For what seems like the first time in a long while, I spent a whole weekend here in Cali - continuing to explore this city I plan to call home for at least another year and a half. Exploring the city is important to me because when I know the place where I live I feel more comfortable and more adjusted. Less like I am just living here to pass the time, and more like this is my home. Speaking of living...Maggie and Mark officially moved into their new place, about 10 minutes from this apartment, so here I am living in my bachelorette pad for a month until I also move!
So this weekend...Friday night I went out to dinner in Granada, this really cool restaurant/shopping area of Cali. For Minnesota people, think of my neighborhood as the suburbs and Granada as Grand Avenue. Needless to say, I love any chance to go there and explore. Added bonus: Granada is super close to my new apartment! Friday night I went to dinner with Steph, Hana, (my new roommates) and Kelsi. We took the Mio there, however we missed the stop for Granada on the bus, so we ended up riding that particular bus in an entire loop that took about an hour. Essentially we have now seen all of Northern Cali via public transportation and ended up at the restaurant an hour and a half later than necessary. Whoops! Once we finally arrived at Platillos Voladores (Flying Saucers), we had delicious food, drinks and reminisced about forgotten things from our childhood. For example, who remembers 2gether??? Fake boy band with a television show on MTV meant to spoof other boy bands of the time...aka 'NSync, Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees, etc.
We were laughing to the point of tears discussing 2gether and their original, made for MTV movie. Those who don't remember, please enjoy this music video courtesy of You Tube. :) "I know my calculus, it says you plus me equals us." Hahahaha.
Needless to say I woke up Saturday morning and Kelsi had already posted links to other 2gether songs on my Facebook. Love it. Saturday the two of us headed up to Centro, the city center, to do some discount shopping on sunglasses, shoes and more. We took the Mio again, right to the city center, which was crazy. Saturday is definitely the day to be out and about in Cali, so the streets were streaming with vendors for everything you could imagine. Of course, since we are white Americans, we look completely out of place, so people were literally screaming at us in Spanish to buy their stuff. Ridiculous. I loved the experience of going there, but it was certainly intense. We ducked into shops on more than one occasion to take some deep breaths before hitting the streets again. The part of Centro we went to is called San Andresito, which basically means "Little San Andres". The Colombian owned Caribbean island, San Andres, is a big place for import stuff, so pretty much every big city in Colombia has an area called "Little San Andres" that is essentially a black market location for everything imaginable.
After making our purchases we jumped back on the most crowded bus of my life! Cali is still developing the Mio system and one thing they need ASAP is more buses! For public transportation to work well, it must be readily available...which they are working on, I hope. We rode on the crowded bus for about 10 minutes until we arrived at Steph & Hana's. We strolled over to visit them and check out my soon to be apartment, because I haven't seen it since they moved in! They have a huge living space and they overlook a park, so I think I am going to love living there. We relaxed a bit there before heading home to make dinner and go out. Later that night Kelsi and I met up with some friends at Route 66, an American type bar in Cali, located on 66th Street. :)
I must say originally I felt a bit nervous about having my closest friends here also be my colleagues. Normally, one would try not to associate too much with colleagues outside of work. However, I have been so amazed here by the wonderful people I work with. They are so much fun and we all seem to be able to find the appropriate lines between work life and social life. Whenever we get together in groups I leave feeling so happy about the amazing people I am surrounded by. Since we all chose to do something a little bit out of the ordinary we usually have some common personality traits, or common ideas or values, which has served as a great basis for building relationships.
So...that brings us to Sunday. I think I am going to get to work on writing that Algebra final today...cause let's be honest...I'm not bringing anything related to students or school to that all-inclusive Thanksgiving beach vacation I have planned. ;)
Happy Sunday friends!