?> this is annie | Monthly Archive | February
Archive | February, 2010

This sounds like an appetizer of the potato variety

26 Feb

This sounds like an appetizer of the potato variety

To keep ourselves entertained, Jen and I have created a new inside jokey game. Actually, it’s not that new. Toddlers probably play it all the time. But it’s new to us! Basically, we try to outdo each other by texting nonsensical sentences to each other. Here’s a sampling:

  • Gouda shoes.
  • Massage the car into a ball of sumo wrestler.
  • How’s the day waxing sticky velvet? Jackrabbit! (My response: “Papaya.”)
  • Battery-powered quiz bowl with snowflakes of orange zest.
  • Mesh cats are in the rectory.
  • Plush fangs slip on some shower curtains.
  • Frankfurter disco nap.
  • Porkpie hats steal laser sauce! Unfortunately, the cactus whispers to the tugboat. It’s a neon pomelo.
  • Purple Pieman washes granola.
  • How many Milos does it take to roast a chicken? Silverware!
  • The celery stalks at midnight. Koo koo ka choo, Mrs. Robinson Crusoe.

Linguistically, the interesting thing is that as the game goes on, the nonsense begins to shape itself into sense. (“Mesh cats are in the rectory” was understood to mean that my plane landed safely.) If we keep this up, it’s only a matter of time before eep opp ork ah-ah means I love you.

En train de…

24 Feb

En train de…

It was the commute from hell: nearly an hour to travel three piddly miles from work to home. I knew I was in for it when I saw the train platform stuffed with people, most of whom had a half-hopeless, half-annoyed screen over their eyes. When the trains finally began coming into the station, they were already crowded. But we boarded, and some people even got seats. We tried to make the best of it.

The train crawled about 25 feet, then stopped. We waited. As the train stood still, the air became warm and stuffy. I was wedged into a corner, with only a few inches of space between me and the people around me. The stale air, lack of movement, and sensation of being trapped were highly unpleasant. Nobody looked happy.

Ten years ago, I might have turned to a fellow commuter and shared some sort of sympathetic small talk about the delay. I wanted to do that tonight, but the man next to me was listening to his iPod. The woman in front of me was listening to her iPhone. The long-haired goatee man was playing games on iPhone, the teenage girl was texting on her Sidekick, and over on the other end of the train, a woman had turned up her iPod loud enough that I heard jolene! joLEEN, joLEEN, jo! LEE-EE-EEEEN! through the earphones.

The train eventually shuddered forward, then stopped again, then started up, and so forth. Aside from the two coworkers talking about a new relationship (“She’s great, but I’m waiting to see how she fights”) the train was essentially void of conversation. It was typical of urban life, it was nothing unusual, and it was sad.

I recently got an iPhone through the boss man. Earlier today, I mentioned this, and someone made a comment that stuck: “You get one and it’s like you create a little relationship with it.” That is the problem, isn’t it? We look at phones, not into people.

And yeah, I enjoy all of the things the iPhone can do (Angry Birds and Hipstamatic are so much fun) but I can’t help but feel that we’re losing a lot. Tonight I kept my phone in my bag during the hour-long commute and wondered what might have been.

Busting many moves

15 Feb

Busting many moves

Cool Hand Luke and I had plans to hit up this arepas cafe, but by the time we made it down to the East Village, the place had stopped taking names for tables. So we walked around in the cold, crisp air in search of another place to eat. Mexican? Maybe. Thai? Not feeling it. We snaked through the streets discussing my ophidiophobia. (He thinks it can be cured; I disagree.) Then we saw an interesting-looking restaurant, glanced at its menu, and saw that it was another arepas place. We decided it was a sign. (more…)

Four Belizean transport things that you can’t do in the U.S.

1 Feb

Four Belizean transport things that you can’t do in the U.S.

1. Ride in the bed of pickup trucks without getting ticketed. You see this all the time. People pile in the back and usually look like they’re enjoying the wind whipping their hair. Betty would kill me if she knew this… but I’ve done it, too. Yesterday I rode a mile uphill in the back of these German/Costa Rican guys’ Chevrolet, and when I trudged away from the jungle in a downpour, they let me hop in back again.* DON’T TELL BETTY.

2. Take a colectivo taxi. No matter what make or model a car is, if the license plate is green, it is a taxi. You flag the car down on the highway and squeeze in with any other passengers. You can go maybe six miles for $4 BZ unless you’re a tourist, in which case you get charged a little extra. But, really, if you haggle over 50 cents US, you are an a-hole.

3. Hop on a refurbished school bus and head from one end of the country to the other for $10 BZ. (That’s five bucks US.) Unfortunately, the bus stops every ten feet to let people on or off. I am exaggerating, but only a little. On the way from Belmopan to San Ignacio, one lady refused to deboard the bus with a group of people. She insisted that the driver take her approximately 20 feet down the road, which he did. This level of service means that it takes forever to get where you’re going.

4. Use a golf cart as your primary mode of transportation. On carless Caye Caulker, this is the fastest way to move. I guess people must do this in Florida and other warm places with old people, but it’s not the main way to get around.

* I couldn’t help but remember the story I overheard a local tell the other day. Background: Spanish Lookout is a Mennonite colony not too far from San Ignacio. It’s mostly known for farming, construction and what-have-you. Nothing too crazy, or so you’d think. Anyway, this guy** starts talking about how some Mennonites are helping traffic drugs up to Mexico; there was a big bust in which the fuzz found cocaine in coconuts. Last year some deal must have gone wrong and a Mennonite was found shot in the back of the head. Anyway, the drug trade is lucrative (duh) and so you’ve got a few people living l-a-r-g-e in buggy country.

While climbing Xunantunich, I’d run into the ride-giving guys. They were nice enough but something about the way they were quiet gave me an odd feeling. They were talking in a language that sounded vaguely German, but it wasn’t German. Dutch? No. I asked and they told me it was a dialect of German called Plautdietsch. Oh, and they’re from Spanish Lookout.

So while going downhill in the back of a new, slick, decked-out, expensive pickup, I thought, “This is one of the nicest trucks I’ve seen in the whole country. I bet it cost a lot.” Then I did the math. Let’s say that the truck cost (conservatively) $20,000 US. Double that for the 100% (!) Belizean duty fee and we’re at $40,000 US. That is about 18 times the yearly income of the average Belizean.

As we reached the river — my hop-out point — I thought, “Golly, I hope I’m not hitching a ride with Mennonite drug smugglers.” Maybe they were Mennonite oil barons?

**He just walked into the computer cafe as I was typing this up. Small world.