Sep 21, 2006

COPAN, Honduras – 
"Please check your gun. Thank you, the Institute of Honduran Tourism," the sign declares.

The aqua park security guard barely glances at me. Clearly I don't seem the pistol-packing sort. I have the porcelain complexion of a 1930s gun moll, but lack the edge. Pity.

"You're in the wild west here," Gustavo reminds me. "Guns are normal here. But this is a family place, so you don't bring your gun. Simple."

Fine by me. No complaints here.

The park includes a cinema and petite mall, along with the water slides. More importantly, it houses the Museo de Vaca.

Cow Museum.

I've talked about little else for three days. Gustavo's dubious, but I'm certain any collection of cattle will be sublime. And I'm not wrong.

We expected churns and yokes and milking stools. Instead the Museo de Vaca teems with cow kitsch. Ceramic figurines dressed like Merlin and Buddha, painted with strawberries, flowers and Van Gogh motifs. Shelves of jersey-pattern creamers. Hide chairs. Only a jugged calf fetus mars this monument to disposable income.

"You're going to miss your flight." My guide herds me to the van.

Hurtling towards San Pedro Sula, we pass a bossy in a pickup truck's bed, its head lashed to the roof. Other bony cattle graze along the verge.

I reflect on this a while, then ask: "Isn't it ironic – all those processed, Platonic ideals of cows, those tchotckes, showcased in a community of subsistence farmers?"

Gustavo rolls his eyes. Sometimes a cow submarine is just a cow submarine, his expression telegraphs.


  1. i love the cow museum. must go there. i love your blog too. i think you are actually writing a travel memoir, but online. it's so lyrical. your voice is great.

  2. You made my day, Michelle. Gracias!

    It's true: I'm workshopping material online. Otherwise the experience just slip-slides away in a morrass of journalistic deadlines.

    But I'm preaching to the choir, I suspect...

    Anyway, yes, check out the Museo de Vaca – so absurd, it's good. Ax.


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