Easter Prep

All last week I made frenzied grocery lists in anticipation of Semana Santa. The island's busiest seven days of the year. Most expats leave or hide as Hondurans from the mainland come to rediscover their country's own Caribbean beaches.

It's a short work week: banks, stores, even restaurants will close by Wednesday or Thursday, and won't reopen til the day after Easter. All the resorts are full and the car rental companies are sold out. You can earn easy money by renting your house. Of course, you might not like the outcome a week later. Holy Week celebrations tend to be a little rowdy.

Since my top priority was, as usual, food, I hit either Plaza Mar or Eldon's each day to see what was new. My memory of last year at this time is of bare shelves and gasoline shortages. Mike reminds me it rained all week, adding to the misery. But this week has dawned sunny and breezy, and the markets are better stocked than usual.

Of course, some items are nowhere to be found. There are plastic eggs, but no baskets to put them in. There are lots of fresh eggs in cartons, but no egg-dying kits. There are bags of hard and sticky candy, but nothing approaching good chocolate. There are some frozen turkeys, but no hams.

But the biggest surprise, for the first time ever, was the bag of Starbucks. If there's one thing Honduras doesn't need to import, it's coffee. But here we have it, for 225 lempiras, bags of Breakfast Blend next to cans from historic Copan Ruinas. About the same price as in the U.S., maybe a little more. I resisted the temptation, choosing instead to put my $11.90 into the unexpected tub of Friendly's chocolate chip ice cream and the Stouffer's frozen pizzas.

For Easter Sunday ourselves, we're planning a pool party featuring grilled burgers and hot dogs. More like the 4th of July, with the addition of an egg hunt.

And something else to look forward to: on April 16, the brand new Eldon's super-supermarket is set to open. Rumor has it that it will feature a misting system in the produce section and carry more specialty products like skim milk. Wow. Fresh vegetables and drinkable milk. A new day really is dawning. Bon appetit.

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