Thursday, August 25, 2005

Arroyos peligrosos

So, people are scared of rain here in Barranquilla. Yesterday in my evening class it started to rain and the students immediately began to whine, "teacher, let us go home now, so we can still catch a boat," and, "teacher, I have to cross three rivers (flooded streets) to get home, so I need to leave now." I already knew that people don't leave their houses when it's raining here, but I still hadn't seen what they were talking about. There've been one or two days where the guy downstairs put out his portable bridge to be able to cross to the other side of the street, and I've seen people crossing the flooded parts in donkeys, but it wasn't that bad. Last night, I woke up around midnight to a storm. It was raining hard enough that the water was coming through my window (there's a large exterior window, then my window, which is actually inside the apartment. I got up to close the outside window, and when I looked out, there were rapids where the stree used to be! I can easily see how you could get washed away in a "river" like that. The street was completely empty, except for the couch cushions and various things I saw being swept past my house. Amazing. What's even more amusing is that they haven't figured out a way to put a drainage system in the city to get rid of the problem! Barranquilla's not much more than 100 years old in most places, so I find it hard to deal with the fact that they didn't plan any better than this. I'll post my pictures tomorrow of my "river" if they come out okay!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

End of vacation and back to reality

So, I'm at the end of the second week of classes here at Uninorte. I've got five sections of the same class (level 7 out of 8, I guess what you might call upper intermediate), which is kind of boring in some ways, but also nice since I don't have to plan for a million different things. Now that we're finally started it's been a bit of work, especially after sitting around for two weeks. Hopefully it'll slow down a little though, and I'll finally be able to have a routine.

With being here at work all day and the not feeling well from the food, I haven't had much time to do anything else. Two weekends ago I went to Santa Marta with some friends, but forgot to take my camera with me. Santa Marta is about an hour away from Barranquilla, somewhat to the north (I think) and is thankfully much quieter and cleaner than here. The beaches we went to were nice, but I think I like the mountains more. The Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta comes right up to the city and is the the tallest (I think) range in Colombia. I finally got some unfried fish, which was delicious, and learned that my favorite from Mexico, huachinango, is called pargo here.

Other than that, I've still been looking for a new place to live, since the traffic on the street where I'm at now is crazy and continues to wake me up at 5:30 in the morning. It's also just a little too far from the university at night, and since I typically don't leave until around 9:00, I'd prefer to be in a place where I can safely walk to get food or groceries. Some day I'll make a list of all the different kinds of juices they have here...that's one thing I like! Nispero, zapote, guyaba, guanabana, tamarind, tree tomato (tomate de arbol), and this crazy unrefined sugar drink...

I'll try to be better about posting, but I haven't had much to say in the month I've been here!