I ended up staying in Comayagua for a couple days when I left Tela at an overpriced hotel near the market. The parquet central is cute, but otherwise the city isn’t anything to write home about. To be honest, I haven’t enjoyed my time in Honduras overall. I’m getting tired of people staring at me all the time. I feel like the staring here is more hostile… like if I catch someone staring at me, I’ll smile, and they will just continue to stare as if I’m not a person or something.
The machismo aspect of the culture is grating on my nerves as well. Today I arrived in the capital of Honduras, Tegucigalpa. The taxi driver spent most of the drive trying to hit on me, telling me he would take care of me in the big, bad capital. I feigned ignorance of the Spanish language, and he eventually resorted to sweet talking other women out of his window. When I got to my accommodation, the man who works here told me that when I walk around, I should leave everything here – camera, phone, etc. He said there are people here that would be willing to kill me for my phone. So I did as he said. I wandered around a bit, and then sat near the parque central in the shade to chill out for awhile. A big man walked straight up to me, stood in front of me and started to stretch his hand out to grab my crotch. In the middle of the park with hundreds of people around. In broad daylight. Luckily for me, he was drunk and was moving slowly, and I had time to push him before he touched me. He stumbled backwards a few steps and I left. The good thing is that I proved to myself that I can stand up for myself physically if I need to. I always knew I would, but now I have some real-life experience. I was thinking about cussing at him in Spanish but I didn’t want him to follow me, and I didn’t think anyone would help me if he did. This type of thing doesn’t just happen in Honduras… a drunk guy has touched my stomach in the parque central in Xela, and I’ve heard several other accounts of girls being groped in Guatemala and I’ve witnessed it myself.
This is a sick aspect of the machismo culture… why is it that some men think they can actually put their hands on a woman they don’t know without their permission? In the middle of the day with lots of people around? This is so highly unacceptable, yet these kinds of guys get away with it every day. As far as being proactive about the situation, I don’t know what I could do except maybe make a scene and try to embarrass the guy. However, I think that really depends on location. For example, during the incident today, I don’t think that would have been a good idea, as this city is generally unsafe in the first place and I really don’t know how other people would react. Anyone have any ideas?
As far as the positives, I have met a few nice people who have helped me out. Like the taxi driver who helped me flag down the right colectivo in San Pedro Sula when I had to change buses… and the nice security guard that invited me to sit with him in Tela… and the random stranger who helped me find my accommodation when the taxi driver didn’t know where it was… Just like everywhere else, with the good comes the bad.
I’m looking forward to getting to Nicaragua! I’m taking a bus in the morning to Managua, I’ll stay a night or two, and then I’ll head to Leon which sounds like a really awesome place that I hope to stay in for awhile. Sorry there aren’t any photos with this post! I wasn’t allowed to bring my camera out, remember? :)