Thursday, February 22, 2007

God is my homeboy

So I debated for a long time just what I was going to title this blog. It had to be something appropriate that would allow everyone to immediately grasp an idea of what lies ahead for them in the blog. Lets just say that some of the other thought up titles included The Death of Gracie, Living in Honduras 101, The 3 stooges, Always be prepared, and many others. However, no matter how appropriate the other ones seemed in the end they didn’t give enough glory to God for getting us through the past few days. Life in Honduras can be said to be a lot of things but one thing it is could never be called is boring!
It all started on Tuesday when Deborah, Jen, and I decided we were going to take advantage of our night off and head into the city for dinner and a movie. We were also going to attempt to run a few of the errands that needed done so that we wouldn’t have to spend the next day in the city running around but instead could tackle the work that needed to be done here. So we jumped into our wonderful van Gracie and headed to town. We hadn’t even gotten 10 minutes from the house when we heard a loud pop. Then about 5 minutes later our van began to smell like a smoldering camp fire and I was sad to have to tell Jen that there was smoke billowing out all around her. At this point in the trip we are thinking of all the things that it could possibly be as we pull into this tire place where there are lots of guys who know at least something about cars. Now I know what you are thinking… “oh that’s good at least they were near someone that could help them.” Wrong. Just because I say tire place and guys who know cars doesn’t mean that they will know how fix the problem.
Furthermore, let me clarify that when I say tire place we aren’t talking Firestone Tires or Michelin Tires or any other nice big commercial tire place. We are talking good ol’ fashion Honduran style tire place. Meaning it was run down. It served as a business as well as a place to lie their heads at night. (most of you know that as a house) However, beggars can’t be choosers and we have been to the place before for other small problems. Let’s just say we aren’t strangers to the world of broken down cars. So we move from the front seats of the van to the back seats and wait as the men begin looking at the engine, radiator, and whatever else is down there for them to look at. They then decide it would be a good idea to dump some water down with the hot radiator to cool it down faster. Of course anyone that knows anything about cars knows what happens next…. water starts boiling and popping everywhere and the steam is rolling. Needless to say we took that as our cue to step out of the van and continue our wait by the road while they finished whatever it was they were doing. By the time the men finally straighten from their hunched over positions around our car the looks on their faces said it all. We knew even before the owner of the place came to tell us that we wouldn’t be able to drive it any farther that the Gracie was in bad shape.
However, telling us that news didn’t do anything for us. I mean at this point we are 15 + minutes from home and 25+ minutes from the city. Gracie is our only means of transportation so we can’t call home for someone to come and get us. It isn’t safe for us to start walking and we have all been told that white people should never ride the public bus. To top that all off our mechanic was in the city and we had to find someway to get her in there to be worked on. So we were sort of out of options. Seeing no other choice we decided to go against their very adamant advice and attempt to get the car to the city anyway. We figured our only other option was that bus we had been warned not to ride and the closer we could get to town with Gracie the better off we would all be. So we climb back into the van and all began praying our way down the mountain.
As this is all going on we began talking about what our options were. There weren’t going to be any mechanics open at that hour of the night (it was only 6) but there was no way Gracie would make it back up the mountain. So our options were starting to look like 1. Stay with the Kluges or 2. Get a hotel room. The first option might have been the better options had it not involved Gracie having to climb the mountain on the other side of town. So as we were getting to the outskirts of town we began to smell that funny burning scent again and lets just say we weren’t in a part of town that you wanted to be breaking down in at any time of the day let alone the evening hours. We began to pray even more fiercely and that we would just make it to the Marriott which was in a safe part of town. As we were passing the Marriott we saw a tour bus out front and Jen thought it would be best to at least go in and check if they had rooms available for us to even consider as an option.
We had no sooner pulled into the underground parking garage when Gracie decided she couldn’t move any farther. She was dead for good this time. Since we couldn’t just leave her in the middle of the road Deborah and I climbed out and began pushing the van. Let me just paint you an even better picture…2 white girls standing behind a big ol’ 15 passenger van pushing it the rest of the way to its parking spot. Better yet Gracie decided she would get a few laughs out of the sight of us pushing her so she died with 2 wheels on one side of a speed bump and 2 tires on the other side of the speed bump. Therefore, we couldn’t just push her lightly in the direction she needed to go we had to rock her back and forth and back and forth a billion times before she finally went up and over that pesky little yellow bump.
Somewhere in the midst of all that pushing Deborah looks over at me and says “yep of course we are pushing our car through the parking lot of the MARRIOTT!” All these nicely dressed men and women were walking around us or driving by in there brand new SUVs or whatever cars while we were pushing ol’ Gracie to her resting spot. All the while a security guard is standing watching the entire thing making no attempt to help us other than to point to an open parking spot that we could park in. Thanks a lot! What a help he was and then we have Jen who is in the drivers seat clapping her hands yelling mas mas mas mas out the window with a big ol’ grin on her face. She now claims she was being “encouraging” and “cheering us on.” Next time I think I’ll let her be the pusher and I’ll try that position of “cheerleader!”
So we finally get Gracie settled into a parking spot and decided that we needed no other sign from God we were seeing about getting a room in the Marriott. The entire way to the elevator and up to the front desk Jen and Deborah are convinced that there would be no rooms available. However, me being the optimist that I am keep informing them that God has taken care of us so far he WILL get us a room. So we go to the front desk and ask for a room only to be told that they have nothing open! So much for my big ideas.J However, he told us if we waited a few minutes he would talk to the head guy and see about cancellations and such. So we gladly took a seat and waited on our answer. When we went back up to check about the room situation imagine our surprise when the did indeed have a room. We weren’t asking any other questions we just took the keys and headed upstairs to make our next plan of action. Seeing as how it was a Tuesday night and all we were determined that somehow we were going to find a way to watch American Idol.
We had a plan of action made and we headed for a restaurant for dinner. We had carefully chosen a restaurant (Tony Roma’s) that was very close but that also had a television on which we could watch American Idol. We were just finishing our food as 8:00 hit and our waiter so graciously changed the channel for us so that we could feed our American Idol addiction. We must have looked like quite a sight as we sat with our eyes glued to the screen and straining to hear the singing because it wasn’t long before a different waiter walked by and turned up the volume for us. Content to settle in for next hour we moved to a table even closer to the t.v. and sat in awe as the newest season of American Idol happened before us. Again I can’t imagine how funny we must have looked. I mean we were 3 American women (the only white people in the entire place) sitting for an extra hour in the middle of a nice restaurant completely done with their meals but enthralled by the television. The manager kept coming by giving us looks like he wanted to tell us to get out but apparently Jen is some kind of a regular in this place and he knew better. (or so she says) All while everyone else in the place seemed to be throwing us looks that said… “You’re rich Americans go buy yourself a t.v.!”
So once our show was over we got up and headed to the Movie Theater across the street. It seriously was just across the street but we some how managed to be in the middle of the road at one point with cars coming at us in both directions. It was enough “to make our armpits sweat!” We made it to the theater just in time to see the last showing of Step Up. I had forgotten how much I had missed going to the movies and now have a new appreciation for that sweet pleasure in life. Once the movie was over we found ourselves back on the street and looking for a taxi…and oh did we find one. Lets just say we made it the two blocks to our hotel in record time!! However, we did arrive safely and went back up to our hotel room.
Let me remind you that this wasn’t a planned stay at the Marriott so we had NOTHING with us at all. We had to sleep in our clothes, we had not toothbrushes, we had nothing for our hair, etc. This didn’t stop us from going straight in and getting cozy on the most amazing beds we have ever slept on with pillows and comforters that melt around your head and body! I got the best night of sleep I have gotten in forever…really seems like forever too because we have had some sick kiddos that have kept me up a lot of nights lately. I want to add though that aside from the incredible beds we had a fun girl’s night. We ordered room service, watched t.v., laughed until we cried, and simply enjoyed our night out. Oh and I can’t forget to mention that I got to take a BATH for the first time since leaving home. We were spoiled. It also needs to be said that Deborah actually called the front desk asking for “house pants” seriously house pants. She apparently thought they might have some down there for us to borrow for the night. Jen and I were on our cell phones at this point and had no idea what she was doing until we over heard what she said to them…we then promptly lost it! However, they did thankfully have toothbrushes and toothpaste for us to use.

This is by no means the end of our adventure but I will have to tell you about the rest of the week later…so stay tuned. TO BE CONTINUED!

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