Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Pólvora, Cuetes, Cuetillos...Nasty

At 10:30 am on Wednesday, December 24, the Ministry of Social Protection (of Health, I suppose) in Colombia, had registered 186 cases on burns from fireworks.  111 of these were children, 75 were adults, and 3 died (  The sale of pólvora is outlawed, apparently.  I was watching the news one morning in Manizales, and there was a story about parents who had allowed there children to set off firecrackers and such in the street unattended.  The police caught them in the act, and the parents now have to do community service, along with having their faces smeared all over the news (a big deal in a small town, I imagine). 

Too bad they don't do the same in San Salvador.  In my post from last Christmas, you can see the sky the morning after New Year's Eve.  Disgusting.  And Christmas Eve is no better.  I understand why people like fireworks, but to have every one set off firecrackers, bottle rockets, etc for a whole evening is just too much. Sorry, they're not for children, especially not unattended children, and even less for drunken adults. Yes, it's a tradition here, but it was in Manizales, too.  They got over it.  There's a to-buy-or-not-to buy article in Tuesday's La Prensa Grafica, and one about what our lungs would ask for for Christmas (we know it's not cuetes for sure).  I myself will be hiding inside someplace, wishing the sky were gray because of snow and not pollution from pólvora (can you imagine how many firecrackers and snakes one would have to set off to make the sky still gray the next morning??).

Monday, December 08, 2008

Views from Chipre

Pics from walking around in the Chipre neighborhood in Manizales, and from the water tower.

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Flowers, Flowers

One great thing about living in Manizales is that I can have beautiful, fresh flowers every week, which at their most expensive are no more than $4. 

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More Manizales Christmas

These are more of the Christmas decorations that are all around the city (well, somewhat around the city). I especially like the cow. There was also an awesome hot air balloon that was lit up yesterday, and a humongous moon on the top of cerro San Cansio (odd, but interesting, since there's nothing else up there).

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I'll be in Cali the night before I head back to El Sal, so I think I have no choice but to stay by the river and all the lights there (awesome). I was there in 2006 for the feria, but just realized that I never posted the pics, even though the majority of them didn't turn out. Oppps.


Velitas is a traditional Colombian celebration that takes place on the night of December 7, or in the morning on the 8th (or the night of the 7th & 8th in Manizales). It marks the immaculate conception, as well as the beginning of Christmas festivities. There were streets where every house has Christmas lights and decorations, in addition to putting paper laterns (farolitos), lumieres, or just candles stuck to the cement. Beautiful. Time to get a new camera that takes good night pics.

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I could work at a newspaper, too

This is our wedding announcement that ran in the Findlay Courier today. See my comments in red, like a good little teacher. I'm highly amused, even though I know my mom just made up some of it because they wanted that information.

Lowry-Vasques Vasques is not my husband's last name, Lopez is. Vasquezzzzzzzzzz is the second last name. But hey, they got my last name right, which was more than the San Salvador alcaldia could do in a month.

Erin Kay Lowry, of Manizales, Colombia (I'm most definitely not Colombian, and even more definitely NOT paisa), and Edwin Vladimir Lopez Vasques, of San Salvador, El Salvador were married Nov. 10 (we were married November 8, and then that was the religous wedding; we were actually married civilly June 21) at Ranco (Rancho, hello, like ranch) Estero y Mar in the department of La Paz, El Pimental Beach.

The officiants were Joses David Ramirez and Gregory Hunt.

A reception followed.

The bride's maid of honor was Consuelo Rivas. Best man was Josue Arevalo.

The bride wore an off-the-shoulder satin
(I was wearing satin??) dress covered with pleated organza. She carried a bouquet of tropical flowers.

The bride is the daughter of Darrell and Linda Lowry of Bluffton. A graduate of Cory-Rawson High School, she studied informational systems (capitalize please) and Spanish at the University of Cincinnati as an undergraduate and received a master's
(capitalize please) degree in English as a second language(not sure when native speakers of English study their own language as a second language, but okay). She is employed at the English Language Fellowship (Fellow) Program.

The groom is the son of Blanco Angelica Vasques of San Salvador, El Salvador. He received a bachelor's
(capitalize please) degree in business administration (capitalize please) from the Universidad Politecnica de El Salvador and is employed in the customs department of the government of El Salvador.

The couple traveled to Roatan, Honduras on their honeymoon. They will live in Central America.
(this is quite frankly news to me!)

Note: This is also why I read the Times and watch BBC in the morning unless I want to know how the Buckeyes are doing.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Colombo Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving, with turkey and most other necessary foods.

My fifteen pounds of mashed potatoes. Never want to see potatoes again (at least til next year).

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Trip to Colombo Armenia

On Tuesday I went to Armenia, about 2. 5 hours on very very curvy mountain roads from Manizales, to do a workshop on learner autonomy at the Colombo there. The workshop went well, and it was warmer in Armenia than here, so all and all happy.

The best part of the trip was the finca that I stayed at, El Balso. When I called to make a reservation the day before, one of the owners just laughed and said they would come get me at the Colombo and that was all the reservation I needed. Her husband, Don Julian, all of seventy-something years, came to get me, bought me dinner, told me about the plantation, and then drove me out to the finca in a downpour that didn't end for more than twelve hours.
The finca still produces coffee and platano, and is gorgeous to say the least. Even though the Panamerican was probably less than a kilometer away, the silence was deafening after the noise of my apartment. I don't know the last time I've had coffee that good, and breakfast was fabulous, with fruit grown right there. I love the architecture, the colors, everything. And all for $85.000 pesos (more or less $40). I'd just randomly picked the place, but turns out I'd read about it the Times several years ago (
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Pre-election work fun

Even though I missed out by not being at work for election day, I did get to enjoy the pre-election day fun. The EducationUSA advisor and I made info boards for both candidates, and the teachers and students actually used them.

I also learned the Obama really is a lot taller than McCain!

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Friday, November 14, 2008

The Wedding

I'll add more pictures as I can. Despite my serious doubts, the wedding turned out great. We had the live music (Tierra Caliente), it wasn't high tide (although I seriously believe that the hotel should acquire tide charts), and I could pay with my credit card (instead of carrying a very large wad of bills with me to the beach). The sunset was perfect, the flowers, even the crazy sealife soooo much cheaper than home! I now have a small fortune in makeup that I don't know how to use/am too lazy too use, but thanks Quyen, I looked awesome! I learned my lesson about inviting people though. They may say yes, but change their minds at the last minute, or simply just not tell you. Hmmm. Oh well.

I needed a break from chilly, rainy Manizales, and this was just the ticket. I only wish that I'd had longer than two weeks, but work calls!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Las estatuas humanas miran a Manizales

This was the only thing I saw that was part of the Festival de Teatro de Manizales. I'd forgotten about these guys, that would stand in front of the cars while they were stopped at the traffic lights in Barranquilla, and on the corners up by Buenavista. Also, not so fortunately, I was re-introduced to Colombian mimes. Mimes, don't make any noise, right? Not Colombian mimes...they squeak like a dog's plastic toys!

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