Wednesday, May 5, 2010


And just like that! Free time is now a rare commodity for these formerly carefree travelers!

On Monday we moved into our new home for the next two months. We helped move furniture around, unpacked our bags (that took about 2 minutes!), and we were settled.

Pete is a giant in the wee kitchen!

It's basic but cosy, with a bathroom and kitchen that we're sharing with other volunteers, and with a price that can't be beat ($250 for the month). It is also a nice perk to be living just above where we work, and just below the organizers who thus far are taking very good care of us!

Just three days in, and our time has been quickly filled at La Biblioteca Interactiva de Baños (La BiB) - starting at 10am with various meetings on getting projects started, and finishing after 8pm when the adult English classes wrap up. In between we are helping keep the library clean, reading, playing with and making crafts with kids, teaching English as well as starting to work on some of our many projects! Pete will be helping to update the website (once he learns all the computer nerd language behind it!), and I have several items on the go, including editing some videos of recent events at La BiB.

Already we both feel like very welcome contributors to this worthy cause, and are so excited to be a part of it. Not only for the fact that we are helping to encourage the learning and creative minds of people of all ages, but also because it is truly our pleasure and honor to become acquainted with the organizers as well as some of the amazing people in this community.

I encourage you to take a look at this website to better understand what we are committing our time to. (And you'll have to look at it again later once Pete has prettied it all up!)

Different - for better or for worse!

There have been so many times in the past 8 months where Pete and I will look at each other and say: "Wow, that's sure different!" Whether it's because of the fact that people in Argentina are responsible for building their own sidewalks (imagine the variety), or the fact that each and every city in South America somehow has a damn rooster population magically situated beside every hostel we've stayed in. Stupid roosters.

These interesting aspects become even more apparent when we spend more time in a place, and really get to participate in the daily life of the locals. Some of it is for the better, others for worse, but in so many cases, it is vastly different from anything we are used to!

Case in point #1 - Milk distribution. Yes, milk is available in the supermarkets, but it is only "dead" milk (does not need to be refrigerated). Not entirely on board with ingesting it in this form, we instead are buying our milk from the back of a truck! Every morning, a pick-up truck drives down our street with large vats of fresh cow and goat's milk for sale. We take out our own container and get one litre filled for $0.50. This is obviously fresher then fresh, and so is way healthier, and also way cheaper. I don't know if this sort of service exists anywhere in Canada - it is definitely a difference for the better!

Case in point #2 - Disturbance of the peace. You can damn well bet that if in Canada I was woken around 6am everyday by a group of runners who were also loudly chanting, the local police would be getting a call from me to put a stop to it. So, what do I do here when these running chanters ARE the police? Baños is home to a police school, and part of their training includes running early every morning - I get that. But why chanting? And why down the main streets in town? I miss my cosy, largely undisturbed neighbourhood in the Canadian suburbs for this reason.

I guess we gotta take the good with the bad. At least there are no roosters waking us up. Yet.

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