Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Day One

As soon as I realized I'd be getting in to Guadalajara two hours later than expected, I figured my night would consist of getting to the hostel, throwing down my suitcase, and falling lovingly into a hard twin bed with only one pillow.

I got that last part right. The rest varied.

Turns out, even though I have very little confidence in my Spanish, I'm doing well enough to meet kind strangers at every turn. Maybe it's just the cute and slightly lost American girl aspect that's getting me by, but I don't think it is. My experiences traveling have proved again and yet again that strangers are generally kind hearted, helpful, and willing to try an adventure. One example would be the girls who drove me to the hostel from the airport. None of us had any idea where to go, and after getting off the freeway we spent a good thirty minutes going up and down one-way streets, on the phone with the hostel, trying to figure out where we were.

As for today, I spent the better part of it walking up and down the local streets, searching for various destinations. On no less than four separate trips I've walked a minimum of a mile each time, looking first for a grocery store, then a bookstore, lunch, and finally another bookstore. Later I'll be heading out with another girl from the hostel to find some form of dinner for under 20 pesos.

I'm really satisfied with the trip so far. I was afraid I'd be overwhelmed, or that I wouldn't find someone to commiserate with, or that Guadalajara in general would just be too different to get used to. And yes, there was a moment this morning around 9 am when I was walking through the freshly-doused streets, dodging spray kicked up by the speeding cars, when I wondered just what the Hell I thought I was doing, signing up to spend four months away from all my friends and family just to run around by myself while barely understanding the words being spoken over my head. But now it's 7 pm, and I'm a bit sleepy, and I have a giant cup of horchata to soothe me. Whatever happens next, I'd be terribly disappointed to have missed it.

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