Monday, 12/01/08 - 10:15 pm.
Hello, diary. I'm back from my trip! And what a trip it was. I think it's been the greatest adventure of my life so far. Some people do it all the time so it's not really a big deal, maybe...not in the big scheme of things, but to me it is. I must write it all down. Oh, the memories.
W and two friends of his, R and E (R, like W, is a close friend of brother #3), picked me up at my house at noon. My parents were very calm, and even glad that I was going out to the "field". So we went off, stopping by a gas station and later for lunch. It took us like four hours to get to SM. I met a new side of W, I saw how he is with his friends. Interesting...to say the least.
SM was a new sight to me, very refreshing. We were supposed to stay at W's friend's house. The "house" was actually a warehouse, very frugal in every single way you can think of. There was, however, a very nice watchman with a large gun.
We set up our headquarters there; rested and chatted for a while and then it was time for dinner. First we went to walk around the mall, where we had some ice cream. Then, there was this huge, huge, HUGE carnival going on in the streets at night. Never, ever, in my life I thought I'd find myself in the middle of such chaos. I was with these three guys and they were looking after me, so it wasn't bad. I was very annoyed, though. Crowds annoy me to no end.
We went inside a nice restaurant, and then W and I walked back home. We were going to take a cab but he has a nice sense of orientation and we made it safely, although the streets we took were a tad empty. We were avoiding the crowds. He and I aren't particularly fond of them.
We got "home". There were mattresses but no sheets or pillows. The bathroom was...almost not a bathroom, and there was no light. Regardless, we had work to do, so we went to bed. I have to add that in the patio there was a cage with two dogs; they could move inside of it, but still it was small. How cruel, I said to myself. They roam freely only when there's no people around.
I couldn't sleep very well. It got cold at night and when W's friends arrived, one of them started to snore. Like, pathologically. I even included the snoring in my dreams. It was awful. Here's something I learned: I will no trouble waking up at any ungodly hour of the morning, if my sleep is that uncomfortable.
To my surprise, the water that came from the tubes was warm. It wasn't very uncomfortable, taking a bath, even though there was no real shower; it was just a small room with a toilet and a tube that was supposed to be a shower. There was no soap, also. And we brushed out teeth with stagnant water.
A girl, A, from the career joined the research team. It was already W and Patty (another girl from the career, she's about to start her thesis), plus me. I was once her instructor, A's and Patty's; they're really good friends. A got a friend, whom we shall call Geo, to be our driver. Really nice, smart guy.
Geo took A, W and me to a gas station, to wait for Patty, who was coming in the morning. I bought coffee and a muffin, my breakfast. We took off to our first destination; the place was really unkept, one would think they just put some bricks together decades ago and no one ever bothered to sweep the floor. The people was nice, though. Patty and I were in charge of the children, W and A of the adults. We had a very productive morning.
W proposed to go have lunch to some town that was 30 minutes away. We went to a beautiful lodge, the five of us. We had a great time. By then this trip was shaping up to be more fun than work.
After lunch, we headed over our second destination. This place was better, and I got to be with teachers this time. Our research with focus groups is about child abuse, by the way, so we heard horror stories, from adults and children (children not so much, they didn't talk a lot). And with this town, we concluded our work for the day.
We still had a good portion of the evening free, and we'd completed 2/3 of our assignment. Geo asked what we wanted to do, and W said he wanted to see how the locals had fun. We ended up at the mall again. Aside from it and strip clubs, there wasn't any other kind of entertainment.
We had coffee there, walked around, W did some shopping (including soap). I really loved being with Patty and A, they are really funny. W and Geo picked on them a lot, too. At night, we went to eat typical food with a touch of the local cuisine.
W and I were dropped off at the warehouse afterwards. Here's another lesson I learned: after an exhausting day like the one I had, it's easy to call a warehouse your home. I was very adjusted by it, and this time there would be no snoring.
However, it was strange seeing W without a shirt. We're good friends, I'd even consider him an older brother, but I still see him like my boss. So the levels of intimacy were a tad yucky. Not sexual intimacy, because it was a slumber party, at the most; each had our own matress and before we fall asleep we talked about our students, no more. He'd held my hand at the carnival at some point, also, so we wouldn't get separated. Awk-ward. I was terrified we'd run into someone who knew us both and would see that. Nothing further from reality.
So that night we slept more. We woke up later than the day before and I had soap. Again, we were picked up by Geo, A and Patty, and we stopped by a gas station for breakfast. We traveled to our third and final destination, which wasn't so far away. We worked with people and we met the people who hired us to do the research. Nice people indeed.
As our final meal, the five of us went to the Lucky Dragon for chinese food. It was so good. Here, again, I realized it was more fun than work. The company for this trip was just awesome, and the institution that hired us made sure we had all the conditions to do a good job.
Lastly, Geo drove us to the bus station at 2; we said goodbye and we thanked him for literally being our guide and helping out (we paid for gas and he was invited to all our meals; the least we could do to thank him). We took a special bus, so we'd be more comfortable. W was a little aprehensive that we traveled by bus, because he thought Patty and I were very, um, fragile. These days I showed him I was the contrary, that I had no problem adapting to the situation. Still, taking the special one is always the better option.
The bus station in the capital city showed me another case of child abuse. That place was a disaster, as it always is, and W seemed nervous. Only then I realized how responsible he felt for the both of us (Patty and I, I mean). I thought it was cute, and I asked him if he planned on ever having children. He said no, and if he did, he wouldn't look after them like he was looking after us. I said he'd probably raise his kids in a Skinner box (psychology in-joke, but you can look it up).
My parents picked me up and I came home. I'm not tired at all, I'm simply ecstatic by the adventure I went on. It was awesome. I guess I could go on more trips like this one. W could take me. I wish Joseph was in my life; he'd love to hear all this, he'd love to know that I went out and LIVED. I'd love to go out like this with him.