Travelogue for data mining
Tegucigalpa (locals shorten it to "Teguc") is a great city! (My wife and I lived there from march of 2002 until June of 2004). The city is almost the complete opposite of Honduras' other main city, San Pedro Sula. San Pedro is laid out in a logical gridwork of predominantly one-way streets with a loop around it. Tegucigalpa is the best example I have seen in Central America of urban sprawl gone amok. San Pedro is located in a flat valley. Teguc is in very hilly terrain... much like Cincinnati, Ohio (USA) only with twenty times the taxis, a healthy supply of public buses, and a complete disregard for any form of traffic rules.
As of summer 2004, taxis cost no more than 40 limps ($2.20) point to point. buses were 2.5 limps ($0.15) but run set routes that most visitors won't know. taxi drivers are a bit wild, so buckle up... and ALWAYS negotiate the price BEFORE you get in the taxi. by negotiate, i mean state a price... don't ask if the price you offer is okay. expect the response to always be 5 limps higher than your offer (unless you really look like a tourist, then expect the fare to be doubled).
The football (soccer) stadium is a great central point for learning your bearings map-wise of the city. several of the larger roads meet in a round-about that uses the stadium as its hub.
The Mall-Multiplaza is a two-story, top-of-the-line mall, just like you would find in any of the biggest cities in America. overpriced and somewhat oppulent, but a nice place to feel like you are back in civilization if you have just come back from anywhere else in Honduras. The mall also has a multi-screen movie theater (Cinemark, you can find current movies on the web) on the third floor. Movies in Honduras are almost always shown in English with Spanish subtitles.
Teguc has a healthy variety of American food restaurants: McDonald's, burger king, Wendy's, subway, pizza hut, little Caesar's, papa john's, church's chicken, bo jangles, (even a cinnabon in the mall), tgi fridays, ruby tuesdays, and tony romas. all are westernized in regards to food preparation and travelers can eat at them without fear of getting sick.
If you are in the mood for some more traditional Honduran food (actually an import from el Salvador ironically) i recommend "la pupusaria cabana." just down the street (san juan pablo II) from the mall towards the stadium. pupusas are like mozarella-filled tortillas that are lightly fried and then topped with pickled cabbage and spicy pickled onions, carrots, and other vegetables. i know it doesn't sound too enticing, but it really works. give it a shot. the restaurant is open-air (as most Honduran restaurants are) and a great very informal place to hang out and meet some local people. Friday and Saturday nights after nine may get a tiny bit dangerous as the alcohol content in the patrons goes up. in Honduras, empty beer bottles are left on the tables until the bill is paid, so you can get a very quick visual indication of where cooler heads will prevail and where tempers may rise just buy looking. pupusas normally run about $0.50 apiece throughout the country and two to three will fill up most people.
well, i actually logged on to this site to try and find some info about Gatlinburg, so i am going to cut this short.
the moon handbook on Honduras is by far the best traveler's guide to the country. the other's truly aren't worth the time reading as far as i am concerned.
the nicest restaurant in town ($20 per person (total)or so) is "el cumbre" on top of the "mountain" of "el hatillio." the food is awesome and the spectacular view of the city would make it a $60 per plate restaurant in Indiana (USA). get there about five or five thirty to enjoy the daytime, sunset and evening views of teguc all in one sitting. bring a camera.
tipping in Honduras is 10%. tipping in not generally expected at smaller restaurants but always appreciated.
if you are more adventurous (not recommended for women traveling without a male companion) have a taxi driver take you to the san isidrio market down by the river. you can walk around the 16-square blocks of true Honduran markets and see where the Hondurans who can't afford to shop at the mall go to buy their things. wallets in front pockets. eyes open. smile. the market gets "earthier" the nearer the river you get. if a local warns you that you are heading into an unsafe area of the the market, thank them and backtrack. my wife was mugged, and if she hadn't been with a thankfully vocal northamerican it might have been worse. in general, no one in Honduras will intervene during a crime. they do not want to get involved and reap the anger of the perpetrator. they will look the other way and walk right on by. cars are commonly broken into in broad daylight and the thieves don't even bother wearing masks. if you are driving, it is always worth it to pay to park in a guarded lot.
if you have time, a small tourist town is 25 miles away from teguc. it is called "valle de angeles" (valley of the angels) and is a great place to do all of your tourist shopping (a little cheaper than airport prices) and the home of the best restaurant in all of Honduras - "la casa de mi abuela" (my grandmother's house). generally slow service (nothing new in Honduras) but so very, very worth it. definitely get an order of the anafres (tortilla chips in bean and and cheese sauce).
gotta go! hope to write some more later.