Since the majority of you have never traveled to Honduras, I thought I should give you an idea of what my new city is like. I think most of you will be shocked at how developed it is here...it's not dirt roads and huts like you might be thinking!
Tegucigalpa is the capital city of Honduras, is 290 square miles, at approximately 3200 ft in elevation, and is populated by over 1.25 million people. Tegucigalpa sets on a lot of hills, and is surrounded by a ring of mountains that causes pollution to be trapped in the city.
Honduras is made up of barrios and colonias (neighborhoods). The colonias are throughout the center of the city and are occupied by middle- and upper-classes. The barrios are mostly shanty towns surrounding the outskirts of the city, and reflect some of the poorest living conditions in Honduras.
example of a barrio
The wealthiest and most elite live in the colonias of Lomas del Guijarro, El Hatillo, Loma Linda, Miramontes, Palmira, and El Molino. A lot of these colonias also house the best schools, hotels, and all of the embassies. We live in Colonia Ruben Dario, which is, when compared to these colonias, more of a middle class neighborhood.
View of the building Jose's dad is currently building (it's next door to our house)
Barbed wire surrounding our house (every house/building in Honduras has this!)
View of our colonia from the roof of the new building
Something else important to note about the city is the way the streets are organized. Unlike most capital cities in Latin America, the streets are not set up in a system of squares (where one block forms an actual square....just like most cities in the US). They could not be built the correct way when the city was founded because of the hills. Therefore, the streets curve every which way, making it incredibly confusing. To make matters worse, there are no street signs. I bought a city map, thinking it would come in handy if I ever got lost, and there are no street names on it! So basically, the streets don't really have names, and houses/buildings have no numbers.
Stuck in traffic....notice the absence of painted lines on the street
We have almost all of the same fast food restaurants (McDonald's, Wendy's, Subway, Baskin Robbins, KFC, Burger King, Campero, Church's Chicken, Pizza Hut, Little Caesars). The McDonald's and KFC here are HUGE...I've never seen such nice ones!
See all those power lines? I'm pretty sure this is why we lose power so often...there has to be a better way to string all those lines. :)
There are 3 malls in this city: Multiplaza, Las Cascadas, and Metromall. Multiplaza (the closest mall to our house) has a movie theater. You can see each movie either dubbed in Spanish, or just with Spanish subtitles. It only cost 60 lempiras for each movie (about $3 USD)!!! We usually get the same ones here that you do in the US...but I'm still waiting for Mamma Mia to come out here. :(
In Multiplaza there are also some very nice stores, like Lacoste, Nine West, and Benetton. The only department stores there are ones that I've never heard of, like Lady Lee.
So far, my favorite thing is the supermarkets. (I have no idea why!) There are big ones like La Colonia (kind of like Kroger) and then Price Smart (like Sam's Club).
If you want to know more about the city, click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tegucigalpa.