The first two things you notice when you arrive in San Pedro Sula are the oven-like and unrelenting heat, and the general lack of police or military presence, which is only surprising after weeks of hearing about the political conflict that had rattled an otherwise peaceful Central American nation.
The truth is that there aren't really any signs of the country's political conflict at all here (I've been told those are limited to the capital city of Tegucigalpa). What you can find are signs of the growing excitement over Saturday's World Cup qualifier between Honduras and the United States. Street vendors were already lining the streets in San Pedro Sula selling match tickets as well as Honduras jerseys. Fans were floating around the Crown Plaza Hotel where the Honduran team is staying.
If you were planning to make a late run down here, you may have trouble finding a hotel room. One local hotel manager told me that all rooms in town are sold out this weekend as Hondurans (and some Americans) converge on San Pedro Sula ahead of Saturday's qualifier.
Is there confidence among the Hondurans about Saturday's match? There is, but there are also long memories of the last time the United States came down here, a 2001 World Cup qualifier the Americans won courtesy of a Clint Mathis free kick. The Honduran team has a bit of a history of choking in World Cup qualifying over the past two decades, something which is probably tempering some of the expectations about this weekend's match.
I will provided a detailed breakdown of the Honduran team and Saturday's match in general on Friday, so look for that along with some other observations from San Pedro Sula. For now, feel free to share your thoughts about Saturday's match (as well as any suggestions on places to visit in San Pedro Sula) in the comments section below.
U live there?
How about a word or two on the WOMEN of Honduras?
Looks? Style? Are they soccer fans?
Kick back and have a Salva Vida for the many fans who might not be able to see the game!
(SBI-Port Royal has been the beer of choice for this trip.)