Off to Chíchen Itzá, the Seventh Wonder of the World. Or thereabouts. Lots of tourists, lots of street vendors selling Mayan gimmicks to the tourists, and lots of pyramids and tombs. Lots of kids on the bus, lots of European languages spoken. Insert two more lots here to make seven.
The weather here has been very warm. Hot is actually a better word - in the 90's Fahrenheit. Very clever these Mayans, they use Centígrado instead, so it sounds cool. It was in the low 30's today. Good for preparing home fried Gringos.
A little excitement at the school over the weekend. Burglars had broken into the school, destroyed the vending machine, trashed the office and were figuring out what to do with all the computers, when the owners happened to drop by. Many police and now a security firm guarding the place until alarms are installed.
It was too hot for extended walks so after class David went with his new guia Gabriella to a local restaurant for refreshments and mangled Spanish. These poor kids must be masochists.
Spanish has two verbs that express the different meanings of "to be": "estar" and "ser". They can have entirely different meanings.
For instance "David está aburrido" means "David is bored", whereas "David es aburrido" means "David is boring." All the students would agree with one or the other.
Spanish lessons are intriguing. Rhonda took a candid photo in the computer lab that illustrates the depth of student obsession.
Well, the whole water thing is getting to David. What water thing? you ask. The lack of water is the thing.
The house is sort of in the suburbs, and David's suite is on the second floor. An electric pump draws water from who knows where up to a holding tank on the roof, where gravity feeds the pipes in the house, if somebody has turned on the pump, which is not always the case. In addition, there is a small water heater on the outside of the house. To turn on the water heater, David exits through his balcony and along a short section of roof to turn the dial. The heater will poof into flame. If there is water. If there is a pilot flame. If there is any gas. Add all these 'ifs' together, and you get a lot of cold showers. And sometimes no shower.
Anybody who wants a hot shower has to go through David's room to turn on the heater. The family is loathe to disturb David, who is known to go to sleep at the unimaginable hour of 9 pm. On one occasion, David looked up from his reading to see son Francisco through the window, hugging the second story wall as he crept along the narrow outside ledge to get to the water heater. A video walk-thru can be seen here.
There are several words in Spanish for "lazy". "Holgazán", "perezoso" and "flojo" trudge to mind. One of the students, a former Canadian air force pilot, says that he used to be called "Lazy-8" because of his tendency to fall asleep at the stick. This gentleman says he is willing the hand the title over to David.
Yesterday David had a chat with the lady of the house about utilities. Very expensive in México. Even though they use electricidad sparingly, the monthly bill is U$150. Gas is delivered in a truck every 2 weeks, is used only for showers, and not used at all in the summer. The Señora was surprised to learn that David has his own clothes washer and dish washer at home in the EEUU.
At lunchtime David bumped into a couple of other students in a downtown restaurant. They had similar gripes with respect to the language schooling, but were more annoyed that the teachers have next to no English. This doesn't bother David so much, but it is interesting to note that all the teachers have studied English in the same Mexican system that is trying to teach us Spanish.