A friend of my dad came through town in mid January with a tour group that was going through Peru, Chile, and Argentina. (Their trip is over now, but you can see their exploits at http://oursouthamericantrip.blogspot.com) I met up with them for a really nice dinner in a high-class section of Providencia. It was a lot of fun seeing a group of Americans like that, and getting a good meal out of it was icing on the cake.
Anyway, from the dinner he gave me a remote-controlled helicopter. My dad's been raving about them since Christmastime, so I was excited to get this one up and running. The next day, I went to my local pharmacy to pick up some batteries for the helicopter. After walking into the store though, I realized I had no idea what the Spanish word for "battery" is. Oh well, I thought. I'll wing it.
I walked up to the counter and noticed a couple different boxes of Duracell batteries behind the pharmacist. One box had 4 double-As, and one box had 2. "Disculpe," I started, "dame 2 cajas de Duracell". The lady behind the counter gave me a timid grin (odd, I thought), and asked me if I wanted a box of 6, or of 3. I furrowed my brow, clearly seeing boxes of 2 and 4 behind her. "No, please, I'd like a box of 4, and of 2".
"That's not possible," she replied. "6 or 3?" Mildly annoyed at this point, I asked for a box of 6.
She nodded, and then reached under the counter and handed me a six-pack of Durex condoms.
"No, Duracells!" I responded with a laugh, pointing to the packages behind her head on the wall. She turned around, and her cheeks flushed ever so slightly.
"Pilas." She said to me, as she grabbed one box of 4, and one of 2 off the wall rack.
"Gracias. Pilas." I smiled, and quickly exited the store.
My morning classes with teenagers just ended last Thursday. It was a fun class to teach, but it galvanized my belief that I never want to teach in a traditional school. With the exception of a few girls who actually wanted to learn, most of them had the attention span of butterflies. I had a couple kids skateboard inside the classroom, and if I ever left the whiteboard marker out while assisting students, I would turn around to find pictures of ducks smoking joints.
I came back from break on the last day to find a page from one of their notebooks which just said "Teacher te amo teacher rico me encanta teacher..." etc etc over and over again. It was pretty adorable, but I didn't feel comfortable taking a picture of it. Best to leave that sort of potentially indicting evidence undocumented.