Img_1639 Noah Davis
Direct from San Pedro Sula

Seeking Bottled Water in a San Pedro Sula Mall

Our faithful correspondent ventures out of his rather nice hotel room and boldly enters the wild world of Honduras' economic capital. Well, he walked across a parking lot at least.
BY Noah Davis Posted
February 05, 2013
8:00 AM
SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras—I've been waiting for the mall across the parking lot from the hotel to open for three hours. It's sitting there, taunting me as I remain cooped up in room 712. At a brief State Department security briefing Monday night, two dozen assorted journalists and I were told the group of stores 200 feet from the entrance to the InterContinental is pretty much the only place we should go during our time here. The basic gist of talk: Everything you've heard about the danger is true.

At 10am, the mall finally opens for business. We were strongly encouraged to travel in groups, so a friend and I walk over in search of bottles of water and something to do. Upon entering, Latin dance music, the soundtrack down here, assaults our ears and the smell of Cinnabon overtakes our nostrils. An authorized Apple reseller sits across from a United Colors of Benetton. At the Nike store, Barcelona kits outnumber Honduran ones by a wide margin. Upstairs, a movie theater sits dark until the first showings at 1pm of "Vuelo" (Flight), "El Maestro Luchador" with Kevin James, and "Lincoln." "Duro de Matar: Un Buen Dia para Morir" (Die Hard: A Good Day to Die) will start playing in the next few weeks.

The mall looks like it could be anywhere in the world, except the security guards are armed with pistols. They wander the corridors aimlessly, nearly outnumbering the patrons in the mall.

There is nowhere to purchase bottled water.

Last night, as the sun set over the mountains, the street lights came on and the cars disappeared. There were still a few in the parking lot—abandoned until the next day or beyond—but the roads emptied almost instantaneously. San Pedro Sula is not a place to be outside after dark. As I would learn in a couple hours, it's not even safe to walk the 200 feet to the mall once the sun goes down.

I took a picture of the vista, left the room, and went down to the hotel steakhouse for dinner with a few assorted soccer journalists. We drank Syrah from Chile and ate churrasco from somewhere local. They were both excellent.

ASN deputy editor Noah Davis is covering the United States-Honduras game from Honduras.

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