Life is good here. I hope everyone back home is doing well. The news sounds bad with the financial system on the brink and hurricane warnings in Maine.
Last weekend I took a weekend trip to La Fortuna and Santa Elena to see Volcan Arenal and Monteverde. Volcan Arenal is one of the most active volcanoes in Central America. Monteverde is a cloud forest, one of it's main attractions being canopy tours, or zip lining. On a canopy tour, valleys are connected by cables and you slide down the cable using your dominant hand as a break. It makes more sense to see it in pictures. I have posted tons of pictures on Picasa. I posted both the pictures I took as well as the pictures taken by the guides. It was a lot of fun. The guides tell you how much and when to break depending on the length of the line. On one of the longer lines, they told me not to break because it was a really long line and you needed a certain amount of momentum to get to the end. I thought I was using my right hand to keep from twisting sideways, but what I was really doing was breaking. So I didn't have enough momentum to make it all the way to the end of the line. I came to a stop about 100 feet short of the platform. The line was pretty high up. They didn’t list the heights, but it was probably about 300-400 feet. I have to admit I got a little freaked out. A little guy about 4' 10' and 100 lbs came out and dragged me to the platform. It must have been a sight.
Classes have still been going pretty well, although I seem to be a little over my head at the moment, but I keep advancing to the next level each week. We had a culture lesson this past week covering the differences between family life in the US and Latin America. Latin Americans are a lot closer to their families than in the US or Europe. People live with their families until they get married. So single people, whether 20, 25, 35, 45, etc., still live at home with their parents. This can seem a bit odd to Americans. We generally can’t wait to move out and get our own places (and the parents generally look forward to having their houses back). Here, the parents actually like and insist that their kids to live at home. It would be strange for a single person living and working in the same city as their parents not to live at home. Family comes first here. In the US, I think, to a certain extent, work come first. We are much more likely to pull up and move to another city for a few thousand dollars a year more. When they do pick up and move to another city or country to work, it's a really big deal and they do it for the express purpose of sending money back home to the family.
We learned some social stuff as well. A popular line a man would say to a woman here is “¡Quisiera ser mariposa para besar tus petálos!” Apparently, a man can say this to a woman and it is not offensive. Then we started discussing other lines. My contribution was, “¿Tienes un espejo en sus pantalones porque yo puedo me los ver?”. I don’t think my translation was exactly right, but even in English, the humor didn't really translate to non-Americans.
Air Supply is kind of big here. Yes, that Air Supply. The 80’s Australian soft pop band. Roberto, our driver for the weekend expedition, played a medley of Michael Bolton, Chris DeBerg, and Air Supply during the trip. It played the same three songs over and over in a loop. How Can We Be Lovers if we Can't be Friends, Lady in Red, and Lost in Love. I thought his selection in music was a bit strange. When we stopped one time to take pictures of the volcano, Air Supply was playing. Another car was stopped as well. The doors were open and another Air Supply song was playing! I remembered watching one of those shows on VH1 (maybe I Love the 80's) a while back that had a segment on Air Supply. The members of the group were saying how after their popularity waned in the US, they began touring Asia and Latin America. I thought they sounded like a couple of bitter has-beens giving the “We’re huge in Belgium” bit. But apparently in the resat of the world, they are very still very popular. According to Wikipedia, in 2005 they played to a crowd of 175,000 people in Havanna Cuba.
The milk here is super pasteurized. So much so that it is not refrigerated in the store. I bought a quart of milk last week that won't expire until May 2009.
Sharing a Six Pack and Galaxing with Wild Ponies
5 weeks ago