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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Good Help Is Hard To Find

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Good help is hard to find at anytime ... and anywhere. On Monday, Miguel, the landlord, informed me that Lesley, the woman who had been cleaning my apartment, decided she didn't want to work anymore and quit without notice. He told me this when I met up with him on the road as I was making my way into town. It would be the first of three encounters with him on the subject. I can't say he doesn't keep me well informed.

Sadly, Patience Is Not One of My Virtues


I'm sorry to say that my Spanish hasn't improved a great deal since I've been here and that I don't have the patience to sit in Spanish school for several hours every day. Nor do I want to do any homework. Another rationale for not going to school is that I have the vocabulary, and all I need is practice, so why spend money on a conversational Spanish class when I can engage any of the natives on the street for free, including Miguel? All of this is by way of background to explain that I translate in terms of the "big picture" rather than word-by-word, so that if someone speaks slowly to me, I can grasp most of what that person is trying to say. This is what generally happens in talking to Miguel. His wife Isabel is another story. When I ask her to speak more despacio - slowly - she actually speeds up and ends every conversation by telling me I should practice my Spanish. Miguel is much more patient with me.
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Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Most Excellent Adventure

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San Pedro

It’s been awhile since I’ve had anything to write about. I’ve settled into a daily routine that pretty much consists of going to the mercado and then to the Internet cafĂ© to download my evening entertainment. In addition, I had a cold, which has been making its way around town, that just didn’t want to quit. I wouldn’t have minded it so much if Nyquil were available here, but I had to settle for something called Tabcin, which advertises itself as a multi-symptom cold reliever but, in fact, as far as I’m concerned, did very little to relieve the symptoms.

A Most Excellent Adventure

This past Thursday, however, I did go on a most excellent adventure to Xela (Quetzaltenango) to go to the dentist to start treatment for a crown that I’ve needed for more than two years now. Whoever thought going to the dentist could be an adventure? It can be if you’ve been in San Pedro for awhile because unless you’re highly motivated to leave, a major difficulty in getting out of town – at least for me - is the condition of the road from San Pedro to the Pan American Highway. It’s the only road that practically guarantees that I’ll be nauseous by the time I’ve passed San Juan.

Shifting Priorities

From what I understand, government administrations come into office with certain projects and priorities and from time to time repaving the road has been among the administration’s priorities only to have that administration voted out of office and the work stops while the incoming administration has other projects that it feels are more important. This is especially evident in stretches of the road where one lane has been

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Mixed Bag

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San Pedro

Other than a trip to Panajachel last week to the “modern” supermarket, things have been generally quiet and dull and I wondered what I would write about next. This morning I finally have my inspiration. As I sit at my kitchen table, there is no water. The tap is as dry as the Mojave desert. Not a drop.

Death Throes

I made the discovery when I went to check on my laundry in the washing machine. The dial hadn’t moved and the machine was straining to fill with water. I suppose it was a good thing I went when I did to look in on it to prevent the motor from burning out. When I came back inside I turned on the tap. There was no water, and the noise it made sounded like an animal in the final throes of death.

Despacio My Mantra

So I called Miguel, the landlord. His fiancĂ© Isabel answered the phone. While Isabel is a very lovely and warm person, she doesn’t appear to speak any English at all. I know one thing doesn’t have to do with the other. I attempted to explain the problem to her as best I could in very bad Spanish. Actually I had no trouble telling her no hay agua. Sometimes even I’m amazed by my vocabulary, although this was pretty much a no-brainer. The real problem was in my trying to understand what she was saying in return. Generally, if someone speaks slowly, I can at least get the gist or idea of what they’re saying. In talking to her, my mantra is always despacio, despacio (slowly, slowly).

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