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"It is the journey which makes up your life."

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

For the love of elbows

The miracle of the body is one of those things you never appreciate until it stops working... and you find yourself on your knees begging forgiveness from your ACL or your kidneys... please darling, I know I've been unkind, only now do I understand how much I need you, come back to me.
Luckily my elbow and I have only had a little bit of a falling out. It will come around in a couple days,and I will be able to bend my arm and lean on it again. Today, though, it looks like a surgically implanted golf ball that was stitched up none-to-well. Wish I could call it a battle wound or something... well, maybe I can... you see, it was a dark and stormy morning, and the rain pounding down on the streets of Gotha--I mean--León was pooling on the smooth tiled sidewalks. Our heroine was walking unsuspecting to class and then suddenly, out of nowhere, she slipped on the sidewalk and fell on her ass! Luckily, her valiant elbow (ironically the only non-squishy bodypart she currently possesed) sacrificed itself in the continuing battle against the forces of gravity! Heheh. The rest of my combined body parts have been having a great time in Nicaragua.
I´m in Nicaragua. Guess I should get to that first. I came back to Costa Rica from Panama with my mom and dropped her off at the airport. It was great to have her down here. Spent a couple extra days in San Jose getting organized and seeing Cooper. Nothing particularly exciting, though the next time I go to a public clinic in a big city I will not bring a book about the public health disasters of infectious disease. After a couple hours of reading about smallpox in the waiting room trying to get a prescription for chloroquine, a woman next to me in a wheelchair started vomiting into a bag... I decided to take my chances with malaria. Sunday I headed up to Nicaragua. Cooper woke up at 4:30 to take me to the bus and sing me happy birthday (It was my birthaday). Damn I love that boy. I didn´t have much more about the school than the name and the city because they don´t have a telephone, but I got myself there alright. The old guy next to me on the bus from Managua, the capital, to León was telling me all about how god made women from the rib of adam and how adultry is always the woman´s fault. He was nice,though. So, León is a beautiful old colonial town. It looks a lot like Granada...High ceilinged houses with decomposing spanish tile roofs that make a continuous wall against the streets. The streets are pretty clean, generally narrow and strait, paved with cement bricks, with checkered-tile sidewalks raised on both sides. There are still cobblestones some places, and horsedrawn carriages to clatter over them. It is hot all the time, with the same intense white light we have in California. Churches everywhere. On sunday they shoot off rockets to announce mass. The family I am staying with is wonderful. It is basically two older sisters living alone, one with a twelve year old daughter who only talks in whispers. They don´t talk about husbands. It seems there are a lot of men just cut and run here. Same thing happened to my spanish teacher, six months pregnant. They have a big beautiful house all to themselves. A parlour with wicker chairs where they never go faces the street. Where they really live is in theback of the house. It is completely open to the big garden they have back there. Basically a big segmented patio. It is simply furnished but refreshing. Doña Socorro and Doña Marta seem happy to have me there. We have been teaching eachother how to cook things. A lot of terrible news on TV right now. There´s an economic crisis because gas prices rose. Unemployment, poverty, and political corruption everywhere. Another sister of theirs is about to leave for Costa Rica to find better work. She had been working 14 hours a day in a bar in Moyagalpa and making about a buck fifty a day. It wasn't enough to feed her daughter, so she's hoping for better in Costa Rica. The family talks about these things in a serious, matter-of-fact manner that at first I mistook for despair, but I think is actually a kind of guarded optimism. The spanish school is a great place too. Full of murals. I have a professor all to myself, which makes the grammar go quickly first thing in the morning...then we go out to markets or museums and stop class for lunch. They have activities in the afternoon, which so far have been dance class, a trip to the beach, and a war doccumentary. I am impressed with the students here too. Most are very educated, well traveled people here learning more spanish to help them work on various projects... an epidemic reporting system, a school, and some articles on fair trade coffee and people trafficing among them. Lots of amazing people doing amazing things. The epidemiologist guy took really good care of my elbow.

Friday, June 03, 2005

San Jose

I stayed in the sketchiest hotel of my life last night. It cost four dollars, contained nothing but a bed, linoleum, no windows, and there were donald duck noises coming from across the hall all
night that Cooper said were people snorting coke. I wouldn't know. I got the hell out of there. Sunday Im heading up to Nicaragua, waving goodbye to gallo pinto, cheese that tastes like plastic, and crazy fucking taxis. I have trouble missing things when there is so much great stuff in front of me. Maybe when I'm home again I will start to process some more. I have been reading detective
novels and about small pox. I always thought small pox was relatively benign, you know. The plague sounds so much worse, but this book makes it sound absolutely gruesome. Im just starting the part about biological weaponry. Fucking scary. Here I thought global warming would kill us all first. Maybe astroids and zombies. Or the free masons. Theyre so cute and cult like. My
favorite conspiracy theory subjects after the Nazis. Heil pyramids!