a slice of lasagna for lunch and an afternoon trip to the somerville home depot with my father to get some fluorescent light bulbs. we went via east somerville, the way i usually go if i'm biking to assembly square. i returned a plastic planting pot i no longer needed ($7). we got some 3ft bulbs (to be used as grow lights, so one at 5700k, another at 3000k) and some 8ft bulbs (for a cafe basement light fixture). i returned home with a long plastic tray (i use it for my indoor growhouse in the late winter) and some plastic rectangular containers for harvesting some more community garden larkspur seedlings.
freddy came home around 6:45pm, two bundles of market basket groceries in his arms. apparently he walked down to the supermarket from porter square then walked back. had i known, i would've told him that there are buses that get to closer to MB that leave from central square.
we left for rf o'sullivans soon afterwards for some american burgers. i mean, US burgers since colombians consider themselves americans as well, just south americans. i was afraid it'd be busy on a friday night, but there were a few empty tables. we got the table by the back of the restaurant (though next to the bathroom) with the tall chairs. i got my usual black & blue burger (medium), freddy went with just the blue cheese variant (well-done). i ordered a downeast hard cider while freddy sampled a samuel adams (glad i asked him to bring his passport). the place had a local vibe, an entirely white clientele, with the knicks-celtics game playing from at least 3 ceiling-mounted HDTV i could see (i miss basketball, can't get any games over-the-airwaves). it took a long time for our burgers to arrive, so we chatted a bit. he asked me about cristina, seemingly suddenly now curious about my previous roommate. i gave him a brief synopsis, but apparently he was looking for some stories, because he heard from his coworkers that she was "kind of crazy." so catty those latina doctors! when our food finally came, we ate almost without talking, just savoring the juicy burgers and big thick cut fries. i felt engorged afterwards. the later we stayed the more crowded it got, with a 4-person party standing and drinking by us waiting for a table. freddy paid for dinner as promised.
back at the house, we watched a streaming episode of andrew zimmern's driven by food in medellín colombia. i've seen the episode before, but i wanted validation from him that the food we saw were authentic colombian dishes. freddy told me medellín is a beautiful city, a lot prettier than bogotá, which is smoggy and lacks character. he said it was weird to be watching an english show showcasing the food of his home country, but said the things they ate were very authentic. the first few things were very medellín, but the rest was typical of colombian cuisine. we got to talking more about colombia. he showed me his hometown, san vicente de chucurí, in the santander department (district). it's a tiny town in the mountains surrounded by jungle. despite it's size, it has 3 high schools, one of which freddy lived almost across the street from. the main road bisects the town, where streets don't have names but rather numbers (he said all streets in colombia are organized that way). the major export of the town is cacao beans, and it's actually the largest producer in the country. he pointed out two must-see natural places in colombia: serranía de la macarena, which boasts a river of five colors, and sierra nevada de santa marta, which is the only snow-peaked mountain within view of the ocean.
that got me so interested in colombia that i started doing research on actually visiting the country. good news is that there's a 90-day free visa with a US passport. and everything in colombia is really cheap. bad news is the crime. although colombia has improved a lot over the years, it's ranked 12th on the homicide rate (the US is 108). the US state department also has travel advisory, warning visitors to stick to crowds and only take the main highways. that's probably overly cautious, and i've been to countries that one would consider shady in terms of personal safety. i was reading up on the city of cali, which in 2011 had 1870 murders, much of which was attributes to a mafia war. but this was half a decade ago, i don't know about the new crime statistics. i also began brushing on the biography of simón bolívar, the george washington of south america. he liberated much of northern south america from the spanish and created the new country of gran colombia from 1819 to 1831. in-fighting between the different territories caused it to break away into what we now know as venezuela, colombia, and ecuador, amongst other countries (that's why the current flags of those three countries look similar). now i'm on the search for a real biographical book about bolívar.