Yesterday was another interesting day...I went with Blanca Sevilla, my Spanish teacher and friend to locate a pewter factory/showroom. She had been there another time and knew, in general where this was located, but as always, driving and locating something is always an adventure.
This place is located right across from the Catholic University and while we were lost for awhile, we did find it. Navigating was a tad difficult because there were "desfiles" all through the streets. Parades of young children in the streets celebrating the "day of children" and then streets were blocked with school buses and more. We found it and I bought several pieces of pewterware for Christmas gifts. Cost is 50% less here than in the U.S.
Speaking of school buses...Blanca and her husband bought a used bus from the U.S. and had it shipped here a couple of months ago. The bus was to be used as a business but of course, it needed lots of work. And then, one of the people who worked on it filled it with gasoline not diesel so that made for another awful situation.
Driving, which I do everyday here is quite difficult. There are maybe 2% of the streets that have street signs and names. There are street lights on various corners, but no one obeys them. No stop signs anywhere...but it doesn't matter, no one would obey them anyway.
One can and does go through an intersection on red. Yellow means nothing...green may mean to go unless someone else is crossing and not obeying their red. So caution is critical. There appear to be laws but no one follows them. One communicates while driving by honking. The angrier you are, the longer you hold the horn down. One says, "please, thanks, passing, look out, creep, hate you" and much much more using the horn.
I took one of our staff to Florida and the first day there she realized that people use their blinkers, obey the rules, stay in lanes (oh, there aren't painted lanes here either!), can actually give directions using street names and addresses. Here we do two things...we use our hands to show directions when giving directions to a location and/or we draw a map. If someone doesn't know where you live or work...you locate a common reference point like the American School Rotary, the American Embassy, Cafe Mania and then start there...
My directions...go down the hill from the American School Rotary towards Ruby Tuesday. Turn right at the bee building, go in til you can go no further. Turn right. One block up, turn left. My building is on your left...green metal gates with a guard house. IF there is a street name or a building name, I do not know them.
I live in apt. 609 but there is no number on the apt. Take the fifth floor elevator and get off. I am on the left. Yes, the fifth floor...they count the garage as 1. I have a parking space in the garage but generally cannot park in my spot because the car is bigger than the space and if the DEA guy is parked and the neighbor is in his spot, there is no room to make the 90 degree turn necessary to pull in next to the support pillar. Very tight...so I park outside and pray that I can get in behind the gates with my computer and briefcase with no one on the street noticing. But safety is another story!