Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Striking Out On Apartments

My latest foray into apartment searching began with a friendly old man named Jose who had greeted me from behind his fence on a main road in the suburbs when he saw me wandering in and out of side streets. Jose flagged down a motoconchista (motorcycle taxi driver) named Kachu who showed me a house of which his cousin's family had recently rented the second floor for five thousand pesos a month. He gave me his phone number and promised to get a hold of the house's landlady, a lawyer named Carmen. Three days, and two phone calls later, I was on the back of his motoconcho as he went on a wild goose chase to find her.

We went to an apartment building and then two different office buildings, but it wasn't until four hours later that I found myself sitting in Carmen's well-appointed apartment discussing the places she had for rent. Between pedantic explanations of proper pronoun usage and reflections on the Peace Corps during the Balaguer administration, Carmen explained that the building had two units priced at 6,000 pesos and 7,500 pesos. I sat and listened while she talked at length about the Jehovah's Witness missionaries she adored, hoping I could finesse a drop in price. Sadly, just like everyone else I've talked to, she wouldn't budge.

Under different circumstances this process would be tolerable. Had I begun three months ago, I would probably even enjoy it. But the fact is, I needed to move five days ago and I don't have time to listen to stories about missionaries or wait for calls from husbands the United States. When you add to this the fact that nobody at Peace Corps or in my community seems to want to do much to help me, it's not hard to see why quitting is beginning to look rather attractive.

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