Yesterday we had a very odd thing happen. The driver stayed in the correct lane. He didn't swerve into oncoming traffic to pass slower vehicles. And then.... he stopped the car dead at an intersection. Kelly and I looked at each other. Why weren't we moving? Why were we stopped? What was going on? About 30 seconds later, the light turned green and the taxi turned. We were shocked. We had never noticed a traffic signal at this intersection, because the other 11 times we have been this way the drivers barely even slowed. There is only about a 1 in 2000 chance that it has actually been green all the other times we have come this way. It is much more feasible that the other drivers just ignore the light. He obeys the traffic laws? Is this even legal?
Today when we left the orphanage we called Violetta and requested a taxi for our return trip. A few seconds later, a taxi pulled up to let someone off at the orphanage. We called Violetta and she said she had not called the taxi yet, but that we could use this taxi.
Strike 1: The taxi cab did not have a meter.
Strike 2: He took the "scenic" route and went several blocks out of the way repeatedly
Strike 3: When he finally dropped us off, we asked "how much" and he wrote four times what the usual rate is for a fare ($10 as opposed to $2.50 - all the other fares have been between $2.38 and $3.75)
We called Violetta and she proceeded to give him an earful. His version: He didn't work for the taxi company and he told us the amount in advance (we guess: after determining that we don't speak the language). Violetta said to give him 2.50 and leave the taxi ASAP. I gave him $6.25 (didn't want him to go completely spare on us) and we got out ASAP. Violetta said she was very sorry but that some people take advantage of foreigners like that. So far that has been our only bad experience with taxis, but we will be more careful in the future. Kelly was MAD.
Yesterday we tried a restaurant called "The Texas Saloon". The decor was the only thing vaguely reminiscent of Texas. The waiter didn't speak English (and the menu was not in English), but he was able to recruit someone from another table (who just happened to be dining there) who spoke English to translate for us. We thought that was very nice of him. While this was very nice restaurant, we came out very good - it cost about $14 for the two of us to eat (to put it in perspective, there are restaurants back home that have $14 appetizers). We were shocked that the Coca-Cola (one of the few things on the menu we can sound out) was significantly cheaper than water of the same size. I am still shocked at 1) paying for water at a restaurant 2) No free drink refills. I had a salad and mushroom soup (both were good). Kelly ordered a shish-kebab chicken (which was very good) and fries. The ketchup was fifty cents. My little sister would *die* if the states charged that much for ketchup with a meal.
Today we had lunch again at Mario's Pizza. It is a good restaurant (and close to our apartment), and Kelly and I can both eat a good lunch for about $6.25 (for both of us). We can get similar prices eating at a cafe. That is just about as cheap as cooking food in the apartment. Fresh vegetables are very pricey (one bell pepper: $6) at the store and they don't have much variety in the canned vegetable section. They do have frozen vegetables, but our only try of the frozen vegetables so far was inedible due to the freezer burn. It probably has cost us $3 a meal (for both of us to eat) in the apartment.
Fun Game (See yesterdays' post):
FIND THE BABY. Rules: You have 10 minutes to stare at the picture below. See how many babies you can count. Compete against your friends!! Hours of entertainment!!!
How many babies did you count? (Answer: 1)
We took the girls outside again today. It was warm enough that neither Kelly nor myself needed our jacket. The girls were both grouchy little bears. If I were in their position, sweltering in so many layers I couldn't move, I guess I would be grouchy also. "Aurora" was crying because she couldn't find her fingers to suck on (they were there, just buried under layers of fabric).
Since both girls were cranky, we didn't stay outside long and went back inside.
"Leigha" was feeling very warm. Kelly took her for her scheduled feeding. The doctor took her temperature and she was running a fever around 101°F. She said "Leigha" had a cold and a sore throat gave her some medicine.
"Aurora" kept crying until we peeled her snowsuit off and then her sweater which was underneath that. I played with her for a while Kelly was dealing with "Leigha". She liked playing with the toy drum and ring-stacking puzzle. No pictures of her today, as I was busy playing with her. We didn't get a long visit with her, because when it was time for her to eat they kept her.
The medicine worked quickly for "Leigha". Her fever broke and she became much cooler to the touch. She is staying awake longer also. When we first started working with her she fell asleep quickly, but she has been staying awake longer and longer as we spend more time with her. We got to spend a long time with "Leigha" and took turns holding her until she eventually did fall asleep.