Sunday, December 28, 2008

Turkey Bones are Boiling

La herramienta de traducción que tengo en la columna a la derecha aparentemente no está funcionando.
Para el traductor de Google teclea:
Y allí, entra la dirección de mi web:
Y te arroja la traducción con toda la diagramación original.

December Twenty-fourth
On 24 December Matt accompanied me to get the turkey. I always go to Carrefour first thing in the morning on the 24th to get a fresh turkey. I had called the store the day before to check what time they open. I couldn’t get through to the branch I normally go to, so I called another branch and was told that the store opens at 8:00, their normal opening time. When Matt and I arrived at the store and 8:05 (always arrive five minutes after opening so as to avoid the welcome line of store employees applauding the customers), there were people coming out of the store with full grocery carts… and there is no way they could have done that much shopping in 5 minutes. The branch had opened at 6:00 a.m. We went in and headed straight for the meat section. No turkeys. No turkey parts. No turkey anything. We found a meat clerk and inquired about the conspicuous absence of turkeys. A shipment had arrived on the previous day at 2:00 p.m. and by 4:00 p.m. they were all sold, but they were expecting another shipment to be arriving in about an hour. This was not good news. About an hour in Colombian time, means possibly today if at all. But the man insisted that the shipment had left the depot and was on its way and, as he noted, if the store didn’t sell the turkeys on the 24th, it probably wouldn’t be able to sell them at all (since Colombians celebrate Christmas on the night of the 24th, reveillon-style).

So Matt and I cruised the store and picked up the other items on our list, and then had a coffee at the Juan Valdez café. After an hour we headed back to the meat counter. We asked a young woman who was serving about the turkey situation. She didn’t know/didn’t care/wasn’t going to find out. We waited around until we saw our meat man again. He said that he had just spoken to turkey dispatch central and that the shipment should be there in 10 to 15 minutes. Much more promising. I checked out the competition. Who else was mulling around waiting to snag a fresh turkey? There was one other foreign couple who looked distraught, but no one else seemed to be edgy about the prospect of a turkeyless Christmas. That was good. I could take on the competition if need be. We staked out a place by the meat counter and waited. The shipment arrived 20 minutes later. A crate of turkey carcasses was rolled into the back area of the meat section. Behind the glass I could see the staff lifting the turkeys up by the legs out of the crate to be placed on trays, weighed and packaged for sale. Our meat guy was great. He came out and asked us how big a turkey we need. We got one just over 6 kg (13 lbs), which was one of the smallest ones. With our turkey in hand, we made our way home triumphant.

At 1:00 the boys and I went over to Estela and Leonardo’s for a Christmas lunch. I brought them a platter of my cookies and some wine and chocolate. We didn’t stay too long because José Miguel was expecting us at 4:00. We got to his place around 4:30. The kids went in right away but I went back to my apartment to organize a bit. I had mixed feeling about going over to José Miguel’s. I’d really like to have some plan other than spending Christmas with my ex-husband… but I don’t, so there you go. His sister Patricia was there, and her son Daniel. I enjoy their company and it was a laid back evening. José Miguel served tamales, bunuelos, and hot chocolate for dinner. I brought over cookies. We stayed until 10:00 p.m. Traditionally Colombian families stay up celebrating until well after midnight, but José Miguel and the boys have been out in the park training every morning for their Cocuy trip, and I’m not a traditional Colombian either. At home boys went straight to bed. This year William knew better than to keep getting up every hour to see if Santa had come!

December Twenty-fifth
On the 25th we opened our stockings and the presents under the tree. Matt really loved the remote control car that William and I gave him. William loved the cellphone, as well as the fact that he now has the coolest phone in the family. They both loved the heating bags that Rupert the hamster gave them, and I adore the new leather purse that Rupert gave me. Afterwards we went over to José Miguel’s for breakfast and more presents. The boys gave José Miguel a Juan Valdez cap, a package of special edition Juan Valdez coffee produced by a cooperative of demobilized paramilitaries in Antioquia, maple syrup, and I gave him a Group of Seven calendar. He outfitted the boys for the Cocuy trip, and he gave me a pair of very pretty silver water droplet earrings from Bogotá’s annual handicraft fair, that I didn’t have time to visit this year. The boys gave me a new bike helmet, which I desperately needed, and a blender that I know I will put to good use. Later I went back to the house to start baking the turkey.

Estela, Leonardo and their son, and José Miguel and the boys came for dinner at 6:00. Everything turned out beautifully. All around it was a relaxed and laid back Christmas.

December Twenty-sixth
The boys and José Miguel did a test run of setting up the tent in the park, prior to leaving for Cocuy trip. I brought them a picnic lunch of turkey sandwiches. I mixed ginger ale with the rest of the grape juice in the bottle but I didn’t get the lid on right and by the time I got to the park, grape-ginger juice had sloshed all over my knapsack, soaking my wallet and my camera. I dried everything off as well as I could, and back at home I gave everything a good cleaning. I hope the camera will be okay. Even the memory card had juice in its slot. The boys slept at José Miguel’s that night because they were catching an early bus to El Cocuy.

December Twenty-seventh
The boys and José Miguel left at 7:00 a.m. for a week of hiking in El Cocuy national park in Boyacá, at the border with Arauca and Casanare. The park has 20 snowcapped mountains, at an altitude of over 5,300 m (17,388 ft). We were there in 1995, when Matt was just over a year old. I don’t do well at high altitudes. I made the hike up without much difficulty but after being at that altitude for a while I started to feel really bad and had to be brought down on horseback. I hope the boys will be okay. I let José Miguel know my concerns. I think he took them seriously and he’ll be attentive to any signs of altitude sickness. They are going with a pair of experienced guides, so I’m not worried that they’ll get lost. William called from the town of Cocuy last night, after the 11-hour bus ride to get there. The kids are excited about the trip and I think it should be a great experience for them. The park is gorgeous, and there are hikes that don’t go that high.

Later afternoon Sally and I went to see our friend Marion who had knee surgery on the 22nd. I brought cheese, crackers, and smoked oysters. Sally brought a casserole. Marion is always well stocked with wine! We watched the movie Kinky Boots (Priscilla Queen of the Desert meets The Full Monty), which was fun and light. I took the Transmilenio rapid transit system home, and walked up through the Nicolas de Federman neighborhood, looking at the Christmas lights, most of which were not on. The city is empty. Most people go away at this time of year if they can. I don’t know why. This is the best time of the year to be in Bogotá.

December Twenty-eighth
Christmas is over. The weather is warming up. Later December through January is the warmest, sunniest time of the year in Bogotá. I went out on my bike this morning and inaugurated the new bike helmet that I got for Christmas. I love it! It’s comfortable and looks cool too. I went to the grocery store and got a cheese tray. Carrefour always makes up these wonderful assorted cheese trays for Christmas/New Year.

This afternoon I stripped the turkey carcass to the bones. The bones are now boiling in a pot with carrots, celery, onion, cloves, thyme, salt, and peppercorns to make soup stock. Almost all of the Christmas cookies have been given away to appreciative recipients. I have some butter left, so I’ll make one more batch of shortbreads. They do freeze nicely.

And finally I have some time to sit down and update my blog.

Hope you all had a Happy Christmas or whatever the celebration of your persuasion.

I’ve had the music of Argentine children’s composer Luis Pescetti on my mind. Conocí a la música de Luis Pescetti por la emisora infantil Colorín Coloradio hace años. Esta canción es una de mis favoritas:

La Mayonesa

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