Jan 22

Honduras is an Island in a Parallel Universe

There have been reports of people who claim to remember the death of Nelson Mandela in detail. This allegedly happened in the early 1980s when Mandela was in prison.

Several people commented on this phenomenon in the web site The Mandela Effect.

For example, Perry Wayne says:

Both my wife and I remember Nelson Mandela dying in prison. Included in this memory are the funeral snippets on TV and a legal flap over book rights involving his Widow.

Colleen says:

I also remember Nelson Mandela dying in prison and was quite amazed when he was elected president of South Africa. Last night I watched the movie, Invictus, and kept wondering where or when was I? I clearly remember the announcement of his death and was amazed that more people around me were not moved by the sadness of it. I also remember vaguely some controversy about his “estate”.

There are a few things that do not match my memories of this universe. Such as Honduras. I remember it as an island in the Caribbean, not a country in Central America.

Besides Mandela’s death, there are people who claim to remember reports of the death of preacher Billy Graham.

Geographic information is also reported differently, as the U.S. having 52 states (it actually has only 50), New Zealand was in a different geographical location, and Honduras was an island.

Another commenter writes:

I also remember New Zealand being located to the northwest (odd, because most everyone who remembers an alternate position seems to recall it being to the northeast) of Australia and Australia being located further south and smaller. Also, I remember in school having to memorize and be tested on all the countries of North & South America. Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Guatemala were islands in relatively the same location; smaller and differently shaped but similar. Though its entirely possible I’m remembering that incorrectly as geography was never my forte.

What explains these experiences? Some people argue the existence of parallel universes, and that somehow these universes events seep into ours. The concept of parallel universes is used in physics and philosophy.

A parallel universe could be related to ours, or arise from ours, and may contain different versions of the events that occurred. For example, it is possible that in a universe parallel to our own, the coup d’Etat of 2009 never happened in Honduras.

May 27

Who won with the Cartagena Agreement

It seems obvious to me that Pepe Lobo is the great winner with the Cartagena Agreement, because this time he did not have to compromise on anything, and got what he wanted: the return of Honduras to the OAS.

Everything that Lobo promised was already fulfilled by the Honduras government.

All of this was accomplished through the mediation of President Hugo Chavez, confirming the influence of Chavez on Mel: the influence of a boss on his subordinate.

This agreement involves a change of strategy for President Chavez: there is a tacit recognition of the Lobo administration and a downplaying of the figure of Zelaya.

Chavez may prefer to negotiate with Lobo, who has the real power in Honduras, over Zelaya, who has repeatedly failed in his attempts to storm the power in Honduras, or perhaps, because of the riots in Africa, the Chavista dictatorship prefers to take a more cautious attitude.

Apr 25

Honduras’ ZIP Codes

Within Honduras, it is not necessary to include a ZIP code in the mail in order for it to arrive at its destination within the country. However, some websites ask for this information, and it may be necessary when sending mail to Honduras from another country.

ZIP codes are only defined for the major cities of Honduras. To each city corresponds a single ZIP code, with the exception of the city of San Pedro Sula, which has four ZIP codes corresponding to the four cardinal points.

These are the ZIP codes sorted by departments:

Atlantida
1. La Ceiba 31101
2. Tela 31301
Colon
1. Trujillo 32101
2. Tocoa 32301
Comayagua
1. Comayagua 12101
2. Siguatepeque 12111
Copan
1. Santa Rosa de Copán 41101
2. La Entrada 41202
Cortes
1. San Pedro Sula
Sector N.E. 21101
Sector N.O. 21102
Sector S.E. 21103
Sector S.O. 21104
2. Puerto Cortes 21301
Choluteca
1. Choluteca 51101
2. Pespire 51201
El Paraiso
1. Yuscaran 13101
2. Danli 13201
Francisco Morazan
1. Tegucigalpa 11101
2. Comayaguela 12101
Gracias A Dios
1. Puerto Lempira 33101
Intibuca
1. La Esperanza 14101
2. Jesus de Otoro 14201
Islas de La Bahia (Bay Islands)
1. Roatan 34101
La Paz
1. La Paz 15101
2. Marcala 15201
Lempira
1. Gracias 42101
2. Erandique 42201
Ocotepeque
1. Ocotepeque 43101
2 San Marcos de Ocotepeque 43201
Olancho
1. Juticalpa 16101
2. Catacamas 16201
Santa Barbara
1. Santa Barbara 22101
2. Trinidad 22114
Valle
1. Nacaome 52101
2. San Lorenzo 52102
Yoro
1. Yoro 23101
2. El Progresso 23201

Apr 13

PayPal in Honduras

PayPal is a payment processor that makes online shopping easy. More and more websites are accepting PayPal as payment. PayPal allows you to buy without having to enter your credit or debit card numbers each time make you make a purchase.

PayPal also allows you to receive money in your PayPal account and credit it to your Visa credit or debit card in Honduras. This is an option that some days ago was not available for Honduras, previously we could only make payments in Honduras, and now we can also receive them.

How to pay with PayPal in Honduras

Opening an account with PayPal is easy, you just need to go to the PayPal website and fill the required fields. You will need a credit or debit card that has a confirmation number on the reverse to make online payments. It is preferable to use a VISA card, as this will allow you to get paid in your PayPal account.

The VISA debit card of Banco Atlantida does not work with PayPal, because it doesn’t have the verification number on the reverse. It is preferable to use the debit card of Banco Ficohsa. At least, that is the card I have used successfully, I can not vouch for the cards of other banks.

You can use debit cards in dollar or lempiras accounts, but I think it is more convenient to use a dollar account, as most online payments are made in dollars. PayPal charges a fee for currency exchange.

How to Verify a PayPal account

PayPal will ask you to verify your account in order to provide more security for the vendors. Verifying your account will allow you to remove the limit on payments.

Verifying your account is easy. You go to your PayPal account, click the link to verify the account, follow the process indicated, and they will charge your card for the value of US$ 1.95 or the equivalent in national currency. Then you will check your statement of account and look for the four-digit code associated with this charge, enter the code in your PayPal account and that’s it. The US$ 1.95 charge will be credited back to you.

PayPal to sell online

With a personal account on PayPal you can send and receive money online, but those who are engaged in selling online need a Premier or Business account. The first is for individual vendors and the second for companies.

Mar 13

Women in Honduras: Beautiful and Famous

For this slideshow presentation I made a selection of beautiful and famous Honduran women.

And as I have a weakness for mature women, they could not be missing here.

In alphabetical order:

Alexa Ferrari
Aguas Ocaña
Alejandra Rodríguez
Ana Flores
Ángela Bendeck
Angie Alvarenga
Bárbara Fortín
Carmen Boquín
Daisy Handal
Dania Prince
Debbie Bertrand
Gabriela Ortega
Iveth Portillo
Julissa Gúnera
Larissa Espinal
Lesly Paredes
Lizzie Flores
Marcela Gonzalez
Marcia Villeda
Margarita Valle
Mireya Batres
Miriam Torres
Neyda Sandoval
Nora Erazo
Nora Schauer
Rosina Córdova
Sandra Ponce
Satcha Pretto
Sherry y Sheyla
Wendy Salgado
Yadira Bendaña
Yasmina Hernández

Mar 06

How I learned English

Broken English Spoken Perfectly

I have a level of the English language that allows me to read and write in this language. Some people ask me how I learned English. I did not learn English through an educational institution. Nor have I lived in the U.S. or any other English speaking country.

The basis of my learning was a couple of very basic self-study English courses. One consisted of a booklet and a few audiocassettes, and the other was an old book with yellow pages. I also took three English courses in college. I have been learning English since the early 90s, in a slow but persistent process. Part of this process included watching movies and television shows in English (with subtitles), and learning English lyrics (also religious sermons).

But my main motivation for learning English has been my interest in reading. The first book I read in English was Jelly Belly, it’s about an overweight child in his struggle to lose weight. Cool.

At first I needed to consult frequently the dictionary, which was quite tedious.

But it was my interest in religious issues that motivated me the most to learn English. The first religious book I read in English was 50 Years in the “Church” of Rome, it is an account of the conversion of a nineteenth century Catholic priest to Protestantism. A strongly anti-Catholic book. (At that time I was a fundamentalist evangelical.)

Then I read What’s wrong with Christian Rock?, by Jeff Godwin, a book that claims that Christian rock music and its derivatives are a thing of the devil. Later, when I came to doubt the Christian religion, I read Why I’m not a Christian, by Bertrand Russell. Then I started exploring the Internet, reading a lot of articles in English at infidels.org. I have not stopped reading in English since then.

It is important to note that my learning of the English language has come as a byproduct of my interest in reading, and specifically on the topic of religion, rather than the sole purpose of learning English. I’m more interested in the material that the language itself.

For example, Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez began learning English as a child because of his interest in aircraft.

I think that to keep an interest in a specific topic is a good way to learn English.

I learned English the hard way, but with current technology it’s even easier. If you want to learn a foreign language you can do it too. No more excuses.

Rosetta Stone Spanish (Latin America) Level 1-5 Set

Feb 25

How to send money to Honduras from the United States

In this post I will explain the different ways to send money from the U.S. to Honduras —or from another point of view— how people in Honduras can receive money from people in the United States.

MoneyGram and Western Union

MoneyGram and Western Union are the most recognized companies in Honduras in the remittance business. All they will ask you to do is to fill a form with the basic information needed to make the transaction and an ID. They will give you a ten-digit reference number, which you then will communicate to the person receiving the remittance. The recipient of the remittance must also present an ID card. It is very important to write correctly the recipient’s full name, as it appears on the ID card.

Send money via Xoom

Xoom offers a convenient and reliable way to send money to Honduras via Internet. Xoom can be up to 80% cheaper than Western Union and MoneyGram. The money transfer is done quickly and without the need to pick up the money at any company’s office. Recipients in Honduras can receive the money directly into their bank accounts of BAC | Honduras, Banco Ficohsa and Banco Citi; they can also show up to collect the money at Banco Atlantida and Banadesa, and various kiosks located in the supermarkets Despensa Familiar, Hiper Paiz, Maxi and Farmacia Siman. Check Xoom’s website.

Wire Transfer from a U.S. bank

You can try to send a wire transfer from your U.S. bank to the recipient’s bank in Honduras. Ask your U.S. bank if this is possible, and how much they charge. You can use the Wells Fargo bank to wire money to a Ficohsa account in Honduras. Ficohsa is a Honduran bank with branches in the U.S., but they need an American bank to wire money to Honduras.

Send a U.S. debit card to Honduras

It is possible to make cash withdrawals from ATMs in Honduras with U.S. debit cards. The card can be sent to Honduras with a reliable shipping company. The  ATMCash company provides you with a convenient method to do this. Ask your U.S. bank about the charges associated with the use of your debit card in Honduras. It’s cheaper and more convenient to use a debit card than a credit card.

Send a U.S. check to Honduras

You can send a check in dollars to Honduras via regular mail. Once the recipient receives the U.S. check in Honduras she/he can deposit it in a Honduran dollar account. To withdraw money from the Honduran dollar account you will have to wait from three to four weeks, so
this is the most time consuming option. Banco Ficohsa has the funds available in just 15 business days. Honduran banks charge no fees for this service.

For safety reasons you will want  to make the check on behalf of the recipient, using the recipient’s name exactly as it appears in his/her ID card. Instead of sending it by regular mail it is faster and safer to use a shipping company.

Another option for cashing a U.S. check in Honduras is to use the services of a money exchange house, such as COINSA.

¿Sending money via Paypal?

Sending money via Paypal is a popular way to make international transfers in the Internet. Unfortunately, people in Honduras cannot receive money via Paypal, they can only send it. The closest thing to Paypal in Honduras is Xoom. The alternative for online businesses in Honduras is 2Checkout.

Other money transfer companies

There is a large number of remittance companies that send money to Honduras associated with Honduran banks, such as:

Dolex, Uniteller, Bancomer Transfer Service, Pacific Receive Networks, etc.

The reason for the emergence of so many money transfer companies is the phenomenon of Outsourcing.

Check the list of Banks in Honduras and the information that each of their websites have on remittances.

Ask the recipient which way of sending money is more convenient for both of you.

If you wish to send your remittance online, directly to the recipient’s bank account, quickly and conveniently, you may want to use the Xoom’s service.

Gift Certificates

Instead of sending money to Honduras you have the option of buying gift certificates, as the ones offered by Supermercados La Colonia, Tiendas Carrion, or Amazon.com, so the person may be able to spend this certificates on whatever she/he likes, within a wide range of products.

Feb 24

Honduras bans smoking

There’s a new anti-smoking law in Honduras that bans smoking, not only in public places, but even at home.

The law prohibits any kind of advertising for any kind tobacco-related products, even of fake cigars.

“The law is clear and we will comply with it,” said Rony Portillo, head of the Institute to Prevent Alcoholism and Drug Addiction.

Actually the law is not so clear.

The law does not explicitly ban people from smoking in their own homes, but allows non smoking people to complain before the authorities for being exposed to secondhand smoke in their own houses.

In open spaces, the law bans people from smoking near anyone within a space of 2 meters (6 feet).

The anti-smoking law leaves open the possibility of enclosed public places exclusively destined to smokers, but in practice its unlikely this will be allowed, judging by the public statements of the authorities and the media.

Article 28 of the law states: “Minors… wont be allowed in places where smoking is permitted”.

These seems to imply that in some public places smoking will be permitted.

Minors are people under the age of 21 according to the Honduran law. At the age of 18 in Honduras, young people are considered “citizens” but not adults endowed with full legal rights.

The ironic thing is that this law becomes enforceable just a few days after a tobacco festival sponsored by the government; the First Humo Jaguar Festival will be the last, as this new anti-tobacco law prohibits any kind of publicity favorable to any kind of tobacco-related product.

The production of Havana cigars is a important source of jobs in the Honduran cities of Copan and Danli. These cigars are mostly destined to exportation, and alternative sources of income for the employees of the tobacco industry are not ready available. Some people fear these jobs will be affected by this radical law.

This anti-tobacco law can be consulted at the IHADFA website [es].

Feb 23

Honduras’ Blogs List — English-language Blogs

A brief lists of Honduras-related English-language blogs.

Check the Honduras Blogs website for more.

For a list of Honduran Spanish-language blogs see this list.

Personal Blogs

Resistance Blogs

Family Blogs

Missionary Blogs

Peace Corps and Volunteers

News

Business Blog

Art Blog