by Mary Catherine Rosher
This month I am coming up on one year living and working in Manati, whose biggest claim to fame is that it is the hottest municipio in Atlantico. If that doesn’t make it the best, then maybe these other things I’ve discovered about my pueblo in the last year will convince you.
The Best Meal
(They even accommodate vegetarians!)
At this point, I’ve eaten at most of the restaurants in Manati. If you’re looking for a twist on corriente and just want to eat a ton of food, El Sabor Chino is the place to go. My favorite dish is the fried chicken corriente. It comes with sancocho, fried rice, French fries, fried chicken and a salad, so its basically healthy. While it’s a little pricier than your typical corriente (about 8,000 COP), it is well worth the investment. They also have your other pueblo Chinese staples like fried rice, chow mein, lo mein, and chop suey. In addition to great food and generous portions, El Sabor Chino also has amazing service.
The Best Mango Lady
(Jaqueline in her usual spot selling mangos)
Jaqueline is so much more than my mango hook up. She is the perfect person to spend an afternoon with to just sit and chat. She is an amazing woman and I am so thankful for her friendship. She is currently studying to become a pre-school teacher, so sometimes I help her with her English homework or we write lesson plans that she can use with her students. She is so committed to her education; she is patient, hard working, and a truly inspiring woman.
The Best Exercise Park
La Inmaculada. Since the gym in Manati split up after the owners had a disagreement, now the machines are located in one guy’s garage, and the free weights are located in another. Since I don’t want to get involved in the great gym schism, I’ve resorted to going to the public exercise park. It also happens to be the place where I met my new running buddy, Rosemary. I’m thankful for this space that has allowed me to get outside, exercise for free, and meet other like-minded people.
To round out the best of Manati, I have to include the best place to call home, which, fortunately, is my current residence. I have only lived with my new host family for a little over a month, but it already makes me sad thinking about leaving them. It’s so comforting to know that when I return home from school I’ll be welcomed by my host sister and niece and we’ll talk about my day and play never ending games of Uno with my neighbors until it’s time to go to bed. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
(Marathon Uno game with my host sister, niece, and neighbors)
If you’re ever in need of a filling meal, stimulating conversation and mangos with Jaqueline, some quality outdoor exercise, and a competitive game of Uno with the world’s best host family, Manati is siempre a la orden