Valle de Angeles, Honduras – September 27, 2014
Unexpectedly on Saturday, a friend working at the United States Embassy called me to see if I wanted to go to the small town of Valle de Angeles. I jumped at the chance.
My friend speaks fluent Spanish. That easily enabled arrangements to take three of us by taxi to Valle de Angeles. It was 400 Lempiras each, or about US$20 for the roundtrip. We headed out of Tegucigalpa mid-morning.
The town is only about 18-miles (30 kilometers) to the northeast of Tegucigalpa. It takes 40 to 50 minutes one-way, mainly because of the twisting mountain road.
We parked near a still-closed artisan mall, so we just began walking through town. Numerous shops selling tourist trinkets lined the streets, punctuate periodically with small cafes/restaurants.
Our preliminary journey ended at Restaurante Manolo, a small café on the west side of Central Park. The restaurant had several tables on the street, which was closed to traffic, and a couple of tables on the sidewalk. We all ordered a beer. I had a Salva Vida (Life Saver), my favorite Honduran beer. Our server brought a complimentary plate of meats and corn tortillas, cooked by a woman on a flat grill placed directly on the sidewalk. The dish had both beef and chorizo. It was delicious.
There was a small Catholic church on the north side of Central Park, with the municipal building located directly across the square. Just across the street from our table, on the western edge of Central Park were some women selling trinkets and inflatable toys. Some of the toys were plastic blow-up airplanes and balls. They must have been quite ancient. That is because the blow-up plastic planes had the name “PanAm” emblazoned on the side.
We departed the café, walking from shop to shop. The local taxis are a unique aspect of the town. Many of them are three-wheel tuk-tuk taxies. I did not get in one. I am not sure I would have fit anyway.
Among the tourist trinkets in the shops are some charming pieces. Many of the oil paintings have very vibrant colors. No tourist shop is complete without the requisite ceramic roosters. No one we came across could provide a reason behind why virtually every shop sells the roosters. I guess the story is that one cannot buy them anywhere except in Honduras. The other mainstay of items for sale is hand-carved wood items. The pieces are incredibly intricate. One can choose from bass relief wall hangings, coffee tables, and chests, to name a few.
When we finished shopping, the taxi driver took us to a restaurant, La Florida. It is on the edge of Valle de Angeles. That is where we had lunch, well, really a snack. One of the national dishes is called a pupusa. We decided to try a pupusa at La Florida. A pupusa is a relative of the quesadilla. They are about the diameter of a standard corn tortilla, but about a quarter of an inch thick. They use the same type of corn flour used for tortillas. Our pupusas had a cheese filling; although, one can also get bean filling and chorizo filling.
Pickled carrots, onions, and jalapeños, as well as a type of local coleslaw, come with the pupusas. Once everything is piled on top, the pupusa is eaten with a fork. I enjoyed the two I had, chased by a Salva Vida.
After “snacks,” it was back to Tegucigalpa.