Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Settling into our new hometown
So I started to write about how strange this all is, and a tiny moth, brown and with perfect spread wings, landed on my computer screen, attracted by the light.
I’m sitting on the back patio of our home stay, with kids bicycles and mechanics equipment scattered around, boys playing futbol around the corner, Isabel, our host, singing as she cooks in the kitchen, which is behind my back. The boys have gathered around to say hello, improve my Spanish and test their English already.
There’s a wooden ladder propped against a fence, and the neighbour’s house is about five metres in front of me. An outdoor concrete sink is to my right, with the water running. I don’t know why. Laundry is hung on two lines, and the fence.
We’re in Copan Ruinas, arriving from Santa Rosa de Copan today and plunging into our home stay and four hours of Spanish. It’s dizzying.
We live here now. Not in the home stay, though Esmeralda would like that, but in the town.
Beautiful setting. Green hills rising all around, old, narrow cobbled streets and buildings that seem mostly at least 200 years old. About 8,000 people, although it feels much smaller.
I don’t know enough to write much about it. The Mayan ruins, about a kilometre outside town, give the place its name and at least some tourists, although the 2009 coup and crime issues in Honduras have made people reluctant to visit the whole country.
We travelled from Teguicigalpa with some Cuso people heading for a meeting in Santa Rosa de Copan, and ate dinner with them and three other Cuso vols, as they are called, from Calgary and Quebec. Spanish was the common language, which meant I was able to listen, but contribute little.
We caught a ride here this morning, visited the language school and got directions to our home stay. It’s up a cobblestone hill, a kitchen, living room, and three bedrooms, a small one with tiny bathroom for us. It’s rough by Canadian standards - small. rickety shelves, concrete walls partly painted, corrugated tin roof. But we aren’t in Canada - that’s the point.
The Ixbalanque Spanish school is in an old building in town, about a 15-minute walk, depending on how often we get lost. We plunged in, with the first of daily four-hour lessons, one on one. My instructor, a Honduran woman - la maestra is the title - seemed little daunted by my lame skills, and the 24-hour immersion should bring progress. Jody gets a month of lessons courtesy of Cuso as preparation for her placement, and I’m paying for mine. It is a bargain - about $225 a week for 20 hours of lessons, accommodations and three home-cooked meals a day. Lunch was chicken and rice in a mild chile sauce. Based on the smells from behind me, supper will be spectacular.
We stopped for a drink in a second-floor bar/restaurant on the way home. Pina coladas and caprihinas, $2 each. Watched the hills grow dark and the stars come out. It gets dark early in these parts, by 5:30 or 6.
Another person has shown up on the back patio, which seems to be shared by several families, to wash her dishes in an outdoor sink, offering a cheery hola.
We’re not in Victoria anymore.
Posted by paul at 10:36 AM