Friday, December 17, 2021

[TEGUCIGALPA] Malling in Tegus


And so, we reach the capital. After a bit over 3 hours on a bus with an intermediate stop in between, I found myself alighting the vehicle at a busy colonia that looked sketchy at best. It’s time to put Uber to the test. Activating my mobile data, I scouted for Uber drivers and found one, who arrived after 15 minutes or so. My first impression of Tegucigalpa, or known to many by its nickname Tegus, is that of a hilly Spanish-speaking Manila. I guess what caught me by surprise was the weather, though.


It must be because of the city’s altitude, although a local I talked to about it blamed climate change. The weather is a cool 18C at night which is enough not to turn on your room’s air con. At day, it climbs up to around 25C, and the combination of the sun and the cool breeze is something you will appreciate. Once again, I hit the jackpot with my Airbnb of choice, located right at the center of Boulevard Morazán and surrounded by all the American fast-food chains you could think ask for. KFC. Wendy’s. Dennys. Dunkin Donuts. McDonald's.


With the combination of the comfy Airbnb and the convenience of Uber, I couldn’t ask for anything more. It cemented my plans for Tegus all along. R&R. Staycation. Malling. Movies. I did not even make an effort to go sightseeing anymore despite the availability of some green parks within reach. I came here to rest and recuperate, and that’s exactly what I did. It became so homey that at one point I almost wanted to extend my stay by a week, hindered only by the availability of the Airbnb I’m currently at.


And of course, I also have to keep heading north, lest I ruin my itinerary. Comayagua, originally planned to be a daytrip from Tegus, now becomes an intermediate two-night stop before I head farther north to San Pedro Sula. All good so far. Now without sightseeing, what is there to talk about Tegucigalpa then? Well, we can always talk about the malls, I guess. Let’s do a quick rundown of the three I went to.


Novacentro is an open-air mall just 10 minutes away on foot from Torre Agalta where my Airbnb is. They have a cinema on the topmost floor while the complex itself has several parking lots and standalone restaurants, one of which is Dennys which is said to be open 24/7. As for the mall itself, it feels more like a not so interesting shopping center with a scarcity of global brands and a not so upscale look. Well, at least they decorated the place for Christmas. That makes the atmosphere a bit livelier.


Next mall I went to was Mall Premier at Comayaguela, Tegucigalpa’s twin and impoverished sister to the west. Mall Premier still had slots for Spider-Man: No Way Home, and since I was in the mood for malling, I decided to check the place out anyway. It is way bigger than Novacentro, that’s for sure, but the scarcity of global brands continues. In terms of restaurant options, you have the common suspects like KFC, Little Caesars, and Church’s Chicken. The cinema is under the Cinépolis chain and is comfy enough for the admission price it charges for its tickets. Mall Premier also has great views of Tegus’ hills from afar.


Last stop was Cascadas Mall. Said to be Tegucigalpa’s most upscale mall, it is even bigger than Mall Premier and surrounded by huge ass parking lots. The interior design does feel a bit more upscale, although the scarcity of global brands is still an issue, or perhaps I was just lurking at the wrong wing? The cinema is also handled by Cinépolis and has a VIP option with larger and more comfortable reclining seats. Here, I watched Spider-Man: No Way Home for the second time. Needless to say, I do feel at home.


And that was Tegucigalpa for me. I think its bad reputation as a dangerous city comes from people that originate from more orderly countries where 3rd world BS is not that much of a problem. If you are from Manila, however, you will probably just laugh it off and bask in the many similarities. My Uber rides drove through various neighborhoods the few days I was here. And while there are areas where you will probably be robbed in broad daylight without trying too hard, there were also some swanky zones with huge, gated houses. The traffic and chaos? Very Manila. The socio-economic disparity. As well as the fast food choices. Except for the hills.

[TEGUCIGALPA] Malling in Tegus

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