Thursday, July 16, 2009

Stuck in Cuenca

UPDATED: 3:38 pm

After leaving the Internet cafe I went to check my balance at the bank. I was told repeatedly that I would be paid for my last month of work in July by the 15th. The reason being that I was leaving before the end of the month and not only needed to pay my host family for the last month, but I also need to close my bank account. Yesterday the account hadn't moved. I checked again today, and nothing. So I went down to the university and the secretary told me very casually, as if she'd known all along, that they weren't able to pay me early on the 15th. Instead, I might be paid on Monday, the 20th. I told her that I really can't afford to wait around, that I need to be paid so I can pay the host family and close the account, and she sleepily nodded, without much concern. So hopefully I get my last paycheck.

After the university, I went down to the Panama Hat museum to finally buy a hat. Since I have such a small head, they had to basically prepare the hat for me. I watched as they took a plain white sombrero and stitched the black belts on the inside and outside. When they were done I tried it on and it was still warm. I thought it would cost $15, like most of them, but was surprised to find on the inside was lightly written in pencil, "$18." Three dollars makes a big difference here, and I'm not sure what made this hat more expensive. But they'd already made it especially for me, so I had to buy it. But I'm glad that I've finally gotten one.

They asked me if I wanted a bag or to wear it out, and I said I definitely wanted a bag. One, the bags are pretty cool looking, in the shape of the hat. And two, I told them I didn't want to look like a tourist, walking around with my brand new hat on my head. They laughed and agreed. So I came back home and discovered that the Internet is now working in the house. Even though they had originally told me 9 days, somehow it's back. So I'm not going to complain about that.

Despite a lot of debate on where I should have traveled this week, I wound up staying in Cuenca. It´s not a choice I´m happy with, but in the end I just didn´t have it in me to take a long bus trip. The jungle is pretty far away from here, and the beach isn´t any closer. Going to Colombia was too expensive, and I didn´t want to cross the border into Peru on my own, never having done it before. And as a side reason, I´d also rather save some money for when I get to Argentina.

So I´ve been stuck in Cuenca, with almost every day being like ¨Groundhog Day.¨ Though I´ve been keeping busier this week than last week, thankfully. I don´t want to say that I´m sick of traveling, but maybe a little burnt out. I´m looking forward to just being able to relax when I go home for a few weeks, which will hopefully recharge my batteries for the return to South America. For the most part, I´m finished with Cuenca. I don´t want to say that I´m sick of it either, but I´ve seen all that it has to offer, and I´m ready to move on. This weather isn´t appealing to me and the boredom is just driving me bonkers by now.

The only light ahead is that this Saturday a couple friends and I might go to a small town in a valley called Yungilla. In Yungilla the weather is hotter and usually sunny, and we´re hoping to walk around and go to our friends country house to cook. We´ll probably come back that night, since it´s only a short bus ride away.

As of yesterday the Internet in my house has gone out, and apparently it could take 9 days to fix. I´m not sure how it could take 9 days, as that seems ridiculous, but I´m not surprised by anything anymore. This is really unfortunate, because with so much downtime, now I can´t even go online at home, and I´m going to have to spend a little money at these lousy Internet cafés. Also, it might mean less frequent blogging, but hopefully I´ll be able to get around that by just writing them at home and then using a flashdrive to load them up, already written, at an Internet café.

So I´m signing off for now, on my way to see if I´ve been paid for my last month as a volunteer and then to finally buy a Panama Hat. My intention was always to wait until the last minute to buy one, and now I´m going to finally get it done. Until next time.

No comments: