Table of Contents
Please pardon the long interlude1), however, your patience will now be rewarded! With tedious stories of my rather monotonous month, though I will try to hide that and pack the post full of emotional punches2).
School has proceeded normally, with a glut of vacation days.3) I spend my free time exercising, reading, and watching movies, things I never thought I'd get tired of, but wow. Luckily there's Easter break coming up, and a bunch of us are going to do a multi-day hike. My mood right now is : am I really going to watch movies and wait for two years to pass? But then I'll likely get busy with something, surely.
I've been reading a bunch of philosophy and non-fiction (reflected partially in the booklist, but I'm still in the middle of a ton of books).
Of course, now that it comes to it, since I haven't been writing anything, I'm drawing a huge blank for the entire month. Here's some random things.
On The Maintenance of Pools
This is something I absolutely took for granted. Pools are blue, clear, and clean, by the mere nature of a pool. Or so I thought. So, so wrong. Pools are, by nature, dirty, green, and impenetrably murky. As a life lesson : maintenance is key. The 'gym'has this little pool in front, that varies from bright blue to murky green to incredibly bright green. I took filtration and chlorine for granted. It's something else though, to watch the pool go from a dull green to a bright blue from one day to the next. And not being able to see the bottom makes it hard to swim in straight lines, you know? That line on the bottom is there for a reason.
On The Incredible Frustration of Riding a Taxi
I know I write about the taxis a lot, I beg pardon. But their a big part of life, as big as your car is in the states. Luckily, I almost always ride the best and most frustration-free kind, which is the 4+1, a little toyota sedan that only does local. The rest are little micro-buses that go inter-town. This is about the latter. First, you walk to where you know the taxi is. In town this is a 'Taxi Rank', elsewhere it's wherever people congregate to get on. Finding one in town is easier, but the finding is just the beginning. Then comes the wait. Because, you see, taxis don't just go. They have to wait to be absolutely FULL.4) And if you're not there when they leave, they leave you. Which means you get to sit and wait for however long it may take. I've waited as long as three hours. To LEAVE. You just sit and sit and sit and sit, while people trickle on, and you hear the driver outside trying to convince people to ride. So much for leaving from town. On the other end, you have an empty taxi already moving, leaving a village, going to town, picking up passengers on the way. In one way, it's way better - at least you're moving. 'Moving.' Because, you see, they'll crawl along the road, blaring the horn to see if anyone wants to ride, and stopping every three minutes so the fare collector can get out and talk to people to see if they want to ride. IF THEY DON'T WANT TO RIDE THEY'RE NOT GOING TO CHANGE THEIR MINDS UGGHHHHHH. So, this has been an exercise in developing patience on my end.
For example, I went to the next town over from mine5), to get olive oil and peanut butter (3 kilos woo. Should last a couple of months.), beacause of course they don't have those where I am. It took me merely an hour to get there (I found a full taxi leaving town), I spent about an hour in town, and then waited two hours in the taxi before it left to get back home. It's exhausting traveling here.
The upshot is : never, ever be in a hurry.
On The Freedom of Fashion
At least here in the 'urban' lowlands, almost anything is not only permissible, but fashionable. I'm not talking of people wearing bikinis or anything, but almost the entire range from coveralls, to blankets, to t-shirts. White rubber boots (gum boots) and blue mechanics suits are the most coveted outfits for men.
On Peach Trees
These people love peaches. There are a dozen peach trees at my school, and it seems almost everybody in the village has at least two or three. What's really strange is, they love them so much, they want to get them before anybody else, and so they eat them green. Which makes them sick. They realize this, and STILL EAT THEM. So much for reason.
On Taxi Windows
Again, taxis. One quick thing. You know the old rollup kind of window? Here it's mostly those, but what's really funny is they take off the handle so you can't open them, and only by special request will they grant you the handle to roll it down.6)