Last weekend Asa and I and Asa’s mom, Merrill, went to the World of Nations Celebration here in Jacksonville. The festival has been in existence for a good 20 years and is a great place to go and experience some 30 different international cultures. Each country was set up in their own tent where they displayed crafts and doo-dads for sale, sold authentic (for the most part) food, and stamped passport documents given to each visitor. A main stage central to all the countries exhibited entertainment and ceremonies from each country and local stages had live bands or dancing.
Each year the World of Nations Celebration is open on thursday and friday for elementary and middle school students to come learn about different cultures. Asa fondly remembers going to the celebration when he was a little tyke.
We had a great time wandering around, sampling local cuisine, and people watching. We even got to sample some empanadas from Colombia which were very different from the ones we had in Uruguay.
Some fun facts we learned:
– The Ethiopian calendar follows the Julian calendar which has 12 months of thirty days each and a 13th month of 5 days. The calendar is 7 years and 8 months behind the Western calendar.
– The Taj Mahal only took 17 years to build with workmen working every single day.
– Nollywood is what Nigeria’s booming film industry is called.
– The South Korean flag has a representation of yin and yang surrounded by depictions of the four elements: heaven, earth, fire and water.
– Angel Falls in Venezuela is 19 times the height of Niagara Falls.
We now live within walking distance of Montevideo Shopping, one of the few shopping malls in the city. To get there it’s a nice 20 minute walk through residential neighborhoods.
The mall has a Tienda Inglesa in it. There are a couple of these stores around Montevideo and they specialize in getting and having American goods (of course marked up in price because of the import taxes). On our first trip to Montevideo Shopping our goal was to obtain a surge protector/converter that would function with our electronics (the plug shape here is three prongs in a line) and we knew we could find it at Tienda Inglesa.
The rest of the mall was a little confusing. We found the food court, which is a bit smaller than the one at the Punta Carrettas Shopping mall. It seemed that the shape of the mall was a large square with a space in the middle and the floors only connected at the corners. There also seemed to be one bathroom. No matter where we were the bathroom signs inevitably led back to the food court.
There were lots of shoe stores, book stores, and clothing stores, just like anywhere else.
In front of the mall there is a nice plaza with a couple of restaurants and bank offices. There are art exhibits/statues featured in the plaza which I found particularly interesting.
Graffiti seems to be an art form here in Montevideo. Various creatures and drawings appear all over the city, sometimes with the same figure appearing multiple times. Graffiti can be found on building walls, bus stops, stairways, and public spaces. The following are just a few of the many pieces of art that I’ve seen in the city.