The day started out with a trip to go buy a discount card from Gringo Tree. We got to the office and began talking to the lady there. Part way through she asked me the question I have grown to both love and hate..”How come you speak such perfect Spanish.” In the first placed if it was perfect they wouldn’t know I’m not a native speaker, although many times the consensus is that I am a native speaker just from another country, not theirs 🙂 It is a serious stroke to my ego and always makes me happy. I don’t have a short answer, however, and the long one can be tedious. I am still working on an abbreviated version. We reached a part in the conversation where I said I had a number of friends Ecuador, including, I brag, the great grandson of an ex president who has a street named after him here. Her eyes lit up and she asked his name. I told her, Gerardo Borrero, and she responded that he is her cousin. We talked about the family for a moment and I left with another friend made.
The next part of the day was not so much fun. We had a destination bookstore in mind and pam had some squiggles on a piece of paper she called a map and I had my Google Maps, which has recently taken to stabbing me in the back. The taxi was obviously in a hurry and dropped us off somewhere other than we wanted although allegedly close. Pam said go left and Maps said definitely right. Thus it started, name calling and made up logic to describe the direction we thought we should go. It got, as it always does, somewhat personal and nasty. Pam stopped in front of a sign that said Museum of Archaeology and Aboriginal Studies. A nice lady came out and invited us to go in. We went in and continued out arguments as we wandered the museum and eventually calmed down and returned to normal. At the end was a gift shop and the nice lady met us there. We talked for quite a while about the museum and ourselves and eventually got to talking about cooking. She then invited us to have coffee with her. We accepted and were seated in an open patio in the middle of the complex. We had coffee and then she insisted we had to have a bowl of her quinoa soup. That became a full almuerzo with fresh blackberry juice, salad, a hearty soup and desert. I told her that when we get settled I will have them over for dinner. This has not been an isolated occurrence. This kind of amiability and genuine interest in other people is seen day in and day out. We left with a glow inside and proceeded to the initial destination of a book store some two hours later. From there it was a taxi ride over to the Vegetable Bar in time for a quick shared dinner and trivia contest with friends. The main theme here is that interactions with people here have been 99.99 percent wonderful and heart warming. People seem to be a lot more accepting of other people than they are back in Ca. I do believe that speaking Spanish opens up a whole new world of interaction because it is not expected and seems to make a lot of other conversations possible. I think it gives people a chance to ask questions they might not otherwise be able to regarding the US, politics and immigration. I have a collection of cards and names and numbers of the taxi drivers we have met. OK this sounds a little self indulgent and braggy regarding the level of Spanish, and it is, but I had a very special education and opportunities to live with and become immersed in the different Latin cultures and now, at last, I can live them. I feel very much at ease here and look forward to each new experience.
Oh Yea.. The two pictures of garbage, which are hard to see, show the way garbage is dealt with here. Outside of every place is a folding metal shelf where garbage, placed in plastic bags, or bolsas, is set for collection, no garbage cans involved. Garbage is picked up three days a week.