Hola!! I’m sorry, I haven’t posted in a while, but I’ve been kinda busy and/or too tired by the end of the day to write anything. I’ll try to fill y’all in:
-Monday was El Dia de La Raza, aka Colombus day. Did you know that Colombia get’s a lot of vacation days? See quote from “thevivant.com” :
Here, the top 10 countries that enjoy the most time off (days off total includes both annual leave and public holidays):
1. Russia 40 days off
2. Italy 36
2. Sweden 36
4. Finland 35
4. France 35
4. Norway 35
4. Brazil 35
8. Denmark 34
8. Spain 34
10. Colombia 33
Happy surprise for me, since some friends invited me to go to “La Calera” with them. La Calera is one of the areas up in the mountains. It’s not actually that far, but it’s VERY steep. As the bus– which cost less than $2USD– took us up the mountain, we did see some bikers huffin’ it up beside us, but that sure as hell won’t be me, I’ll tell you that much! The ex girlfriend of my friend’s dad lives and works up there, so we took a day trip to eat, drink, enjoy the beautiful scenery and take a break from the bustling city life.
-Boxing has been going well, though it’s always exhausting. Every other class we’re told to warm up by running up and down the block two times. Easy enough, right? WRONG! Each block is a city block (long) and at about a 45 degree angle! Super steep! It’s going to take some getting used to.
-Teaching is good, but I feel like I haven’t been doing a whole lot of it lately. This month is a temporary situation, which means only ONE class a day Monday through Friday. Monday was no school and Friday was the game against Chile, to qualify for the world cup (which Colombia made it to, by the way!!!) so no students showed up. I just hung out with some other teachers in the quiz room.
-I found a new place to live! The place I’m at now is only temporary, so I’ve known that I had to find somewhere new. Fortunately, I found a beautiful shared house between artists in a tranquil neighborhood not too far from the institute where I teach. I’m very excited to finally be somewhere that I can get settled. I move in about a week.
NOW, AS PROMISED, A POST ABOUT FOOD! I’ve been meaning to get to this, but walking around taking pictures of common street food is kind of like wearing a neon vest that says “TOURIST” on the back. I could have taken more photos, but I think what I’ve got should be sufficient enough to give y’all an idea of what we eat here…
This is a sign for Ajiaco Santafereño or Ajiaco Bogotano, a hearty stew made with a cream base, three different kinds of potatoes native to the region, corn, onions and capers. SO GOOD!!!!!!!!! It often comes with a plate on the side with rice and avocado.
This is a typical scene of weekend venders in La Candelaria neighborhood. The orange drink is fresh-squeezed orange juice and the red drink is called Salpicon de Frutas, which is kind of like a fruit cocktail/fruit punch. It varies from vender to vender, but they are usually made from a base of strawberries and or melon with orange, mango, papaya and or pineapple. It’s very sweet and very yummy!
Uh…. yeah…. I wouldn’t want to fail to show off a good chip display. De Todito is a popular brand, which means “Of Everything.” Last night I bought a bag of chips of that brand, not knowing what to expect. It came with regular chips, plantain chips and these bacon flavored crispy things. Maybe chicharrones? Not sure. Delicious!!
Corn-based everything is very popular here. On weekends, it’s common to see just straight up, grilled corn.
Another display of fruits and juices in La Plaza Bolivar.
This little girl is selling Obleas, a popular thing to see sold on the street. It’s kind of like a sugar-rush sandwich. The main part is these thin, circular, wafer-like cookies. Between two of them, you usually put arequipe (dulce de leche) and sprinkles. I haven’t had one yet. It looks like diabetes-to-go, if you ask me…
Here, venders are selling starfruit (the yellow one) and to be honest I’m not sure what that other one is….
Starfruit and coconuts
Click on the photo to enlarge it and read my little translations!!
This is THE most common kind of window display (except for the fact that empanadas, a very common fast food, is MIA). Top shelf: bunuelos. What are they? Mostly just fried balls of dough, though sometimes they have cheese or arequipe (dulce de leche) inside. Middle shelf: far left- I’m noooot sure. More fried goodness. Next over: flaky triangular things. I think it’s going to be called Pastel de ____. Like Pastel de Queso or Pastel de Carne. In the middle are arepas (ah-rape-ahs.) Now before you go chuckling at the name, keep in mind these things are FREAKIN DELICIOUS. AND EVERYWHERE. Yesterday I think I ate three. This particular one has cheese inside, which many do, but some are plain. Some you can buy on the street with ham and or hamburger meat inside. SO GOOD! Next over: more fried stuff. Far right: actually I think those are empanadas. Three words: deep, fried, heaven. They’re usually filled with carne (beef) or pollo (chicken). Not spicy unless you add your own sauce. Bottom row: more bunuelos, it looks like.
Sure, Dunkin Donuts can find its way to Bogota, but not Minneapolis. What a weird world we live in… (But hey. Arequipe filled donuts? WIN.)
Comparatively, McDonald’s is SUPER expensive here! Especially when you can get something good if not better for much less! For example, there’s a café around the corner from my house. I can get chicken, rice, potatoes, plantains and salad and fresh fruit juice and an entrée of fresh soup for 6.500 pesos (under $4USD) when a crappy burger, fries and a soda cost 9.800 pesos (around $5USD). While McDonald’s itself isn’t that popular, I’m constantly seeing people walk around with ice cream cones from there. I’ve seen some McDonad’s Postres around, which means McDonald’s that only sell dessert.
Another image of a juice vender, on the same block as the institute I teach at.
Finally, here’s a photo I took with my cell phone of a sign advertising the kind of juices available inside. Translations: Mora – Raspberry;Lulo – Lulo (a citric fruit that makes the BEST juice ever. Kind of like lemonade and pineapple?); Guanabana – Guava ; Naranja – Orange; Maracuya – passion fruit; pina – pineapple; fresa – strawberry; and then I’m not sure about the last part.
OK folks, I must be off. I’m trying to work on reading some books in Spanish, so I don’t feel like a hypocrite telling my students to practice reading in English everyday when I don’t do the same in Spanish.
Until next time!