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Honduran Time Warp 0

By Ron Goben

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You must know how frustrating it is to miss getting a photo of something unexpected--a once-only chance at a Kodak moment. This happened to me last week on the road between La Ceiba and San Pedro Sula, and the picture that I should have taken slipped away in the rear-view mirror. I wanted that picture to share with you, because I'm afraid you won't believe what I saw without proof.

Last week my wife Janine and I drove from La Ceiba through San Pedro Sula to Omoa, a small town on the north coast of mainland Honduras, close to the Guatemalan border. Lots to see along the way...from the little girl holding a plastic bag of fresh eggs for sale...to the kids selling firewood, mangos, pineapple, and bananas... from the cows and horses grazing in the lush green grass along the road to more kids playing in the creeks while their mothers wash clothes in the clear mountain water winding its way to the sea...and even a lady dangling a green Amazon parrot on a stick, for sale.

I grew up in a rural community, in Illinois, with fresh produce all around all the time. I spent my childhood summers on a dairy farm, and it was always a treat to have fresh milk. My friend's father would bring "fresh-squeezed" milk from the dairy house and chill it in a bath of cold water so the cream could rise and be skimmed off. Then we could drink to our heart's content before the milk truck would come and haul the daily milk away to places unknown, to be pasteurized and sold to the public.

This memory stirred on our Omoa trip last week when I saw the milkman ahead of us on the road. He had a horse in tow, with four milk cans strapped to its sides...and he was riding a bicycle...while balancing another milk can on the bar between his knees! There was nowhere to turn around, or I would have taken a photo to show you. You really had to see this sight to believe it.

While that image got away, I know there are others waiting to be snapped. Here in Honduras, there's always something just a little different around the corner... something like the cycling milkman, that makes us appreciate the chance we've been given to slow down and appreciate the simpler things in life.

Honduras is a land of contrasts, the old with the new. In other words, you can also get your milk delivered in sterile milk tankers. But the old-fashioned way certainly has its charms.

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First Published: Jul 23, 2005

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