Tuesday, October 24, 2006

More Expectations and observations

Poverty: I've been surprised by how little poverty I've seen. I expected to see evidence of poverty everywhere I looked, but I've really not seen much at all. Even in some of the small towns we've been to the housing seems adequate and the slums (surely there must be some) are kept well out of view. The closest thing to a slum we've seen is the construction worker housing. The workers stay in temporary buildings which are sometimes little more than bamboo shacks on the property where they work. Once the building is complete they move on, it's not a permanent slum. We're going to the rural Western part of the country next week and getting away from the Eastern sea coast so we might see a different standard of living out there.

Men: In this patriarchal society little courtesy is shown to women. Men and women seem to fall into the same general categories of work as in the US. In Brad's office all the HR staff is women and 95% of the programmers are men. All the teachers in Andrew's day care women. However, there is no such thing as "ladies first". I've never had a problem getting a seat on a bus when Andrew was with me, but it is always a woman who gives her seat up for the lady with the baby. On the other hand, husbands and boyfriends don't seem to have a problem carrying their beloved's purse for them - even if it high fashion pink.

Bugs: I was expecting to see some nasty bugs here, and we definitely have some mosquitoes, but mostly the bug level is the same as in Colorado. I'm relieved that there are no cockroaches lurking in my less than spotless kitchen. However, I'm sure the bugs are kept in check by a less visible threat from insecticides.

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