Saturday, July 4, 2009

¡Hola! ¡Hola!

Yesterday was the first day we had free since we arrived in Mérida, and Jenee and I took the time to explore a little and see what's around here in the city. There is a park across the street that we both have been looking at for a few days, and mi padre said a few days ago that it was a good place to go, so we went.

It was probably one of the best parks that I have ever been to. There were lots of cool, new, interesting flowers and plants, and a river ran through the entire park. The view of the Andes was incredible, and it was also almost empty, so we had the entire park to ourselves.

When we were walking along the path, we stumbled upon a cage of parrots. They were all so beautiful, and we found out very quickly that they know how to talk. At first, we started laughing, and they laughed back at us, and they sounded almost exactly the same as us! Naturally, this made us laugh even more, and they in turn laughed harder again. It was the funniest thing I have seen in a long time. Five or six parrots laughing with (or at?) two gringas about... nothing. They also know how to whistle at us, say "¡Hola!" and "Hasta Luego". They were certainly the highlight of my day.

After we left the park, both of us were starving and thirsty, so we went to go find a place we could grab some lunch. We went to a place called Panadería y Pastelería Croacia, which was a restaurant and bakery. We were salivating over all of the delicious desserts they had on display, but after our almuerzo ejecutivo, we were stuffed, quite literally. The almuerzo ejecutivo started with a basket of bread and soup, followed by a HUGE entree with rice, caulifower, more bread, and fried plantains. I had el pollo con champiňones, and Jenee had the trout. Everything tasted absolutely amazing, but it was simply too much food for either of us to finish. We stayed for almost an hour trying to eat everything on our plate, since it's very rude not to finish a meal, but we just couldn't do it...

After lunch, we walked to VENUSA, and found that lots of people were there, even though we didn't have school. Not many of us have cellphones yet, so VENUSA is really the only place we can meet up with eachother. We relaxed in the hammock chairs, and chatted with some other students for a while, and then there was a meeting about weekend excursions. Jenee and I both decided that we wanted to go to the hot springs for the weekend, so we are leaving for that this morning at ten, and we'll get back tomorrow. I am so excited! We are camping in the mountains and hanging out in the natural hot springs, could there be a better way to celebrate the fourth of July? A couple of the girls are also going to bring some champaigne, so we can have a toast to Independence Day.

After we left VENUSA, we walked to a grocery store called Garzón that is very close to our house to get some sweets and a hat for our trip tomorrow. It was INSANE! There were so many people there, my head was spinning, and there was even a beauty pageant for little girls happening in the middle of the grocery store! Who knew? I was also surprised at the prices. Some things were very, very cheap, less than $1 USD, but other things were EXTREMELY expensive, like cheese, and condiments. The other funny thing about Garzón is that apparently, they don't throw out their fruits and vegetables when they get rotten, instead they leave them there until they sell... gross. The entire store smelled rotten because of it, but I suppose you get used to it.

The checkout line reminded me a lot of the traffic in the city. Very long lines, lots of carts butting in to get there first, and having a general feel of disorganization. It was absolutely ridiculous, and it probably took us twenty minutes just to check out of the store. From now on, I'm not complaining about lines in the US. I swear. You don't even know what waiting in line is until you've been to Garzón.

Well, mi madre is calling me for dinner, so I will have to cut this short. Tomorrow when I come back, I will tell you all about last night's barbeque and the trip I am about to go on.


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