Monday, October 13, 2008

Cultural Experiences: A tale in two parts

On Saturday morning our water went out. This was surprising for a few reasons. One, we're from the Estados Unidos and typically as long as you pay your bill, you have water. Two, we have several large cisterns all over the base that we pump water around to. Turns out we hadn't gotten water from the city for almost a week (they only turn it on every few days) and the cisterns were empty.

In addition, our washer and dryer had gotten fried in a power outage the weekend prior (just as we were leaving for Nicaragua).

I had a suitcase full of dirty clothes from my trip, plus eight days of the girl's clothes that needed washing. On Saturday night the team returned and Wayne brought eight days of dirty clothes home. Also, I hadn't showered since Thursday night.

Water was necessary to say the very least.

Mike & Deborah invited us over to their condo where they not only had water, but also two showers and a pila. A pila is a cement sink used for washing clothes in most Latin countries.

I spent almost two hours "pila-ing" our clothes, but only got through about half. It was a learning experience nonetheless -- I know for sure now that I need a washer and dryer in Nicaragua, albeit with a pila backup. Plus I know that I'm a lot tougher than I thought I was.



Saturday was kind of a frustrating day with the no water situation, so at around 7PM, I volunteered to run to the grocery store for some ice cream reinforcements. I opted to take Ali with me and we stood outside the gate waiting for a taxi.

After about 10 minutes we were in the taxi and on our way. It was easy to tell him where we were going, there's only one Bodega in town. We found the ice cream and paid the cashier.

As we exited the market, we went to the taxi area and were ushered into a car. I gave the driver our address, but due to my crummy Spanish, I actually confused him quite a bit. We ended up about 5 miles out of our way before I figured out he thought I was going to give him directions. I stammered out a few "Lo siento"s (I'm sorry) and kept a jovial attitude. Alison and I were actually laughing about the whole thing.

In the end, he got us home, and even was so gracious as to not charge us extra.


Central America is definitely a different place, but even with the bumps in the road, I'm enjoying the adventure.

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