Sunday, May 14, 2006

Library, Driving and "Mary"enda (merienda)

Things here are moving along with the challenges and victories and quirks of a new culture.

My wife and I wanted to go to the library and check out a few books. We found the library after another death defying stint of driving the motorcycle and sidecar, and made a parking space and entered. We had to fill out a registration slip and then we started browsing the books. I found a couple of books and she found a couple and we headed to the desk to check them out….Only problem is they don’t let people check out the books! A little frustrating...

I have overcome my fear of the cycle and sidecar (trike) and drove down into the mix of the traffic and survived. That was a liberating feeling! My wife and I get a lot of strange looks. There are not too many white guys here and very few white ladies, then to see one driving a trike is to them a little funny. I get a lot of thumbs up signs and smiles.

If we get out of here skinny, it will not be because of the people! Everywhere we go to visit the church members, they open their house and give us “merienda” (snacks) and something to drink. We have a fair share of Koreans that come to the church and so these snacks are sometimes pretty interesting. We have had hot corn on the cob, a puree that looked like orange juice concentrate without the water, (it was mango) coconut juice, sticky rice boiled til it could be rolled and formed into a cookie shaped disc that was then dipped in coconut flakes and sodas poured into plastic bags with a straw (bottles are worth money and must be returned). Lots of crackers that call themselves “cookies” and nuts. Christine is picking up on the language a little, but she was stumped on this one…”Who is this Merienda that we are going visit and ….why is she going to give us something to eat?”

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