Written by Jacqueline Newell
Many things have happened this past week set to the back drop of the Andes and to the music of reggae festivals.
1. First lessons at UNCuyo – Last Wednesday, I made my first presentation in front of my students. The future English teachers at la Universidad Nacional de Cuyo are currently reading Doubt: a Parable. For my first lesson, I taught them a brief background of the author and a bit about the US in the 1960s. I was exceedingly happy. As a result, I was even still happy after I accidentally rode the bus in the wrong direction for an hour. I found myself in a different town at the bus depot and had to find my way back.
2. Taking brunch to new heights – On Saturday morning, Eli decided we should go to brunch at El Faro (the lighthouse), on the 14th floor of The Tower Suites. But, it turns out, that brunch is not a thing here, dashing all my dreams of waffles. However, we did enjoy some balcony time while we waited for lunch to be served. Inside the restaurant, there were photos of different lighthouses from around the world – including Portland Head Light.
3. The abandoned hotel at Villavicencio – Eli’s friend drove us 30 minutes outside of town to Villavicenio, a nature reserve where they bottle water. The building that is on all of the water bottle labels is an actual hotel in the mountains but, unfortunately, it has been shut down. There is a small chapel and garden paths, too. On special occasions (such as Easter week), there is mass in the chapel.
4. Discovering the Park – While going for a long run on Sunday, I found myself in the middle of Parque de General San Martin, the massive park that houses my university. While running, I joined a group of men who ran with their Palm Sunday leaves in their hands and discussed marathons. They led me to the lake where I then discovered a free zumba class happening. Naturally, I paused my Garmin watch and jumped in. On my way home, I stopped and bought a newspaper from a man who thought I was joking when I explained that it is winter at home right now. He then introduced me to his friend Te, a painter who once had tea with Salvador Dali.
5. Interviewed among break dancers – My roommate’s best friend took us to a free concert in a park on Sunday evening. While there, we saw people being tattooed, selling vegan sandwiches, dancing with hula hoops and hard core chilling. It was a very interesting group that came out (and for some reason I barely took pictures, who am I?!). The music was a mix of rap, hip-hop, reggae and rock. While hanging out by a crew of break dancers, I was interviewed for a local tv station. One of students mentioned in class on Wednesday that they want to have lunch with me, now that I am a celebrity. Just another day, right?