Saturday, March 12, 2016

Colombia #17-Taxis, Tattoos and Random Colombian Experiences

The Team in Cartegena
Fanta de Manzana- Apple Soda. So delicious! I wanted to keep this glass bottle, but was informed I couldn't because they make their living in part by recycling their bottles. Makes sense. So, a picture sufficed! 

Beautiful Old Town Cartegena, Colombian flag waving. 
Old Town Cartegena at night

Paola and Paula Lou- I love this photo of them! 
Bus Ride with the gang. 
While there are still plenty of collective thought posts I can write, today I decided to just share a few of my random thoughts about the trip, as well as some random photos. And for some reason, it only wanted me to include these photos at the top of the blog, so, that is why it is laid out this way today.  These are things I learned, saw, experienced, felt or discovered that may not take up an entire blog, but still feel worthy to share. Even if I'm just sharing for my own remembrance's sake.
 So, here are a few of the random thoughts I have had:

- The people in Brisas del Mar were fascinated by my tattoos. I have one on my wrist, another on my calve, and one on my back. They would frequently hold my wrist, study it and ask me about it. I explained on numerous occasions, that the tattoo was a reminder to me for one of my favorite Bible verses from Psalm 103 that says our sins are as far as the East is from the West. But tattoos are not something they see every day, so that was interesting to me, and kind of fun.

- I always use cream in my coffee. I knew going there, there likely would not be much of an option for cream, and there wasn't. I drank it black. I told myself if I could do it there, I would do it upon coming home... let's just say old habits die hard. It's one of the few things I have fallen easily back into. It was good while it lasted!

- Not only do you not flush the toilet there unless necessary, I forgot to mention that the toilet paper used goes into a trash can, not the toilet. They just don't have a plumbing system to handle that type of deal.

- Livestock roams freely. They know who it belongs to, but the pigs, chickens, dogs, etc. roam freely. One late night that a few of us were up, a stampede of cattle came through the village. Often times that happens during the day, but this time it was late at night, and we happened to be awake for it. Also, while cleaning out the trenches to prepare for the septic tank, there was a hen laying eggs. She was protective, so I didn't get too close to her. I left the egg alone, per the instruction of Paola. But, not too much later in the day, Juan found the egg and picked it up and grinned like a child finding treasure, sticking it in his pocket. However, he was then called over to help and in the process broke the egg in his pocket. Oh, he laughed and laughed about it, but I imagine it was actually a disappointment, even if funny.
And in case you are wondering... the rooster does crow at dawn... and for hours afterwards!

- I loved it during the church services we held when we would say a section of scripture, or maybe be singing a song, how we'd be doing it in English and they in Spanish but we were saying the same thing. To me, that was a beautiful picture of how God is. He is understands everyone, all the time. All the languages, all the time. It was beautiful. We are all worshipping Him, even if in different languages. Language barriers aside, we were united in hearts and desires. That's poor way of trying to communicate what it was like in the moment, but it's one of those experiences hard to put into the right wording.

- When we were doing all that digging, I kept thinking we would run into worms. The ground was dry, but typically the further down you go, the wetter it gets, and you find worms. However, I was surprised that we didn't really see any. I believe maybe 2 were seen. Very different from here. However, we did find an armadillo tail. That was kind of cool.
Holding the Armadillo Tail

- Taxis : So, when we were in Cartegena our first night and then our last night, we had to take a taxi to get where we needed to be, as our destination was too far for walking. Let me start by saying first of all, I have never been in an American taxi, so this was definitely a new experience. I will follow that by saying it's for sure a crazy experience in another country. The driving is ridiculous!
  Some of the team members could not watch, because they were a little afraid. The drivers weave in and out without any fear, beeping their horns and pushing their way through traffic. Anyway, we had to take 3 taxis anytime we went places because 4 could go in one taxi. So, Paola would whistle them over, and then tell them where we were to go and once they'd get us there, she would pay all 3 taxis.
 Well, this was an experience. The first taxi ride we were on our way to Crepes and Waffles. The taxi driver took us near where we needed to be, but not directly. Paula was in the taxi with me, so she knew the roundabout area we needed to go because she's been before. But I spoke the language. So I explained to the driver where we needed to be and he told us to get back in and drove us just across the way. An almost in the wrong place taxi moment . Paola, our translator, was very worried we didn't show up with the other 2 taxis, when we had been the first to leave! But, we made it.
  The second taxi experience was on our last night there. We were going into Old Town Cartegena. Again, I was in the first taxi. He was told to take us to the entrance of the Old Town. Well, he drove us inside the entrance. I didn't think we were exactly in the right place, but James, having been on the team before, knew where we were, so it was OK. However, the taxi driver hadn't been paid and he'd dropped us off in a different location than the other taxis, so we had to give him money.
 Being completely unfamiliar with what a taxi costs, We stood around for a moment. I communicated with him, but knew he was charging too much. In the end, we paid him 20,000 pesos (which was like $7 American dollars) We well overpaid him, but we were safe and not far from where the team was, so we weren't overly concerned. Paola was not happy about it. But, it made for a good experience! And a fun memory.

 I didn't have photos of most of these "random thoughts", so here are just some "random photos" I had to go with a bunch of random thoughts.

Very involved in conversation.
Ready to get to Colombia!
The School
Beautiful girl, dressed in her best

The girls dancing

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