Friday, July 18, 2008

Cuidad y Campos


This morning for breakfast we had Colombian chorizo (sausage), arepas, and bread. The sausage was different than any sausage I’ve had in the US. I think it might be beef sausage? Once we were all dressed and ready we headed out to visit the in-laws that invaded us the other day.

Manizales is beautiful because there are clusters of neighborhoods on the surrounding hills and mountains. Today we saw the natural beauty of Colombia. It was breathtaking. Rolling mountains; some so tall that the tops were covered with waves of clouds. Bamboo everywhere, I’d never seen bamboo growing before I moved here. And it grows throughout, covering hillsides with its soft heathery leaves. Then we drove through the coffee plantations. I didn’t get to see Juan Valdez but the plantes café were very cool.

It took us about an hour to get to the next city, Pereira. We stopped to shop at the mall. CC of course found 2 people she knew! I’m telling ya, we can’t even go to another CITY without her finding an old amigo. Maybe she should run for office! After several frustrating experiences I finally found a skirt and a pair of pants, capris actually, that fit my GRANDE American frame. I really needed some pants because I’ve been wearing the same skirt for 3 days. The housekeeper offered to launder our dirty clothes, so we gave them to her. No one in Manizales owns a dryer. Every house has an enclosed area with lines to hang laundry to dry. 3 days after the wash and my jeans still weren’t dry. It doesn’t help that it’s been raining every single day! My skirt that I’ve been donning is white and it is looking a little less white after 3 days of constant wear, particularly around los niños.

We stopped at a restaurant in the mall to eat lunch, the big meal of the day. I had some grilled meat, with a few fries scattered over smashed fried plantains. CC ate a bowl of assorted grilled meats mixed with rice. The Dude had some sort of thick stew with grilled meat and fries. Little Mermaid ate….a hot dog. Little Dude ate a few papas fritas (French fries) before he over turned the bowl onto the Dude’s lap – ketchup and all! The Dude was not happy. So I quickly ate my food and then took the kids for a walk. The Little Mermaid ate an ice cream cone earlier. Chocolate, of course. And she dripped it all over her dress, of course. So she changed into a skirt and shirt we bought. Then once CC and the Dude finished their meal, we went to find a new shirt for the Dude. He was covered in grease and ketchup.

Once the shopping was complete and the Dude had changed shirts we got the car, and drove to the next town, where the in-laws live, Carteagua. Cartagua is a small town, that is known for it’s sewing and textile industry. There were vespas and bicycles everywhere, like mosquitoes! And they seem to have to regard for their lives b/c they will cut right in front of a van or car without thinking twice. We also saw several horse drawn carts in the town, though I didn’t get a picture of one. Qué lastima!

We pulled up to the house and saw the whole gang, minus Sis. She had to work! The visit sort of turned out to be a cruel joke on the Little Mermaid. Shortly after we arrived, the family (kids and grandparents) were going on a 3 day holiday to Cali, 3 hours away. They left and took the Little Mermaid’s friend, CC’s niece, Izzy, with them. The Little Mermaid cried and cried. “Why didn’t they warn us that Izzy was going to leave after we got here?!” CC cried too, because she probably wouldn’t see her niece for a year. So the two sad sacks hugged and sat in a chair comforting each other. The Sister in Law dropped the vacationers a taxi station and returned with Little Dude’s girlfriend, the 14 month old baby. We visited a little bit and got a tour of the house.

After some milk and cookies we hit the road. We had a long drive back and it was already beginning to darken outside.

Los niños slept for a good bit of the ride. The sun set and it was as dark as a road in the Pennsylvania Mountains! I got a pretty good photo of Manizales at night. We’ll have tobsee how it turns out. About 30 minutes from home we stopped to eat b/c Little Mermaid was STARVING. She ordered a plain hamburger with fries, I had two mini empanadas and the Dude ate a sandwich. Little Dude danced to the music playing over the speakers and snacked on some fries.

We finally got home and after a quick greeting to Abuela we crashed! It was a great day, but a tiring one!