Semana Santa in Honduras

The pre-Columbian peoples of Honduras (the Maya and the Lenca of the mountainous western part of the country, near Guatemala and El Salvador) were polytheistic (i.e., they worshipped lots of gods), and animistic (i.e., they had gods in the sky, the ground, the sea, and so forth, and they believed in spirits in trees, rocks, rivers, etc.). But four centuries of Catholicism have had an effect on everyone, and now, like most of Latin America, almost the entire population is Christian (there’s one mosque and one synagogue in the whole country); and the majority of those Christians are Catholic (because it’s so much more obvious and sensible to have one big God rather than lots of little gods!). Like the rest of Latin America, various evangelical groups, from the Seventh Day Adventists to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, operate in Honduras; and every town and village seems to have a church of Everlasting Love, or Holy Spirit, or Living God, or some such thing. And of course, there are the Mormons, cycling around in twos, with their shirts, ties, and name tags, and their spectacularly-unbelievable religion (which is so obviously made-up that it makes Christianity look plausible). Continue reading

Placencia Movie

So, after spending the best part of every evening of last week clumsily editing this thing together, here’s my first (and quite possibly last) attempt at film-making.  Due to the GoPro camera that I was using not having a screen or view-finder, and people’s tendency (certainly mine) to aim the camera higher than it needs to be, most of what’s being shown is several metres above what I was actually trying to capture!  But at least I’ve managed to edit out all the shaky parts as I press repeatedly on the unit, trying to make sure that it’s turning on or off.  Plus the sections that play like a chase sequence from The Bourne Ultimatum, where the camera suddenly appears to be afflicted with Parkinson’s.  Not to mention the bits which consist of a five-second shot of my face looking quizzically at the camera, silently asking myself ‘Is this thing on?’.  And the classic one-minute-long sequence of my fingertips. Continue reading

A Whale (Shark) of a Time

As I’ve mentioned before, at Easter in Belize, everyone goes to the beach.  At least it seems like everyone.  Buses to Placencia and Hopkins are crammed with passengers and luggage, boats to Caye Caulker and San Pedro are packed to the gunwales, and it feels like the whole country is on the move.  Admittedly, it’s not as bad as some places (don’t ever visit China during any of its national holidays – you would not believe what several hundred million people on the move looks like!), but the large numbers of travellers, combined with the holiday transport schedules, make it a stressful time to travel, and along with Christmas and New Year, the only time that you ever need to plan ahead and book things in advance here. Continue reading

Easter Travels Part 2 – The Boat

Originally, I was going to write one blog entry about the entire Easter weekend’s travel adventures, which included both the hair-raising bus journey and a terrifying boat ride.  But clearly, once I found my literary ‘voice’, the material just wouldn’t stop flowing, so I’ve had to separate it into two parts.  And here’s Part 2: Continue reading

Easter Travels Part 1 – The Bus

Before you shake your heads, or say anything, or email me, or just inwardly groan, I know, you’re right – Easter was weeks ago (in April no less) and, if I’m going to blog about something, I should make sure it’s at least written in the same month as the thing I’m describing.  In my defense (and I admit it’s not a case-winning, conviction-overturning defense), the twin devils of cooking and washing (and their equally diabolical cousins TV and beer) have kept me occupied and away from the blog.  But, as it’s now the end of May (and my OCD dictates that I have to write at least one entry every month, to make the blog calendar look full), it’s time to put fingers to keyboard again. Continue reading