Thursday, January 22, 2015

More Construction in the Street

Before Christmas a gang of workers tore up the street in front of our house in order to put in a sewer line. It was a sign of progress and one that meant we'd soon do away with the rivulets of dirty grey water that line the edges of the streets here -- but it also meant there was dust everywhere, loud trucks outside all day long, and construction workers gawking at us every time we walked out our door.
The well of serenity at Casa Bambu...

A few days before the holiday, the workers finally finished the line and put the dirt back from where it had come, but they didn't replace the paving stones they'd removed. One day the paving stones were piled up on the curbs near all the neighbors' houses; the next they were gone. That was probably a good thing, because each night i'd hear people piling a few into a wheelbarrow and hauling them away -- probably to pave the private patios in the largely-unpaved parts of the barrio just south of here. Technically, "barrio" means neighborhood, but from what i've seen, it really means "less-than-desirable neighborhood."

I thought it was weird that they'd finish their work and not repave the street -- until a few days ago when the workers came back and started tearing up the street a second time. Apparently they'd just taken a three-four week break for the holidays and were now back, churning dust into the kitchens and living rooms, whistling at tanned expatriates, shouting and driving trucks and generally bringing chaos back to our relatively peaceful middle class barrio. Sigh. 

Living here is such a lesson in extremes... learning to handle, deal, cope... basically, learning all the verbs for managing constant chaos. One minute i am proud of my ability to give directions to someone in Spanish on the telephone (phone calls seemed impossible a few months ago), the next i am feeling sick of it all, and wallowing in the left-out feeling of being away from home. I even start missing the stuff that meant more work for me -- like the rebelangel's school book competitions, garden cleanups and fundraisers, (like this cookie dough fundraiser from Cherrydale Farms -- YUM) that gobbled up so many weekends.

Here, there are times when all i can do is lay face-up in my pool (yeah, poor me) and let the water block out the sounds that are so intense i feel i might explode. If i wasn't so used to the heat, which means i even tend to get chilly at night, i would have had to do a nighttime float two nights ago, when the teens who live two doors down rented a pro sound system for a birthday party and bumped bachata and reggaeton throughout the entire barrio until 10:30 at night on a Tuesday. It could have been worse -- they could have blasted evangelical tunes ALL NIGHT like what happened during an evangelical gathering on the lakeshore a month or so ago, which kept up the entire city... but in any case it was damn annoying.

Every day i get a little more acclimated -- so much so that even in the daytime i can wear long pants (like these harem pants by One Tribe Apparel) instead of short-shorts that get me too much attention -- but on those same days, i feel like i'll ever be a stranger here, and never learn to adapt. I need my peace, and the construction workers and roosters don't oblige.

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