Past week and Weekend at my families house in the pueblo of Morro.

Merida Travel Blog

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The drive up to my families house in the pueblo (small mountain town) of Morro.

First off, I want to apologize to everyone for being a weak communicator. I appreciate the emails, but I’m not spending a lot of time on the internet here.

Sometimes I feel as though I’m making a lot of progress with my Spanish, but then a few minutes later, I have trouble understanding a basic sentence spoken slowly to me. I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself and expect quick results. I get down on myself over my lack of communication skills • but I’ll keep getting back up and continuing to plug away until I’m satisfied. Expecting fluency in such a short period of time is unrealistic for me and I need to remind myself that. I feel a lot of momentum in my knowledge of the language and expect continual results.

Despite this mild frustration, I’m having the time of my life.

The drive.
I would stay for the rest of the year if I could. This past week has been fairly uneventful and I’ve spent a lot of time working on my research. I am 95% done with the first piece and am pleased with it. I’m watching a few Latin American companies and am especially excited about Ternium a company with heavy involvement here in Venezuela. Any company located here or doing business in Venezuela is quite volatile due to the several waves of Nationalization. Although scary for varying reasons, it brings opportunities for profit, mostly based on news. Ternium’s daughter company Sidor has reached agreement with Chavez to continue buying resources from the government or country owned companies at a premium, in order to keep Chavez from targeting them next.
Alonso
They are involved in steel production by the way.

 South America has a huge futbol tournament every couple of years, and this year, for the first time, it was in Venezuela. After three weeks of tournament play, tonight, Brasil won. The U.S. was invited to play but lost both of their matches. Venezuela didn’t do too hot either. I have never in my life seen so many people, so crazy for one thing • Futbol! For the past couple of weeks Alonzo, my host father, has kept the tournament schedule and all the scores in his shirt pocket, whereas my father has kept his Treo hand-held. Quite the juxtaposition. Who am I kidding; he would have the entire schedule programmed into his calendar • no doubt in my mind. Several days ago, I went with a few friends to a local bar.

One of the many mini monuments celebrating the life of someone who drove off the cliff
There were about 400 people inside, gender even. The game was playing on about 5-6 huge screens and the ladies were just as captivated by the game as the guys. There was no dancing, and no music • all futbol. A sense of horror was felt when the other team scored and it felt something like a bolt of lightening followed by thunder hitting the place once Venezuela scored. Absolute madness. I haven’t yet gone to an actual match and I’m not sure I’ll have an opportunity • but if I do, I’m bringing a helmet and pads. Tonight everyone has been driving around honking their horns, letting flags fly from their windows and proudly declaring who the winner was. Today everyone has been walking around in either an Argentinean or Brazilian jersey. It’s no longer about who your team is, it’s about who you dislike the least.
Overlooking the pueblo centro.

Esperanza, my host mom is on a mission, a mission to fatten me up and go on a sugar and caffeine rollercoaster. I now am forced to assertively say, ‘no gracias’, when she brings seconds and thirds. Half of the meals, she doesn’t even sit with everyone, she is full time kitchen tend. Then again, she is on a fairly strict doctor enforced diet and can’t eat much of what we are eating. This afternoon she made “casillo” a cream like cake and she served it about an hour ago. But she times things perfectly, when about 20% of the dessert is remaining, she nails you with round 2 • ‘tarta de queso’, (cheesecake). I have a hard time washing a dish in the sink before I’m kicked out of the kitchen. Truth be told, Esperanza, Alonzo, their daughter Danella and her boyfriend Luis are one of the many great parts of this experience.

Alonso on the hike going down.
  They are great to me. They outwardly speak out against Chavez, and I think so does most of the country. I believe his approval rating is down to 38%.

 I spent this weekend with my family in their other house in the mountains, in a town/pueblo called Morro. We drove for a little over an hour on windy thin roads nearing the edge of cliffs. We passed about fifteen small monuments celebrating the lives of people who drove off various parts of cliffs. About ten minutes into the drive, Alonso went into a little bodega and came back with soft sweet candies called ‘aliado’ and three salsa discs he picked up for the ride. Pirated movies and music are everywhere, for $1.50US and 70 cents, respectively. I’m also starting to fall for a Columbian style of music called Vallenatos.

El rio.

 Shortly after arriving and being introduced to a traditional way of making coffee by Esperanza, my roommate Jordan, Alonso and I went for a short hike down to the river. By the way, their house is perched over a cliff and looks over several mountains as the pictures show. I was surprised at 61 he was up for it, but Alonso did good • until dis cat stripped down to his Speedo • WOW! He really caught me by surprise. We hung out around the river for awhile and Jordan and I jumped in from a large rock. Afterwards, we hiked back up. We were met by about 15 steaks. I kid you not, Esperanza put three on each of our plates, the meat was accompanied by whole Avocados, a white vegetable similar to potatos, and tomato onion salad. I’m sure you don’t care for these details, but I know my mom does.

Lookout from patio.
Our little dog, Camilla must have had a whole steak to herself. Everyone feeds her throughout each meal. Camila is an animal,,,,I mean.. After dinner, Luis, Jordan, Danella, and I played Dominos. I cut out early to work on my research, but the games continued to Scrabble. Jordan really got screwed on that one (he and I share the same level of literacy).

 The music never stopped, I’m a big music lover, but peace and quiet is nice, too. I think Alonso really exerted himself for our hike and during all this he took a champion nap. Around 9pm we all walked together to the small city center by flashlight. It is really nice how they do most things together. Every night the three or four of them get in their car and drive up and down the avenues taking in the town.

No destination, just cruising. I went for the first time a few days ago and asked Danella if this is typical and she looked at me dumbfounded and said many families do it. I think I also may have had a staggered look on my face, but good for them. It was very nice. Camilla also joins them. Anyways, back to the walk by flashlight. We stopped into several peoples home, passing through and saying hello. I took a picture with two beautiful sisters aged 90 and 93. They are on Jordan’s camera so I don’t yet have them, but I am eager to post one. We stopped into their friend’s general store to buy a few things and we stopped and all had a beer or root beer together.

 After, I went on a solo hike under the bright stars, really quite tranquil.

Dos abuelas y yo
I started thinking about my future and all the growth to come. I started thinking about profitable opportunities and how there is so much room here greater efficiency.

 I’m starting to plan my travels for August and have some exciting things ahead. But today is just as good as any. I’ll be stopping in Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. I’ll be seeing family and friends in Santiago, Buenos Aires, and hopefully Cordoba.

 The family is so good to us, we are always the first ones served and they just put a TV in our room. I’ve been working on my salsa steps in the clubs and hope to keep improving. There are many beautiful girls. Each time we go out, we hear a lot of the same songs and one Columbian song stands out, where the lyrics are something like, “ Bonita es esta la vida” (It’s a beautiful life). Everyone sings it together • very nice. I can’t believe how much I just wrote, perhaps the guitar works of George Benson and Pat Metheny in the background have kept me flowing. All my best.

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The drive up to my families house …
The drive up to my families house…
The drive.
The drive.
Alonso
Alonso
One of the many mini monuments cel…
One of the many mini monuments ce…
Overlooking the pueblo centro.
Overlooking the pueblo centro.
Alonso on the hike going down.
Alonso on the hike going down.
El rio.
El rio.
Lookout from patio.
Lookout from patio.
Dos abuelas y yo
Dos abuelas y yo
The walk back to the house
The walk back to the house
Church/Iglesio
Church/Iglesio
El rio.
El rio.
Alonso and I.
Alonso and I.
Overlooking Merida from the top of…
Overlooking Merida from the top o…
Merida
photo by: AndySD