May 18, 2013

Rhinoceros beetle

Big beetle - a rhino?

I thought this might be a rhinoceros beetle based on its size. It would have to be a female since it doesn't have the distinctive rhino horns, but there are so many varieties and most of the photos are male so I gave up trying to determine which type it might be. It could be one called a coconut rhinoceros beetle.  Once again, I insisted on sparing the life of our wildlife and maybe shouldn't have. Coconut rhinoceros beetles can kill the coconut palms! Great.

Check out the size of the horns on these rhinoceros beetles!

I ran across this ad while researching this beetle. For $5.60 you can buy a bag of 2 or 3 cooked rhinoceros beetles, lightly seasoned with soy sauce, lemon grass, and garlic. Yumm. Before you rush out to order a bag, one of the reviewers says that they are super crunchy but have not much flavor.

May 17, 2013

What happened here?

furniture piled up

covered furnitureWhat happened here?

What's this?

Heavy spring cleaning?

Floor polishing?

Did you have a flood?


Are you moving?

Read on and weep...

May 15, 2013

Simple shopping

 My (not so new anymore) new chair – comfy!

This is another one of those old articles that never got posted. I think this one is a couple of years old.

A few months ago, we made our annual pilgrimage to the big city, San Pedro Sula, thus single handedly improving the economy of Honduras with all of our purchases. ;-)

We always plan to go more often but don't seem to make it for some reason — mostly because a day trip is a real ordeal (about 3 hours each way on a life-threatening highway) and finding someone reliable to stay overnight and take care of the house and animals isn't easy. [The last time we went to SPS, we just missed a tornado, I think. There were fallen trees all over the highway.]

San Pedro Sula, the second largest city and industrial capital of Honduras, gets a bad rap in my opinion. We love it and would go much more often if it wasn't such a long trip. The traffic is kind of bad, but the city is laid out in such a orderly manner that we hardly ever get lost, unlike Tegucigalpa, where we have spent more time lost than not.

May 13, 2013

2013 La Ceiba Gran Carnaval International Schedule

Reina de la Feria/Queen of the Fair, La Ceiba Gran Carnaval
Queen of the Feria Isidra
Images: La Prensa, Honduras

I have a little more information about La Ceiba's 41st annual Gran Carnaval Internacional.

Saturday, May 11, was the coronation of Hydee Samantha Flores Gavarrete as the reina (queen) of the Feria Isidra. That is her in the photo above. There is also a queen of the Carnaval as well as two princesses, shown below.

Queens and princesses of the La Ceiba Gran Carnaval 2013

Here is the 2013 schedule

May 15: Carnavalito mercado San Isidro
May 17: Carnavalito Colonia Kawas
May 18: Carnavalito Barrio Solares Nuevos
May 19: Carnavalito Colonia Pizzati
May 20: Carnavalito Sierra Pina
May 21: Carnavalito Mall Mega Plaza
May 22: Carnavalito Barrio La Gloria
May 23: Carnavalito Paseo de los Ceibeños
May 24: Carnavalito Barrio La Isla
May 25: Parade and Gran Carnaval International

I couldn't find anything saying what time the parade will start. :-{

A principal attraction of the Gran Carnaval is the musical shows along San Isidro. This year, Elvis Crespo will be giving a free 90-minute concert on Calle 9 sometime after 10 pm. I couldn't find out what other bands will be participating. :-{ Maybe there will more information later this week.

La Ceiba Gran Carnival

The municipal tourism folks say that they have some fresh ideas for this year's carnaval and say we should expect some surprises. The parade will include floats from Mexico, Taiwan, and Cayman Islands, among many others. Security will be provided by at least two police on each corner during the parade assisted by soldiers. Street vendors will not be permitted in the Central Park this year so that tourists can enjoy the park and to avoid the accumulation of trash from the trinket and clothing vendors.

Businessmen hope that the carnival will help to improve the local economy but complain about the lack of promotion done by the city or the Ministry of Tourism. The tourism folks are predicting 500,000 tourists, but honestly, I don't see how this could be possible unless 99% of them are staying with family. The population of La Ceiba is only around 150,000 and I'd be surprised if there are many more than about 2,000 hotel rooms here. They must be counting day visitors who come to see the parade. Even with that, I just don't find that number credible.

May 12, 2013

La Gringa can't kill a chicken

Three chicks out and one to go

Once again we have baby chicks. When these hens get broody, they go off and hide somewhere to sit on their eggs. I was beginning to think that something was eating our chickens until one hen showed up with four chicks and another showed up a few days later with one chick.  I don't know what we will do with them.

bantam hen sitting on eggs
We disappointingly only get eggs for a few months at a time. It's a conspiracy. The rest of the time, at least one of the hens is broody and the other hens cooperate by giving that hen our eggs! I also think that some of our hens are just getting too old to lay reliably. By the way, we still have one of our original hens, 7-year-old Conchita, and Pancho is doing well, though we have one other rooster who the hens seem to prefer now.

This reminded me of an old article that I wrote a few years ago but never got posted, so I pulled it out, dusted it off, and here it is:

May 7, 2013

Tribute to a fallen police officer - Edgardo Galdámez

Edgardo Galdámez Vásquez

Yesterday afternoon I was reading "El precio de ser policía en Honduras" (The price of being a police officer in Honduras) on Proceso Digital. The article states that an average of 5.4 Honduran police officers are murdered every month and that violence has taken the lives of 130 police in the past two years. Based on what has come to light in the past two years regarding police corruption, when we read about police murders, we can't help but wonder, "Was he killed because he was involved in illegal activities with the wrong people or was it because he couldn't be bought or intimidated?"

Countrywide, Honduras' murder rate is about 85.5 per 100,000 compared to a worldwide average of about 8 per 100,000. Considering that there are only about 14,000 Honduran police, 65 murders per year puts their murder rate at 464.3 per 100,000. And that means that a Honduran police officer is 58 times more likely to be murdered than the average world citizen. Not good odds, especially considering that most of the police make at or close to minimum wage, the equivalent of about US $350 per month, from which they have to buy their own uniforms, boots, and even bullets.

May 2, 2013

La Ceiba Gran Carnaval is May 25, 2013

La Ceiba Gran Carnival
La Ceiba Gran Carnival
Image: La Prensa, Honduras

Thanks to a reader who asked the Municipal Tourism folks, I found out that my guess was right. The final big celebration and parade will be on Saturday, May 25, 2013.

I emailed a few days ago to ask for a schedule of events during the two weeks leading up to parade day. If I'm able to get it, I'll report it here. My guess is that it hasn't been finalized yet.


I ran across this article written shortly after last year's carnival, A 40 años del Carnaval de La Ceiba, by Guillermo Anderson, a singer, songwriter, and musician, one of Honduras' most famous. He believes that the carnival has lost its personality and identity. As a Ceibeño, he misses the focus on the Garífuna music and punta dance. He seems particularly bothered by the political use of the carnival and thinks that political floats in the parade should be prohibited and some esthetic standards should be required for all floats. With this being an election year, I'm sure we'll see lots of politicians this year. His article is in Spanish but translates reasonably well using Google Translate if you don't read Spanish.

If you aren't familiar with Guillermo Anderson's music, you can preview his Costa y Calor selections here and check out all of his CDs here.

May 1, 2013

Weather: dreary with smoke

La Ceiba weather

The weather websites are coming up with some interesting tags these days. Sunny, cloudy, rain, snow: I'm sure they get tired of those. I was on a Honduras website and noticed a weather widget predicting "smoke".

La Ceiba weather

We do have a smoky season in Honduras. It usually only lasts about a week. I still haven't figured it out and never remember year to year exactly when it was. It's widely believed to be at the time when the sugar cane farmers burn their fields. The clouds of smoke go up and usually hang over Honduras for a week or more. But the sugar cane folks always deny that they are at fault, so who knows? All I know is that it is real and it's uncomfortable, especially causing problems for those with respiratory issues.

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