My explorations got me a bit turned around twice this week. But, not a problem, that's how I get to know new places. The first time, I took a "shortcut" from work and hung an "izzy" when I should have gone right and ended up somewhere that wasn't where I was trying to get to. Although it turned out well because the next day I went to look at an apartment that was in the same area so by then I already knew it. The other funny part about that street, is that when I was looking for the apartment, I had a hard time finding it. But generally the security guards are helpful with directions. There are shotgun armed security guards on nearly every corner, at least in this part of town. Anyway, I was walking down this seemingly normal street and I asked this security guard for directions, he was in front of a plain looking white building, and as I talked to him I realized that there were a lot of really nice cars parked in front. A car pulled up with two business suited guys in it and the security guard called on his walkie-talkie and said "Send two more girls." Just then, I happened to notice that above the door in gold letters was the name www.kissyface.com. Week three and I stumble upon my first high-end brothel. I giggled as I walked away.
So then yesterday, I decided to expand my world and see where the bus would take me. I was trying to get to a mall that has a bookstore. There are various commercial centers and two mega-malls here that are monstrous alters to high-end consumerism. (I think they build malls here so that you can more easily avoid eye-contact with the destitute masses.) Anyway, I couldn't remember the name of the mall with the bookstore but I could picture it in my head, from the little crappy map I had I thought it was called "Metropolis" because they showed a Metroplis commercial center and the thing is so big, it could have it's own zipcode. So I hop on the bus and figure, I'll just get off when I see it.
Fine plan. I am on the bus for a while, one minute I am watching two cops with M-16's shake down some teen-age boys and the next I am pulling into the busbarn at the end of the line. OOoops.... I asked the busdriver about the centro comercial and he tells me that we passed it a while back. So I asked him how to get back there and he was nice enough to walk me down to the busses headed back, explained to the other driver that I was a foolish, lost gringa. The next bus driver didn't even charge me to ride, which was lucky because I was scraping pennies to come up with the 25 cent bus fair and didn't want to be the idiot that tried to pay with a $20 bill. So I made it to the centro and realized that it was not at all mall I was looking for. So... (got some change) hopped another bus and went to the MetroCentro which is Mall 1 that is near where I live and that I know how to get back and forth from. I never made it to the bookstore, but I'm sure another day will come along with time to kill learning new bus routes.
Another funny addition to the story: I was walking down the main road that the MetroCenter is on (I stopped at a convenience store to buy a better map) and while I was waiting for the light to change I heard a honk. I look up and the first bus driver was waving at me. I laughed, he probably thinks I was completely lost. jajajaja!
Anyway, I wandered, I saw some stuff, I didn't stumble into gang lands. All is good.