Thursday, October 23, 2008

Back From A Blogging Hiatus

This is not a traditional blog in the sense that it is neither a window into my stream of consciousness, nor is it focused around one single topic. The reason for that is that I am sure that next to none of my readers is interested in the random thoughts that cross my mind on a daily basis. Often I think of things to post about and then demur when it occurs to me that having to turn such random ideas into clever posts with appropriate art might require more energy than I can muster. (Confession: I envy bloggers who never post pictures, though secretly skip over most such blogs due almost entirely to their lack of photos -- strange, I know.) Generally speaking, my regular, day-to-day life is really fairly boring, removed from a society I recognize, isolated, often incomprehensible (though my Spanish gets better all the time) and populated by no one else, apart from myself (and my husband for a couple of hours each night), who can put together a complete sentence in English. Despite my penchant for the non-traditional blog, I still enjoy blogging, though it is often not a priority -- as evidenced by this month's paltry showing. I blog because I don't keep a journal and because I know that someday I will want a record of our life overseas and our children as they grew to be contributing citizens of the world at large. I blog because I know there are family and friends, somewhere out there, who are genuinely interested in what we are doing and where we are doing it. I blog because I like to receive comments from my readers.

All of this is a lead up to the fact that I realized today that my most recent post, dedicated to the view from our apartment in Caracas and an afterthought at best, elicited more comments than any single post in my 2 year history as a blogger save only the post heralding the birth of Isaac. This is an astonishing revelation. It was one paragraph of text, 4 pictures and really, I threw it up on the blog because it had been weeks since my last post and I was starting to worry my "regulars" wouldn't come back if I didn't at least make some small effort -- particularly since I have also not been commenting on other blogs for most of the month. The lesson here is: Give the people what they want...and apparently what they want from me is pictures of a dictator-run, third-world, traffic-clogged city and the gorgeous sky overhead.

With that in mind...not long ago we visited a "suburb" of Caracas, El Hatillo. El Hatillo is far enough away that most people we know have been there just once and have no plans to return before leaving Caracas for good. In fact, it is only about 5 miles from our house, but with traffic becomes a day trip. El Hatillo is a small village that has desperately and somewhat successfully clung to its colonial roots in spite of the westernization of surrounding areas. Like most Latin American and European cities/towns/hamlets, El Hatillo is built around a central plaza. Typical of Venezuela, Bolivia and Peru, this square is adorned by a statue of the great liberator Simon Bolivar. The bright colors and architectural styles of the colonial era are visible throughout the small town and it boasts delicious retaurants and an abundance of churro shops. It is also known for its artisan market, though much of Venezuela's cultural heritage has been lost, abandoned or stamped out over the last 30 years and tragically very little is available in terms of traditional Venezuelan handicrafts anymore. El Hatillo is a maze of cobblestoned, narrow, one-way streets and a strange mix of old world and new construction with a gleaming 6 storey shopping mall rising up on the outskirts of town. We enjoyed a pleasant afternoon there chasing the pigeons in the square, indulging in a few too many churros and people-watching.

NB: And with that and the pictures below our blogging hiatus is over. We were taking a break because in the last three weeks we have received 3 shipments of household items totalling more than 175 pieces (huzzah! and sheesh!), and unpacking and finding places for all of that has taken most of my usually ample spare time. Look for a future post about life before and after 175+ boxes came to our now much happier home in Caracas.

a typical street in El Hatillo -- bright colors abound

the second floor Mexican restaurant where we had lunch

so many choices of churro

Simon Bolivar in his usual place

El Hatillo's obligatory church on the main square

not relevant to our visit to El Hatillo, but we thought it was
amusing that the 2 license plates read "Venezuela" and "Wyoming"

narrow streets against the old city wall

typical architecture

the barrios of El Hatillo

Hershey's was doing a promotion during our visit,
so while we didn't make it home with any handicrafts,
we did come back with a great souvenir just the same...

who doesn't love free chocolate?
(note, if we had bought these in the store, they would have cost us roughly $30)

25 comments:

diane said...

I feel like I went on a mini vacation after reading your blog.
Love the Chinese restaurant.
Who knew there were so many varieties of churros.
The picture of the barrios should be framed on my wall. The colors are beautiful.
Free chocolate...you scored.

dana said...

I agree with all your blogging thoughts and rambles. I also envy those who sit and write out clever, long, posts with no pictures...but at the same time, I don't have the patience to sit and read it and mostly scan for the pictures and quick descriptions (unless it's something truly interesting). And thus, I've come to the same conclusion about my readers (judging from the comments)...that they want pictures, stuff about kids, and brevity always wins.
So uh, great pics! And glad you got ALL THOSE BOXES unpacked. Sheesh is right.

diane said...

Please eat a chocolate churro for me. Sounds yummy!

Kristy said...

Welcome back! I haven't been much of a blogger myself lately. Reading this post made me feel a little sad...though I love this country and the blessings and abundance we enjoy, I miss living in South America. I miss the plazas with statues of Bolivar and spending hours sitting on the benches watching people because there isn't anything else to do. Someday we'll return. Someday. Sigh.

bwebster said...

I am sure that next to none of my readers is interested in the random thoughts that cross my mind on a daily basis.

Actually, Linsey, I think that would be fascinating beyond words. ..bruce..

P.S. Finished Tess of the d'Ubervilles and A Town Like Alice.

Kimberly said...

I love the glimpses into your day to day life. But I don't get it- gas is 30 cents and chocolate is $30??? I mean, I love Reeses peanut butter cups, but not for $30.

This also made me hungry for churros, but the best ones around here (or at least the most accessible) are at Costco! A little different here in UT.

Aaron said...

I am more of a lurker than a commenter. I read most of what everyone puts up, but usually let Teresa make the comments.

It is good, however, to keep up with my friends/relatives this way.

Keep up the blogging and I will read it :)

♥Shally said...

The Wyoming license plates are hilarious!

You live in a beautiful place, though chocolate is WAY overpriced!

Christie said...

Wait, there are chocolate churros? I had no idea. I'm coming, just to eat those for a week.

You may be surprised to find that your everyday thoughts are full of wisdom and inspiration for us bloggy friends. I say let the guard down and post away!

two forks said...

i heart churros!

mindy said...

$30 for a RPBC? holy sheesh! i am glad there are churros available. keep blogging as i learn so much from your posts. i do love the pictures because we live vicariously through you. happy to be unpacked? i bet!

Grayson Family said...

I also have abandoned the blogging world but for no good reason really. I wish I could say that I moved to a new country but alas, I just did laundry. But now I am back and in full reading mode so post, post, post. I will try to read and try to comment. Because, after all, I love you lots!

Cassidy said...

Mmmmm...churros.

gab said...

I like the rambling type posts best. And I like the picture posts best. And I like cute kid shots best.

I'm blog-schizo...I love 'em all.

Lauren in GA said...

Chocolate Chuuros?! Get out!

The sights are amazing...so great of you to share with us...

I love your posts...just so ya know....

Shelley said...

Chocolate Churros and Reese's Cups? Does it get any better than that? The pictures are so vivid too! keep them coming! :)

Amber DeGraw said...

I sent the Wyoming license plate :)

Sebastian said...

Please tell me that they have better Mexican food in Caracas than they do in Lima....

Hazen5 said...

I am so envious of your adventures. They maybe your everyday life but you are living my dream!

Ilene said...

We like to see the pictures to know for certain you are not lying about living abroad.

Steph Glazier-Collao said...

Simon Bolivar was in Venezuela? I saw him all over the place in La Paz (hence the country Bolivia). What is his significance to Venezuela? I guess I'll have to look it up now :)

nicola & andrew said...

I wish we could come visit you there...in fact we're both really bummed we didn't get to make it out to visit you in Peru (places on our long list!) how long will you be in Venezuela for?

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