Thursday, February 25, 2010

I Want to Go Home - Atleast, Today I Do

I want to go home.  Today, I really want to go home.  Home to Miami; home to my granddaughter; home to somewhere  life is somewhere near normal as we know it,  I want to buy my old house back.  I want central air and heat, so if I am cold, I can set the thermostat to heat, and if I am hot, I can set it to cool. 

I am tired of being eaten alive by mosquitos and itching so bad I can't sleep.  I want a real drugstore, not a farmacia where they don't even carry Benadryl, much less cosmetics, lotions, toothe paste, hair color, and anything else I might need.   I don't want to travel three hours to get to Wal-Mart.   I want a cable installer who comes within a reasonable frame of time, not mañana.  We all know when mañana comes.  In our case, in over two months mañana has not yet arrived.

I want to be able to have my computer fixed by someone who doesn't reformat my hard drive to fix a minor problem with a program, then lie about it.  Of course you uninstalled the version of Vista that was on my computer, you ....., the version of Vista you re-installed speaks Spanish, not English, and it is so old I will be dead before I can install all 72 of the updates it is missing.  Of course you uninstalled my Vista, you idiot!  Otherwise, where is all my email, music, genealogy records, etc., etc, etc.?

I know I signed on for all this, and tomorrow, I will feel different, but today, I want to go home!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I Want to Cry!

I have been without internet service for almost three days now.  The problem started with Claro, and when I tried to fix the problem, I really fixed it good.  I fixed it so good, Macho Man not only took the modem to Tocoa today, but he took my computer, too.  This was at my insistence, since I didn't want Claro to say, "Well, it works with our computer."  I wanted to be sure it worked with my computer.

Of course, it worked on Claro's computer, and when they tried to make it work on my computer, of course, it didn't.  So off to the computer doctor.  Now, those of you who live in Honduras can see this coming.  When Macho Man got home, he is grinning from ear-to-ear.  "Honey, I'm home.  You have internet again!  And I got your computer fixed!".  Yes, indeedy.

Apparently Computer Quack decided rather than to fix the one problem Claro said we had, he would just reformat my hard drive and reinstall Vista.  I now have programs I never had before, like Windows for Kids, which would be just fine, if we had kids; Norton, if I liked Norton; you get the picture. 

What I don't have are any Internet Favorites; personally installed programs, like PCStitch; or my music.  No screen saver or background that was mine personally.  No sound card installed; and the versioin of Vista he installed is so old, there are a minimum of 71 updates available.  Worst of all, and what had me sitting in the middle of the floor  screaming "SUGAR!!  SUGAR!! SUGAR!!!, gone is 9 years of genealogical research and the two programs used to collect it. 

I know, I know, I should have backed everything up, and I am hoping the backup I did before we left the States will recover most of what is missing.  But, why would Computer Quack delete all my programs without even asking if he needed to back anything up?

Oh, and by the way, now my computer speaks Spanish rather than English.  This in spite of the fact that Computer Quack assured MM he reinstalled everything in English.  That I can fix, to some degree. 

Another BTW... Claro says it is impossible that my internet connection is being directed through Guatemala, even though MM explained that we had been told by the bank, Amazon.com, and several other places that this was the problem we were having originally when we tried to do business online.  I just looked at Google, and sure enough, I am connected to Google.com.gt.

Oh, well, back to Tocoa tomorrow, not that I expect to accomplish anything.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Road Trip to La Ceiba, Day 2 - What We Found and Where We Found It

I have already mentioned that we stayed at the Hotel Paris.  This is one of the older hotels in downtown La Ceiba, right on the Park, and central to almost everything.  The hotel is in the process of remodeling, but we found it to be clean and comfortable.  The staff was exceptionally polite and helpful.  There was security on the premises, and a secure parking lot. 

We had a room on the ground floor, pool side.  There is a bar at poolside, as well as a very nice restaurant, where you can eat inside or out.  They have a beauty shop on the premises, as well as conference rooms and free wireless internet.

This is the pool area.  The bar is in the background.  We found it to be a very relaxing place to sit and have a drink, and we were also able to get our dinner brought to this area.  The bar is a full-service bar.  The restaurant has a very extensive menu.  We both had calemari, Juan's was a la diabla (in a hot sauce) and mine was fried.  We had a baked potato and  salad.  It was all good, and not expensive at all.





Who is that handsome, dark-haired man walking by the pool?  Why, it is Macho man!  To his right is the restaurant, where we had supper,  and where we had a very relaxing breakfast before starting out for the day.






The first order of the day was to find some 3x5 index cards, which we did, at Casa De Los estudiantes on Avenida San Isidro.  This little place has all kinds of paper good and school supplies.

Then, on to Pais, which is the Honduran version of Wal-Mart, and is actually owned by Wal-Mart.  Pais is just down from the central Park.  It is a large store, with wide, comfortable aisles that I had no trouble getting the scooter through.  The store was clean and the employees were helpful and polite.

I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  They had almost everything I was looking for.  I found Hershey's Cocoa.  I found bay leaves.  Rachel, take note and strike these from the list.  Pais had a nice meat market, but we were going to try another place, so didn't buy from here.  There was a good assortment of cheese, even sharp cheddar.  And whipping cream, real, live whipping cream.  Their bakery department had a variety of baked good.  Juan bought caballitos, a gingerbread sort of cookie, shaped like a little horse.

After we left Pais we headed over to a carnecería that was recommended to us has having meat 'bien blandisimo' (very tender).  As most of you know, finding a tender piece of meat has been a big problem for me, so I really had my hopes up.  So, here it is!


Carnecería Express.  The sign says, on the left, "Fresh meat,  and for Exportation ".  On the right it says "Experts in Special Cuts"  This place is located on Avenida 14 de Julio, between Calles 16 and 17, two doors down from where I had my spa day. 

The store was clean, with no bad odors and no flies.  The cuts were recognizable.  The butcher did not touch the meat with her bare hands.  The meats are mainly from Olancho, but the American style cuts come from Zamorano Pan-American Agricultural School.   One of the sausages we bought was also made at Zamorano.

We bought a tenderloin large enough to cut into  eight 3/4 - 1" filets and a piece left over that will make a nice roast.  We also got six T-bones, about 1/2" thick.  We added six smoked porkchops, each 3/4" thick,  and two different types smoked sausage, one spicy and one mild.   All of this ran us about $55 USD.    We loaded all this in the cooler, covered it in ice, and off we went to meet Pablo and Magda, my in-laws, for lunch.

After lunch we made a quick turn through the MegaPlaza Mall, which looks like any other mall in the US.  They even have my favorite shoe store, Payless.

Then it was time to go pick up Chico and head home. 

UPDATE on the Meat:  I am proud to report that the meat is, indeed, blandisimo.  We had a couple of the filets Sunday night, and they were so tender and juicy.  Tonight we had smoked pork chops, black beans and rice, and the pork chops were great.  Definitely worth a 3-hour road trip to La Ceiba

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Can't Post a Comment? This may be the solution.

I've had three people tell me they cannot post comments on the View.   I finally got what may be the answer.   In order to post a comment, you must be a 'registered user'.  That just means that you have been verified somewhere as not being a spammer.   If you log in when you post a comment, it will post, even if you use OpenID.  You already have an OpenID if you have AOL, Yahoo, myspace, google, flickr, worldpress and a host of others.  You can go here http://openid.net/get-an-openid/ and set up your account.

People, I need your comments so I know what I am doing right, and what I am doing wrong.  It would also help me if you signed up as a follower.  I have 14 followers now, and that is encouraging.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Road Trip to La Ceiba, Day One - The Spa Day

We finally decided to brave the rain Thursday and drive to La Ceiba, and our prayers were answered.  The rain stopped for the road trip, then started up again after we got to Ceiba.

Chico says everyone should wear a seat belt while traveling in Honduras.  He never goes anywhere without his seat belt.  It keeps him from falling out of the car, or landing in the floor after a sudden stop.

Our first stop was at the office of Dr. Higinio Calderon, the vet recommended by several members of Honduras Living.  The best recommendation came from Chico  himself.  Sometimes Chico is a little slow to make friends, especially with men, so we were really impressed when he immediately made friends with Dr. Calderon.

The vet was very accommodating.  He looked  over the medical records we brought and did a cursory exam.  No problem that we just walked in unannounced, nor that Chico needed a spa day the same day.  Again, no problem when Chico ended up needing to stay in the Hotel Calderon for the night when the Hotel Paris would not allow him to share a room with us.

Dr.  Calderon says he can fix the international health certificate and the exit papers we need when we leave the country with 24 hours notice, although he would rather have a week.  He does not open the Ceiba office Wednesdays and weekends.  The clinic is located on the street just before the DIPPSA Super 7 on CA 13 going toward Tela and San Pedro.

Next on the To-Do-List was to find the place Macho man needed to go to get the Xterra officially registered in Honduras.  When he was satisfied he could find the place again, we went to look for Rumors, so I could have my spa day while he took care of the car.

Rumors was recommended by a member of  Honduras Living.  It is located  on Ave 14 de Julio, between Calles (streets) 16 and 17, across from Nicole Imports.  Sorry, Americans, but this how you give directions in Honduras, as there are very few addresses as we know them.

Owners, Nolvia and husband, René, speak English and are so very nice.  The shop is clean and well maintained. Nolvia is the stylist and René takes care of the business.  The first thing René did was offer me a choice of gourmet coffee, tea, juice, or water.  He was very clear that the water was bottled, and the drinks and ice cubes were made with  it.    I did have to ask for warm water for my shampoo, but that detail was take care of immediately and cheerfully, no questions asked other than was it warm enough      
.

I was greeted at the door by Miriam, a sweet little pixie, who is learning English.  Since we both speak Spanglish, we got along just fine.  The word 'shampoo' does not come close to describing what she did.  After we got the water warm enough,  and while I had shampoo in my hair she massaged my scalp for several minutes.  After she rinsed out the shampoo, she applied a deep conditioner, covered me with a plastic cap, and we were off to the pedicure station. 

I was given  the most luxurious pedicure I have ever had. After the usual soak in warm water and basic pedi, Miriam started a routine of massage alternating between Dead Sea salt and minerals, then lotions.  She applied a hot paraffin treatment, then more massage. 

After the pedi, we went back to the shampoo station, washed out the conditioner, and I got another scalp massage.  By this time I was purring like a kitten and convinced I wanted to take Miriam home with me.   

Then, I went to Nolvia's station.  She did not even flinch when I told her to take off about 4".  We discussed a style and then she gave me what I think is the best haircut I have ever gotten.  It is a classic bob done with a razor.  This morning  I  brushed my hair and it just fell into place.  That is a rare occurrance for me.  Unfortunately, Macho Man finished his business before I could get to the facial and the full massage, but we will be back every 4-6 weeks so there is still time.

Nolvia recommended a carnecería (butcher shop) that she says is the best.  The meat comes from Olancho, which prides itself on the quality of its meats.  I will have more to say about that in Day 2.  

From here we went to get Chico settled in for the night, then to the Hotel Paris to settle ourselves in for the night.  We had a couple of good margueritas out buy the pool, then a good dinner, also poolside.   I actually got to watch some TV;  and we slept without any mosquitos trying to eat us alive. 

Oh, happy days!!                                                                                                           





                                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                   







                                                                                       



Wednesday, February 17, 2010

This and That

We were planning a trip to La Ceiba today.  That is our closest large town, and is the third largest city in Honduras.  It is about a three hour drive.  Instead, I am at home watching the rain come down in buckets and Macho Man is down in El Centro, seeing about his father.  The weather was just too bad this morning to be driving on a mountain road in the rain, especially with the way some Hondurans drive, and the condition of some bridges when it rains.  We will try again tomorrow.

I read in the Miami Herald that they are expecting a cold front with chill factors in the 30's in Miami-Dade and Broward counties tonight.  That means it will be cold here tomorrow through the weekend.  I get to wear my boots without looking like an idiot!!! or at least, like an idiot to the people here.

I was looking forward to this trip, because while MM was getting the car registered I was going to enjoy a spa day and get the whole works.  It really is time for a haircut when your Hispanic husband tells you so, and he has.  I really wanted to come home with some nails.  I had to take mine off when I couldn't find anyone here to do the fills.  I was  looking forward to the facial, massage, pedi,etc.  Oh well.

Chico was going to have a spa day, too.  He really wasn't looking forward to his.  He likes most of the grooming, but hates the bath; forget the manicure, that is not going to happen without sedation.  It was also going to be a get acquainted visit with the vet, as we have no vet in Trujillo, and the vet in Tocoa takes care of livestock, not pets.  We are going to use a Dr. Calderon, who comes highly recommended.





                







<   Patty and Macho Man  >          

Blessings.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

It's Starting to Look a Little Bit Like Home

Most people know we had a little problem getting our belongings out of Customs.  A little problem?  A little problem?  Try over two months of near nervous breakdown.  And this time, most of the problem was not the fault of Honduran Customs.  Most of the problem was due to the unprofessional practices of the mover in Miami.  It still hurts to even think about.

But, on the afternoon of February 5th, we saw the most beautiful sight in the world.  This truck. Loaded with our things

Coming down this drive


To deliver our belongings.

Actually, the truck was the second most  wonderful sight.  The first  most wonderful sight was.......

My Car!!!!!  I was running around like a maniac, yelling "¡Mi Carro!  ¡Mi Carro!"  I was kissing my car, and saying, "Oh, thank you!  Thank you!"  Now, before you think I had completely lost my mind, we thought we might have to donate this car to Customs if they did not release it soon.  We were being charged $70 USD/day storage in the port, because they could not release our belongings until they could clear the car, and they could not clear the car because we could not produce the original bill of sale.  Seems the Title, issued by the State of Florida, was insufficient proof we owned the car free and clear.

Then  the  fun  began.  The men began to unload the truck.  About 200 boxes or loose items.  After the boxes came the furniture, and that was when we realized we had a major uh oh.  The furniture would not come through the doors, much less up two flights of narrow stairs.  "Oh, what to do!  What to do!"  Good thing Macho Man is a professional carpenter/man of all trades.  Remember how I complained the windows have no glass?  Well, it was a good thing this day because we had to.......






















You guessed it......Remove the window.  The men climbed up on top of the truck and started passing things up and over the balcony wall and through the window.  No mean trick, I can tell you.  Check out the man's shirt.

Now that we are getting settled in, it  is starting to look like this



And we just had Juan's family over for supper on Saturday to celebrate. 

It's still a work in progress, with lots of boxes to go through again; and things we are storing in the spare bedroom because there is no place to put it; but it sure is wonderful to sit on our  own furniture and sleep in our own bed.  Oh, and eat at a table rather than off our laps.

What a blessing! 

Friday, February 5, 2010

My Cositas Arrived Yesterday

For those of you who don't speak Spanish, cositas translates 'little things'.  Actually it was big things, like my car and a truck load of furniture. We haven't seen any of our things since November 13, so yesterday was like Christmas.

Today we have been unpacking boxes, deciding what stays upstairs where we live or stay in the downstairs bedroom, which we have turned into our bodega.  The bodega wins, because we have very little room for furniture.

I will write again on this, but tonight I am just too tired.