Livin’ la vida loca

la vida locaI landed in San Pedro Sula, Honduras yesterday afternoon. After a two hour drive, I arrived at my destination, Siguatepeque. I’m going to be here three weeks for an intensive course in Spanish.

I’ll write more later about Siguatepeque and language school. For now, I am just happy to be here. Odds were not in favor to get here.

Yesterday morning, my friend Marsha picked me up at five in the morning to get to the airport. I live on the northern shore of Lake Pontchartrain, a lake which separates my community from the city of New Orleans. I needed to cross the Causeway bridge, a 23 miler, to get to the airport.

In the dark, we pulled up to the toll  booth. Everywhere the darkness was pierced with flashing blue and red lights. The bridge was closed, and police were directing traffic to turn around.

Of course, no one actually told us the bridge was closed. I had to look it up online as the police stood around talking to each other. How long would it take to reopen? The police, again, in their way, decided it was not worth the time to let us know any details. Their job was to park their cruisers across the highway and light up the predawn darkness with flashing lights. That’s all they did, too.

Obviously I was going to miss my flight. I had no faith, not a speck, that I could make the flight. My friend was undeterred. She suggested we take the highway that goes around the large lake.

If you are not from Louisiana, then you don’t know how big Lake Pontchartrain really is. It’s the eye in the boot of Louisiana  that is on grade school maps of the United States. It’s big.

She drove calmly and resolutely all around the lake, a distance of over 40 miles.

“We need speed, girlfriend, ” I said to myself over and over. “We need to move like we are living la vida loca.” 

She didn’t pick up on my frenzied thoughts of living la vida loca on the highway. She drove sanely and moderately.

And we made it. I told the group of porters at the entrance that I needed to catch a flight to Houston that was leaving soon. A young, skinny, gangly youth jumped up, took my passport, ran to the ticket counter and checked me into my flight. I completed the relay with papers in hand at security and then to the terminal with about five minutes to spare.

The rest of the trip was uneventful. I am here in Siguatepeque* writing this post as I wait for breakfast in the home of my host for the next weeks. A rooster or two or three are crowing nearby.

*To pronounce Siguatepeque, follow my handy phonetic aid: SI gwa tay PEK kay.




9 thoughts on “Livin’ la vida loca

  1. I speak basic Spanish, maybe even at the intermediate level. I want to knock out a few more verb tenses and get command of the constant errors that I have in my speech.


  2. Good luck with the Spanish. Frankly, given how long you spent in Honduras, it’s hard to believe that your Spanish isn’t already perfect. However, we shall expect perfection three weeks hence.


    Kim G
    Redding, CA
    Where we are desperately trying to avoid losing our Spanish proficiency.


    1. My Spanish was deemed intermediate by the staff here. However, I have gotten sloppy with my verb tenses. It’s good to work with someone who is kicking my butt over my grammar and verb errors. And yes, Kim, don’t lose your Spanish proficiency. Hang on as long as you can.


      1. Most of my Spanish has been more-or-less self-taught. But I did spend a year with a tutor doing what I call the “forced march through verbs,” because that’s the one part you simply must study and memorize. It also goes a LONG way toward making your Spanish sound more native.

        Also, you should check out the book, “Breaking Out of Beginner’s Spanish,” which is very helpful and amusing to boot.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. “Breaking out of Beginner’s Spanish” is an absolutely superlative book. But it’s not for beginners, most of whom will not understand much of it. Intermediate-level Spanish is a minimum requirement. I brought it and a number of other textbooks south when I moved to Mexico in 2000. I didn’t get much out of the book at first, and put it aside. It was only a few years later when my Spanish had improved markedly that the value of the book became so obvious. Loved it then.

        I think the title is a bit misleading. It ain’t for beginners.

        Liked by 1 person

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