Saturday, December 22, 2012

Situational Somethings

Hey guys!  I've officially gotten my next "so, when are you gonna blog again?" message from my mother, so that means I must be taking too long in between posts! :P Just kidding ma.  It has been over a month since I wrote (oops) so I thought in this particular post I'd cover more ground by tellin' you guys about my life here via some of the situations (some frequent, some unique, some I hope to never see again dear lord please goodness) I've encountered over the past month rather than an actual journal.  So here ya go, starting with my fave:

- The Twilight Massacre.  :P I love me some Twilight, and on Reunion, I am apparently among friends.  And I'm putting that lightly.  At our showing for Twilight, which took place at the traditionally un-busy hour of 1:50 on a Saturday, the theater was PACKED.  And by packed, I mean that there was a mile-long line stretching down the length of the entire theater and people were bunching together at the front like their lives actually depended on getting a middle seat for this showing.  It was the fourth day this movie was out.  I would have understand at the midnight showing, cause you've got all of the die-hards and crazy people, but goodness gracious.  Utter chaos.  I legitimately saw an elderly man shove a small child out of the way to get into the theater first.  Lesson learned: don't mess with the Reunionnais and their sparkly vampires.

- The Forays Into 'Savagery'.   I have two examples of this!  One was a few weeks ago, when my landlady informed me that we would be eating dinner with only our hands that night.  "It gives it a different taste," she told me.  Alright, cool.  So I spent the night eating cari with my hands and licking all of the sauce off of my fingers and having an all-around fabulous time trying not to slobber all over myself.  It's cool, you have to scoop the food up into your hand and sort of use your thumb as a lever to shove all of the food in your mouth.  It's how my landlady used to have dinner as a kid!

Obviously I succeeded with flying (okay, maybe more like plummeting) colors.

Then, two weekends ago, I went to the 'Savage South' with one of my teachers at school, Patricia, and her husband, Frederic, and it was an absolute adventure.  Culinary-wise, I tried an outrageous array of new food, starting with the much-more-delicious-than-expected fish cheeks that I had for dinner on Friday.  Yup, fish cheeks.  They were actually really really tasty!  Then, on Saturday, we drove through the south and had palmiste, which is the central part of a palm tree.  You can make it into a salad or have it au gratin - so of course, we did both!  I followed it up with a delicious homemade coconut ice cream with goyavier syrup.  YUM.  So... if anyone's interested in what fish cheeks look like...

... they look like this.  Kinda like normal fish!

Then, we went walking on the OLD LAVA FLOWS (yes yes, the volcano finally makes an appearance in my blog! Sort of. A little bit.) which included seeing the famous church in the south called "Notre Dame des Laves" (Our Lady of Lava), which is famous because back in the 70s, there was an eruption where the lava flowed all the way down to the doors of the church and then MIRACULOUSLY STOPPED.  And everybody wigged out.  The lava stayed there, of course, (because you know, people are so motivated to move scalding hot lava) so now the entrance to the church looks like this: 
As in, covered up to the windows in 30-year-old igneous rock.  So cool!

The rest of the afternoon was fabulous.  Among other things, we enjoyed the company of the famous Crazy Lady that inhabits a beautiful overlook called Cap Mechant.  She's a religious nut that follows you around asking if you're Catholic, and she is evidently there every day, all day, rain or shine.  On this particular day, I had the pleasure of watching her run around in a striped sweater and pink crocs while she yelled about how we were possessed by the devil!  Fun times.  She's so well known, actually, that she is listed as a 'warning' in guidebooks for people that are looking to go to Cap Mechant.  Not sure I've ever been so amused and so afraid at the same time.

To round out our day, we went and searched for the lava tunnels that run underground!  They're super cool, but super dangerous, since they're not very stable, so we only crawled around in the openings, but they stretch for MILES!

So, what I'm trying to say is... I've totally become savage.  Wouldn't have it any other way.

- That Time I Finally Saw A Waterfall.

My camera sucks and turns all of my pictures sideways, so enjoy this one with a nice little tilt of the head :P

The one thing I love about Reunion (yeah right, I LOVE EVERYTHING HERE :D) is that it still hits me incredibly hard when I see things like this:

Seriously, how can it not?!

This was part of a lovely hiking morning with Eileen and Frederic, where we saw three waterfalls, gorgeous flowers, and then took a drive to see a Malbar temple, which looks like this :) There are Hindu temples like this scattered pretty frequently throughout the island:

So pretty!

- Bus Problems.  This is probably too much information, but I'm trying so very hard to learn about bus etiquette, and there's still one thing I haven't figured out how to combat.  I have two words for you: butt. sweat.  I KNOW, it's disgusting, but I'm trying to figure out what the Reunionnais put in their Wheaties in the morning to keep them from sweating all over themselves on the bus.  Because I'll tell you what happens to me: I ride the bus for 30 minutes, and it is hot.  So when I go to get off the bus, I know I'll be sweaty.  And nine times out of 10, there will be a giant butt mark where I was once sitting.  I have thought of many ways to avoid this, one being that I sort of slide off of the chair, trying to wipe some of the sweat onto my shorts, then high-tail it outta there.  
Sometimes I try to wait until the very last second to jump out of my seat and run. At least then, there will be sweat, but hopefully I will be out of the bus doors so fast that nobody will know it was me! Yeah, I know, I'm not fooling anyone but myself.  The other super obvious option is to stand, but sweat makes you tired, man!

On the other hand, people on the buses are really awesome.  I've found about 40 people to start conversations on the bus with, from 10-year-old boys that really want to talk about mangoes to 40-something year old women that offer to guy groceries for me.

I've said it a thousand times, and I'll say it again.  The people here are incredible.  I love their openness and kindness so much.  It simply blows me away.

Alright, in addition to this post, I'll be throwing up a post sometime this week about my weekend, because it's been absolutely incredible.  Stay tuned for Reunionnais dance fighting, my first scuba diving experience and a nice hike through Saint Denis in my next post :)  THEN, it's off to Madagascar!!!