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Friday, October 14, 2011

Monserrate


A few weeks ago we planned on hiking up to Monserate, a church on top of the mountain. We prepared for the hike, then called a taxi and rode to the entrance. Unfortunately, the hike was closed. So, we had to buy tickets for the tram on the way up and the cable car on the way down. We waited a while in the line for the tram, and finally it came. We were about to go to the front of the tram, but Dad heard that it was a better view in the back, because you could look down. Elena didn't believe him, but we got in the back anyway. The view was quite good, you could look down and see Bogota, and a lot of trees in front of us. We went around a curve and saw a tunnel, with another tram seeming to come right at us. The tracks split though, and it went right past us. Then we were plunged into darkness as we went into the tunnel.We came to the top, and as we got out, we could see down – it was very steep. Up some stairs, along a path, and we were there. We walked around some before going up to the edge and looking down.We could see almost the whole city. There were mountains surrounding it. I knew Bogota was big, but from up high I could see it was much bigger thanI thought.We went intothe big church, but mass was going on, so we went out. Hungry, we walked down to the market.We got distracted on the way down; there were little brown humming birds flying around apatch of flowers, so we spent awhile trying to get a decent picture of one, which took awhile. Finally we continued on to the market. Somehow, Dad found a snack that was really big and gross looking – ants. He decided to get them. First Damon and Dad tried one, then convinced Elena to do it too. Apparently they didn't taste too bad, and kind of salty. Ew. We finished walking through the small market and got the food. It was a long line of little places selling all kinds of things, including intestines, which Mom, Dad, and Damon tried. They didn't like it of course. When we got to the end, we decided to see the view, then come back. The view was amazing (again); this time we could see more mountains covered with trees, and the occasionaltiny house in the distance. We walked back down, petting a friendly horse on the way. We ate at the last little place we had seen; we got chorizo, some kind of other meat, potatoes, and plantain with cheese on it. I liked the potatoes and the plantain best, but the two meats weren't too bad. We walked around a bit, but Dad got a call from work and had to go, so he went to take the tram because it was faster, and the rest of us got in line for the cable car. It was very tippy, packed with people, and high up, but the view was very pretty. When we got to the bottom, we waited and waited for Dad, and finally he came. He ended up taking the cable car anyway, because the tram wasn't open anymore. So much for going faster. After that we went back to the apartment.

- Maddie

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Co-corriculars

Damon, Maddie, and I go to Colegio Gran Bretana (CGB), which is where Co-corriculars take place. Co-corriculars are 2 classes worth of time taken out of the end of each Tuesday and Thursday. In place of the time they took out, they put in activities such as French Cooking, Football (a.k.a. soccer), Tennis, Horseback Riding, Field Hockey, Photography, Rock Climbing, Robotics, Basketball, Scuba Diving, Taekwondo, Rugby, Volleyball, ect. which everyone is required to participate in. There are a lot of choices and one that will fit each person. To join you have to sign up on the school's online program and pick a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice. As long as you sign up immediately you are almost guaranteed a spot in that activity. I like co-corricular a lot, one of the main reasons I like it is because it saves time that you might have to take at other schools to do this at the end of your day after school. Also, because everyone is required to do one of these choices twice a week you often end up doing it with friends, which makes it all the better!

For special sports like Football, Volleyball, Basketball, and Field Hockey you go both days of the week, for the rest you only go once, twice a week being an open option if desired. Maddie's first choice for Tuesday was French Cooking, but she arrived to find that it was taught by the French teacher in only French so she dropped out and switched to her second choice of Tennis. (Even though the sign-up sheet listed French Cooking under English.) My first choice was Tennis on Tuesdays and I was all alone with some people of different ages I didn't know all who spoke Spanish with a non-English speaking teacher. I was surprised when my friend Gemma showed up due to the problem of Robotics only having boys in it and not enough people to carry forward with that activity, then Maddie joined because she didn't speak French! Damon's first choice was Football which was one of the few sports that you are required to attend every Tuesday and Thursday and will soon form a real team selected from the best players. Maddie and I for Thursday somehow both ended up with Horseback Riding, it was my first choice and I don't know how Maddie ended up in it with me! Co-corriculars are very fun and I look forward to it every Tuesday and Thursday. We will keep you posted about the different activities we join as they will change every Term!

Thanks for reading,

Elena

Carbon

For years I have always wanted a big dog. A dog to go running with and to play fetch with. Our last dog, Maggie was shitzu, and as we once heard on the radio, "the breed of dog with the least amount of intelligence". In other words the only thing she learned was to be house trained, and that took her two years before she was consistent.

When we found out we were moving to Bogotá, my parents told me if we were allowed to, I could get a dog there. I did not spend much time looking into breeds until a few months before we were said to leave. I researched many breeds, but never acted on any of them, and we left.

Bogotá is a dog city. Dog walkers will have up to 12 dogs at the same time, and people are always out walking dogs by themselves. Although in Bogotá, the dogs are different. Almost every dog is extremely socialized and is happy to make friends and play with any dog that is passing by. Only a few dogs bark and jump when near other dogs, but the majority just want to play nicely.

With Bogotá's vast population of canines, we thought it would be simple to find a dog. It wasn't.

Siberian Husky was the breed of dog we decided on. A female Siberian Husky. We called everywhere, and no one had Siberian Huskies. Part of our difficulties was the language. We wrote out scripts for our phone calls, but were left stranded if the person we were talking to strayed from the conversation we had anticipated.

After weeks of this we made a call to a Siberian Husky breeder, and found out she was not a Siberian Husky breeder. In fact she hates Siberian Huskies, but what she did breed was Belgian Shepherds. When I had researched breeds I had stumbled upon the breed and like what I saw. We jumped at the opportunity and bought the one puppy she had for sale. He is a male Groenendale Belgian Shepherd, 4 months old.

All the names we had been thinking of had been for a female Siberian Husky, not a male Belgian Shepherd. If you have seen both dogs you will know the coloring is the opposite, Belgian Shepherds are pure black, while Siberian Huskies are white, tan and cream colored. When we were thinking of names, one name had come up that fit our new puppy perfect. Carbon.

We have now had Carbon for two months, and it has been great. He was sick and we did not what was wrong with him for a while, but once we gave him the right medicine it made the world of a difference. He has been happier and easier to house train. Before we got Carbon he lived on a farm, so all the noises of the city scared him a lot at first. Now he is getting better, but he still really doesn't like horses.

Carbon is a great dog and is really fun to have. I'm glad we decided to get him.

-Damon

Friday, October 7, 2011

Dia de la Raza - Food



Every year CGB has Dia de la Raza. Dia de la Raza is a day where you get together with other people in the school from your home country and show the rest of CGB a little piece of home. The USA is a fairly large part of CGB, second to the Colombians. Each country gets a tent to sell food from and to decorate with the country’s colors and symbols.


The USA tent sported a map of the USA and countless items of red white and blue. Steamers, flags, and shirts are just a few things in our tent that just screamed USA.



Each country picked the food that they thought would best represent their country. These foods are foods no other country has. The USA chose pulled pork, hot dogs, brownies and a few other solely American foods.


My friend and I, when near the USA tent felt it was July 4th and we were back home, ready to light off some fireworks.


I ate a tamale from Mexico which was delicious and a sausage from Argentina, which was also delicious.


Later I had some extra money and bought a hot dog from the USA, and tasted a Colombian snack.


I only tried a few countries foods, but if I was more hungry I would have tried more.


- Damon