Sunday, July 13, 2008


Hola mi familia y amigos!

Yesterday we arrived in Manizales. We had an amazing Colombian breakfast in our lovely hotel, the Habitel of Bogota. Arrepas (sp), tamales, cafe and hot chocolate. I was even brave enough to try papaya juice, not my favourite drink. Arrepas are traditional maize pancakes, the tamales had some lima beans, maize and some meat - ham maybe? I´m not a Colombian Vegetarian. Hey, when in Rome...

The coffee was good, the waiter asked me if I wanted it in American style, I said si. So he put milk in it. The milk was hot, not cool, which I found interesting. The Little Mermaid had Hot Chocolate. It was amazing! I can´t put my finger on just what is different about it. I think it is stronger and less sweet, but there is this amazing aromatic quality to it. hmmm...

Before I go any further, I would be remiss not to mention the OUTSTANDING service we received on our flight from the US to Bogota. We were given all the refreshments we wanted, plus 2, yes TWO hot meals. Plus, the alcoholic beverages were FREE. They even had a ´house´´airline wine!!! No I didn´t get a drink - but I should have! I needed one! The attendants were extremely polite and very affectionate towards the children. An unaccompanied minor sat next to me and he was so sweet, playing with the Little Dude. I wish I could let him parent´s know what a wonderful boy they have. 25F I´m talking about YOU!

Ok, now back to yesterday...

The hotel took us to the airport and we checked in and went through security. It was a lot like US security, but we didn´t have to take off our shoes. The Dude thought that was interesting, but I mentioned that they probably have not had someone try to blow up an airplane by lighting his tennis shoe!

We waited in an open terminal for about 30 minutes then boarded our propeller winged puddle jumper. Looked just like the ones in the US. The flight was a little loud, as those small planes often are, but it lasted less than an hour. As we flew into Manizales the beauty of the land was evident. Mountains and hills, dotted with houses and small towns. As we deboarded the plane I could see our hostess, CC, through the window in the airport. She was there with her baby brother, who is a giant in Colombia, probably 6´3". Also CC´s niece was there, a mere 9 months younger than the Little Mermaid. We loaded into 2 cars and drove to CC´s family home.

Manizales is very hilly. Much like San Fransico! On our way to her home, we passed a WAWA of all things! I laughed and told her that we have WAWA´s in the NorthEast. Philly and NJ! It´s a small world!

CC´s house is beautiful. Her parent´s are selling it, b-c as the 3 children are grown and on their own, they hardly have need for a 6 bedroom house! They have a lovely atrium with exotic plants and Señor Tortuga who lives in the indoor garden. It is a 2 level house, with a bedroom and full bath on the 1 1/2 floor. There is lots of light and many religious artifacts throughout the house. The walls are white, the ceiling is made of lovely honey coloured wood, as are the floors. Once we settled in CC ordered Chop Suey. Let me just say the chinese food in Colombia is better than ANYTHING I´ve had at home. The rice that came with the meal definately had a colombian influence. But we all really loved it.

Soon after lunch, the Little Dude had a nap the Little Mermaid and her new hermana played and played. CC´s parent´s took a siesta and CC, the Dude and I all sat in the livingroom chatting about our flight, food and politics. Obama seems to be a favourite in Colombia, even though McCain visited here just before the FARC hostages were freed.

Once the Little Dude woke up, we all walked to a little shopping mall. Our first order of business was a store that is not unlike Target. I bought the girls matching nightgowns for last night and Jack got a new pair of shoes. I wanted to get some clothes for the kids, but EVERYTHING has english printed on it, whether what it says makes sense or not. The Little Dude also got a new cup, because we forgot his in los Estados Unidos.

We came back home to find CC´s sister in law and baby niece at home. The baby is about 4 months younger than the Little Dude. They kept hugging each other. So the kids played and the Dude and I and Abuela (CC´s Mom) watched some fútbol on tv. A major Colombian star was retiring last night. It was touching to see his speech with tears and sweat in his eyes. The field was littered with confetti during the game. I don´t know how they were able to play!

For dinner we ate the equivelant of hotdogs/ sandwiches. It was ham, onions, cheese and maize sauteéd and rolled up in a tortilla, with potato chips on the side. Muy Bien!

Then is was off to bed for the Little Dude. We cuddled up in CC´s old bedroom and flipped through the channels, finally settling on LOS SIMPSONS. We watched about 2 1/2 episodes of the spanish speaking Simpsons, at one point with the Little Mermaid and her neuvo hermana in bed with us!

Sleep was deep and full.

Now we are all dressed, fed (Migas = a traditional Colombian breakfast of arrepas scrambled with cheese and eggs) and on our way to park where the kids can play and get rid of their wiggles. At noon we have a church service and then after lunch we will spend our afternoon in the country.

More later my virtual touristas!