20 January 2007

Another Day in the Life

Thursdays are market days, which means the entire town gets turned upside down. I remember being little and going to Hutchinson for the sidewalk sale days in the summer with you and thinking that the world had gone mad. Well, Tecpán is like that on Thursday to an exponential degree. So, I get up a little earlier if I'm good, shop in the market, and get to work an hour late or so. Today I wasn't good so I got to work a couple of hours late, which really doesn't matter. So, I got up, ate the granola and milk that serves as my breakfast almost every day, which is so good I just sit and enjoy still without rushing sometimes. I'm to the point where I've forgotten what it's like to not drink powdered milk every day. So, after breakfast, I got all the stuff I knew I'd need for work, put it into a costal (which is a bag that is made by cutting one of those woven plastic seed bags in half and attaching a handle). That meant my USB card, my newly-purchased fancy agenda, my English-Spanish dictionary just in case they found another document for me to translate, and a good pen. Then, I grabbed the wrong costál (I have several) and headed out the door. I realized I brought an empty bag when I was at the market. (remember, exchange rate is 7.5Q per dollar) No matter, my plan was to fill the bag with my purchases at market and go straight to the bus, but now I'll just bring my purchases back to the house. First I bought good looking bananas. My most important thing to buy was charcoal, but I couldn't find it. I used buying bananas an excuse to bother the busy woman selling them to tell me if she knew where to buy charcoal. I've been meaning to make beans for a week, but I make them on my host mom's little charcoal grill. They really taste a lot better because it's over a low fire for a day instead of a hot fire for only 2 hours. I bought two big old bags of charcoal (5Q each) , which will last me at least cooking one dry pound of beans. Walking around, I bought a dozen bananas because they were cheap and looked good, some avocados because they looked like quality, are out of season, and were dirt cheap (2Q each). I also bought a chucho, which is like a little spiced tamale, so I'd have it for lunch (1Q).
Like I said, market day was crazy. It took me about an hour and a half to do all of that, and I came back absolutely exhausted. I set my stuff, down next to the bag I meant to bring, and went to the bathroom. I remembered that I clogged my toilet the night before, and then realized I don't own a plunger. I went outside and found a stick and stabbed it into the toilet water until I got the thing working again, went to the bathroom, and grabbed the right bag. I put my chucho, an avacado, a couple of torillas in a bag with some salt (salt for the avacado), and a spoon. I decided that to show up late to work could be fixed by staying through lunch, so that's what I did.

Like i said, market days are nuts. Since the market expands for blocks and blocks of the town, and take up the entire street, the buses have to change their normal stops. I still haven't figured out exactly where my bus stops, so, to save time, be kind to my exhausted body, and avoid walking all around and outside of town looking for my bus, I took a taxi. Well, not exactly. It's actually a tuk-tuk, which, if you've been to Europe, you'd have seen. It's looks like a moto-tricycle with a small metal frame and a cloth roof. It cost me 3Q and got me almost to the right corner for the bus. I still had to ask directions from a little old lady that spoke much less Spanish than I did. I got there nonetheless and was to work before eleven. I show up, my counterpart is not there, but the newly hired secretary and three of the guys are there. I had one reason to go to work today: to talk with my counterpart and my boss, who has two offices, one in Tecpán and one in Guatemala City an hour and a half away. He was supposed to come the day before, and my counterpart and I were to ask for permission to start going to the little towns where I hope to actually work for the next two years. Without my counterpart there, I could ask him, and give me a chance to speak with him without anybody else around, which is nice sometimes. I went to the computer lab and continued my weeklong project of telling my co-workers that I was going to fix all of the computers to make them run faster. I spend about 10 minutes doing that and then start playing video games to pass the workless time. Sometimes they come in after an hour, sit down, and start playing videogames too. After a few hours of that, I realized that I hadn't eaten lunch. So I went outside, where two coworkers were lying on the grass watching another coworker dig a hole for (presumably) another shrub for the office that no one comes to see. I sat down, ate my tamale and left the avocado for later. After a bit, I went back to playing video games until my boss came. After another hour of this, everybody said that they were ready to call it a day, and I realized that there was no chance that my boss was showing up. So, I went with them. I forgot that they had invited me to play soccer with them today, so we all went back in bus to an indoor soccer field and played until around 6:00. I'm terrible and they made me switch teams once because the other team was scoring too many goals with me playing against them, so it evened out. I generally try not to care because it's nice to do anything with other people that can be loosely defined as fun. Afterwards, one of my coworkers asked me if I wanted to go to the computer lab with him. we hung out for an hour. I called my landlord, who wanted to meet me in an internet café to learn more about how the Internet, but he told me he didn't have time tonight after all but could I do him a favor and check the price for something online. So I did, and then wrote this e-mail. Now it's 8:30, I'm going to head back for my leftover spaghetti that I proudly made last night, and clean the kitchen (which I didn't do last night. My landlord's dog will be waiting because he's hungry and hasn't had anything but a couple of old tortillas since I fed him last night.

No comments:

I am required to mention that this blog doesn´t reflect the opinions of the Peace Corps.