i'm back from costa rica! that's not why i haven't been updating (that's just because i suck), but now i have something to blog about! isn't that what vacations are all about? having something to write about? anyway, costa rica was awesome, as was to be expected. random pics below.
before you hear it from anyone else: yes, i fell off a horse. yes, it was hilarious to all that witnessed it. no, i was not hurt, but don't you worry your little head about that. i still maintain that that other devil albino horse charged my horse. my poor discriminated-against brown horse. anyway. in other news, i also went surfing (got up on my first try!) and hiking and swimming and i learned to dodge waves (why didn't anyone ever tell me that before? i've been pummelled my whole life...) and i even learned a little spanish.
i'll leave the rest of the story-telling to lu, who sums it all up nicely in her dos and don'ts email:
Shalini, Lanette and I just returned from Costa Rica. If you ever visit, I think you might find the following tips helpful...
DO breathe in the fresh air
DON'T breathe in the fresh air in the middle of a sandstorm
DO keep your wet swimsuit on when predicting a return to the water
DON'T keep wet swimsuit on if you mind the smell of mildew
DO pick up a man playing hooky for the evening
DO allow him to pay his way
DO let him serve as a guide
DON'T forget to thank him
DO hike nature trails
DON'T hike boulders in the ocean without water-shoes
DON'T hike boulders in the ocean without water-shoes if you can't swim
DO travel by horseback
DON'T fall off the horse
DO double-check if your friend is ok before laughing hysterically when she (or he!) falls off
DO pick up hitchhikers
DON'T force rides on people who're not asking for one.
DO pack your dirty hiking shoes in a separate compartment
DON'T pack shoes full of horse "mierda" in a separate compartment
If you don't like the attention DON'T: allow the speed-crazy-one to drive the rental; have "story-time" readings on the beach; fall off horses; dress like an "American;" tan one breast more than the other, or ask random people "Are you from Montana?" If you relish in strange looks DO all the previous: mustard on your face, frizzy hair and looking-like a dwarf accentuate the effect.
Just so you know, when you're in another country your wake/sleep schedule might change,your singing voice doesn't improve, and neither does your tolerance for alcohol.
also, max has been gracing us with stories of his adventures in sofia, bulgaria. they are reprinted below. along with this link to bob's take on gay marriage, and news about gmail.
A few weeks ago, after I had been in Sofia for three weeks, I decided to try a new internet cafe. I had walked by it often, but my flatmate (Mark) had warned me that it was dark and full of young teenagers screaming as they blew each other away and wholly unsuitable as a place to read notes while writing CELTA essays. So I had never actually entered before.
But I decided to check it out anyway, as it is very close to my apartment. I went in and saw that there was a series of doors. I entered the first and then got buzzed into a tiny room the size of an airplane lavatory. I then had the following conversation with the girl behind the window:
Me: Hello, do you speak English?
Me: I'm not sure how things work here. Do I need a membership card?
She looks at me carefully. She is young, with dyed blond hair and green eyes. Kinda cute, but in a skinny heroin-addict kind of way. I have definitely never seen her before in my life.
Her: You are a member.
Me: Umm, I don't think so. I've never been here before.
Her: I remember you.
Me: That's impossible. I definitely have never been here before. You must be confusing me with somebody else.
Her: What is your name?
I start to tell her, but her knowledge of what the English letters are called seems inadequate so she asks me for an ID and I give her my driver's license. She types it in.
Her: I knew it. There you are.
She pivots the flat-screen monitor so I can see it. There is a picture of me wearing the exact same gray striped sweater I was wearing at that moment. I had my face mashed up against the plexiglass, giving a clear and enlarged view up both nostrils. My head was cocked to one side and my tongue was hanging out the other. I looked insane.
Her: You were very drunk.
Me: Umm, yes.
Her: And with a girl.
Me: Umm, yes.
(Long pause. I redden.)
Her: Do you have your membership card?
Me: Umm, no.
Her: That will be 2 lev replacement fee.
She held out a gray card that I instantly recognized as the mystery card I'd been carrying in my wallet for three weeks.
Me: Oh, that one. I do have one of those.
I pull it out and she scanned it. I said thanks. She buzzed open the final door. I heard her laughing as I entered a huge dark room full of computers. I still had no memory of ever having been there before.
I now go to this internet cafe almost every day. It is by far the best around: cheap, fast computers, and 19-inch monitors. I am there right now. And every time I go in I have to see that stupid picture of me.