18 January 2012

Day 11 - Wanderings and Flavored Beer

January 14, 2012

A Little Bit Beat

After so many days in a row of going out and staying up late, I was certainly ready for a quiet day. I slept in, I had breakfast, and I just relaxed. I worked on my Spanish, I had a nice shower, I did my hair, etc. I worked on my Spanish for a while, writing down phrases that might help me out if I were wandering alone in the city. I knew I wanted to go to el centro today, but I was kind of nervous about doing it on my own.


Voy a el centro

I decided to go for it. I packed a purse with my guide book, phrase book, music, paper, pen and money. And I waited outside for the bus. I flagged the bus, I got on, paid, took my ticket and change, then sat down. I played it cool, and I turned on my iPhone to listen to my music for the duration of the ride. I enjoy the scenic route the bus takes. It curves and bumps in and out of the little neighborhoods all the way to el centro. This bus took me closer to el centro than the one that Kayla and I took. I didn’t get lost once I got off of it either. I knew just where I needed to go. It was really windy in el centro, and I wore a dress (since it was hot too!). The only problem was that my dress was very loose, and the wind was able to lift it up….so I had to walk around, holding my dress down. That was difficult, especially in the crowded sidewalks. I headed straight for el centro park, found an empty bench, and sat down. Voila! No more dress problems!

Strangers in the Wind

Being that I’m quite fair skinned, covered in freckles, and have a mass of red hair on top of my head, I stand out a little bit in crowds. At least in el centro there are a lot of other tourists and foreigners, so I don’t look too out of place. People selling things in the park always come up to you, and I had quite a few people sit down and try and talk to me. For a few of them, I pretended that I didn’t speak English…I pretended that I spoke French. At least I wasn’t busted. I did talk to a few people, ones that didn’t seem creepy, and were just curious about where I was from. Everyone I have met here, so far, has been incredibly nice and welcoming. I talked to one person for a couple hours, and wandered the center square for a little with them, while I waited for my friend to show up. It has been so much fun to meet new people and it has really helped me feel a bit more comfortable here in this new city.

Need More Coffee

I’ve been having cravings for coffee since I got here to Merida. I miss my frequent trips to Starbucks, though, I’m sure not making those trips is very good for me. I was drinking at least 3-4 decaf, mochas per week…decaf! I didn’t even get the good stuff. I have stumbled across a few coffee shops now that I’ve asked around. Today, I had a moka latte (menu term) from a coffee shop in el centro. It was freaking amazing! Instead of whipping cream, there was marshmallow or thick, thick whipping cream. The top was sprinkled with coco. I was seriously in love. I wish I could have expressed my sincere gratitude to the creator of my coffee in Spanish…but alas, I’m not that good yet.

Later in the night, my new friend took me to another coffee shop. This time I ordered a mocha with some kind of chocolate….gosh, I wish I could remember. But the chocolate was spicy; not hot spice, but flavored spice. Almost like nutmeg or cinnamon. It was delicious too, but it wasn’t topped with whipping cream or marshmallows…so, it places second on my list of coffee shops.

Music…Fa, la, la, la

I think that the city of Merida is celebrating something this month, because there happens to be some kind of entertainment in the city every night. Tonight, there was a band playing in the park from 8 till 9. Afterwards, there was a free concert with a talented singer performing, indoors at the cultural center. A few nights ago there was music in one of the other parks…there’s always something. And the center square fills out with people viewing the events. Downtown is a very bustling place at night.

City Center

A girl I met at school, and I, left el centro and headed for City Center after I finished my coffee and we checked out the music scene. City Center is a strip mall, with Wal-Mart at one end, and a bunch of small stores leading away. It’s kind of hard to describe, but you can walk in between all the stores (there’s two strips of stores) or you can walk on the outside along the front of the stores. In between the stores is open air, and there’s a kids play park, fountains, benches, and gardens. It’s really quite lovely. At the end of the mall opposite of Wal-Mart, there is a cluster of restaurants and bars. During Thursday to Sunday these places are packed, and play super loud music. So, my friend and I sat down at one of them to have a beer. This is where I had a popular drink….a gigantic, 1 L beer, called a Michelada. They come in different flavors, and I had one that was chamoy flavored beer. Chamoy is a sauce/spice made from pickled fruit. It was really different. The other popular one is a beer mixed with Caesar mix (tabasco and worschteshire).  We enjoyed listening to the music, talking about school and life, and people watching. The beers were so big, we only needed to have one each. We stopped at La Parilla afterwards (also in the mall) to have some tacos for a snack. She dropped me off at home just before 2am, which, for a Saturday night is pretty early.
{ big beer! }

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