Sunday, October 18, 2009

Oktoberfest, El Centro

Geoff and I have had a few very uneventful weekends, because I've had to catch up on work before the quarter ends. By this weekend, both of us were going stir-crazy and wanting to go away somewhere for the weekend. But, we had promised our friend Andrea that we would go to her Oktoberfest party, so we decided to stick around the city...

We decided, instead, to make the best out of Andrea's party. We went and bought a ton of beers (a mix of cheap and nice beers), bought two giant beer mugs, got some plastic cups for beer pong, and made jello shots! Andrea's party turned out to be totally fun, even though the Americans mostly turned in somewhat early. We ended up partying with her Salvadorean friends, plus Jon, after everyone else had left. We taught the Salvadorean girls how to play flip cup and beer pong, and they taught us how to play Vikingo and Marcas. And we silly-danced. It was pretty awesome times. :)


One thing we did try to do this weekend was to go down to El Centro to visit the Palacio Nacional, the Catedral Metropolitana, and the Teatro Nacional, which are all on the same block in El Centro. We got inside the cathedral, and it was pretty neat, but both the National Palace and the National Theatre were closed to visitors. What a shame! We were also warned by our taxi driver to not walk around past the 2 block-by-3 block area, since El Centro is not at all a safe barrio. Anyway, the cab driver said we'd be OK if we stayed around the very bustling parts of town, so we didn't press our luck. We left pretty soon after visiting the cathedral, since I wasn't feeling very safe. Afterwards, Geoff said that he felt like people were giving him pretty unfriendly vibes. I am not sure whether I had felt the same, but it was definitely a very impoverished part of the city. As soon as we had gotten out of the cab, a waft of something in the air had told me that there were homeless people nearby; and sure enough, you could see them every few feet, huddled next to a building or holding out their hands to beg for money. According to things I've read on the internet, El Centro suffers from a lot of street violence, and isn't really safe to visit at any hour.

Generally speaking, I'm feeling a little frustrated by the security situation here. Some days, it seems like we cannot really go anywhere. Even on our way down to a popular bar one night (La Luna Arte y Casa), a kid jumped out in front of our taxi cab in an attempt to stop us -- probably for no good. The cab driver eventually drove around the kid, and the cop car behind us picked up the kid and took him down to the station, but it's hard to say that we're going to keep being so lucky.


Anyway, the first quarter is already over! Can you believe it?

I need a break. We've only had one long weekend since the school started. The next 3-day weekend will be the weekend of Halloween. I cannot wait!

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