I keep expecting to somehow drive out of the 'industrial area' that I am in, but so far the entire place seems like the industrial ring that (at least used to...) borders a city, with large trucks and abandoned lots and buildings and laborers in work clothes wandering about. Then again, I haven't been into town yet, so maybe I am just in the industrial section.
The rules here are different when it comes to driving. No rules about where to drive and how that I can tell, and everyone drives very close to each other. Three or four abreast on a 2 lane road, no problem. However, have your seat belt on and don't talk on the cell phone, and apparently you must have a fire extinguisher and reflective triangle in your truck, or be prepared to bribe the police at the roadblock. Or, hell, just be prepared to bribe the police anyway. So I've been told, anyway.
My experience with the locals has been uniformly positive. Most I've been around speak rudimentary English, which is better than my Spanish so far, and are open to attempting to figure out what I want. However, nothing is taken for granted. I get a free breakfast each day with my room, but didn't know until today. It hasn't been a problem since I can get breakfast at the DFAC (on post dining facility) for $2.25. Coffee is also available down at the restaurant here, so I didn't have to wait until the DFAC after all.
The Americans I work with go out of their way to warn me of all kinds of dangers. I'll be shot in the head if I wait on the free bus to post. I'll be robbed by my taxi driver if I don't use one I 'trust'. I have to bribe the police (see above), although my co worker just 'doesn't stop' cause he's such a bad ass (don't think I'll try that option...). I know they are trying to protect me, but at this point I'm afraid to leave my hotel room.
My cell phone doesn't work at all here. I need to find an ATM and get some local money, get over my fear and go either to the post via taxi or go to the mall (term is used loosely from what I understand). I also need some bottled water for my room, and a coffee maker for my room and at work. I also need to get to post and do laundry.
I'm putting off looking for a place to live. My stuff hasn't left Seattle yet, and I have a month's stay here at the hotel. Once I figure out how to get to work, and how to do laundry, and how to get coffee on an ongoing basis, the hotel will do fine. I get conflicting stories on where I should live. One guy's landlord has a place for $400/mo, and for some more he will put in a security alarm, and an armed guard 24/7. Others say it's not in the best of places, right down town. However, if I just use taxi's all the time rather than buy a car... well... I'm trying to decide. I put off having someone drive me around this weekend while I continue to ponder all this.
My room is basic, but very clean. The restaurant is also basic but very clean. The proprietor of the restaurant was very nice this morning, and very eager to help. The owner's son here at the hotel speaks good English. They don't come into my room to clean or make my bed. Not a big issue. I'm wondering what the protocol is to get clean linen. This hotel is used by most of the folks from my company when they land in country, so I can find the answer easily Monday, and it isn't an issue at this point really. The closet has 4 hangars, 2 of them usable. I pick out my clothes the night before from my suitcase and hang them up.
Now to sort my stuff (haven't unpacked at all).