There would be no birds singing "ooo-wee" on this Antigua morning, as we woke at 4am for our 5am shuttle to the town of Copan Ruinas in Honduras. Seven hours later we arrived. Dropped off on a side street, and walking to the inevitable Parque Central, we were both overcome with the heat (though not nearly as hot as Cambodia), and charmed by this little town of seven thousand. Yes, tourism is big business here, and hotels line the streets in every direction from Parque Central.
But it's the locals that add color. At Parque Central, you see tourists milling with the local "cowboys" making for an entertaining, and somewhat surreal experience.
Our first mission upon arriving was finding a place to sleep, which was accomplished quickly. The second was getting some Lempiras, Honduran currency. We entered one of the banks across the street from Parque Central....and to our surprise, we found that they didn't change Quetzales (Guatemalan currency) for Lempiras! In fact, only one location in Copan "legally" made these exchanges. But luckily, as we've found in our travels, everyone will most willingly exchange dollars. One bonus was that the bank always seemed to have its A/C turned to "freeze". In the future, when it was getting a bit too hot, we'd often head off to the bank to exchange cash, and cool off. While I was in line, the Missus walked on over to the three guards, each of them armed with shotguns, and started a conversation of sorts. By now She had the rule of decent eats down....all the police officers and security guards know where to grab decent eats. By the time I stuffed the wad of Lempiras in my pocket, the exchange rate was somewhere about 18.5 Lempiras to a dollar, the Missus had gotten a name and directions to our lunch spot.
A place called "Momo's". As we arrived, it turned out that Momo's was a Churrasqueria, basically a steakhouse.
The seating was "al fresco" on a covered porch like area. And the very nice...and patient young man who served us was a joy. We undoubtedly amused him........
The menu at Momo's is mostly comprised of Desayunos (breakfast items), Churrascos (grilled meats), Pinchos (Kabobs), and Parrilladas (combination plates).
After looking over the menu, I went with the Puyazo, a basic grilled beef. (145 Lps - $6.50):
Looking at the meat, I thought it was going to be rather tough, but I was pleasantly surprised. The meat was tender, with great flavor, undoubtedly grass fed. The meat had been seasoned with salt, oregano, and other herbs. The Missus had a taste and declared it delicious. My meal came with the usual sides, and tons of tortillas.
Now the Missus wasn't too hungry, and decided to order something "small". Thinking that it would be somthing light, She went with the Honduran calorie bomb called a Baleadas. She ordered the Baleadas con Frijoles, Queso, y Crema, thinking that the non-meat version would be fairly small.
This was as wide as Her forearm. Baleadas are similar to quesadillas, and is a typical breakfast dish. This one was 15Lps - less than two bucks.
We found that huge breakfasts are the norm here. I saw a young man eating a humongous plate of food....the Desayunos con carne. Check out what was on the plate:
I'm glad that I had a pretty hefty lunch....the Missus had one of Her typical "death marches" in store for me after lunch!
The Missus again started with Her Licuados....the young man had remembered us (who could forget), and asked Her, "mixto?" Which is what She got.....
The Missus decided on the Filete Mignon (150 Lps - $8.50):
It wasn't much to look at, and the Papas Fritas (french fries) were and after-thought, but it had decent flavor.
I went with the Churrasco Jalapeno (130 Lps - $6):
This large piece of skirt was smothered in a cheese-cream sauce. There was a whole roasted jalapeno pepper partially hidden in the sauce. Though I enjoyed the Puyazo better, this sure wasn't short on flavor. Of course, there were tortillas provided.
I had thought an order of Plantano Frito (Fried Plantains) would make a nice pseudo-dessert.
For the life of us, we could not figure out what the queso (cheese) and frijoles(beans) were for. I tried eating the sweet plantanos with the queso and frijoles and didn't find that a pleasant experience.
Overall, we enjoyed our meals at Momo's. It also gave us a clue as to how substantial meals are. It is not cheap by Honduran standards. We saw the young man one evening when headed back to our hotel, he gave us a shy smile and a wave. We were enjoying our time in Copan Ruinas......