I seriously apologize to my fans (mom) for not being better at this writting thing. I guess some memories are more fun to reflect on than others. With that said, Merida was the next location on our travels. Merida (and the E is pronounced stronger) is a smaller city in Venezuela that is up in the Andes mountains. They are known for their amazing mountains and hiking. The city of Merida, like I said, is much smaller than Caracas and much safer so it was nice for us to be in an area that we could spend time alone without having to worry about anything. We took a 15 hour bus ride to Merida. These buses are actually pretty big, double decker and have really comfortable seats. They are like big thick reclining chairs and boy do they recline! There were also some tv screens to watch movies; our favorite movies were the cheesy 90s christian ones, so touching. We eventually arrived in Merida after an all-nighter bus ride. We stayed in the home of a friend of my fathers who lives around 20 minutes outside of the city; she lives in a place called El Valle. It was up close to the mountains, very quiet and serene. It felt like we were camping when we arrived to our room, an outdoor extension to her home but you could hear all the bugs and river sounds at night, it made for a very peaceful slumber. Unfortunately our time in Merida was short but we were able to experience some of the most amazing things Merida has to offer. We went up Paramo Mountain which is by the Andes. The elevation was about 12,000 feet--me being sensitive, I got a bit altitude sickness but it was bearable and worth it because the views up there were amazing. The mountains were big and lush, there were cows and cattle everywhere and yet it was the quietest surrounding I have ever been in. There were various farms in the area and the people there were so welcoming and kind; that was a big highlight for me. I am not an outdoorsy girl as many of you know but this was well worth any trip.
The next day we went to this big mercado (market) that is 3 levels high and it's all artisan things that people make and sell. Sarah and I stayed there for 2 hours looking at all the little things and of course buying many things. Although it was very apparent we were outsiders in that mercado, people were very warm and welcoming, made us feel very comfortable. Being in Merida, I realized so much about myself and who I am and who I am becoming. I am a very quiet person (with exceptions of course) and I found myself wanting more noise around me. Maybe it's because I live inside such a quiet body that I crave that loudness around me but things in Merida were so quiet and serene it made me nervous. Like that quiet in the movie before the killer pops out of nowhere and stabs you! I think the quiet help give me a louder voice, stand up for myself more and really think about what I want for me. Although I have enjoyed Caracas a great deal, I am thankful for the time in Merida because it taught me a different side of Gabi.
*side note: the evening we returned to Caracas, we found out that one of the buses that we traveled in was hijacked by some road-side robbers. Someone up there was looking out for us :)