November 10, 2011: Cookies and tear gas

For once in my life, I was running early to class; I even had time to stop at one of the little panaderías and purchase a cookie. I was inordinately cheered by this small fact.

This is my cookie. My cookie was amazing.

Class was classlike; I’m more than halfway through my time at the language school. Somewhere in the middle of the passive voice, I started doodling in Devanagari in my notebook. It’s very helpful for my Spanish, I assure you.

For lunch, we went back to the manned-buffet restaurant of a few days ago. Today, I had a deeply exciting potato-based entrée — they seem to have mashed some potatoes, rolled them back into a potato-shape, stuffed it with mushrooms and cheese, and then lightly breaded the exterior. I want to learn how to make these. (edit 11/11: they are called papas rellenas.) We talked in English, sadly, but still pleasant conversation.

Does anyone know exactly what this is called? EDIT: papas rellenas!

Afterwards, yet another thrilling visit to the supermercado! I stocked up on breakfast foods. I also bought a cherimoya (a South American fruit). I’ve never tried one before, but shall add it to my history as soon as it ripens.

I also had a grocery-store discussion with myself, as I paced the second floor:
“Why are you wandering around the store like a little lost puppy, insistent on finding coffee-flavored milk?”

Because I’m living in a country where this exists. How did I live without it before?”
… you have a point.”

As I started walking home, I noticed a street vendor wearing a paper facemask. How strange, I thought; is she worried about disease, or what? A few minutes later, my nose started to burn and inflame, and I noticed an odd, spicy taste in my mouth. Ah — tear gas. I had been expecting to encounter it since I moved here, so I suppose it was due time. I covered my nose and mouth for a few blocks, and then I was out of the thick of it. This is yet another reason I’m glad to be living on a cerro: the residual tear gas from the protests doesn’t waft this far up.

V. got home a few minutes after me, and said that the streets were tóxico — a good way of putting it. I’ve had faintly stinging eyes, a light cough, and a headache all evening. Nonetheless, the experience was only annoying, not frightening.

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