Monday, December 22, 2008

Bogota pics

We just spent two nights and one day in Bogota. Here is a pic of Luis is Plaza de Bolivar, which was beautifully lit for Christmas.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Pasamos un buen tiempo

or, in English, We´re having a great time.
We have done a lot since arriving on Wednesday. We´ve visited Luis´ siblings, nieces, nephews, cousins and an aunt. He has 22 nieces and nephews, and maybe 80 cousins. He doesn´t know exactly because he hasn´t met them all.
Today we went with his sisters Marta Luz and Estella and his brother Gustavo to visit Gustavo´s new parcels of land near Santa Fe de Antiuoquia, a colonial town founded in 1541. Gustavo bought two parcels near there, and he will build a large home there.
The countryside is beautiful -- huge, lush mountains. We passed through a 2.7-mile-long tunnel under the mountains.
We´ve been so busy I haven´t had a chance to upload photos. But they are forthcoming. Meanwhile, you can enjoy some photos of Luis that we scanned and uploaded.
Luis en Colombia

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

We´re here

We arrived in Medellin at Luis´ sister´s house a short while ago. Luis´ sisters Fabiola and Estella and three nieces met us at the airport. They hired a driver with a van because we all couldn´t fit in one car. the drive from the airport was beautiful. the airport is on a plateau high up in the mountains. we passed through one short tunnel, and you knew it was a tunnel through the mountains because you could see the rock all around; it´s not covered up.
we´re staying at Fabiola´s house, which has two balconies that overlook the city. there´s a stadium nearby and the metro is close.
his family immediately introduced me to some tropical fruit i´ve never seen before. one fruit looked like some sort of orange from the outside. but inside it is full of pits covered by a sweet gel. it is really delicious but at first it seemed quite weird. they also prepared a juice made from the fruit lulu (spelling?).
by the way, the keyboards are totally different here. it´s a real pain to type. the { is where the ´ is.
the ? is to the right of the 0.}
time for dinner.
hasta luego

leaving Bogota

We're in the Puente Aereo Airport in Bogota waiting for our flight to Medellin. Luis has barely slept since Sunday. It was about 24 hours from the time we left our house till the time we arrived at our hotel. He didn't sleep on the flight, though he slept a little in Mexico City's airport while awaiting our flight to Bogota.
Monday and Tuesday he couldn't sleep well at the hotel. He's just very anxious.
We had a nice time in Bogota. We went to the Plaza Bolivar, which was all lit up for Christmas. A chorus was singing Christmas carols.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Vancouver International Airport

There are numerous restaurants in this airport, but at 10:30 p.m., the only eatery open was a Subway. That's pretty sad for a city this size. The Subway was quite busy, so obviously there is demand. Anyway, we're just waiting to head out. At least they have free WiFi here.

Christmas Dinner 2008

Our friends Joe and Frank's wedding gift was a nice Christmas dinner at a place called Edible BC. We had such a nice time. The chef showed us how he cooked the food, and we had wonderful dishes.
Photos of the dinner

A white Christmas in Vancouver?

Well, last night, Luis and I went to the Vancouver Mens Chorus for a fabulous night of Christmas carols. It was a bitterly cold night, and the heater wasn't working in the church. But it was the most amazing night of carols. They even had a very funny song about cheese -- not sure how that fit into Christmas carols. A Frenchmen with a big chunk of plastic brie on his head sang about brie, and an Italian with mozzarella on his head sang about mozzarella. Then the American comes out with a hamburger topped with American cheese waving an American flag. It was quite funny.
Anyway, we emerged from that wonderful night and it was snowing.
Several inches accumulated. It was the lightest snow, nearly as light as Splenda. "And it was real snow because it's made from snow!"
So, to everyone whom I told it doesn't get that cold and we rarely get snow and if it snows it's not a lot: I was wrong.
But this was part of an unusual cold snap. At least it wasn't -22 F, the low in Regina. That's one cold Regina!
Here are two pictures of the view of the snow from our apartment.
The flag you see is the flag of British Columbia.
Well, we're off to another Colombia.
We leave at 11:59 p.m. on Mexicana Airlines and get into Bogota at 8 p.m. because of a terrible layover in Mexico City. Then on Wednesday we head to Medellin on Avianca.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The border

There's a little peninsula called Point Roberts. The northern part of the peninsula is Canada. The southern part is the United States.
Luis is standing in Canada. Behind the yellow barrier is the United States, where there is the sign (on top).
The third picture is Luis and Ken in a different part of the border, which actually has a fence and a marker beyond the fence identifying the international boundary.
But if one follows along the fence to the beach, you get to where Luis is standing in the last pic. He's on the Canadian side of the beach. A few feet beyond is the United States. But, as I said, on the U.S. side is merely a small peninsula, so there's nowhere to go to.

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Some friends

Our friends Angelina and Kieran were over for dinner recently.

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I've never seen four raccoons together like this. And this was dusk. It wasn't even nighttime. (It merely looks a little darker because of the tree cover and the contrast with the flash.)
Luis and I also have seen a few skunks in the city. One time we ran across the street to get away from one, and he followed us across the street and started coming in our direction. Fortunately, we got away. One Vancouverite said he had to throw out a good leather jacket after getting sprayed by a skunk.
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A winter afternoon at Jones Beach

My parents and I had a nice afternoon at Jones Beach during my Thanksgiving stay.
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jones beach bird ignores sign

this bird happily ignores the "no stopping or standing sign."
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Big Wong

Ken, Pete, Nora, Josh, Noah and I went to Big Wong Restaurant in Chinatown during my visit to New York for Thanksgiving.
It is highly recommended for good barbecued meats.
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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

nice visit back to NYC

I had a nice visit back to see family and friends in New York, except, for the last half of the trip, I had the worst cold I've ever had. I basically just rested for the last day and a half.
On the plane on the way back, I was daydreaming and I thought I was headed home -- to New York.
That lasted just for a second.
When I arrived, the weather was mild. I didn't really need a winter jacket.
It was great to see Luis. It was the longest we've been apart since we met six years ago. When we were heading to the apartment, I realized I was heading home, and home felt good.
I think a new place officially becomes home when you go on vacation and then return. And you walk in the door, and you relax on the couch or bed and say, "Ahhhh. I'm home." That's when a new place really feels like home.
It was great to see many people, but it also was tough leaving everyone. I realize I didn't get to see everyone. But
I apologize that I didn't get to see everyone. I was so busy before I left that I didn't really organize my trip very well. I started making calls and e-mails when I arrived.
Anyway, I'll be back soon. I'm looking forward to having people visit, too.