Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Soccer and housing

The title more or less sums up what we've been doing with our free time. Not really, but it's a good visual image to start with. The World Cup has been awesome, I don't know if anyone back home is watching, but it's going to be a really good final. We're getting together with a few friends to watch the final two games, and also to see some other Americans so we can bitch non-stop about all the goofy shit that bothers us. Actually, today is the 4th of July and we were invited down to Romblon, but it takes two days to get there, and two days to get back, so that would have been a lot of work for just one day. Plus, we can't really take time off work just yet. It has only been a month, after all. So instead we're going to cook hamburgers I think, and hopefully shoot off some cheap fireworks, if we can find them. They don't really do much to celebrate their independence day here, it costs too much to buy fireworks.

Which brings me to house hunting. As you might imagine there are no listings here for rentals, so you either have to walk around and occasionally write down phone numbers off of signs, or you have to know someone (who knows someone who knows someone). So far we haven't been very lucky, but Abby looked at a house today with her coworker, so maybe it'll be great and we can stop looking. I'm not holding out much hope though after the two places we've looked at so far. One was a store front. Yes, not a house or apartment, but the room where a little store used to be. So, seeing as how it was a store, it had no kitchen and no real bathroom to speak of. Oh, and it also floods and smells like cat pee and she wanted about 3x what is was worth. So, we politely declined that gem. We looked at another house that was nice, with a little patio, but it would have been really small for two people, and since the Peace Corps gives us a decent amount for rent between the two of us, we felt we could do better. I'm not too concerned about the place, I just want a nice outdoor space and as little traffic as possible.

Speaking of money, at work we have these people called "casual employees." They come to work everyday, do field work, write reports, file paper work but the catch is they only get paid if there's money to pay them. One of the guys who works as a casual employee at the municipality where our friend Beth works has not been paid in months because there's no money in the budget for him. But the office needs him, and he can't leave a job where at some point he might get paid, because someone else will take it and then he definitely won't get any money. That's the problem with a country that has a high population but is still mostly agricultural out in the provinces. There are a lot of skilled people but very few jobs for them. As of 2004 there were 87 million people living in a country that's slightly bigger than Arizona.

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