And that’s exactly what we did. More of the same from the day before. Walked around the old town. And, again, were the only two who showed up to the group lesson at Crazy Salsa. At night, we went back into the old town to a salsa club that one of the guys working at the hostel recommended. We must have showed up too early, because while there were a lot of people milling about, none were dancing. We left to walk around the old town at night, stumbled upon an outdoor concert wrapping up, and then back to the club. When we returned, there was a bit more dancing, and some older Colombians took pity on me dancing by myself next to Andrew who was trying to pay attention to all of the fancy footwork on the little dance floor. After several dances with the same two sweet Colombians, we left to catch a little sleep before our boat to Playa Blanca in the morning.
Did you know salsa (the dance) originated in both Cuba and Colombia? I didn’t. So when we nixed going to Cuba, I was pleasantly surprised that I would be able to improve my salsa skills in Colombia before the end of our trip. We signed up for a group lesson with Crazy Salsa and then bummed around the old city until our class started. I think Andrew was a little relieved when we were the only couple who showed up for the group class. I love salsa dancing. Andrew tolerates salsa dancing, but he knows I enjoy it, so he wants to learn (at least that’s what he says). He surprised me in Seoul and took a few lessons in Korea (in Korean) and didn’t fare as well as he would have liked. I was hoping our lessons would go a little more smoothly in Spanish. They did, I think, but we still need quite a bit more practice!
Our last afternoon in Trujillo was spent walking around the city. A few blocks away, I saw these two busting a move in the crosswalk during red lights. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen some street entertainment during a red light, but it was the first time I was able to get a few photos, and video of the action. The boys were really sweet, telling me to wait for the next light when they were going to flip across the street for more dancing, and even jumping up on a nearby street sign for a pose or two.
Afterwards, we headed to El Palacio Iturregui, a nearby colonial house to check out the interior (or the interior that we could check out). Most of the ground level doors were open, and featured some impressive rooms, but we weren’t allowed to go in them nor upstairs to check out more. We tried to find another, however failed when we couldn’t find it, and settled for a snack before our overnight bus to Mancora instead.
This much I know is true: 1. I could hang out with these kids forever. 2. I need an African drum.
I feel like I might be just as bad as my many Facebook friends posting pictures of their cute mini-thems running around doing and saying cute things… But Seriously. If this were a competition, my afternoon with these nursery students in Uganda blows at LEAST a week of their kid’s cuteness out of the water. Maybe a whole month. I mean, really, did you see those five year old hips move in the video? They don’t lie.
After watching the best performance ever, we sat in on Sr. Juliet’s class with the older nursery students. It made me nostalgic for my first class (of five and six year olds) in Korea. I spent the entire day wondering if we should just stay and if Sr. Juliet would let me help teach her class for um, ever.
After lunch, we headed to Sr. Anita Marie’s (remember, math teacher from my high-school) class to talk about our trip. The girls were pretty enthusiastic about asking questions and inevitably asked us if we were married. When I said “Not yet!” they became all aflutter. When Andrew said “I keep asking, but she keeps saying no!” They were in a complete uproar. It was fun. We taught them a little Korean. Andrew told them about his birthday tradition of eating live octopus. We described cities like Dubai and what the snow was like in Jordan. They seemed to enjoy us and I felt bad we didn’t arrange to go into more classes while we were there.
We had planned on staying for three full days, not wanting to overstay our welcome- but in order to catch a ride the next day to Fort Portal, we had to leave in the morning instead of the late afternoon we had planned. It felt rushed, but unless we were staying for awhile to help with a project, I didn’t want to be a bother. Luckily, after spending some time with Sr. Anita Marie’s students, we were able to visit with Sr. Janet.
She pulled out a quilt some mothers from my elementary school made for her before she left. She’s never washed it because some of the fabric is glued on and there are student signatures on the back of each square, representing a class. She flipped it over to see if I could find my signature. Sure enough, after spotting cousins and recognizing names of students a few years older than me, we figured out I was in Grade 5 when she left, and sure enough, I found my signature on the back of the quilt. She was in disbelief. We took a few pictures.
Then she took us for a little hike up to “The Rock.” We passed a public school and she pointed out the signage was a little different on their walls than it is in say, in Korea, or even America, for that matter. I could see why her boarding schools are so sought after to get a spot in. These schools had sooo little in comparison.
“The Rock” was a big lava rock with a beautiful view. We took a few pictures together before Sister asked us if we were tired or ready to see more. She’s actually moving back to the States this spring due to some hearing issues and less energy, but really, she gave us a run for our money and would constantly ask us if we were ok to see more. It was so nice to chat and walk and visit with her. It was comforting. A link to not only home, but in a way, to my family as well, as she knew my Grandmother.
When I told my Momma that we would be able to visit the Sisters, she warned me at some point not to be worried if they were thinner than I remembered them to be and mentioned eating bugs. I mentioned this to the Sisters over dinner (a dinner in the convent is not that different from a dinner you might have at home- western food, meat and veggies) and they laughed and laughed! One of them said that not many realize what their life is like in Uganda. Water is sometimes limited. Their refrigerator runs on solar powered batteries. But most of what they need in terms of Western food is available in Kampala. We went to a grocery store before we came down and it was equally (if not better) stocked than the grocery stores in Seoul.
Granted, it would be impossible to feed all 600 students the same meals, and I don’t think the Sisters eat as well for every meal. Lunch is eaten at school (I think- for most at least) it’s almost always po-sho (a maize mixture that has the consistency of play doh without much flavor) that is mixed with bean soup. I enjoyed the bean soup. Po-sho is ok, but I prefer the matoke (banana mash) more.
After dinner, Andrew and I were rather excited to play more Dominoes with the Sisters. This seems to be a nightly ritual- playing games after dinner, before bed. They taught us how to play the night before and we were anxious to hone our skills. They might be Sisters of the church, but man, they can play dirty!
After an unsettling (squeeky brakes, road on the edge of a mountain) bus ride from Kathmandu to Chitwan, we arrived to the National Park. Chitwan was not what we had expected. At. All. It's a town centered around the National Park boasting jungle safaris, public elephant bathing, bike rides around the outskirts of the park, and we thought, a more town-like atmosphere. It felt a little like Nagarkot, except with elephants.
Many tourist agencies offered two-day/three-night packages, but we thought we could do it on our own. After scoring a guesthouse room for 300 Rs (less than $4.00), we thought we made the right choice. We had lunch with two NGO workers from Kathmandu, and then set out to find the Elephant Breeding Center. Without a map. With dusk approaching, we gave up. I did a little bit of work, while Andrew booked us for the Tharu Cultural Program at night.
The Cultural Program was packed. The dancing and druming was fun to watch and listen to, but the people walking down the center aisle to stand and take pictures and videos were not so much fun to have block the performance. The announcer was adorable, and over-zealous in his intonation. At one point, he was introducing the dancers that were going to dance with "drums made of yak skin and peacock fetus!" I paused. Unsure of what I had just heard. The older Canadian women next to me errupted in giggles.
"Did he just say peacock fetus?" Andrew asked. Yep. That's what I thought I heard, and I errupted as well.
"Feathers." I tried to whisper. "I think he meant feathers."
"You caught that too?" The Canadian woman whispered after she caught.
Half of the program seemed to be geared towards a Nepalese audience, with inside jokes and skits that the foreigner crowd didn't quite know how to appreciate. I think the program is performed every night, and I have to say, it shows. Not in a good way, but in the way that you can tell some of the dancers were bored and/or didn't really want to be there. It was no Battambang Circus, that's for sure. I mean seriously, walking, instead of dancing off-stage? Being late for different numbers. Oh no. My childhood dance teachers would not have that. at all.