Friday, October 2, 2009
I'm sitting outside of a bakery in downtown Kumanovo writing this. Kumanovo is just a few minutes by taxi from where I live in Cherkeze. The taxis wait at the end of town by Fortuna, a building that has a small grocery and building supply shop. They wait until 3 or 4 people arrive to go into Kumanovo, then go to the Green Market and let us off. With a full taxi it costs 20 dinar, or about 50 cents. Alternately, I go down to the railroad tracks and wait for the bus, which is only 10 dinar. I'm getting quite good at getting around, and people are very helpful. When I first took the bus back from Kumanovo, the man that helped me find the right bus couldn't believe I was really going to Cherkeze. He asked me the address, and was only molified when I told him I was going to Fortuna. When we got off the bus, he was still looking at me like he was waiting for me to say: "No, this is a terrible mistake, I don't want to be here!", but instead I hopped off, smiled at him, and headed up the road to my house. Speaking of my house, I'm going to post pictures of it. It's the huge stone building next to the mosque. As big as it looks, we only live on one floor. I think I mentioned the cafe, unfinished 1st floor and unknown 3rd floor before, so I won't describe it more. Every morning though, the call to prayer is blasted through the loud speakers right outside my window at 5:45, so I have an automatic wake up alarm! The other pictures are of some of the local kids, who always want to practice their English with us, and the house of one of the other volunteers, where we stopped and helped the mom shell beans.
The pictures also show a little bit of the roads in Cherkeze. At any one time those narrow roads have flocks of sheep and goats, cows, various cars and taxis, pedestrians, and boys on scooters or in-line skates competing for space. When I riding in a car I often just place my faith in the amazing depth perception of Macedonian drivers. So far I've never seen an accident, and given what seems to be the somewhat haphazard pattern of drivers and people, it seems incredible. I will never criticize New York drivers again!
Next time I'll write about my practicum experiences and what I'm learning here from the Peace Corps. They take really good care of us, which is nice. Hope everyone is doing well.