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Posts Tagged ‘ Venezuela ’

Robert: Lo que no mata engorda

“Our standard of living is a matter of functioning and capabilities, not a matter of utilities, commodies, or opulance” – Amartya Sen, The Tanner Lectures I have been in Mérida for five days and one of the things that stands out most to me is the shortage of the basics. Some of these shortages are chronic, others are periodic, but all are annoying. Rest has been one of the most limited resources of late.  As a matter of the demands of the VENUSA program, my class schedule, and thrill-seeking behavior, […]

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Jim: Arrival in Venezuela

I haven’t had much of a chance to post yet. This first week has been crazy: traveling, figuring out housing, figuring out schedules & transportation. I certainly haven’t settled into any kind of a routine yet, but I generally know where I’m at & where I should be next (usually in class). This post will be brief as I’m still working on getting pics online. I’ll probably be posting several times this coming week to get caught up on things, but in summary: The trip here was uneventful (a good […]

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Jim: Mérida here I come

A few people have asked about where Mérida is, so – here it is! Mérida is in the Northern part of Venezuela (West by NW, I suppose). It is near the top of the Andes, just South of Lake Maracaibo. Even though it is pretty close to the equator, the altitude keeps the climate reasonable – a little on the warm side, but not too bad if you aren’t spending your days splitting wood or working in attics. 5,348 ft in altitude. As a point of reference, Denver is at […]

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My Last Final…

In case anyone has failed to notice, there has been a decided lack of new entries in my blog. I feel that I owe an explanation, but honestly, the only one that I can come up with is that Mérida sits atop some kind of vortex that distorts time. Actually, it may be even more complicated than that, as I have discovered that during the past three weeks (coincidentally the same period of time during which I have been taking Spanish 1004) time has been moving both rapidly and excruciatingly […]

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Done!

The final project of my undergraduate career was talking about World of Warcraft in Spanish for ten minutes. Fantastic way to go out! Today was the last day of classes for VENUSA, and I did really well here academically. Which was kind of surprising considering how many distractions I have here every day. I’m very relieved to be done, and excited to attend the going away party at VENUSA tonight. Tomorrow morning I leave for a town called Trujillo where there is a giant statue/temple dedicated to the Virgen de […]

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Say “Chichiribichi” Five Times Fast

Had a great time at the beach this weekend. From the beginning: This is the private bus we took to get to the beach. It took about 12 hours (uugghhhh…) because we had to go south then west north/east and finally north because of the mountain and road situation. It was pretty ridiculous.  There were 16 of us on the trip, and 10 of us were americans. The bus blasted salsa, reggaeton and various other musical styles the whole trip. There was even a point where we had an improv […]

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Ben: Parapente

It was strange to spend the Fourth of July outside of the United States. Actually saying that sounds almost sarcastic coming from me (who is not exactly the most patriotic of individuals on a good day), but this year I missed being there. I kept thinking that if I was at home Jess and I would probably be over at Jeff and Gene’s playing bocce ball. Instead, I was stressing out about my new Spanish class and wondering if I am actually going to be able to graduate or not. […]

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Ben: Paramo

The last week has been tough, although I am not exactly sure why. Perhaps it is that my first class ended, and without classes for a week I feel a little bit of “what am I supposed to do now?” happening. Or maybe it is because many of the friends that I had made just left Venezuela, heading back to their homes in the States. Possibly it is knowing that I am starting a new class, a harder class, in less than a week. Although I got an A in […]

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Ben: Hiking in the Andés

I have been in Mérida for three weeks now, and although I have been exceedingly busy (with school, studying, family events, etc.) I am constantly finding myself staring up at the tree covered hills leading into the mountains, wondering when I will have the chance to get out and hike in them. I see them from the patio at home; I see them as I gaze out the window during class. In Mérida, you see mountains everywhere you go…but I wanted to see them closer. Before coming to Venezuela I […]

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Erica: Such and Such

I had my last first day of school today (of course that’s making the presumption that I won’t someday go to grad school or pick up any vocational degrees, but still.) I met some of the new students at VENUSA and they seem like a pretty good crew. I am sure I will meet a lot more tonight at “Nuevos Encuentros” and afterwards when we make it to whatever bar we end up going to. My schedule this semester looks decent, I’m taking Cross-Cultural Communications, Spanish 1004, and am attending […]

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Erica: Catatumbo

This trip was lots of fun, and different than the others because it was just me and two other americans who planned it last-minute.  It was totally worth it, though. This is a picture of the “Ranger’s Station” in our area of Lake Maracaibo.  For those not familiar with Venezuelan geography, this lake is actually the huge bay in northern Venezuela, but they all call it a lake because the inlet is small in comparison with how big the area of water is, and the species here (at least where […]

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Ben: El Centro

My summer in Venezuela is proving to be a very complicated balancing act between the need to study and the desire to experience. Although initially nine weeks sounded like a long time, the truth is that much of my time here is consumed either in school or studying for school. After all of the time I spend studying, there is not much left of those nine weeks. Let’s just say that I am very glad I will be staying down here an extra two weeks after my classes are over. […]

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Erica: Los Llanos 4

This was the utterly breathtaking midsummer sunrise that I woke up to. I needed to go to the bathroom, and stepped outside to this magnificence.  There was also a chorus of birds and frogs to welcome the day. This was the only sunrise I’ve been awake to see here, and definitely the most amazing one of my life thus far. And here we are on the river tour, this fancy beetle decided to have a little visit on my shoe. Owl that we saw on one of the jeep tours.  […]

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Erica: Los Llanos 3

Here are the local R.O.U.S.’s  (for those of you unfamiliar with The Princess Bride, that stands for “rodents of unusual size”). They are called Capybara and they travel in these herds all across Los Llanos. They have webbed feet too, and can swim really well.  Some of the bigger ones were the size of a labrador. Here is another one a little more close up, they’re adorable.  And kind of ridiculous. This was my super-high-tech fishing utensil for catching piranhas. That’s a piece of beef on the end. I didn’t […]

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Erica: Los Llanos 2

Here is where we began our river tour on Sunday. There was an ocelot that hung around the farm where we started the river tour. It was really great seeing one wild/partially domesticated and not in a cage. But one dude wanted a picture with it and tried to hold it next to him but it growled and he had to let it go or suffer the consequences. Serves him right. Respect the feline. However, after it growled at him the ocelot walked over to me and briefly rubbed at […]

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