On Barrios

It’s hella hot today. It’s rainy season but the streets are dry and the people are sweaty. My long dress sticks to my legs as I walk, scratching the mosquito bite collection on my calves.

I pick up two bags of apples, little Galas imported from Chile, and wander the supermarket aisles, looking for rice cakes and inspiration. I find corn tortillas, inspiration enough to send my mind back to the carne asado tacos at Azteca’s in Napa Valley. Broke college student food, but here it’s barely in the budget for a broke Peace Corps volunteer. I’ll come back for them.

On the way home, I realize I’m whistling the Jeopardy theme song when a security guard leans out of his window to find the source of the tune–I laugh out loud, embarrassed, and keep walking, and the next house down catches my laugh and smiles back.

Stephanie says the white flowered trees are plumerias; they make good leis. Maybe we’ll harvest the neighborhood for the host family appreciation hula performance. How would we get these delicate, perfectly curved petals off the trees, into backpacks, onto buses and into the venue?

Two houses away from home, Simon smells me and drags Nerelia down the street, the dog leading the walker. Simon, Ricky and their companion, the stray girlfriend dog who sleeps on our porch, scratch in the trash on the sidewalk. Nerelia tells me that abuela sometimes leaves food out for the girlfriend dog. I knew it! I’ve wanted to feed her for weeks, but the abuela always bemoaned her presence, that dirty street dog nuisance. You sneaky abuela!

 

 

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