Sunday, May 27, 2007

We hung out with the Paris Hiltons of Honduras last night.

I’m serious. It was…strange and unreal.

After taking Thiago, next year’s administrator and current house guest, to see Pirates of the Caribbean 3—or rather Piratas del Caribe 3 (we saw it in Spanish. I actually couldn’t remember anything about the first or second Pirates movies except how good Orlando Bloom looked so it was a confusing three hours…pirates don’t always speak clearly…), we met up with Bridget, Hilary, and Laurence who were hanging out with some girls Bridget knows living and working in San Pedro. When we got there, they were on the way to hang out with some Honduran friends they met through these girls several weeks ago. ANYWAY, I was tired and ready to get a cab to go home. Emily, Marilyn, and Thiago—also tired—were on my same page. But Hilary strongly encouraged us to come, at least just for the “experience.” Live a little. So when the BMW, giant SUV, trailed by their bodyguard showed up, we got into the car. It was the first (and probably only) Honduran mansion that I’ll ever visit. A beautifully landscaped backyard complete with in-ground swimming pool (that they never use). The ushered us quickly into the backyard, wanting to close up quickly for security purposes.

I wondered what it is like to grow up behind and surrounded by so much security. To never be able to drive around in your car by yourself. I actually felt less safe in the fancy car than I usually do, just knowing that there was a bodyguard in the car behind us…

There was a complete bar by the pool with numerous bottles of alcohol to be consumed. Vodka, rum, and wine of multiple flavors. A tiny, probably new, ipod was connected to a large speaker that played popular music from behind the bar. I stood there, watching the fancy people chain smoke under the awning of the backyard patio, thinking that I’ve never even hung out with people with this amount of wealth in the United States. They all spoke English perfectly and have either completed or are working on degrees in the United States. Ernesto is heading to Duke in the fall to get his Masters in Civil Engineering.

They pulled out Estilo magazine—the equivilent of People or US Weekly of Honduras—showing the “important people” out at the most trendy—must attend see and be seen kind of events in the country. They pointed out their classmates, and family friends--including the owner of Pepsi in Honduras, the founder of Megatel, a cell phone company, and the wealthiest man in Honduras. The people that hold the power and make the decisions. And here I was hanging out with their sons—the next generation of elite.

And I had no idea what to say to them.

So I brought up corruption. :) When I told Thiago this, he laughed and said, “Ohhhh, you’re the hippie protester they sent security in here for.” :) Nah, it didn’t go like that at all. But it was an interesting conversation. I just knew that I wasn’t there to chain smoke or get sloshed, so I might as well take this opportunity to at least try to have a meaningful conversation.

I’m glad I went. It was an experience—that’s for sure. But I never could shake the unnatural feeling I had being there.


Anonymous Anonymous said... donate now! Try that next time (leave the anti-corruption to someone else - grin grin).

Big hug,

9:19 PM  
Blogger Aaron Ortiz said...

I had a similar experience, the house you described could have been the same one, in San Pedro. This time thought, there was a wild party, where some poor guy, obviously drugged, started shouting "viva yo!" to everyone's amused annoyance.

Some jocks set fire to his shirt for the fun of it! When he started screaming, they threw him into the pool.

Needless to say, I did my best to get out of there.

8:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i loved estilo when i lived in san're right it was exactly the us version of us or people. wondering who you hung out with as i was friends with many of the paris hiltons and such....crazy world there that is for sure.

9:11 PM  

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