Saturday, October 25, 2008

Happy Halloween from Medellin! And who says you have to wait until after Halloween to start decorating for Christmas??!!

Many of the buildings around my neighborhood decorate for Halloween with these interesting wooden painted things....

I'm not sure what's wrong with their heads on this one

I think they got confused and thought it was Easter

Senor Frog meets the Scarecrow?

Oh, but wait, it gets better. This is the park near my house. They have already started decorating for Christmas. It is so....what's the word....festive? weird? hilarious?
I'm not sure

telephone pole turned Christmas tree

There are hundreds of these starts lining the walkways

This is my favorite. At the entrance to the park we can see Mary and Joseph. It's hard to tell from this picture, but they are about 30 feet tall. I kid you not! And that blue and white striped thing is baby Jesus....

words cannot describe....

That's me standing in front of Joseph on the left

flying angels everywhere

I just can't wait until they turn on the lights!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Road Trip! October 2008

So we got a week off in October this year, actually 10 days. This was new for the school and very exciting. We started school two months ago, so I was ready for a break. Tina H. (my roomie), Jen Z. and I left on Sunday Oct. 5th on a bus headed to Bogota. This is about an 8 hour ride, but we got off after about 2 to 3 hours to spend our first few nights at a refuge called Rio Claro, very rustic and simple, but beautiful! It was hot and humid, just the way I like it. We had a pool, which was nice because the river was way too cold. There is a lot of activities that can be done, boating, canoeing, caves, etc but besides doing some nices walks, we decided to do nothing, mostly because a group of over 100 students showed up and took over. So we stayed buy the pool and got some much needed rest.

a cool leaf like bug

A humungous tarantula crossing our path
some caves along the river

Jen Z. and I

We spent two nights in Rio Claro and left Tuesday morning for Bogota. We waited on the side of the road for the the rain, of course. I was pretty wet by the time I got on the bus. The bus was very comfortable and had air-conditioning which worked really well. So I was wet and cold for most of the 7 hours that it took us to get to Bogota.

After getting to our hotel room and warming up, we headed out to our favorite hang out spot in Bogota, The Bogota Beer Company. Of course, I drank vino caliente, but everyone says the beer is real good. And, yes again, it is cold in Bogota!

My kinda cousin (Maya and Alan's cousin), lives in Bogota teaching English. He has been there for about 8 months. This is the first time we've had a chance to hang out. His name is Aaron. We had a lot of fun!

We spent the next day in Bogota shopping and eating at our favorite restaurants. I don't have any new pictures because we pretty much did the same things we did last time we where there.
But there was one new highlight....
Guniea Pig Races
It was the funniest thing ever. These three guniea pigs actually stayed and waited on the start line until the guy said Go. Then they raced towards these little houses. You could put money on the houses and if they got to your house first you won all the money. Very amusing!

We left Bogota on Thursday morning and headed north toward our next stop. On the way we stopped at a city called Zipaquira, about 2 hours north of Bogota. This town has many salt mines. In one of the mines they carved out a cathedral. It is 75 meters long and 18 meters high. It can hold up to 8,400 people. We took a gudied tour inside the mine. There was lots of crosses, statues, angels etc carved into the salt. It's hard to get the idea from the pictures. The blue and green colors are just from the lights
Read More by clicking here

After leaving the salt cathedral we were taken by taxi to the "bus terminal" where we waited for our bus to our final destination....Villa de Leyva. I was reminded of how much fun it is to wait for busses in small towns like this one. The 4th person in the picture is Naomi. She teaches 4th grade with me. She was in Bogota visiting friends and joined us for the last part of our trip.

There really was no terminal. We just waited on the side of the road. So I took the opportunity to make some cocktails while we waited.

farmer walking his cow

and delivering supplies on his horse

And after a bus ride that included scary windy curves at fast speeds, dogs, children throwing up and people sitting on buckets in the aisles we arrive at one of my new favorite towns
Villa de Leyva

This old colonial town is set in the mountains with the most beautiful surroundings. We stayed at this spa/hotel that overlooked the town. It had pools, jacuzzis, saunas, steam rooms and massages. We did it all! Here's the hotel link:

The town was full of shops, great restaurants and even a French bakery that had truffles and the most amazing desserts.

We went on a horse back ride tour so we could see some of the sites outside of townThis really clear blue/green pond was also way too cold for me to go in

We went to a fossil museum. These fossils were found in this area, along with many others. This is a ginormous bird

Our tour ended at a winery.....YAAA!

Me and my fun new shoes had a fabulous vacation!

If you want to see all the photos just click here
They are kind of in a weird order because the first half are from my camera and then from Tina's camera. The pix from her camera start with my shoes.