Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Very Full Day

Yesterday was my first day on my own. Caleb's back at work, so now it's up to me to fill my days. This may end up being more daunting than it sounds, especially since I don't speak Spanish or know anyone yet. Still, if yesterday was any indication, I think I'm going to be just fine.

I made a list of things to find and accomplish first thing in the morning, so I had a plan for the day. First on that list was to find the nearest laundry mat. I went to the corner store and with a dictionary and some pretty silly pantomime and a map, I managed to find out that the nearest laundry is not very close. That's what I feared. Loading up my bike with my dirty sheets and towels and biking to town in 95 degree weather is doable but not ideal. While I was "talking" to the cashier, a young woman came in and spoke a bit of English, so she started translating for me. And here's the amazing thing. Through her I found a woman two blocks from my house who has a washing machine and will do our laundry for 10 pesos a kilo. That's about $0.77 for 2.2lbs. And I don't think I'm ripping her off either. For what I've seen that's pretty much the going rate here. I'm still going to do some our clothes in the sink, but this is great for our bulkier items. Also, she has a one day turnaround. I'm so grateful.
The woman that I met in the store and who was so helpful is Faby, and she and I are going to get together regularly and swap English/Spanish lessons. So this was not a bad start to my day! I had only been out and about for 20 minutes.

Back on my bike again and peddling to town, I found a great little shop that sells fanciful stuffed animals, hand-sewn, colorful, and with a delightful sense of humor. I learned later that these toys are all over town. I wish I could make something this cute. Really. And it got me thinking. Stores in the U.S. would love these Mayan made children's stuffed animals. Maybe I could start selling them. Let me know what you think. I'll post a few pictures and maybe create a temporary web page for them. So now my creative juices are flowing and I'm feeling more excited about being here.

While in town (pueblo) I successfully figured out our Mexican cell phone chip problems, had my first aqua fresca (like lemonade) , faxed our sublease agreement (after stopping at 3 different places), found a great fruit and vegetable stand, and got homemade tortillas that were still warm from the tortilla factory. All in all pretty good.

I saved the fish and cheese shop for another day, since I have plenty of time to get to know this place.

One thing that I should mention. Caleb and I have never been to a place where we've been so conscientious of the fact that we are privileged and wealthy by comparison. Here, many people have very, very little. We've walked the outskirts of town and most people live very humbly. I have seen mothers standing in the doorways of crumbled down buildings, hovels really, their children playing soccer in the street. People live in shacks. I don't know what the sanitation conditions are like. Walking by all I've seen inside are plastic chairs, buckets and hammocks. Still, people smile at you and say, "hola" if you smile at them and initiate. I'm trying to be sensitive to this culture since I am the outsider. I have yet to meet an unkind person here. I'm sure they exist, but coming from Rhode Island that's saying a lot. R.I. is not known for it's politeness. Ha. Caleb commented on the fact that even though there is so much poverty here you don't see anyone begging. Everyone is trying to provide a service and they all work extremely hard.

When I got home from the pueblo I did my Rosetta Stone Spanish lesson. It seems like a great program so far. I think Caleb has a better memory and I have better pronunciation. Together we may actually be able to communicate.

We had dinner at "Charlie's". It reminds me of a Cuban club in movies from the 1940's. There were round colorful tiled tables outside in this lovely little courtyard, with palm trees and flowers and very polite waiters. The food was delicious. "Charlie's" has a stage and a little band was playing salsa and flamenco music. The harpist and bongo player were amazing. A young, cute American couple were on their honeymoon and trying to dance. It was so sweet and silly I had tears rolling down my cheeks. They danced the night away, rather tipsy, trying to learn how to salsa, and totally in love...that young, new, sweet love with lots of spontaneous kisses and laughter. It was a good reminder for Caleb and I to enjoy being young and in love and maybe act a little less responsibly (that was Caleb's hint to me anyway!). We've determined I either act like I'm an old lady or like I'm somewhere between 4 and 8yrs old.

Well I'm off to pick up my laundry and learn some Spanish. Caleb and I are going to the beach after he gets off of work. There's been lots of thunder lately and it sounds like God's moving furniture in heaven. I think it's going to rain today.

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