A working lunch

By gregebersole

February 10, 2011

Category: Travel

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This newspaper vendor sat down to eat his lunch at his stand in downtown Cali. Depending on where I go to eat, my lunches usually cost from 4,000 to 5,500 pesos. With soup, it costs 500 pesos more. In other words, I eat for about $2 to 2.80. That’s my big meal of the day. Most of the time, I don’t add the soup. It’s almost too much food.

Yesterday was an interesting and busy day. It turned out to be a good day. I got up at 5 am., an hour earlier than usual and was at the gym when it opened at 5:30. There were also about 10 others waiting to go in. My panaderia wasn’t open yet, so I had to wait until after my workout to get my pan queso and café. I had to start my day early since my Spanish conversation class was from 9 to 11 a.m. My regular classes are at 10:30 a.m. on Monday and Friday. It was a fun class. We played several word games. I pretty much know who my competition is now. At noon, I met my friend, Liceth, for lunch. Afterwards, she checked some of my homework and I helped her with problems she missed on her English test. We spoke mostly in Spanish today. Most of the time, I prefer now to speak in Spanish. I’m quite comfortable with it and the more I hear the more I learn. Yesterday, at the gym I heard a song and I could understand almost all of the lyrics. I’ve been hoping to understand the salsa vallenato and bachata songs for a long time. When Liceth had to go to class at 2:30 p.m., I left and rode the MIO to the stop near the library. I went in to read the newspapers. I usually buy the El País, but go to the library to read the other ones for free. I ran into a man I’d met before at one of the free movies there. We talked awhile and he then showed me a room where they have historical photos on file. We could log on to a computer and look up almost anything. It was very interesting. There is also a teacher’s room which wasn’t open when we were there. He said he spends time there and that I should to. I could meet teachers and make contacts. He also told me about a film making project through the government. I could probably get funding to work on a film. He also gave me ideas about having a photo exhibition here and told me about one of the better book publishing companies, which was the one I’d already heard of. And, he said if I was to start an English newspaper in Cali, the government would fund it. The guy is full of information. Some people I tend to be a little skeptical of, but I think he really knows what he’s talking about.

I finally got home close to 5 p.m. About 5:45 p.m., I logged on to the Cali Couchsurfers site and read that Natalia, a member, was going to a movie at that started at 6:50 p.m. and that if you brought a particular bottle cap, the admission was half price. Several other members had decided to join her. I wanted to go too, and had to hustle to the bus stop since it was a 30 to 40 minute ride to Unicentro and the theater. I arrived about 10 minutes before showtime and I was still the first one there. A few others came soon after and Natalia arrived with about a minute to spare. The theaters are nice here since you buy reserved seats. You can look at the chart and see where you want to sit. If you have a group of people, someone can buy the tickets early and you can get good seating together. The movie was El Gran Concierto. The Grand Concert? It was great. A fun movie with beautiful music. Afterwards, I caught the bus back to my stop, stopped for a small loaf of brown bread and was home a little before 10 p.m. I made a tuna sandwich, since I hadn’t eaten since lunch, checked my email and was soon off to bed. I like the way some days just turn out great, busy and full of time to spend with friends.

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