I loved Spain. Nine days weren’t enough but I’m so glad I got to go at all, as it was not part of my original itinerary whatsoever.
eMber, a former coworker and current friend, moved from the Bay Area to London with her husband last year. She invited me to visit if I happened to pass through during my travels and once I decided to come to Europe, the offer went from possibility to reality, especially when she asked if I wanted to housesit for her for two weeks in June (free lodging in London, yes please). We were emailing back and forth and I brought up the idea of meeting up somewhere else entirely. eMber said “Wouldn’t it be fun to meet up in Barcelona?” Yes. Yes, it would.
Yesterday, I finished up my last day of Spanish school. I learned (and re-learned) a lot, and although I’m nowhere near fluent, I’m comfortable getting around town and even engaging more with my host family. I had a delightful conversation en español with Anita the other day about how microwave popcorn is just not the same as movie theatre popcorn. After my final class, I went out for a little tequila with a fellow student, Lisa from Atlanta. She’s older than me and very well-traveled. We talked about places we’ve been and where we want to go, and I’m even more confused about my plans now than before. In a good way! At least, that’s what I’m telling myself. I’ll pretend my indecisiveness is exciting instead of frustrating until I figure out next steps.
This weekend, I’m just relaxing and enjoying the last few days in my little room in Puebla. I was glued to my laptop the better part of today watching a live broadcast of the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. Powerful stuff that makes me feel a little more hopeful about the state of my country right now. I tore myself away for a couple of hours to grab a giant cemita for lunch, buy a bus ticket, and pop into a cute Italian market where the nice guy working there sold me a bottle of Sangiovese. And tarallini! I have trouble finding those at home sometimes. I’ll enjoy them with some queso de cabra tonight.
Next week, I’m heading south to Mérida to meet up with the friends I made here two years ago: Ken and Martha, and Melody (her husband Cordel is working in Canada at the moment so unfortunately I won’t be able to see him). They’ve worked out a joint custody agreement so I’ll get to stay with everyone for a bit. My only serious plan for Mérida is to eat seafood–I don’t trust it here in Puebla. Other than that, I just want to chill out in the heat and enjoy some shenanigans with some of the best people I met on my last big trip.
I’ll leave you now with some Susan Tedeschi because women rock.
Today, I wrapped up my first week back in Puebla. The city is pretty much how I remembered but I had forgotten some of its idiosyncrasies. The intersections only have streetlights on two out of four sides, so you occasionally have to twist your head around to see if it’s safe to cross. The municipal gas trucks play loud music as they cruise through town. There are VWs everywhere thanks to the nearby Volkswagen plant.
My favorite restaurants are still here: Las Ranas for al pastor, El Paisa for carne asada tacos, and Los Portales for tostadas and molotes. The food remains delicious and potentially hazardous. Montezuma may not be seeking revenge on me but I feel he’s being…I don’t know. Passive aggressive? I’m not sick but without getting into too much detail, I keep running out of toilet paper at an alarming rate.
I’m back at the same Spanish school in the same classroom struggling with the same past tense verb conjugations.
Once again, I didn’t have the best of times in D.F. I arrived Easter weekend when most places in my neighborhood were closed down. It was nearly impossible to find a taco for two days. I did enjoy one afternoon strolling around La Condesa and treating myself to a nice cup of tea and a good glass of wine. However, my hostel was not very relaxing and thanks to a snorer in my room (who also left the window open, letting bugs in to bite me), I got about two hours of sleep the night before my flight to Cancun. I was already eager to get to the Yucatan; I also couldn’t wait to get out of D.F.
Not only was I excited for beach time and getting to dig my bathing suits out from the bottom of my backpack, I was looking forward to reuniting with some of my favorite people I’ve met during this trip: Ken and Martha.
Ken is carrying my backpack for me, mostly because he’s nice and helpful but also because it matched his shorts.
After Lima, I spent three nights in Paracas. This was probably too much time, especially because the last day and a half was marred by a crazy sandstorm. Initially, I was excited for Paracas. It’s a very small beach town and I haven’t been to a beach since Bali in November! My bathing suits had been sadly stuffed in the bottom of my backpack for months. Unfortunately, Paracas was no Koh Rong. The water wasn’t clear and the whole place smelled like fish. I ate some pretty great seafood while I was there (conchitas a la parmesana twice!), but I don’t want that aroma in my face all the time. So instead of the beach, I spent most of the time in a hammock or by the hostel pool. That is, until the sandstorm closed it down.