Tegucigalpa, HondurasMarch 25, 2015
In your city, how can we tell that it’s 2015?
People in Tegus have always been very pessimistic about the future, in spite of the growth of population and economics that is visible in its road infrastructure and its horizontal and vertical expansion. However, there are other features that are now part of that urban configuration, which are shared with other cities in the world and make it seem less provincial than a few years ago. Cultural life, without losing the necessary pessimism to question reality, has been nourished by a global conscience. I feel it in the younger people, in the streets, in the fashions, in the music…in their resistance in general.
What reminds you of the past in your city?
Definitely the bars and some cafés that still maintain that spirit.
Which building or intersection in the city would make us think we’re in the future?
Torre Sky, a luxury apartment building, in one of the most up-and-coming areas. For me, it’s a sign of barbarity; it marks a point of rupture with the past. It’s the first project by an armored architectural vanguard that, on one hand, represents opulence in the face of extreme social inequality, but on the other hand positions the poor as a great menace to the safety of the rich.
Which part of the city would be the best place to lose track of time, stop time, or gain time?
Enjoy an afternoon in the streets of the La Leona neighborhood, then walk to the city center. Make a stop in Barrio Abajo and look for Tito Aguacate, which is very close to the main square; once you’re there, drink one or several Calambres (the signature cocktail that has been served there for more than 70 years, and can only be drunk there). These places have not been invaded yet by massive tourism or the gentrification that affects other cities in the world. They conserve the past, but at the same time you can still feel the contemporary vitality, the community, and the neighborhood that resists the individualism of large metropolises.
What song or local band do you recommend for the daily playlist?
There are several great bands in Tegus, for example Delirium Tremens, Siddhartha, Albatros, Simón, Café Guancasco, Pandas con Alzheimer, and soloists like Fernando Rey or the guitarist Guayo Cedeño.
What museum or cultural space is generally omitted from the typical cultural tour but is definitely worth visiting?
The Guanacaste, San Isidro and Mayoreo markets, and the Kennedy neighborhood.
What bookstore has new or secondhand publications on art history, exhibition catalogs, or artist monographs?
The UNAH university library.
What is a typical, local meal and where would you have it?
People are going to kill me when I say this, but I know some will agree: Chinese fried rice is the traditional dish in Tegucigalpa. It’s very special here, and you can have it anywhere since it was integrated to the local gastronomy a few decades ago when the first Chinese immigrants arrived. The popularity of this cuisine is unique to the city, and it has been acquiring a new identity with the fusion of local seasonings and ingredients.
Where can you find the best coffee or tea?
Although there’s a deep-rooted coffee culture, I would recommend Coffeeholics in Lomas del Guijarro, and for drinking the best tea, there’s La Tetería, just in front of the Santa Lucía church.
What monument reveals a hidden past?
The Calambre would be that anti-monument to me, because you drink one, two…three…and then you start understanding the city and its past.
Outdoor or public artwork worth visiting?
Parque La Leona (La Leona Park), one of the last bastions for public recreation that is still relatively safe.
Where is the best place to watch the sunset in your city?
The sunsets from late November to late January in Tegucigalpa are the most beautiful I’ve seen. El Picacho hill is a good place to enjoy them.
Next Sunday, let’s meet at:
Valle de Ángeles. Although it’s a town 30 minutes outside of the city, it’s a favorite for families or groups of friends from the capital. It’s between pine forests and mountains; you can eat a variety of the country’s traditional dishes and buy craftwork here.
Which book transports me to your city?
Cipotes by Ramón Amaya Amador.
What aspect of your city most inspires you?
Its uneven topography.
Where would one probably get lost: geographically, emotionally, or historically speaking?
Between the La Leona and Buenos Aires neighborhoods.
If you were commissioned to create a work of art “about” this city, briefly describe what your proposal would be.
I’m always thinking of Tegucigalpa; my work is rooted in the city.