first days on san cristobal..

Published: October 16th 2009
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So I am at the end of my first working week here. It got better after the first day,,, dont get me wrong, it is still incredibly boring, but there have been a steady trickle of patients, so while i still have yet to do anything useful at least its something to look at! The doctors are friendly but as bored as me,, its the unlucky rotation to get from guayaquil mainland.
But i actually really dont mind, strolling down the hill to sit in a hospital for three or four hours trying to teach people a little english actually isnt too bad, it because i know its only for a little longer and its reasonably sociable and itss good to havve some focus to the day i suppose!
so thats work..the hospital is tiny but at least they have some sense of patient privacy and hygeine unlike the other one..i did get a bit angry with the secretary on a power complex wanting me to sign in with the exact minute i arrived which really annoyed me as I am a volunteer and if there were things to do i would arrive bang on time, as it is ten mins late doesnt make a difference to anyone! then she tried to suggest i should sign out when i left and i ggot snappy and left. Now I sign in in the mornings and we ignore each other, Im fully intending to get my signiture next week and then it doent matter as long as a doctor signs.
Some people didnt even do an elective..hjust got a signiture for a week and put a different date on and buggered off so doing the whole thing even if i havent learned anything is virtuous!

So my afternoons are much more interesting...The beaches here are nice to visit, not to sunbathe cos the weathers so so at the momnet (although the one time i did go to the beach i got sunburnt) but if you swim then the sea lions come and swim with you. The females are very sweet and friendly..the males are massive and terrtorial but its just a question of keeping your distance from them.
One thing thats not nice about sea lions is they smell very strong....which is hard to ignore on the beach!
the first couple of days I hung out with a girl called Emma that I met on the plane, we went to dinner and the beach and walked a little along the cost on tuesday.
Actually it wasnt so much a walk as a mountaineering expedition along the rocks..but it was worth it..we saw a giant marine iguana. Wednesday was my limit for not doing much and hanging ourt, I started to get twitchy about no tdoing anything, but by this time I had booked a tour of 4 days which leaves next thursday and yesterday I started to learn to dive which is going to be a course theory this afternoon then Saturady most of the day and monday tuesday adn wednesday afternoon and then hopefully i will qualify and get some dives in before i leave! very exciting,, learning to dive is something I have wanted to do for ages. Sunday im going to do a snorkelling trip.

The my tour will leave the day after my course finishes and get back sunday night, then i only have mon tue wed and on thursday I fly back to quito, then friday ill do my last bit of relaxing and quito things and meet up with the south africans before my early morning saturday flight! So you see every day from now until then is taken up with something..almost..I havent decided what im going to do that mon tue wed but i prob wont be coming into the hospital if i have got my signature. MAybe a couple more dives.

So yesterday was a very exciting day..It was my first dive! It was really just a test before we started the course to check we wouldnt be too scared or have trouble with our ears or something. But we were about an hour and a half in the water with about 35 forthy mins dive time..only down to 5 metres but still amazing!
we had our briefing before we left, how to breath, wht to do in an emergency etc etc,I was feeling surprisingly nervous but excited at the same time..the kind where you cant sit still.
We were just round the corner form the beach of a little pier where people from tour boats come ashore, so first we had to swim to a boat and back to prove we could. It is just me and another English girl called hayley and the two instructors who are both very nice.
then on with all the equipment which weighs so much you cant walk..just shuffle to the edge of the pier, where its quite scary to jump because you feel like you will sink like a stone...thankfully due to the inflatable jacket, you dont!
Theni t was time to do a lot of snorkelling but using our repirator, and we could immediately see all the fish below us, hundred of shoals whereever you looked, all brightly coloured and with yellow tails, red, green, those electric coloured fish and lots of funny looking ones with yellow lips and blue bodies.

then it was time to dive! Its quite a strange feeling..I have a very strong memory of a time in rhayader sun centre where we went for an activity day when i wa slittle and there was a chance to try scuba diving just swimming once up and down breathing under water..i was so excited by it, and this was of course much better.
Its a strange but great feeling to descend into this silent universe full of sea life, and be able to breathe...its like an alternative reality!
I was immediately confident and wanted to do more and faster, the other girl wasnt so confident but she was ok. I just loved every minute..this strange swimming with flippers and just everything to see. All the rocks aree covered ith spiny urchins and occasionally strange bright green and red shimmerring long things..dont know what they are, There are fish behind every rock and then huge shoals that you can swim right up to. Its like being in a wild life documentary..
We saw two big sea turtles just swimming very slowly right byu us, asnd two huge rays swimming below us in a line one bigger and the smaller one behind. My favourite thing was probably the sea lions. We had two come and play. They swim alongside you , obver under you , upside down, do tricks in front of you as if to say..look what we can do! And then they swim away and you think they are gone and then they swim really fast back towards you in a rush to stare right into your goggles so close they tickle your face with thir whiskers..The first time it happens its terrifying and then you start to trust them to stop and its scry but in a rollercoaster fun scary way!
Anyway it was amzing in every way, even though I started to get cold I was very sorry to come out. Tommorw i have ot start the theory, which wont be so fun but its a means to doing more so I dont mind!

Also i havent talked much about the town. Its very nice here. Tranquil is the only word. Everyone knows everyone, and even me already knows quite a few people to say hello to on the street, Everyone is helpfuol and friendly, Even tour agencies dont hawk for business, they just tell you what they have, and then the one that we aere going on the tour with is owned by a galapagueno and his swiss girlfriend and weve been for coffee with her a couple of times justs to chat about stuff, and when i needed something from quito they arranged for it to b sent to them.
Noone really bothers you..not even men which is nice, they still say hello and tell me im beautiful but its so nice not to be hassled. Its very small, im always bumping into other volunteers and then once you have dont that youre friends.. last night i went out for a bargbeque with a whole group of voluntteeers from a mish mash of places, including two ladies in their forties teaching here..its just really easy to find people to talk to or eat with or just to go swimming with,
The foosd isnt great apart from the great barbeque we had last night..the problem is noone imports vegetables here or anything other than horrible apples. they do grow papayas etc but i cant find where they are sold., and im missining fresh fruit and ve. but the bakeries are GREAT really great and there are so many, im being very unhealthy on a diet of pastry and icecream!
So its a very good place to finish my elective..It is very unfortunate i have to do my MTAS and trying to find the motivation to write my report is hard...especially seeing as internet is very expensive, and i dont have wireless at home anymore..
talking of home, the lady is lovely. I get my bed remade everyday and everything cleaned and my things lined up on the made me feel srtrange for the first few days but im used to it now!
SO thats it for now...


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