Wednesday, March 26, 2014

General Observations

I have been in Cali for a few days now and there are some interesting things I have noticed around my neighborhood. I live in a residential area where tourists don't venture to and the advantage to this is that I get to observe and experience the normal day to day lives of ordinary folks. That being said, there are interesting things I have noticed around here.

A lot of the apartment buildings in my neighborhood have 2 to 3 floors and to get to the higher floors you need to climb a series of stairs. Nothing special about that right? that is until you see the stairs. C'mon how can you not feel dizzy going up these stairs? just looking at them makes me feel dizzy. The other day I saw this cute tiny dog come down one of these stairs and it was hilarious. I have to say the dog was a pro.

Speaking of apartments, all apartments and shops have metal grids for added protection. Our apartment is on the second floor and on the picture it is the one to the right with a tan wall. Notice how well guarded we are?

People have some pretty interesting hustles around here. At the airport when I first landed, my roommate (her name is Fernanda by the way) was running late and I was getting worried because I had no means of communicating with her. This older kind looking man approached me because he must have noticed I had been waiting for a while, the airport is pretty small so its easy to notice someone. He approached me and through butchered Spanish and hand signals managed to figure out that I needed a phone to call my ride. He offered me his phone and I was very grateful for his kindness until at the end of my call he asked for money. Apparently that's his hustle, he offers cell phone services at a fee. Good thing he agreed to wait until Fernanda got to the airport to pay him.

Over the weekend I needed to do laundry and Fernanda told me not to worry because the laundry guy was coming over. I did not get it at first and I thought the guy would come to pick the laundry then drop it off later after having them cleaned, wrong! The guy showed up with a washing machine and hooked it up in the laundry area. We paid him like $5 to use the machine for a few days before he came and got it. Turns out over here people do that a lot, rent a washing machine for a few days. Talk about entrepreneurship!

The drivers always seem to have the right of way on the roads, most of the time you have to run across some of the less pedestrian friendly roads while trying to avoid the oncoming vehicles and bikes. There are a lot of bikes on the road and some are just as scary as the fast moving cars.

I noticed the common food you will find in a lot of places will consist of rice, beans or meat, plantain and salad. Sometimes soup will be brought out for starters. My typical lunch minus the plantain.

That's it folks, just observing a lot and trying to soak in everything. I still haven't found my footing here yet but hopefully I will in good time.

Random Thoughts of The Day:

Everyday there is a dancing show in the shower as I try to adjust to the cold water. Fernanda was saying that because of the heat most people don't really need hot water so in most homes they have either warm or cold showers. I have to tell you each day I use the shower is a challenge I have to overcome.

Being a single parent can be tough.

I am still trying to adjust to the currency over here and I find myself always trying to convert prices to  dollars.

Neighbors here play loud music that can be heard through the walls but no one ever seems fazed.

Google translate has really come in handy, it's not perfect but it's better than nothing.

Finally seeing the benefits of whatsapp after procrastinating on uploading it for so long on my phone.

There are many stray dogs on the streets and for the most part they are harmless. These dogs are bad arse by the way, you should see how they skillfully cross the roads avoiding bikes and cars.

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