Honduras

WARNING:

NOT

Use common sense at all times. Be careful of deserted areas and of going out at night, especially after 9p.m.. Foreigners are sometimes robbed on the streets of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula at night by thieves who stake out areas in front of tourist hotels. When taking a taxi in Tegucigalpa make sure the windows are not tinted, and check for radio dispatched walkie talkies as people have been robbed at gun or knife point. Dangerous areas are isolated from tourist destinations. Crime does still impact tourist areas in the large cities. Use caution when traveling alone in Honduras, at night its best to take a radio dispatched taxi no matter what part you're in.

Purified water is used in big-city hotels and restaurants, but bottled water is definitely recommended for outlying areas.

Malaria occurs in rural areas, Roatán and other Bay Islands.

Dengue fever is endemic in both urban and rural areas.

Remember Honduran food can be spicy too, so be careful if you are not used to that or ask to make sure it is not spiced.

Many travel agencies and different places will tell you that Honduras is a dangerous country concerning illnesses, this is not true. People are just as ill all over Latin America nothing out of what is normal, just take the necessary precautions. HIV is a problem in Honduras so be careful as you would in your own country.

Carry a first aid kit and have contact phone numbers with you.

If hiking or spending significant time in the great outdoors, be prepared for a wide range of natural threats and nuisances including snakes, spiders, scorpions, and mosquitoes. On the upside, however, you can actually pick fruit off the trees.

electricity

Electricity is 110V, 60Hz, as in the United States and Canada. However, three-prong grounded plugs are not as common, and may be scarce in less upmarket hotels so two-prong adapters come in handy. Power cuts are common throughout Honduras, including regular pre-planned power cuts that last all day.

expressions of honduras

What "Punta" Means

The best known traditional dance in Honduras is punta, called banguity new life by the Garífunas. There are different stories about why punta is danced at wakes. Claudio Mejía, a Garífuna from La Punta, Colon explains, "If a man was a happy, popular kind of guy in life, then you want to give him a happy kind of wake."This coincides with African traditions, that when the body dies, the soul is in a kind of stupor and does not leave the body immediately. So friends and relatives party one last time with the deceased. Here, new life is understood as making the transition from being a person to becoming an ancestor. Another explanation is given by Fausto Miguel Alvarez, a teacher from Cristales, Trujillo. "People dance, because even though this one Garífuna has died, another thousand will be born." Here new life is understood to be the new life created in the wee hours of the morning after people go home. Garífunas, like the West Africans they descend from, believe in reincarnation. The spirit of the now deceased grandfather, for example, can be reborn in one of the new grandchildren.

How 'Punta' Got Its Name

The story behind the name punta is different from its Garífuna counterpart. Once when an enemy died, the people said, "We are going to celebrate and dance from punta a punta point to point. The punta here refers to point - a piece of land that juts out into the sea. One Garífuna teacher said, "This is why some Garífunas do not agree with the dancing of punta at wakes. It is as if you were dancing when an enemy died."Punta Music and Rhythm Punta was originally danced just by older people. It is the only type of music played at Garífuna wakes. Punta can be sung at the end of mourning ceremonies, known as fin de novenario in Spanish. During a Garífuna wake, there are a number of activities going on. From time to time, family members wail and cry before a coffin that has been put in a specially decorated room. Then, some of the men tune up the drums to play punta. The women sing. People go in one by one or in pairs to dance.Punta music for wakes is played with traditional instruments. These include first and second drums, maracas, a conch shell and sometimes claves - two hardwood sticks that are beat together. The music is sung in Garífuna with a soloist and chorus, like African music or a Gospel music choir. Punta music sounds happy, but the words are often sad. "Yesterday you were well. Last night you caught a fever. Now in the morning you are dead," says one song.

The rhythm pattern is very complex. One drum plays 2/4 or 4/4 beat. The second drum plays 6/8. This is the beat to which the feet move. The women sing in 4/4 time. Sometimes the songs have counter rhythms. The second drum is steady, but the conch shell, maracas, and first drum improvise solos similar to jazz.

This type of sensual dance performed at wakes has also been reported in Jamaica and West Africa. Music also accompanies the dead to the tomb, a custom probably related to Yoruba burial customs, the same origin as the New Orleans jazz funeral.

talk

Spanish is the primary language spoken. English is hardly spoken outside of the biggest towns or the Bay Islands where it is a native tongue. In some areas such as Utila, Spanish and English have hybridized in the context of low educational attainment to produce a pidgin tongue that can at times be indecipherable even to native speakers of both languages. Native languages Lenca, Miskitu, Garifuna, among others are spoken in various parts of the country, but a Spanish speaker should never be hard to find. Keep a tourist's eye out for "missionary speakers," that is, English or Spanish speaking Hondurans who retain the strong linguistic accents of the nations of their childhood teachers despite no personal links to such countries themselves e.g. Irish-English overtones are prominent in Utila. Exhibit caution about commenting on linguistic skills to locals even positively, as those who do not speak mainstream Spanish suffer certain social stigmas eg not “real” Hondurans, lower class, etcetera.

respect

Despite violence and widespread poverty, Hondurans are friendly people who appreciate a respectful manner.As well as this it is important to greet and even introduce yourself if you are asking a question to a stranger. Of course, like any other country, if you do need to ask a question from a stranger be careful but most of the time Hondurans will be friendly and more than happy to help you.