Sunday, September 20, 2009

Christmas is coming!!

I couldn't resist...took a picture of Richard in one of his favorite places...he likes to take quick naps on the sofa with the dogs...Chica is next to him and cover his head to drown out noises. I kid him all the time...if I need a nap, I go get in bed, go through the settling in routine and finally, if the Gods decide, go to sleep. God says, "not today," then there is no nap.
And then today, I was wrapping Christmas gifts to get ready to send north with Richard when he leaves for hunting in mid-October. I was wrapping a particularly annoying gift for one of my young grandson's, and our chihuahua, Paco was going wild sniffing it, making noises at it and trying to turn it over. Now, these "annoying" gifts usually make noise, but in this case, not only does it make noise, it is made out of animal parts and animal hair. After it was wrapped, we put it in the garage and then, Paco sniffed the table, floor, bag the item came in and wouldn't give up on the scent. I keep telling Richard this dog could be a hunting dog...but he thinks the ducks would be bigger than Paco so it couldn't work.

Oh, decided that Chase would get the annoying gift this year, because Kristin and Pat are expecting a baby at Christmas and that will be a different kind of annoying so they won't be needing for Owen to have an annoying gift. And they say I don't think about them!!
Had our friends, Betsy and Neil over for dinner the other night and made a sweet potato, pear and pork dish. The pork was horrid...the rest, including the eggplant mint soup was was the chocolate cake!! Miss cooking a lot, although as I was washing all of the filthy wine and water glasses hanging in the hutch in the dining room, I realized anew that I miss Juanita, our helper at our apartment in Tegucigalpa.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Well, I am home and doing not too much which is driving me nuts. Have just reconnected with an old friend from Lansing days who lives in Cinci so will be sharing a long distance glass of wine with her tonight and catching up on the last few years of our lives apart.

My big issue right now is that my brand new camera which I bought in Uganda has gone missing. I was planning on uploading a photo of Richard that I took which epitomizes his/our life here at home. Alex and I went to the mall yesterday and we saw a man selling the tiniest white chihuahua I have ever seen for only $100. Wish I had bought her...been thinking of her non-stop but we really don't need another doggie.

Started wrapping Christmas gifts last night...want to have a bunch all done so Richard can take them up to Michigan when he goes hunting mid-October. Just found out that Kristin finally delivered Barry and Eve's last year Christmas gifts to them in August. Nothing like year round Christmas!! Love it so much.

More when I find the damn camera!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Islas de Rosario

Read of many men in their speedo suits hanging out most of the day in the water. A serious party was enjoyed and several were a bit over the top by the time the boats headed back to the mainland.

Something very unusual was this group of folks...they weren't all from Brazil, but many were. And there were about 20 Colombians included but you cannot see them. What was unusual was, these folks stood in the crystal clear water, in about 90 degree heat for maybe six hours, chatting and drinking beer at a horrific rate. Gloria says this is very common down here....don't remember this happening anywhere I have been before. People get in, talk, laugh, swim or play and then get out...not this group!

Today, I went on a trip to the islands. Boat trip took about an hour and we stopped by a small fort and a lighthouse on the way. Loved it all...the boat was a 45 footer and we had very smooth water going and they gunned it coming back so lots of bouncing around. Pictures tell it all....

This is a fort at the mouth of the bay going in towards Cartagena. First line of defense in the old days. Much much smaller than the fort in Cartagena, but gorgeous. Used to serve as a prison as well.

One of the things we discussed today was how different Colombians are about their body image...amazing things folks wear here that no one would try in the U.S. unless, of course, they were maybe blind. Check this photo out....there were at least 30 men in speedo swimming suits and they were not German. Most should not have been wearing them, but all seemed very comfortable in their skin and so did their lady friends.
More coming!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

New Experiences

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. 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 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.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Bogota tomorrow!

I am so very fortunate that I get to go to Bogota for a group marketing meeting with a few folks from Cali, Medellin, Bucaramanga and Barranquilla. These newspapers I worked with when I had my fellowship here in 2006. So, I get to reconnect and of course, I will have a chance to see my good friend, Claudia who works with Andiarios. Sadly, this is a quick overnight trip with two full days of meetings but at least I can reconnect, in person with a few friends. Love going home!!

The days have been full but very fulfilling. We have sold a banner ad online (first) and also, it looks like possibly another ad for the Hard Rock Cafe here in Cartagena. We mark all of these first with celebrations which is very appropriate. Created our first example of an audience sales piece...trying to actually sell audience and results rather than ads, space and discounts. Changing the culture is not easy.

More to come...have a wake up call for 4 a.m. Flight to Bogota is 6 a.m. and Gloria, the marketing director is NOT a morning person. Rather than her picking me to the airport in a taxi. She might be running late...nope, she WILL be running late.

Tried to call both girls one picked up. Going to try Richard and Alex right now. Night.