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Thursday, September 1, 2011

It's been awhile since I wrote

We are settling in.  Not the easiest thing, as this country has the fewest english-speakers of any I've visited.  My clunky Spanish gets me around just fine, but Kris  and the kids have adventures daily (Kris might use a different word).

Bogota is a great city.  It is distinctly third-world, with horse-drawn carts everywhere on the streets and great swaths of nun-down tiny shops and shacks.  I feel drawn inexorably to the vendors on the streets who sell chiclets and cigarettes out of wooden boxes hung from their necks.  I have no love of either item, but finally broke down and bought a packet of certs mints from a lady today (she asked $1, but I successfully arranged a 30% discount--lucky me).  Anyway, I've also purchased coffee on the street from one of the thousands of vendors of everyday necessities (ie, coffee, fruit, cigarettes and chiclets) located conveniently on and between every street corner in the city.

The nearest park has a giant screen tv on which soccer games are shown every weekend.  The crowds for this are huge and energetic, though not at all intimidating.  About 9am on Saturday and Sunday a parade of black-shirted men open locked tents in the park and begin a bag-brigade, throwing large bean bags from hand to hand and lining them up in front of the mega-tv.  We've seen fans show up to claim a bag 4 hours prior to the beginning of a game!

I've been away in Ecuador for the past week, checking things out at two of the posts there.  It's a beautiful country, but I've seen woefully little of its mountains and coastline on account of a busy schedule.  I'll return in a couple of months to spend some time.  That trip will be extended by at least a day to see either a rain forest park I heard about or a shrimp farm owned by a guy I met the other day.  Emilio is an Ecuadoran-Italian and aquaculturist with a serious surfing habit.  Needless to say an interesting guy.

Ok, my plane back home boards in a few minutes and I've written about three more paragraphs than I meant to.

- Chad

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