As I just wrapped up grading my last final exams, I remembered I still needed a to blog for the week.
So here you go.
A Quick One
One story, covering two days of incidents. On Monday, Jon had to take Rexin to the doctor to have some tests done. Morris and I had to pick up Jon after dropping off Randi and Brittany. He had the car to get Rexin and he was dropping it off so we could take him to get a tattoo.
Jon did the usual, show up super early, sign up to be seen, and wait. And wait. And wait some more. They had two appointments one at 8 am (he wasn't seen until 11:15 am) and another one at 2:00 pm but he and Rexin left as it was 3:40 and no doctor had shown up for that appointment. To get this appointments you go and sign up, he was 5th for the 8 am appointment and first for the 2:00 pm appointment. Jon and the little dude we at the hospital for nearly 9 hours and only were seen briefly on one of two appointments.
Jon had to return the following day for lab tests, but the power went out and they informed him they didn't have the reactants for those tests anywhere in the city or possibly the country. The hospital didn't have a generator for that area. Crazy.
The following day Morris had to go sign one form for his insurance claim on his accident. You remember, the accident- the drunk driver at 4:30 pm in the middle of the week that ran a red and smoked us. That was about three months ago and he is just now going to get the claim process going (not his decision). Still no word from the drunk driver's insurance agency and no work can be done no his van yet. Yep, he's excited about it.
He got a map (yes, like a treasure map) from one of our secretaries to show us how to get there. Remember, there aren't well marked road signs or many business signs and believe it or not, the map actually worked. We got to the agency and found our way to the front desk where we took a number. R-580. They were on A-050. I have no idea what that meant within this countdown system , but whatever. Morris and I look beaten, this could be HOURS. He asked the woman working the desk, she didn't answer specifically, then played off. He finally got her to confirm, one hour. Awful. We sucked it up and lounged while watching a World Cup final from the 70's on the TV hanging from the ceiling.
I hate lines/waiting. So does Morris. So does Jon. EVERYONE does. Here's a major area of suck in Valencia: crossing the highway.
I told both those back stories to tell you this one.
You have a highway in your city? Have you taken an on/off ramp? Can you drive? Good you can relate to this.
To cross the highway here you have to take one of two bridges. 1.5 million people living around a mountain, divided by a highway, and only two bridges. Now remember, there are only a handful of places with traffic lights (most drivers don't follow them anyway) and the areas around the ramps do not. We were heading east and to our right are two streets that filter into the bridge. One would think these two roads would consist of two lanes of traffic, but that would be incorrect. It becomes 4 to 5, maybe 6 depending on how people are driving. It then bottlenecks and the waiting commences. When a crack of space opens up people just dart in, regardless of the lane. Motorcycles shoot the gaps like ants in a doorway, providing you with the only semblance that you are on a roadway.
We waited in this manner for an hour both days. Mind you were needing to travel only two blocks, one to the merging traffic and one over the bridge. Not only was the bottleneck an issue, but the protest, donation collection on the bridge causing a stoppage. On Monday, it was people collecting money for their neighborhood fund with one car just stopped to talk to his friends. The next night the collectors were replaced by hospital dress clad protest with yet another singular car stopping to chat.
They funny thing is we don't even get mad anymore. It's more of a shaking of the head and a chuckle of "we signed up for this." Which we did. Two days, two hours, two sections of two peoples' lives never to be replaced. I caught myself wondering the other day how many hours people here waste just waiting in various lines. Or maybe, if that is the cause of the rabid use of Whatsapp on their smartphones.
This situation is a great mystery that I do not know the answer to. However, if any of you have read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (If you haven't read it, give it a shot. It's a bit of a bear at first but well worth it) then you are familiar with the book's analysis of quality. If you haven't, but have enjoyed a great cheeseburger, beer or cookie you also know what quality is. Then be definition (or lack of) we all know what quality is without being told. Thus you now know that the traffic situation here is not quality.
It's all about quality.
Any who, I thought I'd share that story to hopefully give you a chuckle and lighten up your Friday morning.
Ryan Robinson's Links of Knowledge
The fight against teacher tenure, and why it is dumb.
Body found on sidewalk in Valencia.
Prostitutes making more money selling dollars than sex.
Venezuelans head to Cucuta to evade currency controls.
I'll try to throw together a capstone of my experience here in the next day or so. I have to get my apartment cleaned and approved to leave, same with my classroom, and get ready to fly to Brazil for the World Cup...but I think I can do it.
I hope to find some wifi in Brazil and keep you all updated. Cross your fingers.
Have a great Friday!