What an insane second week. Not my best ever, but there were still good and memorable things. First of all, I had to go back to class on Monday. Weird. I don't feel like I should be in school here, just sitting in the park. Ha! The first day back in class was fine, since I start early in the morning, it seems to go fast, which is nice.
However, that night I had a stomach ache, and I didn't think too much of it. I thought, "I haven't had any water from the tap, and I've been pretty careful to eat hot foods." Well, I obviously didn't do SOMETHING right, because by Tuesday morning, I felt like death. I was woken up at six am by stomach pains and nausea, and it didn't get better all day. According to mis padres, I had two choices, go to VENUSA that moment and tell them I am sick, or wait until one in the afternoon when i am dying. What a choice!
I was able to drag myself to VENUSA and talked to Marinela, the know-all wonderful, amazing woman that works in the office. She told me, in excellent Spainglish, that I probably have a parasite (!!!), what I need to do and if she needs me to go with her. I said yes, and we went out to the farmacía. I must say, healthcare is one thing that I am VERY impressed with here. There are hospitals everywhere, like one right next to my house. Also, farmacías are like Starbucks here. They're on every corner!
So I took my medicine with me, and dragged my feet home. I stopped at the grocery store to get some crackers, about the only thing I could have stomached, and almost wimped out to get a taxi for the last eight blocks home. Alas, I made it, and proceeded to sleep the rest of the day away.
That night, unfortunately, I missed the dance lessons. more accurately, I completely slept through them. The next day I dragged myself to class, and then went home, because that night there was another activity, Venezuelan Cooking Night. I managed to go to that, and we got to make our own arepas and they had a big pot of soup waiting for us. We didn't get to make the dough, but we were able to roll the arepas out and grill them. Deeeelish. However, that night i felt like hell again, so after eating my dinner, I almost fell asleep in one of the hammock-chairs at VENUSA. I swear, I need to get one of those. :-) Jenee then dragged me home after she and a friend Pat bought HUGE hotdogs at a stand down the street, and I almost passed out with my clothes still on.
It took a few days for the parasite to go away, but by Thursday, I was mostly feeling better. And so I went out, to celebrate. My roommate Jenee didn't want to come with, so I went alone to meet some friends at VENUSA before heading out to el centro. We had a GREAT time. By eleven, I was feeling dandy. We stopped by three different bars/discotecas, and it was just a great night. The last place we went before I went home, Las Gradas, was insane. It was packed to the brim, so tight I don't think we could have possibly fit one more person in. They were playing mostly salsa music, so I put my (rudimentary) salsa skills to the test. It felt like we danced all night, mostly because we almost did. By the time I got home in a taxi, the sun was coming up!
The next day, Friday, I went exploring El Centro with my friend Rich, a guy from VENUSA. We found all kinds of fun things, and stumbled upon a huge mall with different stores and a food court. I swear, every other store here on the street in El Centro is a shoe store. And they're all selling the same shoes!
That night we went out again, and I was able to convince Jenee to come along with. We went to a place called Bananas first, which is a bar that seems to cater to American culture, and they try to be really hip. However, the Venezuelan idea of hip, at least at this place, is about... five years behind. They had a big screen where they were playing Jackass, The Movie, and on the speakers they were playing bad rap and rock mash-ups. However, the drinks were good. They had a great drink menu, and their mojitos were muy fuerte, very strong.
After we left Bananas, after one drink, we went to Las Gradas for the second night in a row. It was again PACKED to the brim, but less salsa dancing, and more classic rock. Who knew? However, at Las Gradas, they have a thing called a Bomba, which is a shared drink, for four-five people made in what looks like... a small sand pail. It's filled with a combination of liquor, beer, and juice. Deliciosa. We danced for hours again at Las Gradas after they stopped playing the HORRIBLE rock music. However, we met a few Venezuelans there, and apparently, they're all about it. After another night of dancing, not quite as late as the night before, I caught a taxi home with my friend who lives across the street and promptly passed out from exhaustion.
The next day, Saturday, I took the day to relaaaaax... I didn't get out of my pajamas until well past eleven, and in the early afternoon, after our madre made us some lunch, Jenee and I went to the park across the street to feed the parrots that we both love so much. They were so happy to get some crackers, and rewarded us with lots of laughing, talking, and whistling. After we left the park, Jenee and I went to go check out a pastelería down the street where they sell desserts. I got an amazing fresca con crema dessert, strawberries with cream, and she got an awesome crunchy, delicious something-or-another.
They were far more filling that we both expected, so we waddled back home and chilled for a while. Dinner was on our own that night, so after some awesome chilling and giving out tummies some time to relax, we went to el automercado, Cosmos, close to our house. We bought fruit and bread for dinner, since here dinner, cena, is pretty small. Whoa! There were mangoes bigger than anything I have ever seen. Well, apparently they were mangas. We bought one of those, and also a huge pokey fruit (guyanabana), a spongey gobstopper (parchita), and mini bananas (cambures). When we brought them home to open them up, we were a little surprised. The cambures were really good, I had mine con mantequilla de cacahuete y pan dulce (peanut butter and bread). The manga was AMAAAAZING, but the other fruits were... at best, interesting. We found out today that the guyanabana was probably overripe, since it looked like innards, and the parchita, which is VERY VERY sour, is normally used for making juice. Whoops. However, our little fruit exploration was definitely worth it anyways. If nothing else, for the manga. And, it was very reasonable. For all of those fruits, and the bread, the total was 21,47 Bsf (Bolivares Fuertes), which is $3.50 USD.
Last night, my lack of sleep finally caught up with me, and I fell asleep before 10:30, and slept for well over twelve hours last night. I woke up feeling... somewhat refreshed. We had breakfast, and then more hanging out in la casa time. For me, studying for my first exam in Spanish. (Aaah!) After that, we went on a hunt for some lunch. Not the easiest task in the world, on a Sunday, let me tell you. We walked past all the street places that are normally open, and restaurants close to our house, but nothing was open. We tried Garzón, el supermercado, which has an a la carte restaurant on the second floor. It was indeed open, but unbelievably busy. The line was so long, we would have probably waited for at least forty minutes to get to the front.
So we settled for the Panadería y Pastelería Croacía that we ate at last week. It's not bad, but I wish we could had found a new place to check out.
After lunch though, I started to feel sick... again. This time I started to take the Cipro that my doctor in the States prescribed me, and according to mi madre, es muy fuerte, very strong. She said I should be feeling better by tomorrow night, at the latest.
So tonight, I have been taking it easy, and pretending to study for my Spanish test tomorrow. However, I still feel like my energy levels are completely dissipated. I suppose that's what happens when you get sick. However, I am now dedicated to good self-care (and ONLY bottled water outside of our house).
Until tomorrow, Ciao.