Chronicles of the Wayward Moot

WELCOME TO THE MOOT, oh world-wanderers and word-whisperers. After two years of Peace Corps. After 2,200 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail. What. Comes. Next?

11/05/2006

Let the games begin!

Well kiddos, my castle is JUST about in order.  I've got the place about as clean as it can be without mopping the floors.  I put up posters and maps, set up the fridge and sticked it with a few necessities along with the toaster oven, the sandwich press, the blender, and my three burner stove.  Hung a shower curtain (still waiting for the owner to get someone out to look at the small leak from the bottom of the toilet), installed two plastic hangy-mabobs in the bathroom to hold soap and shampoo and toothbrush, etc.  I bought some fabric and ran some line across the main windows to form a makeshift set of curtains, saving a bunch of money.  I have a nice big bed and a table and chairs and a place to stick my dishes to dry after I wash them.  I have some plastic containers for storing food and other crap.  I have a new radio because the first one I bought stopped working two days after I bought it.  This one is a little smaller, but still gives decent sound and in return is more portable.  My bodega (storeroom) is full of good stuff like backpacks, suitcases, camping equipment, and other tools of the trade of being me.  Perhaps best of all, I figured out a really sweet way to hang my hammock in my big living room so that normally it's up towards the ceiling out of the way, and when I want to use it I just fiddle with a couple of clips and it drops right down, perfectly in position for maximum laziness and allowing me to sleep off a fat-induced lethargy.  I feel a ton happier now than I did a week ago, for several reasons.  First of all, I am no longer in a family setting.  I can wake up when I want to, go to bed when I want to, listen to music as loud as I want to, walk around naked if I want to, spend all day reading and eating Nutella sandwiches if I want to, etc.  That kind of freedom is soooo nice to have after living in more restrictive circumstances for three months.  Secondly, I no longer have the task of setting up a home in front of me.  The hard part of looking for a place, getting it approved by Peace Corps, scouting for and purchasing domestic goods and equipment, cleaning it all up, etc. is overwith.  Now I can just relax and chill.  The work I have on my plate from here on in involves the things I came here to do:  Working with the people here to help them improve their situation little by little.  So far I've attended a meeting of the Mancomunidad de la Cuenca del Rio Puyango ("Organization" of the Puyango River Watershed) with one of my counterparts, taken a ton of photos for promotional use by the municipality, and lately, I've been putting together a slick Powerpoint presentation in Spanish and English that the tourism office will copy and send on CD to bunches of other office around the world to get the word out about this area.  In a few weeks the new municipal nursury will be ready for planting and so that will offer more to do.  In the meantime, I´ve been making an effort to buy my things from as many different stores as possible so as to spread the word about my presence here and to make some friends (and find out where the best food and the lowest prices are).  My home's location is substantially convenient.  From my front door I could throw a frisbee and hit the doors of three different places to buy food and supplies.  I could also hit a restaurant serving roast rotisserie chicken and the typical Ecuadorian side dishes.  There's also an auto repair shop within targeting distance. As for entertainment, I´ve already met a guy at a little shop who has a nice collection of CDs and DVDs for sale.  All only a dollar each.  Niiiiice.  When I get a computer I'll hit him up for some movies. And watch them in Spanish to improve my language.
 
On my schedule coming up:
-Tomorrow I'm buying tamales.  And then I'm going to try out the baking function on my toaster oven.
-Saturday I'm getting up early to head out of town and go on a hike to a local waterfall which is supposed to be pretty wicked.  Wish I had my waterproof camera case with me...
-Sunday I'm getting up really early to head off even further.  With a local guide I'll make the journey up to the top of a local geomorphological treasure called Chivaturco (in the distance in that photo I posted a while back where I said you could go camping there) 
-Next Friday I'm heading off really far for an overnight camping trip at more than 10,000 feet in an area known to be really windy and really cold, but also filled with haunting rock formations like tortured spires and gnarled arches left over from an ancient eroded volcano.  How sweet is that?  Pretty sweet, but what makes it sweeter is that all three of these trips are to aid with my work for the municipality.  Basically, the office doesn't have a lot of well-taken photographs of the chief attractions in the region, specifically of the natural attractions in the outlying areas away from the city.  Because of this lack, their pamphlets and publications aren't as bright and exciting and attractive and professional-looking as they could be, as they NEED to be to improve the tourism numbers here.  Another reason for the trips is because even though in the tourism office there are some pictures of waterfalls and mountains and other attractions, if someone asks how to go there people either tell them that it's impossible because of either a lack of transportation, a lack of maps, a lack of signs, and a lack of trails to the attraction.  Therefore, and to me it seems like this should have been done a long time ago, one of the goals of these trips is to gather information about the attractions so that I can put together mini tourist guides with schedules and contact information for the appropriate transportation, maps of the routes with descriptions of landmarks and other useful features, and other information like recommendation for times to visit, things to bring along, and safety precautions to keep in mind.  That way the office can make copies and hand them out to visitors interested in actually visiting the sites thay have displayed here.  So, fun and games, yes, but with a serious purpose.
 
It's getting sort of late for me to be in here so I'm heading off.  Not sure when I will have time to post more pics since it takes so darned long.  We'll see.  Cheers.

 

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