Butterfly garden at Nirvana
We have been to Nirvana! Thanks to Asopadres, the Parents Association at school, all of the new teachers spent today at the Natural Reserve, Nirvana. Despite having to wake up at 7 on a Saturday to catch the 8 am bus, we had a lovely day! Most of the new teachers came and I enjoyed chatting with everyone after a busy first week at school!
When we arrived at Nirvana, we were greeted by the Asopadres, then enjoyed some cafe tinto (black coffee) and empanadas (fried things filled with meat, veggies and potatoes) before starting the hike. While the hike was mostly uphill, we stopped a few times for water and in general enjoyed talking along the way. We had a great English speaking guide who pointed out several cool plants along the way! At the top we were greeted by a gorgeous view of the Colombian hills and the small town of Palmira, north of Cali.
After the hike we enjoyed lunch right at the cafe at Nirvana. I had fresh trout, which they farm right at the reserve-delicious! We left the reserve on the bus around 3 to head back into Cali with one goal in mind---now that we have our Colombian debit cards, we needed some more pesos. Immediately. Maggie and I have had about $20,000 pesos or $10 to our names for about two days now. Another new teacher at the school, Anita, who Maggie chatted up on the way to Nirvana offered to drive us to our bank when we got off the bus. This worked out great because we didn't have to take a cab! Her husband, Alvaro, met us and they took us to the bank and then the market to pick up Maggie's new shoes. Her shoes aren't actually ready until tomorrow, but I bought some and we are going back tomorrow to get hers! The whole time we were with Anita and Alvaro we were able to practice our Spanish, and since Alvaro is also a teacher, we asked them to correct us when we make mistakes, that way we will actually get better and not just struggle through sentences!!
The thought of making friends outside of just our new teacher group is very exciting and I cannot wait to see what else the city brings us! Just now when we went to the video store we met a guy who served in the marines in the U.S. and now works as an English teacher here in Cali, where he is originally from. The Colombian people are so open and friendly, and we are loving every minute it of it!
Off to watch a movie with Maggie (or more Sex & the City) before a day full of errands, bakeries :), and yoga class tomorrow!!! Love from GORGEOUS Colombia!!
In front of the main sign at Nirvana Nature Reserve.
Steph & Amanda at the top of the hike
Maggie & me near some sort of exotic tree/plant thing...
Enjoying the reserve!
Delicious coffee @ the end...perfect.
Below >>> Many beautiful flowers/plants at the Reserve!