I forgot to write about my adventures Saturday and I didn’t write about Tuesday, either, so I’ll share some anecdotes from those days, as well as Wednesday.
On Saturday, Yoli took me to see Santa Cruz’s relatively new Botanical Garden. The original one was located near the river and was destroyed be a flood in the early 1980s. She hadn’t been to the new one, and was looking forward to seeing it.
Well, neither of us thought to bring bug spray.
When we arrived, the man at the ticket window told us we were the first ones to arrive and we had the whole place to ourselves. Normally they give bug spray to visitors at the gate, but they had run it. He said it was a great day to come, because there were no mosquitos.
Well, I guess “no mosquitos” meant “little swarms everywhere.” We were bombarded by the mosquitos, especially around the lagoon, and spent most of our time swatting ourselves and each other, rather than enjoying the plant life.
You can’t compare this garden to the one in St. Louis, because it’s so new. I’m sure there were many interesting things to see, but we didn’t get to see many of them. We may go back (this time with bug spray) if we have time.
That evening we went to Yoli’s house to celebrate the birthdays of Noemi and Eliza. We got both of them bon-bons. It was a fun time, and most of the family was there.
On Tuesday morning, Yoli and I went to “Los Cabañas” with Lucy, Juan, and Alcides. Los Cabañas is a place near the river with lots of little restaurants. You can also rent four-wheelers and ride horses (for a moderate fee). We had several traditional Santa Cruz foods for breakfast (cuñape is one I remember). We spent a lot of time walking and talking. We also went to the Piraí river, which reminded me a little of the Black River (only muddier) because it was quite shallow.
It was my last chance to see Alcides, who left that evening to go work for 20 days out of town. Both he and Juan are really big jokers, but Alcides especially. But I really enjoyed getting to know him over the past few weeks. He’s a good worker and has done all different sorts of things (including being in the army and working for the US DEA). Of all the folks I’ve met here, he tried the hardest to communicate with me, and of course we already had a relationship before I got here since I was a co-padriño for he and Noemi.
Tuesday night, I went to a restaurant with Yoli, her friend Dora, and Dora’s fiancee Jonatan. We had interesting talk, and enjoyed the food. I was surprised and intruiged when one family came in and their child was holding a tiny pet monkey. The monkey proceeded to make noises throughout the evening. That reminds me of the time Yoli and I got on a bus and saw a woman who had brought a live chicken with her in one of her bags.
That night, I saw the movie “Signs” (“Señales in Spanish) . It was a pretty good movie, and I think it’s great for later discussion of the themes. We rented the movie, but I noticed as soon as we rented it that it was actually a copy, not the original movie. The entire library of the video store was copies. I’m not sure if they do it that way to protect the originals, or if there’s something more shady going on, but it was interesting.
Wednesday was a fairly typical day. We went to El Jordán, where I completed a rough draft of the second flier they wanted me to do. Then most of the rest of the day I worked on the seminary’s website. I got a lot finished yesterday. I’m going to have a lot more finished when I leave then I was thinking last week.
One last anecdote from Tuesday: Yoli came prepared to make pancakes (panqueques) in the morning. I thought this sounded great. She had never made them before and brought her recipe book. I was doing other work while she made the batter, and then joined her in the kitchen when she started pouring it in the skillet. She asked what she should use to pour the batter into the skillet, and I suggested a 1-cup measuring cup. She seemed surprised but used it anyway. When she poured the batter, she didn’t put very much in the skillet, so I asked her to put more. When the pancake was finished and I started eating it, I realized this wasn’t the kind of pancake I was used to. It took me a few minutes before I figured out what it was. The batter was for what we call FRENCH pancakes (or crepes), not American pancakes. The pancake was good, and in fact we’ve created something new… thick American-style crepes. Anyway, it was a pretty funny misunderstanding that turned out well.