As Heather would be returning to Canada and the Hulk need to visit Dr Toyota, I was left at something of a loose end, in Oaxaca. After our first visit we had bid a fond farewell to our hosts Calvin and Leanne at the Overland Oasis not expecting to see them anytime soon, but as the Hulk decided to shat the bed the nearest Toyota dealership was to be found back in Oaxaca. We returned to the OO to a warm welcome and a horde of new overlander friends.
My choice of activities were quickly apparent either hangout and drink all day or do something productive with at least a portion of the day. Uncharacteristically I went for the productive option and signed up for Spanish school for two weeks.
I attended the Vinigulaza Spanish School, where after taking the wrong collectivo on my first day I proceeded to turn up half an hour late, or as it turned out an hour and a half early. Pretty poor start for my written comprehension especially as the confirmation email was in English.
I won’t lie I am not a natural scholar and each 4 hour class was followed by a pounding headache and generally feeling utterly bewildered at the language I was trying to learn, uncharacteristically I even went into school early to study. Days went by and I could conjugate a verb like a ninja but struggled to understand what I was saying or writing. Feeling generally disheartened I jumped in the collectivo for the final lesson of my first week, and found myself thinking how sad a news story on the radio was about poverty and lack of housing, then another thought followed, bloody hell I can understand what they are saying. Now I didn’t understand all the nuances of the piece but had understood the gist.
The second week went more smoothly in part because I dropped down to 3 hours a day and also my teacher for the second week went off script a little and taught me some common slang and we played a few games, which made the learning process a little less dry.
By the end of the two weeks I felt that I had a decent comprehension of the grammar and had increased my confidence a fair amount.
Now don’t be thinking that I was truly an earnest student for the whole two weeks every afternoon was spent supping beers with my overland amigos especially Vic from Neli’s Big Adventures who was also on travelling hiatus whilst Jason flew home the US for work. The evenings consisted of sampling all of the neighbourhoods eateries.
By the time Heather returned part way through the second week I was truly at home there. However it would be much of a travel blog if we didn’t move on, this was slightly hindered when Toyota ordered the wrong part for the truck and we found ourselves stationary for a few additional days. Finally the part arrived and as an apology the guys at Toyota valeted the truck, they were awesome to deal with and I would highly recommend them if you find yourself broken in our near Oaxaca.