights, but more so what the nights were reflecting on. And it was on the tarmac. A white blanket. Covering up a man or woman or child. I couldn’t make out or remember the size. But it was having an impact on me straight away. A sad one, suffice to say.

“I wouldn’t look, babe,” I said to Pamela.

“Why?”

But I didn’t need to reply. By that point we were driving by and she saw the body. We drove on silence. Shock. Even though death on the road happens pretty much every day, it hits you. Death. The white blanket. Too often the white blanket in Honduras is associated with murder. This time I feel it’s too raw and unethical to speculate. I suppose I could pick up a newspaper this morning to find out. I don’t need all the gore though, which the press here will no doubt do. I just remember the people by the side of the road, crying, crouching down, hugging each other, taking stock of this sad life-changing moment that will have an impact for the many years to come. 21st January will always now be an anniversary of tragedy.

We drove on, like I said, in silence. Usually on the overpass, I sing the Star Wars theme tune, as it feels like one is flying over the city while on it. It always brings a smile to Pamela’s face. But no. Silence. Morbid thoughts about this happening to my own loved ones now hit my imagination. Selfish maybe. Only natural, you might say. It’s hard to know what to think.

As we drove off the overpass, back on to the Fuerzas Armadas, I said, rather meekly, “Poor family.”

“Sí,” Pamela replied.

I didn’t ask if she was thinking the same as me. We drove on in more silence, with “life’s too short” thoughts running through my mind. One moment that person is alive, thinking things, going somewhere. Maybe they were excited to see someone. Maybe they were sad about something. Maybe someone was waiting on them. That mind, those thoughts, just disappear. The finality of it all. So sudden.

Then it got me thinking of the recent mood around the world, and how of late I have been fed up of social media. I for one am guilty of using it for saying how frustrated I am of political events that haven’t gone the way I have wanted. But then there are people accusing others of things, damning them for their thoughts, calling them stupid, feeling they have an air of superiority which they have no right to.

I’m not telling people not to protest, nor am I telling people to stop believing in what they do. I suppose, rather naively you may think, I’m asking you to think about value of your anger. If you don’t like Trump, maybe ask why people felt the need to vote for him. If you don’t like immigrants, maybe ask why they felt the need to flee their homeland, leave friends and family behind. Abuse isn’t worth it.

After all, it could all be gone tomorrow. To the body on the road, Rest In Peace.