Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Things I miss and will miss when we leave!

Things I miss about home:

Family and friends - it´s a given I miss you all but especially our kids!

Sights: Waking up at the farm and walking down to the river!

Sounds: Deathly quiet at night - no dogs barking or car alarms screaming

Smells: No urine smell hitting you from time to time - they do it anywhere here - no shame!

Also being able to get in the car and drive anywhere we want to and them being able to walk on flat - wide pavements!

Being able to understand what is being said to you - including party invitations or arrangements for early morning witnessing! I didn´t know I had agreed to a 7am start on Saturday!

Vegemite - shoulda,woulda,coulda brought some from home - Lynne you were right when you can´t have something - you want it more!


The new friends we´ve made among others the Willis Family - they have been a great help! (photo shows us out for coffee on shopping day)

Sights: Waking up and looking out at the hills - it reminds me of the Heidi Story, I know it is not the Swiss Alps but it is so pretty.

Sounds: The singing at the Kingdom Hall - it cracks me up cause sometimes they go up instead of down or visa versa.

Smells: The pig cooking on the corner - even though I would never eat it - it smells good.

Also: the cheap food prices - how am I ever going to fit back into NZ price ways - yesterday we brought a whold eye fillet for $8.95 (we split it with the Willis´)

Other sights on or from the bus such as the kid that got on and sang a some for money or seeing the woman doing their washing in the river as the photo shows.

The zealousness of the Brothers and Sisters right down to the little kids. As you can see they don´t have vacum cleaners at the hall either and they sweep the carpet after the meeting. Everyone helps. Actually I don´t think they do more than move the dust around but it is a good try.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

It´s ok about the party!

Thought I better update you on the party situation. It´s is not as bad as first thought cause they partied on without us ok on Sunday night and are planning another one for us.
Last night at the bookstudy an annoucement was made and I thought it was collecting money for the refurbishment of the KH but it transpired they were collecting a few dollars for our second party.
Apparently when they have a party anyway it will start off for one reason but morph into something else. IE the baby shower we went to was also an anniversary party for someone. So I am sure they would have had another excuse on Sunday night.

Monday, April 28, 2008


Well Mark went all that way so he though he better try the fish. He did like them - I had noodles for dinner cause - the fish had eyes and they were looking at me!! I don´t think I will be a fishing widow much here in Ecuador unless of course we go to the coast sometime then it might be a different story.

We made a big booboo last night. A young brother was trying to tell me something last week at the meeting and I though he said their bookstudy was having a dinner for the anniversary of the bookstudy. I knew he said we were invited but didn´t think too much about it. Chad told us on Saturday about the invitation but really we didn´t think we would go because a) we didn´t know where it was and b) we don´t have to go to a party every week surelyand c) we were both so knackered! Well this morning while talking to Doug we found out that the party was for us as a welcome to the congregation. Oopps! Maybe no one will talk to us at the next meeting.

We are just off back into town as Mark has had a filling come out of his tooth and we have found a dentist but we have been sent off to get the xray in a different place. Funny eh?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Gone Fishin - Ecuador Styles

Mark speaking:

Left the house at 5 am to meet the fellers down the road and then piled into the back of the double cab. Chad and I had visions that we were going to a lake that we would hike into and then stay there to camp and fish. We thought that it would take us maybe an hour to an hour and a half - hah! Dreamers!

After being dropped off at an altitude of 13,000 feet we started walking up hill for an hour and a half. The ground was wet and spongy. Over the top of the hill the lake was in sight and we thought - yay we have made it but it was not to to be. We tramped right past the lake - apparently they fish in streams. Remember we still had our heavy back packs on. Evertime we

came to a place that looked ok to us for a campsite - we kept on moving and we had to hide our disappointment.

By about 1 pm we finally hit the right spot under a rock-much to our relief! Time for lunch - NOT. They just dumped the gear and were off again for another hours fishing.

Finally we were allowed to set a fire and have something to eat. It was a little difficult findind dry firewood and we had to start the fire with parafin wax but soon we were cooking up a feast of eggs, rice tomatoes onions and steak (notice no fish was yet on the menu)

The local fellers went tussock picking and then spread them out over about 6 sq metres by 300mm deep. Polythene was put over that and bedding on top then polythene was to go over them. Meanwhil Chad and I put our tents up - gringos not used to the rough stuff!

Everyone were off fishing for the rest of the day - by the way - I have now learnt how to thread a worm on to a hook - a skill not worth knowing back home.

It gets really dark fast up in the whopps so I headed back to camp before I lost sight of everything. The others followed about an hour later by flashlight. Had to dry our sock and shoes off while we contemplated the awesomeness of Jehovahs creations and by the way the big dipper is upside down here!

We bedded down and before we knew it 6 am came around again. Breakfast was potatoes drenched in butter and onions. Then if was packup and more tramping and fishing for the rest of the morning. Time to come home finally when the call of ¨vamos¨was made by Gonzales (yep thats his name)

I reckon we walked the equivilent of walking aroung Mount Ruapehu in less than 2 days including all the cracks and crevaces and as you can see by the photos - all for the tiniest fish! We did catch about 65 of them though!

We were able to catch a bus home - the one that comes up from Guayquil - it was and hour and half trip - boy was I gald to finally hit the shower! We made it to the meeting but to be honest were´nt able to really concentrate. Beth was in the same boat having walked for miles doing the fishing for men job -!

Friday, April 25, 2008

I am Alone In Ecuador

My husband has left me (well for the night anyway) He has gone with Chad and his study and a few others up the mountain to a lake to do some fishing and male bonding. I didn´t think I would be alone in a South American Country within the first month of being here.
All is good though - I feel quite safe. I can lock myself in the house tonight and watch a movie or two on the computer.
I am very tired at the moment as this morning at 8am I left the house to meet the group (I walked with the Willis family) - it was about a half hour walk (mostly up hill) then I was with a sister who was supposed to have 2 studies this morning - we walked (for miles again) to them but they were not home so then we got on a bus and went up the hill to another call of hers. No en casa there so we decided (or she decided) to walk down the hill - street witnessing as we went. It was interesting but tiring.
This afternoon I braved going on the bus by myself to the supermarket - half hour by bus away and I was so hungry by then that I stopped and had a whole pizza and coke for $3.75 - I really splurged on myself.
While in the supermarket line the famuly ahead of me started chatting to me - very interested in why we are here - he gave me his card just incase I ever need his services - he is a surgeon. He did say that he hopes I don´t need him but wanted me to have a contact just in case. Nice eh? Of course with my record or falling over and blowing houses up - it´s good to know.
Will let you know how Crocodile Mark gets on.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Guinea Pig anyone?

Well we have been to the Feria Libre (free market) and what an experience. It is definately the place to buy your fruit and vegetable from and if you are in the mood a guinea pig or two. There are rows and rows of stalls - all selling virtually the same produce so it´s just a matter of who you like best if you buy off them. We were told it is an unsafe place but didn´t feel any threat so I guess it´s just a case of keeping vigilant.

We came home having spent $6 with about 2 kg potatoes some greens and a big bag of different fruit, including the biggest pawpow I had ever seen. (No I didn´t get tempted with the guinea pigs)

Talking of prices of food - we went back into town for our class and decided to brave on of the Ecuadorian Resturants (one of the cleaner ones I might add) where you sit down and they bring you what is on the menu that day. We had soup (which was yummy) - a plat of rice, fried pork with salsa and some salad and then a small plate of dessert for $2.00 each. Why would I ever bother cooking here?(I know why - because while that is good value and all it´s not like the food we are used to)

Other interesting prices:Bottle of nice red wine (you can get yuk red wine)$6.00. Bottle of whiskey(a known brand not the many blended cheap varieties)$13.00. 1/2 kg of mince $1.15. Packet of pasta.50c 500gm Mozerella Cheese $3.00 Brie $1.80. Cup of coffee and cake $1.20 (by the way they love cake and pastries here and have shops all over the place - so much for the diet). $1.50 gets you a dvd to keep not hire - but be careful it is not a pirated movie like the one we watched last night - every so often people would walk in front of the screen at the movie theater - dodgy. We brought two large mats yesterday for $20 each. So shopping day is quite exciting you never know what you will come home with.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

We are really cooking with gas!

I am glad I am still able to write to you. Last night I had a bit of an experience. I decided it was time I tried to bake something in my new gas oven however I obviously didn´t light it properly the first time and when I tried again there was a huge explosion! It blew the perspex out of the skylight in the kitchen and in the upstairs bathroom! Dogs from the neighborhood started barking and there was a very invasive smell of burnt hair (from my forearm).Other than the fright though I was fine but a little shaken!

Here is a picture of the 2 little girls I went witnessing with this morning. They are 8 and 9 years old and can hold a very interesting conversation with the householders. I am so impressed with the ability of the kids here - as you can see Shirley on the left has the bible open at the scripture she wants to read. Her mum and dad are not even baptized yet having only learnt the truth last year. Its amazing. NZ kids have a lot of catching up to do!

Mark was with a chap and they started a study - which they go to next sunday night. It is uncommon for studies not to be started each morning out so bring it on I say. Wish I could hurry up and learn this language.

Thought you might like to see how you buy bananas here.

Friday, April 18, 2008

On the Buses

Hope you can see this - its the lady with the baby on back and toddler on front.

Thought I would tell you about the bus rides we take.

By taxi the journey into town takes approx 20 minutes. If we go by bus (an we almost always do cuse it only costs 25cents per person, the taxi ride is at least $2.50-and we are cheapskates) it can take up to 45 minutes. It stops and starts often. People just wave out if they want to get on and the bus stops. On the ride into town yesterday I counted 35 times it stopped sometimes with about 5 seconds in betweeen. Of course that means a lurch forward and backward each time the driver changes gear. Sometimes if they are behind schedule they go hell for leather and if you want on - you have to run - jump for it and then hold tight. They don´t give you time to find you seat or grab a rail. A ¨conductor¨comes to get your money - usually a poorly dressed individual with extremly dirty hands. You have to watch them too cause they will come back with your change - if you are lucky. One guy tried to stiff me 50cents but that day Chad was with us and he put up a fight for us. The guy said I gave him a 50 coin but I was adamant that I gave him a $1 note - (sounds real mean of us but he would have pocketed the 50cents and that means another bus ride to us)

Now you might thing you have the route sussed but sure as eggs it will go another way and you will get completely lost. The reason it will change directions is maybe the street may have roadworks or as in the case of yesterday a paint shop had gone up in flames in the middle of the city and all was choas. The good thing about getting lost is you can always hail a cab (they are everywhere) and they will take you wherever you need to go for a buck or two depending how far away you are from point B.

The ride home last night was another experience entirely - more and more people were getting in (thankfully we had seats but still some ladies were just about sitting on my lap)until there was no more room. In fact some kids were standing on the step by the door and everytime it opened (while it was moving) I was sure they would fall out.Scary!

The picture at the top is of a tradionally dressed woman who got on with a baby strapped to her back and a toddle on her front. She squeezed in the one seat left by the window and the baby was sandwiched between her and the seat. Everytime the bus lurched the baby´s head banged on the back of the seat - didn´t cry though - must be used to it.

I have to say disinfecting the hands straight away is muy importante! There are some sights to see on the bus I can tell you.

Talking of sights - the bus is a great way to see the city - everyride is an adventure and is very interesting so I don´t really mid it at all - as long as I have a seat!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The last few days

Our security system Mark unlocking the gate. It is kept locked at all times

Hola amigos

Sorry this has been a little while - life is very busy and we don´t even work!

Dancing Kiwis

So on Sunday we went to our first party in Cuenca. It was held by the other gringo couple on our hill - Chad and Michelle. They are from Pensylvania and are here for 6 months initially.

We were the oldest at the party - never been that before but we didn´t disgrace ourselves too much and they liked our dancing. The party started at 4 pm but the espanic people didn´t arrive till 6 pm which apparently is usual here.

On Monday we headed into town to sort out a spanish school which we started yesterday. Our brains are like mush - and we have another 3 hours today, tomorrow and Friday. It´s so much to take in. Mark is at home at the moment doing his homework. The lessons cost us $6.00 per hour each so they had better work. I find though that if the person I am speaking with talks slow then I can usually have a decent enough conversation with them. Talking on the phone though is hopeless even if you ask them to slow down.

We went to the bookstudy on Monday night - there was standing room only. (I got a chair though - must be the grey hair) Afterwards they came out with supper for us all which was hot chocolate (the reall melted chocolate stuff) and a bread bun. They are so hospitable here.

There are many interesting sights to see here - check out the writing on the windscreen of this car we saw yesterday:

Adios Amigos - it´s time for me to get to school.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Day Of Firsts

Well today we went out in the field for the first time and that meant getting on a bus first to meet the group and then we were sent further up the hill by truck. The sister wanted me to get into the cab but I was having none of that and got in the back with Mark and 5 others. It was hilarious! We both had to talk at the doors - Mark went with a young feller who is learning English at school so they got along ok. He placed 4 mags. I went with a sister who has been a JW for 4 years and speaks no English. She had to step in at every door I did because while it is ok to have a presentation ready - you don´t understand what the HH is saying back to you! Great to be out though.

Then we made our way back into town and finally picked up a lounge suite. It is the ugliest thing you have ever seen (actually that is not true - we have seen uglier here) but it was cheap. Another first I bargained with the lady except I didn´t know I was. She said it was $480 and I was trying to tell her we only had $430 with us. She then said $450 so as we had found some more money we said ¨Bueno¨. It is a bit of a mission trying to work out what they are saying regarding delivery so we just say ¨si¨si ¨ and it usually works out.

Then to the meeting and our first comments in the WT. In one paragraph there was an experience of the sis in NZ and the conducter called on me to say what the work was like in NZ. I had to say the first thing that come into my head which was ¨mucho personas es apatica¨(they are apathetic) It was a little nerve wracking thankfully the gringo family were behind us and they helped me a bit. However Mark answered all on his own so that is cool.

There are many sights to see here including everywhere you look there is food cooking on the street eg: whole pigs! It is usually all gone by the end of the day. No we haven´t tried it yet (and maybe never will). Also Mark found the Guinea Pigs in the supermarket the other day and they are skinned and gutted ready for you to cook. I couldn´t really look at them and the shop assistants were laughing at me.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Found an internet Cafe just across the road. Yay!

We have now almost finished setting up house - we only have a sofa to go -which will be a good job cause we are sick of spending money (even if it is quite cheap).

Now first off I must tell you about the loos. When we first arrived in Guayaquil - I needed the baƱo so off I went at the airport. Yes the toilet paper had to go in the bin beside the loo but here in Cuenca - most toilets have the capability of taking a load so its all ok. Apparently the system here is the most up to date in Ecuador so we are very happy.

The taxi drivers here are usually very helpful - they drive like madmen (as do the bus drivers) but we are not praying everytime we step into one - must be getting used to it! They love to toot their horns at everyone - don´t know if it is just a habit or are they saying get out of my way.

The buses stop for about 2 seconds for you to get on - they have a fellow coming to colllect your 25 cents so you just get on and hopefully find a seat. All sorts of people get on the bus to either sell things or entertain you and get money off you too - for instance the other day a 3 piece band hopped on and played for about 10 minutes. They were very loud I have to say.

We met the Britos yesterday. He is a chiropractor, doctor and surgeon and also a regular pioneer. He only works 4 hours a day. Their son is learning medicine as well. They are exceptionally nice folks.

We had no hot water in our house until the landlady came today with a technician to fix the califont - turned out the battteries were duds. They arrived early in the morning and we were still not dressed (having had to wash - me in a bucket of hot water and Mark in a cold shower) It was a little embarrassing. They are coming back to put security bars on the windows downstairs next week.

Talking of security - everyone here seems extremely security conscious - we feel very safe walking the street, even at night but apparently it is the opportunist robber that you have to look out for. Mark reckons it´s safe in town cause wherever you look there are guys with either shotguns or machine guns guarding shops or banks. It´s a little disconcerting I feel though. Guess we will get used to that!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

sorry no pictures yet

Sorry to have not been able to post some pictures yet and also sorry not to have mentioned what our thoughts are about Cuenca.
Just quickly we are busy setting up house so here is some quick observations.
Congregation is awesome = people really happy to have us here
Rains every day - next person that comes over from NZ has to bring me a decent umbrella. My one I brought is broken already.
Roads are mush in the rain. Try walking to the meeting in good shoes - they won't be good for long.
Watch out for the doggy doos on the footpath - actually you have to watch the footpath anyway if you don-t want to fall over.
Gotta go and unpack our purchases - cost us about $300 for all the bits and pieces you need to live.
Bye for now

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

An Exhausting day

Well Monday was a day and a half. We had to go to sign up for our lease and thankfully Doug came with us to interperate. We went to this little variety shop and after waiting for the landlady for an hour went thru the process of get this - she typed the contract - yes on a typewriter! It took ages especially when she made a mistake and started all again! All the time we were standing. We then went furniture shopping and we decided to put the money the bros and sisters had given us from Bethlehem into a good bed. So will be able to sleep well at night. Thank you Bethlehem! We also purchased a table and 6 chairs - basic but only $90 so will do fine. Doug took us on a 100 mile hike - he walks with real purpose cause he doesn't like to look like a lost gringo - I was struggling at some points because I am still getting used to the altitude. We are going to the house early this morning to wait for the purchases to arrive - have brought some cleaning gear to occupy the time waiting for them. The house has nothing in it - no oven or stove or even curtains so we still have some major buying to do. It's like just being married again and having to get everything new. It would come in real handy if someone would throw me a shower!
We have something unusual though - we only had to buy a phone and plug it in and we have a landline. The bill is attached to the power and water so we are fortunate. Doug is jealous because apparently it takes forever to get a number.
The weather here is just like they describe in the guide books - four seasons in one day. We started off a little chilly - by midday it was so hot then on the way back to the house at around 4 - just after we had been to the supermeracado it was a terrific thunder storm. Everyone carries umbrellas here because it rains every day at some point. The roads were mush by the time we tried to make our way back to the hostel so while waiting for a taxi we didn't stand too close to the big puddles.
I should have some pics on the site maybe by Thursday. The computers here in the Hostel don't have a usb port so have been unable to download any - Doug said we could use his broadband so as we are staying there tomorrow night - I will give it a go.
Thanks for your comments and emails - if I don't reply for awhile don't think we don't appreciate them. And to the new friends in Brissie - hola!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

We have a Place to Lay our Weary Bones

Hola mis amigos
We are very happy because today we were able to get a place to rent. Doug -who we met last night had phoned around and before we knew it we were looking at this cool 3 bedroom house with 3 bathrooms - yes you all can come and stay - but it doesn{t have any wardrobes! No importa. It is really close to the KH and right next to a sisters house. Also just round the courner from our new gringo friends. They have been wonderful and we may go and stay with them for a few days while we get the house ready. It was on the market for $220 per month but they are happy to have gringos in it so we will pay $200 per month. Unbelievable. It will be fun furniture shopping cause everything is sooooo cheap! Doug and Lisa kitted out their place for $700 and it is nice furniture.
We also had our first bus ride today and yes we managed to get off at the wrong stop - but didnt panic this time (it was broad daylight mind you) and walked for ages but we got back safely. Actually we have decided that there are more menancing looking youths in NZ than in Cuenca.
We of course are still concious but really you have to be the same in NZ these days.

First meeting in Cuenca

We phoned The brother we had the number of and were told the meeting was on Saturday night. so we managed to make our way there by Taxi - $3.00 not bad for a half hour ride.
The Willis were very helpful - we went back to their house and had coffee and a lot of talk. It is decided we will get a apartment close and be in their congo until we learn the language more.
Got the taxi back to the hotel but the driver didn{t know quite where is was. We thought we did and said he could drop us off and we would walk the rest of the way. Panic set in (me) when we realized the land marks were not the same and it was now 11pm at night. So we hurried off back down the street and were a bit scared. The Taxi driver came back though - he had searched up and down the street (we were on the wrong side of the square) and he came back to find us. I wanted to give him another $2 but he said no - I pressed it on him though cause I felt he was so great to do that for us. Mark was not to happy about me doing that cause he thinks word will get out we are a soft touch - maybe!
I will try and post pictures as soon as I can

Arriving in Cuenca (some of you have read this my email)

Thursday we left Sanitago - we are not sad as we are ready to get going. We arrived in Guayaquil at around 7.30 pm - the immigration was easy to get thru and before we knew it we were on the outside. The heat just assulted us - it was 29 degrees! Holding the mags in our
hands the brothers potted us. 2 Nixce oung men. I had been worried that there would not be room for our bags but they had brought 2 vehicles so off to good start. No english spoken but we managed ok. We were pretty tired so didn{t take too much in on the drive except the
roads are bad so even though you are only travelling at 60 or 70 ks -it feels like you are going 120 ks and hour.
We were only booked in at the branch one night (due to them not getting our letter in time) so I was getting a little apprehensive as 2 where we would sleep however at our meeting with sister Betty she arranged for a witness family to have us to stay. They run a B & B at a cost of $10 per person per night. They also will pick us up and take us there so that is all good. We
disclused withBetty the disire we have to go the Cuenca as it is going to be cooler than here. It is scorching - way too hot for me. We thought it better that we get there as soon as possiblew so that we can get settled Our passports have to go to Quito for registration but they do that for us and return them to us. Of concern is the fact that there are landslides on the highway 2 Cuenca - it is taking hours to get there by bus. Betty helped us to arrange air tickets for 7.30 tomorrow mornign for $50 each and we are waiting here at Bethel until the tickets arrive the Familia Mena will collect us at 5pm. I am a little scared what the plane will be like but it is only 30 mins
flight - so is ok I guess.
I am totally shattered. Trying to speak in Spanish and to work out our next move is doing my head in. Mark has gone on the tour of Bethel and I am sitting in the foyer trying to make sense of everything (it has helped to write it all down) Betty has been very helpful and because
we had to wat here all day - let us into their personal room to rest and phone the hotel in Cuenca.
There were some other peoiple here going on the tour and although I only talked to them for a few minutes was given a name of their fiends in Cuenca also serving where the need is great. It is amazing how these things have a way of working themselves out. Jehovah provides eh?
Lunch here was very tasty althought the brother said the influence is mexican here in Guayquil and Cuenca is more tradional.
We had a fried stuffe (with chicken) tortilla, salad (yay) and fried rice (double yay) Black beans (surprisingly yummy ) and Guacamole So alot different from the bread diet of Chile.
It has only been one week since we left home - it feels like a lot longer- can{t wait to get our own place and start doing what we came here to do.
Mark is now back from theltour and we were able to talk some more with the Dyes (who have come here from America with their 2 boys to serve) They gave us the phone num of their friends and will email us the COs number asap. They also gave us much encourgagemnt and it has put our minds at rest. It brings tears to both our eyes when we see the evidence that Jehova IS looking after us. What an awesom organization we belong to - you wouldn't get it anywher else.
On the tour Mark learned why the need is so great here. The last service year increase was 8% but so far this year it is already 7%. We are really looking forward to helping out and making some contribution-
The familia Mena house is very nice - they have so many people coming and going that they leave you alone and after the warmth of the other brothers and sisters it feels strange to be in their home but not bothered with (that doesn't quite sound right - they have been very
kind but they run this as a business and have their own lives to lead)
The plane was a 737 so was very big - no worries. It was a 25 minute flight and they served a snack on the plane - very nice it was too. We arrived and are drinking in all the sights. It is a a fascinating place. we are about to go and find some food so will update you soon on our thoughts. Only 12 degrees so much better. fresher cleaner air.

Funny Boo Boo

On Wednesday when Ruben took us to Gabriella and Jorge (pronouched Hore-Hay) house, Rubens landlady had given me a gift of some soaps. I typically had forgotten her name so mouthed to Ruben - he mouthed back and I repeated what I thought he said. Thankfully I did reat back to him cause he was cracking up laughing - I had said PeePee. Imagine saying to the sister -Muchos Gracias PeePee!

Adios Video

Thought you all might like to see the video Lynne made of Beth and Mark's farewell at Tauranga Airport.

If the playback is a bit jumpy, just pause it for a minute or so to let it download a bit, then press play again.

(Posted by Marisa)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Pisco Sours

Mark has fallen in love

Some photos from the first day

House to House has new meaning

The Famous Corn dish


3 million people use the subway every day - wear a good deodorant! At peek times its a real squash - and so hot!
Go with the flow of people in the subway - don´t even think about changing direction!
Don´t worry about having holey socks - you never take your shoes off in the house!
Don´t wear shorts - you will be the only one and stand like a sore thumb! Chilean people are generally dress very nicely!
Come here if you are a carb addict - sandwiches are the standard diet!
Accept the hospitality - they love to spoil you! (hard for me)
Buy earplugs for sleeping - noise constantly wherever you are! The population of NZ in one city - gotta be hard to find a really peaceful place! (Maybe Bethel is the only place).
Don´t try and learn spanish from Chilean people-they talk way too fast and they acknowledge it is a problem. The bookstudy conductor hardly took a breath! (Told him he had to go on the ministry school to learn to slow down)
It feels quite safe here - but we are told hold on tight to your bags! Don´t wear jewelley in public either.
Don´t go with the flow when you want to cross the road- chileans take their lives in their hands every day at pedestrian crossings-the cars just whizz past them.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Another interesting day

Today we went with Ruben to Bethel or Betel as it is pronouced here. It was a trip and a holf to get there by subway and very busy because lots of people use the subway in the week. The Bethel is under construction and so in a bit of a state but still nice and peaceful compared to the busy streets. We left Ruben at 4p.m because we had a date with a family from his congregation at 4.30 however when they still had not arrived by 5.30 we went back to our room planning an early night. Not to be. They arrived at about 6 and then we had a trip to get their daughter at the university she attends. She is the only one that speaks any english so we muddled along for about an hour. It was fine though - our electronic translater came in very handy. We were supposed to be going to a market where they sell gorgeous stuff but as we were then late and the traffic was horrendous we didn´t get there but headed for another suburb - where we stopped at a resurante and had some of Chile´s favorite dish - sandwiches. The dad was going to travel to his parents house 6 hours by bus that night but was not in any hurry and seemed to enjoy our company. They are hospitable. Mark just said he has never hugged so many guys! They learned we are leaving on Thursday so said they we must not expect to sleep on Wednesday night. Big Party time.
Ruben will be here soon to take us to the market so we must away.