Doorbells are little used things in La Ceiba. The custom is to loudly and insistently honk the car horn when arriving at someone's house. If the homeowner or maid hasn't immediately rushed outside to attend to the visitor, he honks some more. About every 30 seconds seems to be the usual rhythm.
At one of the apartments we lived in before our house was built, someone apparently went to work about 4:30 a.m. The taxi would arrive and blast the horn, every 30 seconds, until the passenger came out. I thought about putting a pile of rocks by the window to throw at the taxi but I'm not that good a shot.
We often have people honking outside our gate even though we have a doorbell and intercom. Usually it is a delivery person in a very big truck (you know the kind − with the really loud obnoxious horns) asking for directions to someone else's house. I am expected to stop whatever I am doing and rush out to see what they want. And I'm considered quite rude if I don't.
Even if I do rush, they still have a chance to honk two or three times until I can get to the door. At the first honk, all three of my dogs starting barking the "intruder warning" and they don't quit until the vehicle has left.
Neighbors who just want to chat about something will sit in their cars honking until I come out. They are in too much of a hurry to get out of their cars, but then will sit parked in the street with their car running, gabbing for half an hour. Those who have maids or guards will honk upon arriving home so that their gate will be opened for them.
Well, I'm rebelling! If you want to talk to La Gringa, get your butt out of the car and ring the doorbell. And give me a minute to answer it before you ring it again, please!