Important Going Ons

I'd first of all like to direct everybody's attention to the top-right of this webpage to the "Fulblogs" section, which includes the blogs of other Fulbrighters if you want to check them out.  They're probably a lot more interesting than my entries...

So I'm starting to gather more hours as I organize my schedule with some of the other teachers to see how best I can help with their classes, which will help keep me busy.  I've also become more comfortable traveling around recognizing the correct amount that taxis should charge me to get around, which buses to take to get to the beach, passing the centro, and back up, and even how to take the micros further up the mountain to get my haircut in the estética where my "personal trainer" from my gym's girlfriend works.

My apartment is a little bit lonely but I at least have some interesting neighbors upstairs, studying to be dentists, who entertain/teach me with their vulgarisms in Spanish.  The landlady is very nice and always eager to help me when I have to go tocarle la puerta because the water is out (She then has to go up to the roof to pump the bomba).  The electricity has been out a few times but these are things that I really could, and do, whine about.  Who really needs warm water when it's humid as $%&! outside anyways.  I do have two beds so technically I could be enjoying the experience with someone.  However, as I experienced from living in Guadalajara sharing a room with Deyanira in the "guest house", as long as there is another space to go for private time it's doable; with this set-up not so much.

And now I arrive to the most important part of this blog entry, which is why I decided to start writing instead of watching Frontline, or cleaning up the fruit flies around the trash can I just massacred with Raid (which is also dangerously close to my sink, dish rack, electric stove and trash can), or reading Ciudad de las Bestias by Isabel Allende.  On Tuesday the sun was shining bright for a change so I thought I would take advantage and take the bus down to the water.  I got off at the zócalo (centro) to purchase a towel for about 6 dollars then was on my way. Arriving at the Costera, the avenue that lines the coast along the bahía, I crossed the street and began my search for a nice spot to lay down and soak up some rays.  Let me mention that along the way I picked up mango con chile on a stick, no sé cómo se le llama, reaffirming that it's quite possibly the best food combination ever created.  But getting back to the story I happened upon a crowd of people surrounding one of the drainage pools that empty out to the ocean (y la neta no sé lo que es exactamente que se vacía por estos drains o ditches aparte de basura tirada).  I asked one of the bystanders, "¿Qué pasó?"  somewhat guessing what her response would be.  To satisfy my curiosity I peeked through the lines and noticed what seemed to be a body floating in the water (Warning: link contains graphic imagery).  Yep, she was right había un muerto, with blue basketball shoes.  Although the water was clear as day, his face was turned towards the sand as was his body.  There was an ambulance parked up on the street overhead and, as I walked away, two police officers were approaching the scene.  And there goes my first experience with a corpse.  I suppose the calm nature of all those standing around gazing on at the joven in the pool of water led me to also take on a similar tranquil reflection of the visual.  Continuing on down the beach I found a spot to lay my towel and watch the waves.  

Put things into perspective?

One of my students from the Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara (UAG) reminded me that even this death is overshadowed by the news from Michoacán (news clip here en español and Yahoo news article here in inglés) where an explosion apparently killed 7 and wounded a hundred others in Morelia during the Mexican Independence Day celebrations on September 15th.

Now that I've contributed to the fear and paranoia about violence this side of the border some uplifting news-- my friend George is coming to visit me this weekend so I'll try to be a good host demonstrating everything I've learned thus far about the city.  He'll be my first official visit, although he is another Fulbright grantee living in Mexico City (and my roommate at the Geneve hotel during end of August orientation).  Further good news: the ETA (English Teaching Assistants) coordinator Jessica Quiroz tells us that not only will the Educational and Cultural Affairs Office in the State Department be giving all of us a set of books including an Oxford picture dictionary but also there are plans to possibly arrange some type of enrichment workshops in Mexico City with all Fulbright ETA's from around Latin America.

This brings today's entry to a close and I will try to increase my blog production a pesar de que nadie lo lee.  Oh well, perhaps it's more personal than anything.  For those of you who successfully got this far, te lo agradezco...pero no.  You know I had to reference Alejandro and Shakira.

Just in case anyone wants to call me, here is my information:

Mexican cell phone number:  744 123 9926
Skype Tucson number: 520 762 7164

(Through the wonders of modern-day technology, Skype allows me to assign myself a Tucson number that then calls my computer when I'm connected to the program)


Jueves Poselero

Writing blogs is so tiring as in me cuesta mucho empezar y convertir mis ideas en palabras, and think about what I should or shouldn't write about. I'm still staying with my tutora (the teacher I'll be assisting), a middle-aged lady who did her doctorate in Manchester, England but who's from a small town in the north I believe of Guerrero state. Today she was telling me how the planes used to fly over the pueblo incomunicado every week and the kids would try and chase them. They spoke a "different" Spanish in that town she tells me. Just one story she's told me since I arrived. Yesterday, I met the students and teachers at the school in which I'll be teaching, la Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero (Acapulco Campus). 
A couple students asked me if I was single, which of course started the others in the class off hooterin' and hollerin'. Another asked if my parents were Mexican. Most of those who spoke spoke very well English. I was rather surprised. One of the students, Cristian, actually had lived in Phoenix for some time and I swear he spoke almost perfectly.

So twice I've happened to get a ride with a taxista that has lived in the US for some time.  Miguel Ángel (¿miguelángel?) told me about how the police stopped him 3 times except the third time he "lost" them.  The subject came up because I asked if there was a seatbelt, which a lot of cars and taxis don't even have here.  So I told him basically to be careful with my life and we got on the subject of Acapulco drivers.  Turns out he got in a car accident in the states that he swears wasn't his fault.  From the collision he was hospitalized and after a few months had to come back to México.

Another taxi driver, whose name escapes me, showed me some photos that he keeps in his glove compartment of him and his son living in Oklahoma.  They were pictures of them fishing because apparently they lived near a lake.  He also had a random photo of a local news anchor taken off the television who was so "buenota" he had to take a recuerdo of her home.  In Oklahoma it was just him and his son as they had left his wife and daughter hence they decided to come back.

Current Mosquito Bite Count:  10...oh wait 11
Number of times lost: 2
Number of times assalted: 0 (just kidding, but knock on wood)

Just a little bit about Acapulco... It's all constructed from the coast up into the mountain, or cerro, so walking down to the beach, about 30 minutes, is pretty easy.  However, going back uphill is a different story, which is why there are varios camionetas that charge about 3 pesos to drive you back up, as well as the old public buses.  The metropolitan area is divided into Old Acapulco, where a lot of the older hotels are and also the famous cliff divers, while New Acapulco is around the mountain near the airport and further down the coast.  I havn't seen too much of the more modern section of the city but I do remember passing a Costco and a really nice shopping plaza.

Acapulco is definitely not as big and spread out as Guadalajara, which has a population of somewhere around 6 million depending on the source you consult, so hopefully I'll be able to memorize and get to know a lot of the neighborhoods and colonias.