On Monday, Michael was scheduled to be in symposia all day, but he didn’t have to be there until 11:00, so we had a much enjoyed quiet start to our day, including breakfast on the 4th floor of our hotel. It has splendid views of the city and was a fun way to start our day.
I walked with him to the Universidad del Quindio which is about 5 minutes away from our hotel and left him there for the opening session. I returned to the hotel and then walked back ONE hour later to meet a group of people to go to lunch!!!
We walked/drove to a restaurant down the street and all sat out in the open air to enjoy our meal.
I have learned something about lunches here in Colombia. Sometimes they have a menu available, but more often than not the server simply rattles off a list of items that are available. It might sound something like this…..Chicken with fried potatoes, chicken with boiled potatoes, chicken with beans and rice, pork with vegetables, fried pork with macaroni, fish with potatoes and salad, fish with fried potatoes….and on it goes.
This is fine except that it is all done VERY fast and in Spanish!! I was completely lost!! The other diners translated for me and I picked out a fried pork (like Wienerschnitzel) with potatoes. I sat back very relived that I had ordered. Then they wanted to know what kind of soup I wanted…..YIKES….here we go again. Finally, it was what kind of juice did I want to drink, and there were 5+ choices!!!
I was VERY relieved when she left and my order had been taken!!!
Then came a delectable Cream of Broccoli soup….
and finally the main course….
The fruit slice that sits on my schnitzel is a cross between a lime and a mandarin orange. It tastes a lot like a lemon but is a bit more bitter.
One of the other diners, Andrew, ordered fish and considering that everyone at the table was a biologist, the discussion quickly turned to a debate of what kind of fish it was. Being a good biologist, Andrew “dissected” it to determine it’s identity…
….such is the life of being a NON-scientist at a scientific conference!!!
I opted to walk back to the hotel but to stop at a local parque (park) on my way. Now, I had read about this park and was envisioning acres of green grass, beautiful towering trees, benches and sedate walking trails….NOT! This exotic park is a jungle of trees, birds, flowers, butterflies and a large rodent called a “Paca” (closely related to the Agouti).
I paid my 1,000 pesos (40 cents) entrance fee and started walking around. The first thing that I noticed is that I didn’t have the proper shoes on as the trails were steep and sometimes rocky.
I enjoyed a few minutes of watching him and then decided to leave the park and come back better prepared on another day!!
Michael arrived a little after 6:00 and informed me that we were being picked up at 7:00 for dinner!! This time we walked to a small sports bar close to the park entrance and enjoyed hamburgers of various varieties. Mine had BBQ sauce and guacamole….YUM!!! Each of the dishes were named after famous sports figures and it was fun to order a “Hugo Sanchez” or a “Shaquille O’Neal”!!!
Each of the burgers were served with a plastic food service glove tied into a cute little bow. Apparently you were supposed to use the glove on the hand that held the burger so that you wouldn’t get messy. I say apparently, because neither of us stood on that ceremony and just ate our burgers the “Texas” way!!!
I was sitting in the middle of the table with 4 people on one side and 3 on the other. There was a conversation in Spanish going on to my left and Science talk to my right so I just enjoyed the music!!!
It was an exceptional start to our stay in Armenia!!