Notice to Friends: I am still in Bogota, Colombia until the beginning of 2012. Plan a visit while there is still time!
June 2011: The Middle of My First Foreign Service Tour
I greatly enjoyed being home in the Bay Area for the solstice. Even though it was a short amount of time and I missed Anthony, it was still rejuvenating. Above, my dad, sister and I go down a slide at the 'Worgen Playground'.
In February, I went to El Salvador for USAID training. We stayed in the capital. I had never been to Central America. As the training was two weeks I had the opportunity to explore the city and the country (it is quite small). I saw Santa Ana Volcano (see below), walked the streets of San Salvador, sang some karaoke, and hung out on the beach. One thing I noticed is how 'little-American' the capital city is, at least where I was. There are lots of restaurant chains I assumed had gone out of business in the States like Tony Roma's and Bennigans. The winds at the Santa Ana volcano were incredible. Below I lean back a good ways, supported by the breeze.
After the training two friends and I stayed for the three day weekend and went on a road trip through Central America. We rented a beat-up old car and drove through El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras without a map. We had good company, beauty sights, and brazen adventures.
For memorial day weekend I visited the Zona Cafetera (coffee country) with my mom. We really had a great time. The landscape is stunning, the ambience is relaxed, and the food great. We went to the National Coffee Park, saw the pretty Valle de Cocora, and stayed in a simply wonderful finca (fincas are like countryside ranches). No other guests stayed with us, so we got the full attention of the lovely couple who kept the place up. We enjoyed limonadas, hammocks, the dirt country road walks, and a tropical thunderstorm. See the slideshow.
I was fortunate enough to travel to Colombia's interior for work. Colombia really is a beautiful country. A backpackers dream in many ways. Hopefully the security situation is resolved sooner rather than later and people can begin to trek the verdant interior. I hope to travel back some day. Click on the collage to enlarge.
I also had the opportunity to visit the Pueblo of Mongui, in Boyoca, a beautiful hillside community. We were inundated with rain my whole four-day stay, but it didn't bother me at all. I loved the atmosphere: the rushing river, the rain on the roof, the buena gente, the delicious food, all of it. I hope to go back before I leave Colombia. Short slideshow.
I went to a great concert for Cinco de Mayo. The band is called Voodoo Souljah, a blend of hiphop, reggae, and pop. With them and a couple other bands of a similar style I've finally found some Colombian music I really enjoy (no salsa!). Below are my friends and I who went to the show.
The second tournament has begun. Our US side is playing well, close to the top of the 10-team table, but may miss out on playoffs. I am in charge this time, fulfilling my extracurricular responsibilities to the embassy. My teammates are fun on and off the pitch. It's nice to run into them on campus, too. There is a professional photographer at the games; he took some cool photos. See links below.
Homepage for Chris Darrouzet-Nardi
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Updated June 11th, 2011