Seriously- this place is paradise. The other day the high was a relatively low 80 degrees, and Tere wouldn’t let me out of the house without a jacket. My commute to school is absolutely gorgeous: flowers and bougainvillea trees everywhere, a “buenos dias” from every person you pass by, music streaming out of cars and bodegas. The city is alive, busy yet tranquil, colorful and fun. One day after school I took a bus to the mall, Plaza Altabrisa. It’s giant and modern, with air conditioner and Beyonce streaming out of the ceilings. Some shops I recognized from back home and skipped over them immediately, others were strange and foreign and begged a look around. There are also arcades here, and CD shops, two things you don’t see much of in the states anymore. I happily found a 100% Natural in the food court, a miniature version of the Feingersh’s favorite restaurant in Playa del Carmen. I had chicken and veggies and a fresh fruit smoothie before heading back home.
On Sunday I took a bus to El Centro again. Feeling more confident with directions, I wandered farther this time than I did last weekend. And WOW. You wouldn’t believe the toy stores, five-and-dimes (todos a $4.00!), and shoe stores here. They’re chaotic and crazy and have so much stuff I’ve never seen. I don’t see many tourists here, and the locals must not either, because after helping a little boy reach the soap in a restaurant bathroom, his mom asked if he could take a picture with me. He’d never seen a real blond before (color me flattered).
School is tough, but its going great. I’m really good at understanding Spanish, but not that good at speaking it yet. When I come home in the afternoons, Tere and Milo sit and talk to me in Spanish. We talk about politics (they like Obama, hate the new Mexican president) and culture; Milo tells me about the history of the Yucatan, and how much he loves the Latin American CNN report. They look over my homework for me and point out the missing accent marks. I have a TV in my room, and I can watch American shows dubbed over both well (The Simpsons) and poorly (everything else). The made-for-Mexico TV is probably the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. They run “The Soup” with Joel Mchale, but they also have “La Sopa” with some other dude, to showcase the crazy Mexican stuff. The girl who dubs Kim Kardashian has an equally-annoying voice.
Spanish has some amazing idioms and colloquialisms. Instead of saying “between a rock and a hard place”, they say “entre la espalda y la pared”, which means “between the sword and the wall”. Makes sense. They say “happy as a worm”, and “clear as water” (in Spanish, of course). In the course of all this I’m also learning a whole lot about ENGLISH grammar; for instance, I now know what “preterit” and “participle” mean. Tomorrow I’m meeting up with a fellow Texan, John, to go to the Mayan Archaeological Museum. He’s here from San Antonio doing environmental research. And on Thursday- Miguel is taking us on a trip to the Cenotes! I’m very excited– will post about it afterward, of course. That’s all for now, signing off!