Sunday, March 2, 2008

Just a lot of rambling

I have a new job; I have been recruited to help with giving sewing lessons to some local ladies at Franisco Madero, this is the same colonia that I am teaching in. We had talked about me doing this before I had even left home but then when I got here I got busy with everything else and I thought that project had been cancelled. Last week a lady from Winnipeg arrived with boxes of fabric and patterns so the sewing ministry got up and running again. We started yesterday and got as far a choosing fabric and a pattern, the ladies wanted to make capris. We managed to get most of them measured for size and got the fabric all cut and tomorrow we start to sew. On Wednesday I am always at Casa Damasco until about 3pm and I am to be in Madero at 4pm so I will have to find a bus that takes me from Casa Damasco to Madero in an hour. This will no doubt be another adventure, the first time I tried to get home from Madero it took 3 wrong buses, a long walk and one polmonia ride. The polmonia driver of course ripped me off; I can’t stand cab/polmonia drivers and will walk from here to Mexico City if needed before I will ever take another cab or polmonia. (I might end up eating these words)
Today when I came home from Mazatlan (I had phone duty today) I found out I have no running water again, I debated whether I should find Senor Papa again but decided just to wait and see if the whole Island is out or just me. I went to the neighbours but they weren’t home and right now I’m too lazy to go wandering out any further. Not having running water does not really affect that many people because not that many people are fortunate enough to have running water at all or hot water for that matter. The other day at Casa Damasco there was a new resident that was really ill; the police had dropped him off and he was so ill he could not walk or even sit up. We are not sure what is wrong but most likely just very malnourished and possibly starved. One of our new volunteers came to me and ask for a warm wet clean cloth, he wanted to wipe the man’s face with it in hopes that it would warm him up. I looked at him very dumb-founded; he may as well have asked me for a bucket of gold nuggets. I told him that the only cloth in the house was the one greasy dish rag, and even if I could clean it up for him, there is no hot water in the house at all. Heat up water on the stove you say.....there are only 2 pots and one is full of rice and the other frijoles (refried beans) every day. I am learning that hot water is truly a luxury that I need to be very grateful for. I meant to go buy dishrags and dishtowels to take with me but of course I needed to do that in the city (our big city deli doesn’t have any) but soon as I am done my duties in the city I always hightail it home as fast as I can and I totally forgot to pick some up.
By the way, today someone asked me if knew what bus they could take to get to WalMart..hahah, do I ever. I thought that was kinda funny. I miss having a land mark like that, this is why I am having such problems getting in and out of Madero, I don’t know yet which buses go there from the boat docks. There is a landmark but I am reluctant to use it, around the corner from the school that I teach at is the bus stop and about ½ a block up is the “Red Dragon” it is the biggest prostitution house in Mazatlan. So I could flag down a bus and ask in a question like tone “rojo dragon?” just like I used to do for “WalMart?”But I think the bus drivers would think it very peculiar that this gringa goes to the prostitution house 3 times a week. I did ask the ladies that I was teaching sewing yesterday which bus to take in and out and I do believe I have it figured out now..... I will get to test it out again tomorrow. I have noticed that if I am talking to an older person or a child they will not understand me even if I have the correct Spanish words if I mispronounce them even the tiniest bit, like perhaps missing one vowel. Unlike in English, in Spanish you always pronounce every vowel and I tend to skip a vowel sometimes (or 2) and a lot of bus drivers are older gentlemen and have had very little exposure to the English language and thus don’t understand me when I tell them where I want to go. Especially the bus drivers on the Madero route, tourists just don’t go there very often.
I figured out why I don’t have water, remember the water leak I wrote about earlier. Well, it seems Senor Papa fixed it by turning the main water valve off. So I turned it on long enough to fill my tank on the roof and then turned it off again. If he shut it off on Saturday when I left the message for him my tank lasted me 3 days, so I’m good for awhile. I’m not sure if this is the permanent solution or what he plans on doing.
With me running into the city everyday I’ve missed the fruit and vegetable truck for a few days now and my bin is empty. If I don’t catch him first thing in the morning I will not be able to have my daily fruit shake for breakfast......I just know he’ll drive by when I’m in the shower. I did go to the general store, which by the way is called “The Super City Deli” and they did not have any papayas, mangos, oranges or apples. They did have nice bananas but bananas alone does not a fruit shake make, at least not a very memorable one. I’ve had fruit shakes so good I remember it all day, at about 3:00 I’ll be thinking “man that was a good fruit shake this morning....wish I had one now”.
I found a place on the Island here that sells Papa Locos, yes! I have not tried them yet. I bought a chicken and a half a few days ago and made a whole crock pot of Frijoles so I have no reason to eat out for awhile. Most BBQ places will sell you a chicken and a half with a side of rice, about 8 tortillas and some salsa. (60 pesos here on the Island) It sounds like a lot of food but it really is not because these chickens are not raised on steroids like ours are, making them a lot smaller. I ordered a meal like this with a friend and between the 2 of us we ate it all except for one piece of chicken which we gave to a passerby. I do have to learn how to make the salsa that they serve with it, it is so good. I might have to hang out at the chicken BBQ place for a day or so. I tell you, food geniuses. I’ve also discovered that I love love corn, what they do with corn is just.....genius. When I set up my taco stand at home I will also serve corn....oh yeah I was also going to have Papa Locos (I might need help) I ran into a gentleman today that had not seen me in a week and he jokingly said that he thought I had gotten taller (he’s a very short guy) I replied that perhaps all the Mexican food was making me taller because I know for sure it’s making me wider. I am seriously going to start walking more; taking the wrong bus 3 times last week did me well. I might start walking on the beach; I think that walking on sand would be more exercise and we have miles and miles of beautiful beach here with no rocks unlike the beaches in the Golden Zone and you don’t have to walk around or step over tourists. (Just some stray dogs and the occasional horse)
Today I bought some boxes of crayons for my kids at school; I’m really excited to surprise them on Thursday. I can’t believe these kids don’t have crayons, a box of 64 crayons cost me 17 pesos and that is something that the parents and the public schools just cannot afford....oh dang, I just now remembered I wanted to buy a blackboard eraser too, they don’t have one of those either. We’ve been using a piece of tissue paper to wipe the board with. Oh and get this, no photo copier at the school. I’ve been going to internet cafes to get my worksheets and handouts copied for my class. Can you imagine operating a school without a photo copier? Or elementary kids that don’t have crayons, most of our kids have eaten a box, lost a box and broke a box of crayons before they even get to grade 1. I think I will buy these kids each a note book as well; I think we are wasting so much time taking turns writing on the board.....they do have to learn to write their alphabet too, not just recite it. So I have a shopping list for Friday when I go into the city.
For tea towels and dish cloths I might have to go to WalMart for this, this is not something I will find in a Mexican store I should maybe explain this a little. Mexicans do not wash their dishes with hot water (ever) usually because they have never had hot running water, and usually they don’t have running water at all. If they have running cold water they let the water run and wash the dishes under the tap with a sponge that they dip in a bowl of dish soap every once in a while. This is how they wash the dishes at Casa Damasco; imagine plastic greasy dishes that have never been washed in hot water, or even warm water. I must remember that I am not here to change the ways of the Mexican people in fact it is their relaxed ways, customs and traditions that have lured me back here time and time again.

No comments: