Saturday, October 8, 2011

The new kids in town (Part 1)

When we arrived at the airport, we were already an hour behind schedule because of the flight delays.  As we got off the plane, we went down a metal stairway to a tarmac and were directed toward one of two shuttle buses.  As we both got on, I looked back and saw our stroller just sitting in the middle!  We both quickly hopped off and made our way toward it.  The lady directing traffic shook her head and pointed back to the bus.  Over the volume of the plane we tried to say 'that's ours' but again she just shook her head and pointed.  One more time, we said 'stroller' and motioned with our hands, pointing to it sitting in the middle between the two staircases unloading other passengers.  This time she nodded and put her arm down to let us through.  We nabbed the stroller and packed onto the bus like sardines.
The buses then drive you over to the airport where you file into lines--Visa, non-Visa and citizens.  After getting our passports stamped, we very happily grabbed our luggage from the baggage claim, ran it through the xray machine and practically burst through the doors, glad to have finally arrived!
Though we'd been warned about drivers getting stuck in traffic, we were still a touch surprised to walk out and find that we'd still beat our driver here!  After only a few minutes, we did see him and we were off.
One of the first things I noticed is that we are arriving alongside Fall.  The leaves are changing her, much as they are at home.  Splashes of yellow and occassionally red are seen throughout the trees.
The second thing we noticed is something that had a reputation before we even got here--the driving.  The driving here is, well, exciting. haha  It really is a spectacle to behold.  I want to say first of all that I never once felt unsafe, but wow, it is quite the curious experience.  Cars cut very close to one another, the speed limit is about 15 miles more than ours (which we honestly get close to at times anyway), but three things have really amused me. 
First, they laugh in the face of construction zones!  They are doing roadwork on the freeways out here and suddenly and very much without warning, there will be a small gate in front of a strip of road that is absolutely broken apart with deep dips on both sides.  Drivers here will swerve around the gate and just keep driving on the broken road.  It really made me laugh at all of our 'dip' and 'bump' signs we have at home and how extremely cautious we are are and here they are plowing right over chunks of loose asphalt.
Second, sidewalks are not solely for people.  They are also for driving and parking should the need arise.  Many times you will see cars hop a curb and pass around other cars or just flat out making additional parking spaces out of the sidewalk.  Again, I have not once felt unsafe.  The drivers are very mindful of the pedestrian crossing lights and I have not seen a single car accident or anything close to the sort.
Third, speaking of parking.  It is more of a freelance system out here! :)  They double, triple, and angle park.  Anything goes.  For some reason, it is just something that has struck me as hilarious in our short time here.
Our first stop was actually a paperwork errand for another couple who is in country and just got their court appointment for Monday.  I have to admit, I felt a little bit special to be on this errand as if I was helping some how.  Though I know I wasn't, it was still fun to be riding along.  We did actually get to have a sneak peak of the SDA building for this reason and it was a nice little pit stop to quickly check out the street vendors a bit and marvel at some of the scenary.

Next, we had an adventure of a time exchanging our money!  A law that was changed about two weeks ago has largely complicated the process.  You now have to present your passport, which gets photo copied, you sign 3 or 4 times and then are presented with your new money along with a receipt that is required should you need to change your money back into US Dollars at the end of the trip.  It is a process that our driver was very unimpressed by, especially when the first two places we tried turned us away.
Once we successfully exchanged our money, it was off to shopping.  It was SO fun to be in that grocery among all the familiar and unfamiliar foods.  There was just about a little of everything there--meats, cheeses, bread that was still warm from being baked there, chocolate, beer, produce, dairy.  We picked up a few things that wound up costing about $50 that would have easily cost much more in the states and should hold us over for a few days.
We got to our apartment and it's wonderful.  We have a nice big TV, free WiFi, a nice big bed, a huge tub and all the amenities like a washer, microwave and fridge.  It should make for very comfortable living the next couple days.
The view isn't too bad and if it's clear during the day, you can get a nice look at the valley surrounding the river.  This wasn't a great day for that, but here is the view anyway.
And since we are still impressed by the small things, here is the view of the building across from us in the middle of the night.  (And yes we are trying not to look crazy by gazing out the window every ten minutes and taking pictures all the time.)


  1. Exciting to hear the experiences of your first day there. Blessings and hugs.

  2. love hearing the stories! it makes me relive some of ours! I am almost missing it there...haha! Can't wait to see your angel soon! When do you get to meet her?


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