Thursday, July 26, 2007

Odds and Ends

First off, some good news: mail has started arriving in the States! I got emails today from two different people saying that letters and cards had arrived. Finally.

Today I went to the office of the Empresa Hondureña de Telecomunicaciones (HONDUTEL) to get information on activating the phone line in my apartment and getting internet service. First they guy at the counter tried to send me away saying they didn't know anything about the house where I lived, but I kept talking and finally they admitted that yes there was a physical line there and I could pay to have it activated. He then gave me a few forms that I had to go out and make copies of myself, at my own expense.

Finally, as we were filling out the forms, I started asking for details on the pricing of the phone line and "unlimited" dialup internet. The Hondutel Guy was somewhat evasive of my questions. Finally I asked him to just tell me what the monthly rate would be for phone plus internet. He said, "About 300 Lempiras a month, plus connection charges." Connection charges? "Oh, you get your first 200 minutes of calls free, then we charge 35 centavos a minute." So, the internet is technically unlimited, but after less than 3.5 hours of online time, I have to start paying by the minute for the connection to the call center that is less than 2 blocks from my house? "Yes, but 35 centavos is cheap! It's practically free!" Actually it isn't. 35 centavos a minute works out to 21 Lempiras ($1.10) an hour, and since dialup is so slow, I'll probably be connected for several hours a day.

I told the guy that I would be signing up with Tigo wireless internet and left the office, wondering how business like HONDUTEL maintain their existence. Of course, that is currently an empty threat because Tigo oversold wireless connections and are stretched beyond capacity so they aren't signing up any new wireless customers for the time being.

Lastly, I want to put a request out to folks who are reading this blog. I've been using my kitchen a lot, but my repertoire is pretty limited. I didn't bring down any cookbooks. Could y'all send me recipes? The simpler the better. Many ingredients are not available here. Beans, rice, corn, flour, oatmeal, fruits, and veggies are easy to get. There are some spices and canned/packaged foods, too. A recipe for Chili, for example, would be perfect. Thanks!


Honduras Sprout said... is pretty cool. I have turned to the internet just about every day for a recipe. One that I'm waiting to try is homemade pop-tarts.

With all the fresh fruits around here, lately we've been having a lot of smoothies and my kids like them too. The last few days have been papaya. In the blender cut up papaya, milk, granola (or oatmeal) a little honey and then add some ice. Yummy breakfast. We've been making a lot of juices too. A blender and a strainer are very handy here.

My husband's specialty is pork chops in the skillet. Season with bitter orange juice (or reg OJ - lime works too), cumin, salt, pepper, garlic, onion & Worcestershire sauce (or salsa negro I believe is a similar variation). I have thrown in green peppers too at the tail end of the cooking. I serve this with Gayo Pinto. A Costa Rican rice and bean mix. I make extra and it's great with corn tortillas and eggs for breakfast.
I am learning to not let anything go to waste.

Sorry, I don't eat chili too much and don't have a favorite recipe.

Good luck!

dlcurren said...

Chili is very easy and there are hundreds of ways to do it.

I like to start with two big onions, cut them up in small pieces, throw & 3 tbs oil in medium skillet for about 20 minutes til they are translucent and I like to cook them past this point - slightly black around the edges. Get a pound (or so) ground beef or, my favorite, chunky beef (they call it stew meat around here). Throw that in with the onions along with a bunch of garlic and chili powder. The amount of these 2 can vary a lot. Just taste it and keep adding until it's what you like. Throw in cumin if you have it. I also like cayenne pepper. So far we haven't added any liquid in here - there's just some fat from the meat and a little moisture from the onions. When the meat is done (about 10 minutes) it will be a pasty bunch in the pan. Add a can of beans. Any kind is good. The other flavors will cover any taste of the beans (except Lima beans - yuck). Add some water. I just use the bean can to add that much water. Simmer for about an hour. Add water if needed to keep it soupy. If it gets too thick, it will tend to burn on the bottom. Stir often to ensure that is not happening.

A Well Trained Horse said...

Alot of the recipes are substitution friendly, plus quick, and tasty.

Thaddeus O Pablo said...

a bit behind, just catching up on my blog reading. On of my favorite things to eat while in Trujillo is a friends home made guacamole.
It's just avocado, lime juice (quite a bit of it), chopped tomatoes, chopped onion and salt and pepper. You can mush it to whatever consistency you like....YUMMMY!! Although our avocado supply in Atlanta isn't as fresh as yummy as there, it turns out pretty good still.
On la gringa's site she has the recipe for tortillas too...I've started making them here in the states, trying to improve my skills if we ever get to move to Trujillo for a year.
Arroz con pollo is a favorite of ours too, but I can never recreate how the honduran women do it...oh day perhaps! GOOD LUCK!!