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IT ARE SUN. LET ME IN.

It's in the high 90s/low 100s here, which seems pretty typical. I'm not complaining because it's a dry heat and much, much more bearable than the humid heat of South Carolina. Today is still part of the Easter holiday, but Major E and I have opened up the JAG shop anyway because it has air conditioning.

I haven't been on in three days because the internet cafe was closed for the Easter holiday. I could only use the government computers in the library, which don't allow you to get on LiveJournal, MySpace or any other personal site.

Easter was wonderful. On Friday I took the bus with a bunch of other JTF-B staff into Comayagua for the Good Friday procession. I know I keep comparing Honduras to Mexico, and how could I not, but compared to the spectacle of Puebla's Holy Week, Comayagua's was small but spirited. The defining detail here is that families, small businesses, schools and other groups take coloured sawdust, rice or other material and make carpets, over which the procession walks. I took a number of photos although I resisted the urge to photograph more than I did. They are nice to see but I know someone who hadn't been there would burn out on them quickly. I found myself with the ARFOR commander and assistant commander, and we had quite the wander.

The procession itself is only four floats, as it were. The star of the show is the Transfiguration, with Elijah in his fiery chariot at the front, Moses with the Ten Commandments at the back, and the Nazareno between. The Nazareno is a Latino art form, a representation of Jesus carrying the cross, but always robed and crowned to show that despite his status as a condemned criminal, he is nonetheless a king. The Nazareno here is very beautiful, and I have pictures. This is accompanied by a Mater Dolorosa, a St. John the Divine and a Mary Magdalene who wears pretty lavender robes. My companions and I walked through the middle class part of town to the bus stop by the fast food places on the main road. The middle class area would be *maybe* the best-off lower housing in Mexico. One-story houses were on an unpaved road. They had electricity and perhaps running water. No one seemed particularly interested in us either, which was odd to me; in Mexico people are always very curious about visitors. Not in a scary way but in a "Who are you? Where are you from? Would you like a drink of water?" kind of way.

Saturday I spent trying to keep cool in the library and the movie theatre. ("Gran Torino" is indeed a VERY good movie, zeonchar). That night I got back on the bus to ride into town to the friary of the Capuchin Fathers who say Mass on base.

The Capuchins are Americans, with one Canadian (Fr. Juan Diego) and one Czech (Fr. Gregor). They live the life all right, taking care of the very poor and wearing worn-out grey robes that are all patched. Under the neck of their robes I can see frayed t-shirt collars; to answer the question you've always had, monks usually wear jeans and t-shirts under their habits. They are very warm and welcoming and terrific singers. A bad "Exultet" can just deflate Easter Vigil but Fr. Juan Diego did not disappoint, and he even had the stamina for this ten-minute 5th century hymn. I read the fourth reading and since I'm a Leo and very theatric, people were complimenting me on my performance with it later. After communion, the friars did a hymn on their own, which was heavily in the Eastern tradition. I've never heard the phrase "Jesus Christ has conquered death by death" before, and I knew there was an Eastern influence because it invoked the Theotokos (God-Bearer, the primary Orthodox title for Mary).

They said Mass with their backs to the congregation, which I find off-putting. The Mass also used a reasonable amount of Latin, which is a plus IMHO although I dislike the Tridentine Mass.

Afterwards, we had a reception in the courtyard. I proved myself a terrible person because I kind of sneered at the missionary boy who is entering Ave Maria University this fall. He wants to be a professional theologian; I informed him bluntly that if he's going to Ave Maria NO ONE will take him seriously. He insisted that Ave Maria is more scholastically rigourous than, say, Franciscan U. at Steubenville, saying that his friends at Ave Maria spend much more time studying. I figure that that's because they're all homeschool retards who have never had to apply themselves to a real school curriculum in their lives. I'm all for homeschooling but the people who do it for religious reasons usually hamstring their kids badly when it comes to the life of the mind. But I didn't tell him that.

Life here is quiet and dull. This week I watched five movies; the second half of "Transformers" (much better on a smaller screen where you can actually see all of the mecha at once; nonetheless still a horrible movie), "Hancock" (not what I expected but I enjoyed it nonetheless), "Rush Hour 3" (no brain required but entertaining), "Gran Torino" (thumbs up) and "The Punisher: War Zone" for a second time.

I expect to have access to LJ for the rest of my stay, but I am only sporadically looking at my friends list.

Take care, all.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
brotherskeeper1
Apr. 14th, 2009 03:24 am (UTC)
Hi, Steph :) I enjoyed reading about the processions as I've never seen that.

You answered a question I always wondered about and that is the humidity in Central America. I'm glad you don't have to deal with that.

Take care!
kishiriadgr
Apr. 14th, 2009 06:40 pm (UTC)
Right now it's the dry season, so the weather is just that; dry and Iraq-hot. The rainy season will bring cooler weather and lots of wet.
zeonchar
Apr. 14th, 2009 08:04 am (UTC)
Glad you're having a good time!

(I enjoyed Transformers, LOL)
kishiriadgr
Apr. 14th, 2009 06:39 pm (UTC)
I would have liked Transformers if it had been about the ROBOTS the way the series is. Instead it was a teen drama with robot action. I HATE teen drama and after the first hour was about to walk out of the movie, except that's when all the robot action started.
zeonchar
Apr. 14th, 2009 09:17 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I get what you're saying. I liked it only for the robot action. The story part didn't really interest me. I guess the action was enough for me. The last battle was pretty cool.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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