Kathryn's Peace Corps Adventure

The opinions expressed and experiences described in this blog are mine personally. Any musings that you read here are not affiliated or endorsed by Peace Corps or U.S. government. Or Starbucks. And I'm not making any money from any of this, so don't send a lawsuit my way. Got it?

Saturday, October 08, 2005

...is that I can't blog properly!

I hit publish by mistake so excuse the previous blank blog!

Remember how I wrote that as trainees we were forbidden from going to Teguc until we went as a group? That "group" meant something different to me. I though that we-all 34 of us-would go as a group to Teguc. Nope. Instead, the trainers give us directions to Teguc from Santa Lucia and we are supposed to find our Spanish instructor at the designated place in Teguc. So we got our instructions, paid the 6.70 lps, and boarded the bus to Teguc. That was the easy part...

Before I continue with my story, let me say that PC LOVES secrects. They love to wait to nominate you and then invite you to a program. They love to wait until the end of training to tell you where you're going to live for the next 2 years and your official job-and this Teguc trip? No different. What makes me laugh is that they have spent all this time saying "Teguc is dangerous. You can't go there. Don't go alone at night, be sure you know where you're going at all times" But then they give us directions and say, "You get off the bus at the hospital, then take a taxi to the meeting place, but you have to bargain with a taxi driver for a fair price (in your Intermediate Spanish!) and we'll see you there"

...so we got off the bus and looked for a taxi and "regatear" (bargain). In Teguc, the direct taxis have a flat rate for wherever you go-it's not by the minute. So I go up to the cabbie and
He says, "Adonde va?"
I say, "Banco central de Teguc"..."Cuanto vale?"
40 lps. That's a pretty good deal. We were told to expect 50-60 lps. But I ask anyway, "Cuanto menos?" (Cheaper?)
Then he says, "Listen. Gas prices are out of control and I am already giving you a good deal"
Cheque. We get in and the car is BEAT UP. The windshield is full of cracks and the "windows" were packing tape but the driver was super nice. It took awhile to get to the bank because it was really bad traffic. So we sat in traffic for awhile and my only complaint about Teguc was the smog and traffic-but it's just like Manila, Mexico City, or San Salvador, or as I've heard anyway. We get to the bank, meet w/ our teacher, then we get in another cab to go to Mercado Jacaleapa and we bargain the price down from 50 to 45 lps. This cab was in good condition. The driver cut in front of a line of buses by driving down the sidewalk. It was like an urban game of chicken! Every major market here is also a bus station and it was pretty interesting. I had a list of fruits and veggies that I needed to purchase for my mom and she told me not to spend for than x amount for each item. We also asked several bus drivers their routes, how much it cost and their schedules-suprisingly all the bus drivers were helpful and didn't seemed to be annoyed considering we didn't buy a ticket. From there we went to a supermarket and I was overwhelmed. Peanut butter, yogurt, soy milk, olive oil, wheat bread, etc. We must have spent 30 minutes in there wandering the aisles like a bunch of cheles saying, "Oooh. MnMs. Snickers. Oreos!" But the novelty wore off fast due to the prices. 106 lps for a small bag of Snickers, 48 lp for a 4 oz. bottle of olive oil, 25 lp. for a loaf of wheat bread-so we left, got in cab #3 for the PC office with the #1 feature of the day-DSL. Oh, high speed internet, how I've missed you. I was finally able to send 2 emails (success!). But it was short lived because we had to leave to go to Santa Lucia. What did this trip show me? Don't get me wrong, I love Santa Lucia. It is a beautiful town and peaceful. But in the end, I love the fast paced life, action, and hustle. I'm a city girl.


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