27 April 2006

Adventures with utilities

Some days the hot water won't arrive at the bathroom tap. Usually there's a good reason. Sometimes I have to turn off the shower for a minute and try again. Sometimes I use the sink to get warm, then start the shower. I'm trying to trick it into letting me have a normal temperature shower.

Today poor Dar was standing in the tub, ready to shower shall we say, and he called to me to go downstairs and check the breaker. We have this issue where the washing machine, microwave, dryer, and a power strip with appliances conflict with one another. No, they are not all in the same plug. They are in different places in the house even. Anyway, when one too many get started; it all goes...away. The instant hot water system (also our heater) is over the washing machine/microwave area. It goes too.

Today the breaker wasn't flipped. Dar told me to do a re-light thing that involved flicking buttons on the water heating device. I flicked. The light with the gas symbol with a slash through it lit up. Dar had a cold shower.

Then Dar tried everything the landlord showed him. No dice. No gas. The landlord suggested talking to the neighbors. Somehow I found myself in the street. I tried to talk to the first person I saw. He was older and had a convuluted accent. I was getting maybe 20%. He was trying to get someone or something about a key. These are not my best Spanish moments. I can't put it all together under pressure. I was saying, "Tenemos gas." Then realizing I'm saying it wrong and trying to find other words...Another neighbor came out. I said again, "Tenemos gas." What did I say with some force and enthusiasm? We have gas. We have gas. (Aren't the neighbors glad I'm announcing this in the street!?) The new younger neighbor looks at me and says, "You can speak English..."

He found another button on the outside of the house. We have gas again.

23 April 2006

Easter past

I went to one of the Easter Procesiones. Parade is too strong a word. Each church has "imagenes" - yes that's images. The penitents carry the images on great gold platforms through the streets. Some of them wear no shoes, others have on slippers. The platforms sometimes weigh in the tons. The penitents walk maybe 200 yards, then rest. Other people who are also pentitents wear pointy hats with faces covered and proceed before and behind the imagenes with candles (yes, think KKK type get ups). A couple of church "bands" go along with each imagene and play a tune. The one I saw was mournful music for Jesus. Slightly more upbeat for the procesion of Mary.

The 7pm procesion didn't actually arrive in the Plaza Mayor until 10pm. Me and a few thousand of my closest Spanish friends had been lined up creating an aisle through the plaza since 8:30. My legs hurt from standing still so long. A sudden vacuum occured around 9 or 9:30 creating an open space in front of me. Suddenly all these thousands of people rushed forward to reposition to the new aisle. It was a scary moment.

Other than that moment it was an orderly crowd in general. Lots of families. One woman waiting by herself was very nice and answered my questions. She decided I should have her spot so I could see better because she had seen the imagenes before, so she shoe horned me into a nonexistent space between her ample tummy and the man in front of her. You can see from the photos I didn't have a great view.

Four older ladies settled in behind me and narrated the event for me. They were very impressed with the decoration on the, for lack of a better word, floats. The Mary float did a little dance. It was much lighter so the guys carrying it could move backwards and forwards to the music. There was a delighted ahhh from the crowd. Applause errupted for those carrying the imagene or the imagene itself when it arrived in front of people. It was a reverent or maybe awe struck moment which I found a little freaky. An odd plaster Jesus manikan and a ornate pile of gold, candles and flowers. Just stuff and symbols, not the substance of relationship. Very interesting.

my view of the pointy hats

Jesus enters to a gasp from the crowd. The odd thing about people carrying the float on their shoulder is that it looks as if the statue is walking at a distance.

If you look close you can see the faces of the pentitents carrying the float.

That's a lot of gold and silver.

That's the back of Jesus and he had long hair. (Plaza Mayor)

Mary & pointy hat penitents

Saturday I ran across a float being removed from a CITY building. It was funny watching the guy holding onto the imagene in a tight embrace to keep it from falling. Though it was covered with a cloth so it wasn't irreverent, I suppose.

01 April 2006

Home Sweet Home

The rent signs are down and we have the keys now. We can't park in the driveway because it's too steep. The incident the other day may have changed that with the cement layers. We have yet to see.

We have a great view out the back, somewhat deserty, but most people here have a 10 foot square of dust that is bounded by their neighbors 10 foot square on all three sides. Don't mind the construction trash in the photo. Supposedly the city will make some construction company pick it up eventually. Not holding our breath on that one.

Usually, even in our neighborhood, people put rolls of faux sticks or faux greenery on their fences up to about six foot or more to block the neighbors view of their yard. We are VERY fortunate with our view out the back. Our neighbors do have the blockage stuff going on the sides and that's okay. I think we're the odd balls with no blockage front or back. With no blockage, people walking by feel compelled to say, "Hola, Buenas..." even if you're doing stuff in the yard. So then you have to answer too.

I do want to get out and meet the neighbors. Being a brand new neighborhood, no one knows one another yet. More people move in each week. I need to get brave and go introduce myself at least to our wallmates.

It'd be great if we could stay in here the next 15 years or something and not have to do the packing, moving thing every few years. That's just the breaks with the missionary life I guess. Nice to be "home" for now.