This is a typical beach photo here in Cartagena. Note the two young people to the left who are hugging. Serious PDA goes on here which is so different than what one sees in other areas of Latin America.
Today, I went out to Pedro Luis' finca which I had visited a couple of months ago during the dry season. What was all brown is now verdant and replete with flowers. His cousin has a ginger farm next door and the plants are flowering...way beautiful. Now what was "new" was we took his ATV around the finca and like most men, his toys are his babies. We raced over the hills, the ruts, the old foundations of buildings and while totally scared to death, it was very very exciting. Needed to pee afterwards but very fun.
We had lunch and I met his wife, Marta, a lovely woman working for a mining company here that is based in Birmingham, Alabama. Forget its name but another guest was a man, Mark, who reminded me how truly blessed I am. He just went through a divorce in the last few months and has custody of his children and lives here. Three months ago, his third and oldest child died of swine flu. He explained that due to her disabilities, she went quickly and he teared up as he watched his two gorgeous daughters play in the pool.
And then, I was in Bogota for meetings these past two days and I was able to touch base with a good friend and have dinner with Claudia. Sadly, there was no time to see her family or visit with others. The meetings were very special because with marketing executives from Cali, Medellin, Bucaramanga and of course, Gloria and I were the Cartagena representatives. The woman co-ordinating the meeting is also a friend that I made during my Fellowship here in 2006. So, I felt very much at home with "my family."
In the background, as I write this and sip a good Chilean red wine, is the Colombia/Ecuador soccer game. Yup...no one would believe it but I went for a longish walk after the finca lunch and found that almost every breathing Colombian man was sitting anywhere on the street in front of specially set up TVs and drinking Aguila, a local beer. Everyone is having a ball and what is doubly interesting is that Placido Domingo is here in concert in the historic district. I am just imagining the frustration...men having to escort wives and lovers to the concert which will begin before the game ends. Although with tickets starting at around $200 and up to $500, not too many of these folks will be conflicted.
Tomorrow, I am off to the Rosario Islands...not sure which I will visit but we leave on a boat of some sort at 7:30 a.m. Should be very fun and while I was planning to go alone, Gloria, as a surprise, arranged to go along with me. She is the marketing director here at El Universal. So, will post some photos later tomorrow and then, Monday, Labor Day, I am on my way home.