Monday, March 30, 2009

Making peace with my Spanish

There are many things to do in San Cristobal. Lake tours. Horseback riding. Water falls, actually, anything to do with water. But since I still had Mika’s postcards, we opted for some casual exploring in town instead. Well, first we lounged around the hostel as many of the other guests who’d been up late at the bonfire the night before. The Mexican guy (I really wish I’d gotten his name) summed it up best – it was cheap and nice at the hostel so you don’t feel bad just sitting around doing nothing. Sophie was there too, still struggling to shake off a parasite she’d picked up in Guatemala. While she napped, he flipped through the channels, Adrian played his PSP and I blogged for a bit. Then we chatted about books and gave him my copy of Do Travel Writer’s Go to Hell which Adrian had just finished.

About 4 hours later it was time to head out to find that post office. On the hostel map it was located near the Zocalo, but that mapped had proved unreliable in the past so we headed in that direction with trepidation. We found a Scotiabank on our way there which meant we once again had cash. However, the post office was more elusive. Adrian suggested I ask someone for directions but my shyness about my spoken Spanish and stubbornness stopped me. Instead I pulled out the Lonely Planet map which had saved us before. It had the post office located on the other side of town (the town isn’t that big) so we walked the 20 minutes over to the LP location, Adrian once again suggesting on a couple of occasions that I ask someone for directions.

We finally arrived on the dot on the map and there was no post office nor was there any evidence that a post office had ever existed in that location. Oh well, can't win them all. So I caved and mustered up the courage to ask someone where the post office is. And I even understood the response. Bad news, it was back around the corner from the bank. Argh. Back we went.

I almost walked past the post office. It was barely marked and seemed frozen in time from the last century. There was actually a manual typewriter on a desk behind the counter. And I’m surprised that the man helping me wasn’t wearing one of those green visors that you see in movies (oh wait that’s bankers isn’t it). Thankfully my luck with Spanish seemed to be lasting and I successfully purchased 8 stamps to Australia. Getting them on the postcards however, required a bit of tetris skill. The stamps were huge and luckily Mika had been forewarned and had left plenty of space for them so only 2 words were sacrificed on 1 post card to make room for the stamps. Must remember this, if I ever get around to mailing my own postcards.

Since we’d been walking all over town, Adrian and I decided to continue the trek down to the bus station on the southern edge of the city and pick up our tickets for tomorrow’s early departure to Palenque. That taken care of, we headed back to Backpacker’s for the last of our pasta. Sophie was there packing up her stuff for the night bus to Oaxaca. We said goodbye and then went to bed, hoping this time, that the rooster next door would wake us up. However, remembering Murphy’s law I set an alarm too.

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