Monday, May 30, 2005

First barbecue

I am breaking with my tradition of doing posts with pictures. That will be the arrangement until i get my camera fixed or i get another source of pictures.

On friday it was quite hot already here in The Netherlands, i don't remember the temperature but it easily could have been 30. It was tempted to have a beer outside or go to the lake near my home for a swim. Instead i managed to convince myself that it would be a good idea to work. That's what i did, i had a very nice dinner (charque de llama) and after that i started hacking on my type inferencer. At one AM i get fed up and decide to join the guys from Grote, a student house, for a drink. I met them at België, a bar that specializes in belgian beers. After one we left and i met a friend with which i used to work on a project, Hanga. Now she lives in Enschede so we used the time to catch up with each other's lives.

The next day was still hot but somewhat less, the cause was the wind, as is always in this crazy place. Well, we decide to go to the lake for a barbecue and we start rather late, at eight. It was fun and the weather was allright there. But at a certain time mosquitoes started bothering a lot, so much that i still have visible bites and they itch so badly! They were not afraid neither of the barbecue smoke or cigarette smoke. Someone dubbed the term smokytoes for them.

The next day i went to the swimming pool and swam intensively. Gar Yein came along and we spent the whole afternoon together. I helped her with a french interview, kind of translation. She prepared a nice chinese dinner and then it was time to sleep.

Today it was a good working day and i had a nice dinner too. There was "Eyes Wide Shut" on TV, i still didn't make up my mind on what the movie is about. I think it is about relationships, faithfulness and sex. The whole thing about the secret society might just be a metaphor. Anyway, if you want a decent critic for that movie google for it! That reminded me of a commentary about a book by Michel Houellebecq. I have the link in spanish. I like very much the exploration of the idea of sex as a differentiation system. I will eventually read this book, i only read Atomized by the same author.

It is time that i wash the dishes and perhaps read a little bit more before going to sleep. Good night all.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Back in Utrecht

So finally i am back in Utrecht. I came back on monday last week, i have been a bit lazy about updating the blog these last weeks. One of the reasons is that i was having too much fun in Bolivia to actually use internet. Not only that, i also worked a bit so it was not one hundred percent holidays.

I am going to miss very much spending time with my family and friends. It turns out that one month was a very short time. I couldn't meet all the people i wanted to meet and also i couldn't eat all the dishes on my wish list! Next time i am going to actually write down that list and i will not come back until i have everything ticked, i should do that for people as well :). One of the dishes i ate the most was Picante de Lengua which is a spicy stew whose main ingredient is cow's tongue, a real treat! Even if i ate it two times, when my grandfather learned i was craving for that dish he arranged a family lunch where tongue was the main guest!

Picante mixto
Later that evening my uncle brought some pictures of my family from twenty years ago. More precisely these were not pictures but slides. That made it very easy for the whole family to see and laugh at the young faces of, now much older, cousins. We had a great time trying to recognize who was who at that time, and some pictures were extremely hilarious. My brother took pictures of many of the slide projections. I will show one where my brother and i are small kids.

My family, a couple of decades ago.

Sigh! It was a great time there. Now i am back for work. To quickly get used to the new time zone i avoided sleeping in the plane. Then i would be sleepy enough to choose the right hour to go to bed. Unfortunately i did some things until late that evening, mainly reading. That happened to me practically every night and i still have trouble waking up at the time i am supposed to. I guess this week i should be getting to my normal levels.

I guess the main activities this week are going to be work, and possibly a visit to the cinema to watch the third episode of star wars. I didn't care very much about the other episodes but i guess that now the marketing campaign got me. By the way, over the last two weeks i watched two bolivian movies that you should definetely see. One is called "El Atraco" and the other "Dependencia Sexual".

To close this post, the picture of my last lunch at Oruro.

Last family lunch.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Trip to Copacabana

Last weekend i had a really great trip to Copacabana, a small town located on the shore of lake Titicaca. We left on friday with mi brother Andrey and my cousin Pamela.

Llegando a nuestro cuarto

The first night we were there it was really empty. That was surprising because it is quite a touristic town. Never mind, people arrived next day and Copacabana remained crowded the rest of the weekend. We ate a lot those days, a never ending supply of trout and another fish called pejerrey. It took some time to find a suitable hotel room, we were quite picky. Since we were staying only a few days we had a good budget for rooms. However, most rooms we found were dull and unwelcoming. Finally we found one that was good enough you can see it in the picture above. Perhaps we were in backpacker's street and that explains the lack of luxury.

Viaje a Copacabana - 13

Above you see Copacabana from the old Inca observatory just outside the town. And below is a picture we took while sailing away to Isla del sol.

Vista a Copacabana desde el bote
Copacabana has a lot of places to eat out, bars and souvenir stores. As i said above our diet included exclusively fishes, we even dared to eat ceviche at a kiosk in the street. That was my final exam, since i came to Bolivia i avoided risky dishes so i wouldn't spend one week in the toilet. Happily now i can say i have adapted i can get street food and live to tell.

Besides food and a beautiful landscape, Copacabana is a spiritual place. Many pilgrims come to pray to the Virgen de Copacabana, they leave juicy donations that finance the construction and maintenance of a large part of the temple. It is really a beautiful church. My brother managed to convince some people living in a tall building to make this picture for you.

Viaje a Copacabana - 12
Another nice thing to do there is to take a day trip to Isla del Sol. We left the first day very early and arrived to the island at about ten in the morning. We walked the whole island from north to south. The landscape there varies a lot, there are very arid parts, typical of the Altiplano but there are also parts of the island that are suprisingly green. The place below is called the Inca stairs or something like that. There is a fountain that makes this piece of land very fertile.

La escalera del Inca

I would like to show you so many more pictures since i found the place so beautiful. I was lucky that my brother was with me, he is a compulsive photographer so we ended up with a couple of hundred pictures :). You can find a few more samples at flickr (click one of the pictures).

I may write some more later, i am in a bit of a hurry and can't put more here. Anyway, enjoy!