If you come to San Pedro Sula, you can go anywhere you want as long as you go:
>in an official taxi with a trusted driver
>to places that have armed guards
The places that have armed guards are described as “middle class”, but that strata of society is so small that they are few and far between. Supermarkets, or any kind of shop in a building, will have at least one visible armed guard in front, and a large van filled with heavily armed men. When I pass them, I am probably in the safest place I could be, yet the sight of their huge guns makes my stomach lurch.
If you like going for walks and dropping into random coffee shops, then… don’t. A lot of local people don’t travel far after dark, as a precaution to avoid problems on the roads from gang members. A wrong turn can lead you into dangerous territory, where gangs shoot at any car that they don’t recognise; although it is said that this area is “OK”, and that you would probably “only get mugged here, and nothing else would happen”.
The past week, I’ve started to experience “cabin fever”. Seeing the same people every day, trying to make conversation, chatting to my coworkers about work… The “honeymoon period” is wearing off and I stare at the gate with longing, thinking about how nice it might be to walk around the block to the shop, or gazing out the window of a taxi, watching the regular people hanging out at the blue collar bars that look like little shacks lining the road. I don’t feel like a “real person” here yet. I feel like a monkey in a golden cage.
Even though Honduras is statistically terribly unsafe, I don’t feel that unsafe when I’m pottering around the supermarket or eating in a restaurant. In Madrid, I never really accepted the way that people ranted and raved constantly, or complete strangers stared you in the eye for far too long and had no qualms about entering your personal space. So far, I find Honduran body language and way of speaking more inline with my ingrained idea of “good manners”. No one has laughed at my Spanish, tried to belittle me, ridiculed or mocked my accent, or told me that I am “x” because of who I am or where I come from. That makes a refreshing change.