By Ben Anson
HAVANA TIMES – What a year it has been.
I shared a quote from the ‘colorful’ US cult writer, Hunter Lee Thompson with my father a short while ago – over a phone call.
“Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously”.
“Well there you have it, Ben,” said my father. A man who’s been through it. His one and only sister passed away this year. Cancer. This, and an incessant blackhole of other vicissitudes.
“Forced. It’s his usage of the word forced. I like that. You’re forced not to take it seriously, absolutely,” he continued.
I entered the Caribbean city of La Ceiba, northern Honduras, a few days ago. I did so with my best friend, Edward. Himself, a Honduran from the coast. We’d been enjoying ourselves over the last couple of days, rolling along the coast in his white, Ford 4×4, as I accompanied him on his projects, which are relating to the construction of wells in rural communities. He works for his Italian brother-in-law – a successful engineer.
I had desperately needed an escape from the lunacy, bedlam and mayhem of both the town and school where I had been employed for three months before resigning on account of simply not being able to take it anymore. Santa Cruz De Yojoa is a town in need of a wall all around it. In my opinion, which is worth little if anything at all to the next man. This is a place where nobody respects anyone, where music is played at full volume throughout the early morning, where packs of stray dogs bark all night, where drunks get up to all sorts on the street. I myself, was attacked with machetes and even bitten by the members of an entire family one night as I went outside to scream that they “shut the fuck up”, after being subjected to the sounds of heavy machinery at night – from their workshop. Sure, my approach wasn’t particularly ‘pleasant’, yet what kind of people attack a lone individual as a group – men and women – with machetes and even their bare teeth?
The place is mad. Honestly.
The children at the school called me everything under the sun from “you, gringo,” to “gringo motherfucker”. Children of eight and nine years of age. Thus, I never responded fiercely for I did in fact, pity them, saying to myself “well, if they’re saying such things at this age, they are clearly from certain kinds of families.”
I recall a local mechanic who killed a stray dog in broad daylight and then proceeded to tie it to the back of a mototaxi before parading it around the block quite literally as if he were Achilles, and the dog Hector, from The Iliad And The Odyssey. This being one of the famous tales from The Trojan War.
So, with all that (and plenty more to tell, yet this would transform from a simple diary post to a full-blown novela), I had to escape the madhouse of Santa Cruz De Yojoa and the intolerable bilingual school where I was employed. A school whose directors are so unreasonable and beyond all hope that everyone uses the same bathroom. There is only one bathroom, where (and please forgive the vulgarity) a fully-grown male teacher could be flicking the last remnants of piss out the end of his dick with a five-year-old girl from primary looking for a space in one of the cubicles.
Where does one begin with such people?
Hence, my escape to the coast.