After camping in the same spot on the hillside above town for 8 nights (a record for us,) we found an apartment on the other side of town and have started attending a Spanish language school.
This is something we’ve been talking about for some time. Up until yesterday, we weren’t sure it would happen. This is a great town and we like the idea of becoming pseudo-locals and experiencing what it would be like to live here. After pounding the pavement, we finally found an apartment and haggled a deal at a local school.
Like anywhere, there are multiple economies here. There are prices for people in a hurry, prices for foreigners, prices for locals, internet prices, newspaper prices, etc. After wasting a little bit of time on the internet (by gringos, for gringos) we scoured the newspapers. The papers could have landed us a great deal, but we’re not locals (making it a bit tougher) and we were looking for a short-term rental (a few weeks – even tougher.) Not much action on that front.
We decided to walk the back alleys of town and just look for Se Renta signs and knock on doors. Again, it was tough going. The best solution – just go ask shop owners if they have something or know someone. It turns out that just about anyone who owns a business also has an extra apartment or knows someone who does. After a couple days of asking around and some completely random pricing, we landed a nice studio apartment close to Centro for only a little more than it costs to camp. A major score, thanks to Angela’s persistence.
Over the last week, she also hit every school in town and even negotiated a two-week class with a private tutor for another steal. The Mexicans think the Norteamericanos have no patience (generally correct) and by showing tanenmos tiempo, we got everything we were looking for and at the right price.
Our first day of school was a bit of a shock to the system. Neither one of us have been in school in too many years to admit. We showed up clueless and without even a notepad or pen. Fortunately, we have a patient and pleasant teacher who conjugated verbs with us for three hours without appearing the least bit phased by our dumb questions. She assigned us lots of homework.
Bode’s in school too – that was part of the deal. He spent the day learning all sorts of stuff and doing projects. His teacher speaks no English, so we weren’t sure how he would handle it. After only one day, the teacher has insisted he’s a genius. He emerged with a clay diorama titled Mi familia that we had to carry all the way home (“Two hands, dad! Two hands!”) If he were really that gifted, he would have said “Dos manos, papa!”
We hit the Diego Rivera museum to round out the day. It’s a nice collection of diverse work – including a nude of Frida Kahlo that I’m not sure I wanted to see. We will not be bored here, no matter how long we stay.