Nochebuena (Christmas Eve) is the bigger deal here, but Christmas Day is also important. Apparently, Nochebuena fiestas are kind of nuts. As soon as it turned midnight last night there were fireworks (which I couldn't see) and people started blasting "Feliz Navidad." This went on for at least an hour, but we've been told that people go to bars and discotecas and stay out really late. Around 9 when Marvin drove us home yesterday, there were tons of people out on the streets doing firecrackers. Where does this energy come from?? I've been going to bed around 10pm here. Then again, I also usually get up around 5:30 or 6am.
Anyway, Rosa made us coffee in the morning and we asked her if we should bring anything with us when we met up with Celeste's family. This is common in America. If you are spending time with someone during the holidays, you bring them food. Or wine or something. But both she and Lourdes said that it was unnecessary and we didn't need to because that's not customary. There is a saying in Maine that's like, you should never go to someone's house with one arm as long as the other. Meaning, one of those arms needs to be carrying some food or else you're not going to get invited back. I have found that this is a surefire way to win approval and make friends. In any case, we went to Supermercado la Colonia and got a box of cookies.
Celeste, her husband, and her three kids ages 10, 7 and 4 came by around 6pm and we went out to find a restaurant. So far we've liked comida típica but haven't had a lot of it, so they suggested baleadas, which is something that's very traditional in Honduras. And apparently really good because all the kids freaked out and got really excited. They also said we should get horchata which got me excited because I keep forgetting that there must be cross overs between El Salvadorian food (go to Tu Casa on Washington Ave in Portland, you won't regret it) and Honduran food. Celeste's husband said that a lot of Americans who try horchata don't like it, and one of his American friends said it tasted like dirt and I said that they must be crazy people. (Shout out to Imani--horchata is life!) Unfortunately, the place wasn't open and there weren't a lot of restaurants (except American chains) open, so we went to a Honduran chain restaurant instead.
This was also great, because there was a TV with Toy Story 2 on and the kids were hilarious. Actually the whole family is hilarious. Celeste and her husband are fans of Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively. "I sleep with the enemy!" her husband said. The two boys like Madrid and the girl likes Barcelona, so there are some tense moments in that house during important soccer matches. Celeste explained that as Christians, the Jesus part of Christmas is more important than the Santa part, so all her kids know that Santa isn't real, although her daughter Sara writes him anyway. In the car later we passed a bus/caravan thing that had Santa up high on some sleigh-thing, and then families in a chiva behind. The kids all started yelling "Santa! Santa! Santa! Santa!" and when we passed them Celeste's husband yelled "Santa is a lie!" out the window and all the kids cracked up. Sara said that Santa had been waving but then changed to shaking his finger. Jaja!
As I alluded to earlier and in the title of this post, galletas make friends. I think the kids liked us before, but they were over the moon when we brought out the cookies. Galletas!! They dropped us off back at the hotel around 8, and it was really fun to spend time with a family, even if it isn't mine, for a little bit on Christmas.