Beep Beep.

September 21, 2011

I guess subconsciously or not, I have been comparing everything to Honduras because frankly, that is what I know most well. I am discovering with each passing day that apparently Honduras has set an extremely low standard (not so much of a surprise now that I think of it).

I find myself constantly amazed at how “civilized” life is here. Granted, it is still Latin America. It looks like Latin America, it smells like Latin America, and occasionally sounds like Latin America (the one I know anyway). But in my short time here, there are a few observations of life that are rather unlike what I grew up with and came expecting. This is one of them.

Driving. In Tegucigalpa, I often feel like dying is a possibility at any given moment. Traffic rules are not simply mere suggestions, they are blatantly ignored. Organized lanes of traffic? Stop signs (not even sure they have them…)? Other people driving around me on all sides? PUH-LEEZE, I’ve got places to be. I’ll do what I want and honk your face off while I’m at it. The noise level of the streets is incredible. Horns are used about as much as the gas pedal, and woe is you if your house faces a busy street. Not to mention, horns in Honduras often play actual songs blaring cacophonous sounds so many beats longer than the regular squawking blast–as if La Cucaracha makes the-I’m-disgruntled-because-you-took-.0000001-seconds-too-long-to-go nicer (it doesn’t).

Here in Asuncion, people generally stay in their lanes, respect the stoplights, and drumroll, please…it’s actually considered rude to honk. Even yelling at another driver is largely taboo. Tsk-ing type sounds are made to get anyone’s attention. So really, imagine my surprise that while traversing the streets, I am constantly assailed with the deafening sound of silence.

Left turns are especially sketchy, most non-main roads are still rickety cobblestone (and streets in poorer parts of town still dirt), and drivers are still decidedly more aggressive than you’d find in the States, but on the whole, traffic is remarkably civil. Strange.


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