The Rum Is Gone

I went to Honduras back in February. On the way home, I bought a bottle of rum at the airport. Tonight, I take my last sip of the bottle.

I didn’t blog about it at the time for a number of reasons. It’s someplace I’d like to go again if I can ever get my Spanish speaking skills to a passable level…but be rather concerned about doing so if I had to plan such a trip on my own.

Honduras is a travel destination that is truly challenging to either recommend, nor dissuade. Getting there was difficult, as the paltry number of flights to Honduras caused issues with my airline with respect to actually getting there. Once there, I never really felt unsafe, but the cultural norm of having armed security at mundane establishments brought a little perspective to how some non-Americans perceive concealed carry. The exterior appearance of homes invariably lacked ‘curb appeal’, but most of the stone work looked like it would have no problem standing firm long after vinyl siding on American homes demands replacement. I doubt there were many people I saw who had extensive investment portfolios or were planning trips to Club Med, but few seemed unhappy, and many seemed to be carrying on conversations with neighbors and ‘strangers’ in a way that seemed more foreign than the Spanish I inconsistently comprehended.

We complain about $5/gallon gasoline we’re currently experiencing in America, but a gallon cost about $4.40 while I was there, keeping in mind that the median income in the country is $2,500/year . Proportional to the median American income, such a number is analogous to paying $79/gallon at the pump. We listened to regular FM Radio, but even that was very different. Hispanic genres were played side-by-side with American top-40 tracks, and in addition to FCC rules not applying to broadcasts (thus making the term ‘clean edit’ an anachronism), commercials were far less frequent – I’ve heard more advertisements on Pandora than any radio station I heard there. This song was frequently played; hearing it already brings back memories. The beaches were beautiful, the mountainous terrain made travel slow but beautiful. While the food took a bit of getting used to, I’d love to have a Honduran breakfast again. Ironically, the drive-thru coffee shop seemed to have trouble making a cup of coffee with milk and sugar; I’d have to use the coffee beans I brought home before I was able to make coffee properly.

The weeks following the trip were difficult, not the least of which because the balmy 79°F days were a pleasant respite from the seemingly-interminable winter weather. I came home with some mixed emotions, which were cemented in the weeks thereafter. I like to say that I was the least successful person to find solace at the bottom of a bottle; a single 50mL pour of the 70-proof Honduran spirit took me three days to finish. While there was one instance I can recall that I’d describe as a “bad night”, I do thank the Lord for His divine protection. The emotional state was there for the beginnings of a battle I’d not like to wage. While I am certain I could have handled it better, it was His protection that prevented that stretch of time from becoming much, much worse. It took some time, but I’d say it was around the beginning of May that I think I managed to get myself back into the proper headspace. I was no longer attempting to suppress my feelings, nor did Bebe Rexha’s 2014 hit “Can’t Stop Drinking About You” resonate.

I wish I could sum up what I learned, but it’s strange because it’s not even particularly quantifiable. Maybe this is what “learning about yourself” is, but if it cannot be meaningfully articulated, does it even count as a ‘lesson’ or ‘learning’?

Maybe it’s a bit like this glass of rum itself. “palette”, “nose”, “mouthfeel”, “finish”…are just some of the words used to describe the flavor of spirits which I am unskilled in leveraging. I can’t meaningfully articulate what this rum tastes like in a way that will reliably impart the experience. However, it doesn’t mean that an experience wasn’t had, or that it isn’t valid. And as I finish consuming this last pour, I draw a line. I am grateful for the experience in all its messiness, having faith that despite the difficulties which stemmed from my adventure, an alternative outcome may not have ultimately panned out as it was envisioned. I look forward to what’s to come, whatever it may be.

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