As you may recall, if you've been a faithful BLOG reader, that last year we had a full week of meetings before school began and they took us to a fancy staff dinner complete with a wine break. Remember?! Well, this year we had just 3 days of meetings (for the new teachers, really only 1/2 day for us old folks) and on Friday after school they said we had 5 minutes to go home, get chairs, put on bug spray, and follow the caravan to a "place". We ran home and got loaded up and found the caravan...in a plantain field. We had never been to one before but were pretty excited about it. Plantains are a big deal down here and the trees are really beautiful. Plantain trees grow, give off plantains, and then are cut down. The way they keep plantain trees going is little baby plantain trees grow around the base of the big ones, they dig them up and then transplant them. Yes, they look like banana trees and yes plantains look like huge bananas. Anyway!! They had a cookout set up for us complete with fried chicken (yes, Courtney got STUFFED!) and tostones which are plantains that have been smashed and fried up...plantain chips if you will. Here's the cook out all set up and while we were eating.
After we were done eating we were just sitting around drinking and talking (so what's new about that?!) and then Katie and I decided to go climb on the tractors and bulldozers. For those of you who know the story behind "tractor babe", yes, she made an appearance. She even had her picture taken but I don't think she needs to be recognized on this BLOG. I will, however, put up a picture that this little boy took of Katie and I on a tractor. He spoke no English so Katie got to try out her Spanish on him. Even the little kids here speak fast!! After climbing all over farm machinery we got a tour of the field. They have miles and miles of plantain trees and they also have some papaya trees, chili bushes, bell pepper bushes, guineos trees (tiny bananas), some sugar cane, and, of course, bee hives mixed in there. Courtney ate a red chili while we were walking through the field, Katie, Sara (new 1st grade teacher from CO), and I, on the other hand, stuck with guineos. They are delicious and just the right size! We're holding guineos in the picture here.
The next exciting thing to happen was when they brought us over some sugar cane. Apparently Brent really enjoyed sugar cane when he lived in Ecuador but this was our first experience with it. In the first picture the little boy that took our picture is showing Brent how to cut it and in the 2nd picture -which Katie loves for some reason! - is me with my mouth FULL of sugar cane. Courtney cut off a big piece and I tried to suck on it but it was too much so he took it back and cut it in half. Then he decided to shove the second piece in my mouth. As you can see I thought it was hillarious which is why I didn't take it out of my mouth!
When we were done there we went and spent some time at our secretaries house before heading home for some shut eye. Saturday we did laundry, shopping for school and grocceries, and planned for school...that's right people, we start tomorrow! Last night our Science teacher, Jorge, who owns a bar downtown had karaoke so we went. I'm glad we did because he spent part of yesterday looking for karaoke CDs in English just so we could sing. I'm a hit when we sing in the comfort of our own homes but when we go out Katie and I ususally sing together. Katie sang by herself last night so I had to do the same. We had a good time. Today we've been finishing up school stuff and relaxing. We have to get up bright and early tomorrow to begin molding the minds of the children... hopefully tomorrow's post will be better than the one from the first day of school last year! Don't worry - I'm mentally prepared this year. Have a great week.