Sunday, May 25, 2008

Tegucigalpa, I've Arrived!!

Tegucigalpa, Honduras….The First 3 Days

I went to bed last Wednesday night looking forward to the beginning of the next chapter in my life in the Foreign Service. It’s taken forever for this day to arrive and now it was just hours away. I set my alarm for 4:30 AM (UGH) so I could be downstairs in time to meet my shuttle to the airport at 5:25 AM. I even set my cell phone as a backup! Well, I must have slept like a baby because I slept through both alarms! I rolled over, opened my eyes and looked at the clock. 5:07 AM!!!!!! I flew out of bed and somehow managed to be downstairs at 5:22, beating the driver by about 5 minutes.

My flight was nice. The plane was half empty so there was no one next to me in either of the 2 seats. About 30 minutes into the flight, the pilot came over the intercom and began to explain about the landing in Tegucigalpa. To paraphrase him, he said…DO NOT PANIC. I will not hit the houses that seem to be inches from the bottom of the plane. Just don’t look out the window! I swear I will never fly again!!! Well…not too soon anyway. What a landing! I know I gasped many times, as did a few other people. Some just laughed at our pain!

I was met by 3 embassy people and we left the airport in a really nice big black suburban with diplomatic plates. For the first night I was to stay at the Intercontinental Hotel. Very nice place. However, the guard outside the door caused me a bit of worry as he had an AK-47 slung over his shoulder as he stood guard very near the front door of the hotel. I was told later that there must have been a dignitary staying there. I felt so safe. NOT!

The next day I was picked up and taken to the embassy. After lunch, my sponsor and I went back to the hotel to check out and head to my temporary housing since the house I will live in won’t be ready until sometime in August. However, I can only stay here until June 8th or 9th and at that time, I’ll go to yet another temporary house until my official house is ready. Such is life as an employee of the government! The pictures below are of the kitchen and living room and dining room of where I am now. This is an odd set up. My bedroom is upstairs and is about 10’x10’. My sponsor felt this was not a good setup so someone at the embassy agreed to the rental of this ‘Living Area’ to be part of my room. So, I can spend time in my room or downstairs. Both lock and are for my use only. Kind of like a bed and breakfast setup. Both are clean and comfortable but a bit of an inconvenient setup.
Here's the view from one of the windows in the living area.

As you can see, houses are built just everywhere

Today I went with 2 of my co-workers to Valle, about 45 minutes south of Tegucigalpa. Or north. Actually, I have no idea which direction! It’s a quaint place with lots of tourist shops selling all the local things. I bought some wonderful baskets, a pottery wine glass and a wooden trivet. Ahhh…my first purchases! I’ve been warned to be careful about buying a bunch of things from every country I visit. It’s easy to accumulate lots and lots of ‘stuff’ from around the world as you travel from post to post. Here’s what I bought!!

With just 2 ½ days under my belt riding around this city as a passenger, I don’t know how in the world I’ll be able to do it behind the wheel. I guess somehow I’ll manage. I’ve been told that in about 6 months I’ll reach the point where I can venture out and not be scared to death. Wish me well!!


Pym said...

Very funny. :) Now I want to fly into Tegulc! Hopefully your house will be ready sooner, what are they doing to it? Will you have a distiller?

Debi said...

From what I can gather, it needs to be painted, several leaks repaired and fumigated. I've been warned about Dengue fever. And it's the opposite of what I marked on the house survey. I marked "smaller yard, larger kitchen" and it appears this will be the larger yard, smaller kitchen house. Oh well...I'm sure it will be fine!

Debi said...

Oh yea...bottled water with a dispenser that's electric so I'll get cold water!

robert said...

That sound so exciting. Right now I'm trying to figure out when I'll be able to fly over for a visit.
And I was wondering what driving around would be like. You might want to take that one a step at a time.

Debi said...

HA...everything here is one step at a time! Driving here is going to age me way before my time!! I have a month to get a car. And finding your way around here is a nightmare. Wish me luck!