Life as Art

Some beings have the privilege of being things of beauty – admired by everyone who looks upon them (Gisele). Sometimes, they’re kind of stuck up about it.

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This morning, we left our home for the past week to drive an hour south to Cali. We’re staying on the grounds of a Jesuit university where we’ll be for the next week. This gorgeous peacock, and others like him, wander the grounds day and night, in search of admirers. I’d say mid-afternoon was successful for him.

Bugs of Colombia

This is not an exhaustive display of all the bugs in Colombia, nor am I planning to educate you on them all. This is simply a post to show you some of the bugs (scientific name) that I’ve encountered in the past week.

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This one scared the living daylights out of us, as you might imagine. We were happy to discover it’s not venomous, and its bite is supposedly less painful than that of a bee sting.

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These guys are all over the floor in our living quarters, and seem to enjoy rolling up and dying on the bathroom floor overnight.

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Giant cricket – 3-4 inches long.

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Dragonfly.

I have hundreds of photos, and will be here another week. Is there anything you guys want to see? Ideas for future themes (churches, wildlife, etc.)?

Ten New Words a Day

The woman who appears to run the place where we’re staying sat down with us at dinner tonight and informed us that we needed to learn 10 new Spanish words every day. She quizzed us on the 10 words we learned today, and we cheated a little; giving her words we knew already, or words we had learned this week (I would have had a great opportunity to learn the Spanish word for epilepsy today, but Translator Fail! – sorry, Henry, I’m just playing!). I did not have to resort to counting to 10 for her, so you should all be as proud of me as I am!

We’ve been a lot of places and seen a lot of things, but I think the theme today will be vices.

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Marijuana, growing in a greenhouse on a finca (farm. Word 1). The family extracts the oils and makes different healing balms from them. I can attest that one of those balms works quite well on sore muscles.

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Vino (Wine. Word 2). Non-alcoholic, made from oranges, supposedly packs a punch. In fact, it tastes awful (as does the vino made from sugar cane).

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Cafe organico (organic coffee, Words 3 and 4). Muy delicioso (I’ll call those bonus words. I don’t need them).

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Pare (stop. Word 5). ST-OPtional. OK, this one broke from the theme, but come on!

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Coffee beans (though something tells me these beans are not frijoles. Aaanndd 6).

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Cafe fruitas growing on el arbol (fruits, tree: 7 and 8).

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Self-explanatory, no? Many things can be made from the coca leaf, including tea, which is said to have many health-giving properties. In the past, tribal elders chewed three coca leaves before meeting, believing the coca gave them wisdom. Then there’s the droga (drug – 9) made from the plant.

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Cacao fruitas (cocoa fruits – 10 – I win!). These are where your chocolate comes from. It’s a long, drawn-out process, and the people who do it don’t get paid enough (nor do the people who grow and harvest your morning coffee).

Keep your eyes tuned to this station for much more. Lots of things to do, see and photograph in these parts.

In Which I am Surprised to Find a Lizard in My Room

He was too fast for my camera, and ran behind the curtain. I was not interested in moving the curtain to find him. No, thank you.

My first day in Colombia went something like this: Afternoon/evening flight from Boston to Houston, red-eye from Houston to Bogota (pronounced Bowata, btw), – I had no problems finding the bathroom, gate, etc., even though I didn’t understand a word anyone was saying. I quickly discovered that if I said “thank you instead of si, the airport workers immediately switched to English. This was helpful at Customs. One girl helpfully wrote “Gade 6” on my boarding pass, so I wouldn’t get lost.

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Arrived in Cali about 8:50 a.m. Tuesday,  and rode for an hour to get to where I’m staying, just outside of Buga, and met up with my teacher, fellow students and translator. The only food place I saw in the airport was a Dunkin Donuts (did I accidentally fly back to Boston?), so I was glad when the people in charge of the place we’re staying kindly fed me breakfast.

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Right after breakfast, we started class. All the buildings are conveniently attached to each other by covered walkways, which came in handy during several unexpected rainstorms. Snapped some photos of flora and birds. When we finished class (which I managed to stay awake throughout, despite being awake 41 hours straight, with a couple short naps on the plane),  we drove to Buga, to see the Basilica de Buga, and walked around the streets a bit.

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The meals here are HUGE, and they bring us morning and afternoon snacks, milk/juice and coffee. The pineapple juice is excellent. The juice made out of some fruit that resembles a tomato is not. Blech.

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Then, up to the terrace – they call it a “salon” (a meeting room with open windows) for beer and chitchat, and then to bed.

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I’ve been warned the lizards are very comfortable in the showers here. I tried to prepare myself for the eventuality of seeing one, so I don’t let out the startled scream that’s sure to send everyone running. You’ll be happy to know that when I spotted one on the wall near my window this afternoon, my reaction was to grab the camera, and not to scream. Image

The room is a  little warm, and it’s humid here, though it’s been cool enough, and there’s a breeze. The mosquitoes are quite healthy and hungry.

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Bed, no breakfast.

Bloggie friends – if you’re planning on traveling to western Idaho/eastern Oregon, our house is available for you and your family to stay. Even though we’re nowhere near, we have a caretaker nearby who’ll let you in and show you around. According to Yelp, our guest room is “not uncomfortable,” and “they’re really friendly. The lady is a really good cook. or baker, or whatever. I love Snoopy waffles. What an awesome breakfast!” Since we’re not in the neighborhood, chances are, you’re on your own for breakfast (at least until Christmas), but, if you’re in the neighborhood, we’d love to have to stop by!