Wednesday, November 18, 2009

El Pilar, nature preserve

I’ve had lots of difficulties creating my blog. It seems that there are always interruptions in internet service when I’m uploading photos or saving text. I lost today’s entry, so I’m trying again. This isn’t looking quite the way I’d hoped, but hopefully I will gradually figure these things out.
In the photos you’ll see my friends Bonnie, Debbie and Julie on the deck of a treehouse at Earth Lodge where we walked two Sundays ago. The boy and goat are frequent visitors outside my room. The steps are at El Pilar, the nature preserve. The others were taken en route to Earth Lodge.
There is always lots to do here, but especially on the weekends. Last Sunday, Bonnie, Julie and I walked about an hour to El Pilar, and then hiked about 3 hours in a lush ravine up the side of a mountain. There are many types of birds there, including something like 20 different types of humming birds. At the top we had a picnic, then walked about 3 hours back. On the hike we only saw 2 other people and their puppy. We were exhausted when we returned, but it was worth it.
Saturday night there were 4 different dance performances going on in Antigua: tango, belly dancing, salsa and folk dancing. I wanted to see them all, but that wasn’t possible. Bonnie, Tommy and I chose the belly dancing performance because of the venue. It was held in an amphitheatre created in the ruins of a centuries old church on the edge of town. The dancers and costumes were amazing and there was live music provided by a band from Saudi Arabia. One of the final dancers danced with a two metre long snake wrapped around her neck and torso. At first I thought it wasn’t real, but the way it moved made me realize it was. Yuck!
Last Wednesday, a few of us went to Ricky’s Bar, intending to practice our salsa moves. The first few couples on the floor were so amazing that we were too intimidated to dance. We enjoyed the show though, and the music. The band was Buena Vista de Corazon, with the drummer/singer from Buena Vista Social Club. They also play across the road from my house on Thursday evenings, but then it is more mellow dinner music.
My friend Suzanne was here for a few days on her way back from Nicaragua, where she was working with “Sleeping Children Around the World”. We had a great time together, eating, drinking and enjoying live music. She has been here many times, and in a round about way, introduced me to the place and to Maria Elena. Thank-you Suzanne!
You all know I am a creature of habit, so it will come as no surprise that I have a daily and weekly routine here. I have a Spanish class Monday to Friday for two hours, and teach English Saturday mornings. I alternate days of yoga classes and private salsa lessons. Of course I enjoy my Café Condesa latte each morning sitting in the sunshine in El Parque Central.
It doesn’t get much better than that.

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