December 8, 2009

Weekend Recap; Birthday Parties, New Friends, and Christmas Lights

While my Friday night was quite busy with the Noche de Las Velitas at school and having friends over, the rest of my weekend was no different. Saturday we headed up to San Antonio, another neighbohood in Cali, to celebrate a fellow teacher's birthday. Her and her husband have a gorgeous house with an amazing patio, so we really enjoyed going over there. Her birthday was totally a typical Colombian party complete with lots of salsa dancing, a roasted & stuffed pig, salsa dance performance, all the gringos (slang for Americans) hitting the dance floor for songs like "I've Got A Feelin'", and a 3:30 am cab ride home.
Kelsi, Amanda and birthday girl Surella at the party.
Roasted pig stuffed with rice.
Sunday I slept in ridiculously too late in recovery and as a result was not nearly as productive as I wanted to be. Instead I proceeded to grade about half of my students tests, got depressed as a result of their scores, and watched too many online episodes of Dawson's Creek - a terribly addicting, but still terrible, sitcom from the 90s.
However, Sunday night I did make it out of my Dawson's Creel coma to go out to coffee with Kelsi and Kimmel. Kimmel is Empera's son (remember Anita's friend who we had hem our clothes and such???). Well, this is her son, and he speaks English and he is looking to go to grad school in the states, so he wants people to practice English with. We met up with him at this wonderful coffee shop in San Antonio called Macondo. They have the most delicious malteada moka (basically mocha smoothie) which I drank in about 3 seconds flat upon receiving it.
Despite the fact that San Antonio is a bit far from where Kelsi and I live, I am so glad we met up with Kimmel. He is a great resource and a fun person to hang out with. Also, since Kelsi is still in the process of learning Spanish, it helps that he speaks English. :) Hopefully we will continue to get to know him in the future! I love meeting new friends. :)
After our delicious coffee drinks at Macondo, we walked a bit towards the Cali River, which is completely decorated for the Christmas season. Similar to the idea of the Rotary Lights in La Crosse or the Holidazzle Parade in Minneapolis, this lights display is put up by the city for people to come look at during the holiday season. We strolled along the right looking at the lights, which are hung from every available tree and even strung across the river in some places! Check out the train that literally appears to be rolling downstream!
Kelsi and I at the river. Yes, I did find it ironic looking at Christmas lights while wearing a tank top...
Train headed downstream. :)
Airplane flying across the river with blue clouds in the background.
Since the lights display is near El Gato, or "The Cat", a pretty famous Cali landmark, there was also an art display of other cats. Supposedly the city held a contest for people to create a cat to be the wife of the original gato, and these were some of the best cats decorated. After some initial conversation with Kimmel during which I explained that I hate cats, and no I do not want to go see them and he explained the cats were not real, we had a lovely time looking at all of them! :)
Original Gato.
One of many potential wives for the original Gato.
Kimmel did tell us that lately there has been some discussion on whether the lights will continue to be put up, because right now the display is in a wealthy area of Cali where many residents do not appreciate the influx of people from poorer neighborhoods during the Christmas season. This type of thing probably happens everywhere, but I found it particularly interesting for Cali. The divide between rich and poor is quite distinct here, and while a middle class certainly exists, that middle class is still developing and more often than not typically includes only the upper middle class.
Another weekend in Cali came to an end, and it was back to school on Monday...but not for long!! :) Details to follow...

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