Saturday, December 10, 2011

Room with a View

This is the view from our room in Xela. We are in Zona Uno, which is the good part of town, although Xela is generally a safe city. It is the second largest city in the country with about 150,000 residents. The family we are staying with just recently moved in, so they haven't yet set up cable or internet access, but it seems to be in the works. In the meantime we are doing some homework in a coffee shop next to Parque Central. The coffee is from local growers and is delicious. Last night we had a potluck with the other students and some of the teachers. Somehow we managed to bring plenty of (adult) beverages, and yet the only food was guacamole and popcorn. Eventually we wandered to a local bar and ordered some solid food to accompany our beverages. Sarah is studying irregular verbs in the preterite as well as learning some local slang like 'facebookear' while I am reviewing the difference between por and para as well as going over verbos reflexivos y cuasireflexivos.

It is a very interesting way of life here. For example, we are living with a middle class family, in a nice place in the good part of town, yet there is no heat in the house. Additionally, instead of using a water heater for showers or cooking, there is an electrical mechanism attached to the shower head that heats the water as it comes out. We had fun figuring out how to get it to work, but basically if you want cooler water you turn the pressure up and if you want warmer water you turn the pressure down. It is a much more economical lifestyle, and it appears to be more environmentally friendly. In the super market yesterday, there was cereal, but only the imported American cereals come in boxes, the local cereals come in the plastic bag that would otherwise be inside the box. Generally speaking there was much less packaging and things like mayonnaise came in bags that appear to be recyclable (though Sarah has some doubts of the air-tightness of this packaging that is not being refrigerated!). They are also a bit more relaxed about selling alcohol. For example, the last two days, after class, we have bought a hot drink on the way home, a ponche de leche. This is something like steamed milk with cinnamon, except made in a giant pot and sold in the street. Yesterday the lady asked what type of tequila we wanted in our ponche de leche; looks like liquor licenses aren't really an issue here.

Generally speaking it seems like the locals are used to having tourists and language learners here which makes sense since there are over 50 Spanish language schools. Everyone is very helpful with directions and will speak more slowly when asked (except for Estefani, the 11-year old daughter of the family we live with and who tells us to learn to listen quickly). The locals are also very helpful with advice about security and so forth, although I get the feeling that you'd basically have to be really drunk and simultaneously unlucky to have anything happen to you. Anyways, I should get back to my verbs. ¡Hasta Pronto!

1 comment:

  1. Muy Bueno!!!Glad you are having a great time! - irina