Sunday, July 24, 2016

Crazy Driver Sunday


By Norman R Guidry

We got a slow start but headed across town on the Metro to the fancy neighborhood of El Poblado
for the farmers market and a coffee shop Mom really wanted to visit.  I bought some cool glasses for a experiment we are planning on doing (TOP SECRET).  Then we walked all the way up the hill to farmers market where I got an handmade ice cream at 10am!!! Then we headed to the coffee shop which was still closed at 10:30!!! But we found another one and mom and andrew got 2 iced lattes each.  Then we headed back down the hill to the Metro to go towards the parque.  There was a slight misunderstanding about the logistics of the following events but we ended up catching a 'chicken bus' to Ecological Parque El Salado.  On the way there the driver was super crazy wiping around blind turns thru tiny villages all the while I had no expression even when he slammed on the brakes sending my face into the seat in front of me.  But we arrived safely. I asked mom 'I wonder how many people he's ran over while driving.'  The park was cool it had zip lines and a river running through it and picnic tables.  We went swimming in the freezing cold water, I barely went over my legs but Quincy fell all the way in.  Turns out he's not a good swimmer.  I threw a rock at a bigger rock and it broke other times I missed, and I threw a rock with a point and it bounced off the tip into the water.  Then it started raining and we went under the shelter of the food court and ate a peanut butter sandwich and mom and Andrew ate Sancocho, a weird soup with meat and potatoes.  After the rain we waited for the bus and guess what driver we got? The crazy one!! This time he wasn't so crazy going downhill, I didn't get my face thrown into the seat (this time I brought a helmet).  Then we went home and while andrew and the baby slept, me and mom watched an episode of Marvel Agents of the Shield.
We went out for dinner and I got chicken nuggets and they got Bandeja Paisa ('country flag') the national dish of Colombia, fried plantains and chicken on a stick.

Friday, July 22, 2016

City of Eternal Spring


By Aq

Wake up in warm Medellin was a welcome change from the 40 temps in Bogota.  We started the day by walking to a neighborhood called Laureles for a coffee at Cafe Revolucion. Then we walked the 10 short blocks to the Metro for our first ride on the train.  It is amazing clean and efficient, we were told the people of Medellín (Paisas) are very proud of the transit.
We headed to the Museo de Agua, a museum sponsored by the water utility EPM. They have a barefoot plaza, where you aren't allowed to wear shoes but rather walk through a sensory garden and wade in fountains and pools.  Then we headed into museum, which focuses on the importance of water through time and uses in today's Colombia.  Very well done but we've noticed that Colombian museums have a flair for the melodramatic in their presentations.
Next was a quick stop at the ice cream shop to get our energy up and back on the Metro to Parque Explora, an absolutely world class museum with loads of hands on activities great for the entire family.  Nevin was quoted as saying 'world class awesomeness.' We stayed till closing and decided we needed another snacker before heading home so we stopped at a plaza for dinner from Mexican food trucks on the side of the plaza. Nevin ate a hamburger and mama and I ate plantain with cream and guava paste and a BBQ chicken burrito. And I rolled the dice with a michelda, dark beer with lime juice salt rimmed glass, sliver of mango and pepper.  It will be my last one.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

We'll miss you Bogota


By Nevin

We were flying out at 12pm to Medellín so we didn't have much of a day. So while Mom got dressed,
me, Q and Andrew went to Profano, our favorite bistro around the corner that we've been to every day, for coffee and chocolate milk.  We then rushed home to checkout at by 10.  The Airbnb lady asked for more money bc we didn't disclose that there were kids and we had hung clothes on their 'priceless' pieces of artwork.  Andrew gave her $10 and told her that if she is so worried that having art in a rental apartment might not be the best place, maybe a museum would be better. She asked if we had any more pesos to give. We said no.
Then we flew to Medellín and took a 1 hr taxi to the Airbnb. We walked to a supermercado for dinner, I got a cheeseburger. In Colombia they give you plastic gloves to eat anything that is eaten by hand.  I got to play in the food court arcade and Andrew beat me at a motorcycle game.  Then we went home to watch our new favorite show Marvels Agents of Shield.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Colombia doesn't want to let us go


By da Snoot

Bright and early I woke up because I heard my Nina and Kennedi rustling to get packed to leave so I stuck my finger in my daddy's nose.  We saw them off at 6am for their 8:30 flight to Cartagena then on the Orlando.  I couldn't go back to sleep because there was stuff to mess up so I started pulling all the toilet paper off the roll, dragging my daddy's toothbrush around on the ground, biting chairs, and eating things I found under the couch cushions.  Then mama got a text from Melisa that their flight was canceled!! Team Mama and Daddy went into action mode; searching flights scenarios that would get Nina and Kennedi home. I tried to help by making weird noises and pushing buttons on the iPad while they were working, it really seemed to be helping.  Finally we got the good news that they found a flight and were headed home. We were sad...
Then we decided to go walk into town but once again no one asked me. If they would have, I would have said 'lets go to boob town.' But no one listens to me cause I'm just a baby.  We stopped in a park and brother and I see-sawed with Mama while daddy watched kids play soccer longingly.  We ate yummy pastries at a cafe and walked into town to the Emerald Museum. I decided to try to break as many fragile crystals off the rock displays as possible.  Then mama wanted to look at boring shopping stuff so I ran around some stores taking anything in sight off of shelves and gently strewing it on the floor.  All that shopping worked up an appetite so we found a cool grotto bar and had ceviche and potatoes in parmesan cream sauce and brother had chicken wings. We were moving Airbnb apartments so we headed back down the hill to the major boulevard.  Daddy wanted to show us the plaza de Bolivar, the central square that houses the Supreme Court and congress.  Unfortunately it was cordoned off bc of a rally.  Daddy asked what was the rally about and was told that the leftist guerilla movement called the FARC had signed a historic agreement to lay down their arms and become and political party. And we were told that tomorrow is Colombian Independence Day!!
We got a taxi and headed back to the new Airbnb for the tonight. I'm tired cause I'm a baby and I want to go to sleep. Night night.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Caffeine and Crafts


By Meliza 'Lemon Balm' Brush

Me encanta Bogotaaaaaaaaa. I contacted one of Bold Beans coffee bean suppliers and he agreed to meet up to show us some of Colombias best coffee houses.  We started the 3 mile walk through the city before catching a cab to the delight of the younger members of the group.  We arrived at Sebastian's coffee shop, Libertario, and soon as I glazed into his coffee colored eyes I was hooked.  His chest hair billowing out of his floral blouse, tight acidstone washed jeans and Fabioesque tresses made it hard to focus on his melodic voice as he discussed the gross net product quotas of organic, fair trade, free market coffees on the global surplus trade imbalance and suppression of currency exchange on third party consumer supply chains.  But his velvety luscious pour-over, nitro cooled, single batch/single origin double macchiato with palette cleansing carbonated water brought me back down to earth. Geez what a guy.
During the first four hours talking to him about proper grain size to quantity of pressurized distilled mountain infused water ratios, the other members of the group sat patiently. It wasn't until hours 5,6, and 7 did the natives become restless and slowly inch their way out the door.  Only the thought of old grandmas dilapidated balls of yarn and rusty brooches being sold under a bridge overpass could break the spell and allow me to leave the coffee shop with the other less enthused members.
We walked to a another coffee shop recommended by 'the exalted one' Sebastian, before high tailing it across town to make it in time to go on a guided graffiti tour.  We arrived with time to spare due to Andrews amazing sense of direction, deft skill at navigation, savvy bargaining, incredible leadership, punctuality, caring support, ability to carry a stroller and baby and purchase an empanada with one hand and speak perfect, regionally sensitive Colombian Spanish. Geez what a guy....
With the extra time and impending rain clouds we ducked into a cafe across the street from the rendezvous spot for the tour to get a little snacker.  We ordered ceviche, fried yucca and a Bogota speciality, called Ajiaco, a chicken soup with corn, cream, capers, and some other stuff. Andrew in his infinite wisdom ordered another Colombian speciality called aguardiente, a licorice flavored liquor. K had a cream of shrimp soup and Nevin got the chicken nuggets.  As the rain fell we watched 20 people trudge miserably behind the tour guide through the window of the cafe and decided to skip the tour.  We instead decided to visit the Botero museum. Fernando Botero was a Colombian artist known for painting comical portraits of fat naked people.  We wandered around this incredible museum while the rain persisted outside.  This is a truly world class museum with Picasso, Monet, Degas, Renoir, Dali pieces but the Boteros were our favorite. 
Next andrew led a death march up the hill to the cable cars that lead up to the mountain that overlooks Bogota at over 10,000ft called Monserrate.  The panoramic views of the city and valley are awesome.  But all that picture taking took its toll and we decided we needed a hot beef injection, so we headed to the world famous steakhouse, Andres Carne de Res. It's 5 floors of the hardest to describe collection of weird and incredible kitschy wacky stuff serving some of the most delicious cuts of meats in the world.  The menu is 50 pages and weighs a couple pounds and is filled with tons and tons of amazing meat choices and preparations.  We ordered a bottle of house red wine, salad, beef tenderloin with potato stuffed tomato, top sirloin with a wine sauce with Colombian creole potatoes. And topped off with tres leches and chocolate chip cookie cake.  Fat and happy we returned home sad that Kennedi and I would say 'bon voyage' to Colombia tomorrow.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

6.7 miles covered!!!


By Hooney

I woke up like usual at 5:30 am and played with my daddy's face while he slept bc I was excited for my first day in Bogota.  Then I walked and got carried 2 the corner cafe for a coffee and to plan the day.  After a nice latte and mamas milk for me they decided to go to the museum de oro (gold museum) and a graffiti tour and some shopping; no one asked me what I wanted to do. If they would have I would have said 'lets go to boob town'Ü. I got a free stroller ride to the parque nacional where the city blocks off one lane of the major streets to bicycles, runners, and rollerbladers every Sunday. I got to get out in the park and chase dogs and pick up some shiny things on the ground and put them in my mouth.BOOB was rolling through my mind so I started crying,and crying and then some more crying until I got heaven...BOOOOOOOOOOOOB :D. Then I slept and dreamed about poop. Meanwhile the old people that drag me around, sat in the park and watched Colombian rollerblade hockey and brother and K won money from Daddy betting on the scores of the game.  Then we walked a long way down the main boulevard through loud, crazy crowds of vendors and performers who set up shop on the street. We saw musicians, chalk artists, and knife jugglers, meanwhile I took off my socks and put them in my mouth. Finally we got to the Gold Museum and I got to climb up and down the stairs while the old people read about the history of gold in Colombia and the amazing collection of gold artifacts from pre Colombian people. We needed a snack after the museum so we headed to a local brewery that daddy remembered called bogota beer company, I climbed up and down the stairs and got in trouble.  After full bellies we walked back down the street party and everyone practiced bargaining; brother bought a Quartz necklace and got the price down 5000 pesos, Kennedi got headphones and churros, Nina bought raggedy old leather sack full of cardboard, and Mama bought a new money pouch and I was so cute a crazy guy gave me a little plastic truck.  Brother checked his step tracker and found that we had walked 6.7 miles today!!!! I'm tired and there's a boob waiting for me. Ciao, night night.

PPS some if the comments were added by my brother and cousin and may or may not reflect the authors sentiments 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Bye Hell, Hello Heaven aka From the Furnace to the Fridge


By Jesica Mary Brush esq

I woke up beside one snorer and one slurper, and so it begins again...

We had a big day planned before our flight to Bogota; breakfast needing eating, cash needed exchanging, castles needed climbing and pools needed swimming.  We set out late as always because my sister and I are horribly slow people and can't be coerced/chided/tricked into being on time* so we left the house for breakfast around 9:30 before our 12:00 checkout.  We found a great French breakfast place that let Melisa, Kennedi, and Nevin show off their French language skills. After a yummy pancake breakfast with Chantilly cream and homemade caramel and real cacao hot chocolate for the kids. We left breakfast around 10:45!!  We exchanged money and returned to the house around 11:30.  The cleaning ladies were waiting for us and said we were supposed to be out at 11 and glowered at us as we hurriedly packed our things.
After a uncomfortable exit, we dragged the kids to see the original fort of Cartagena called Castillo de San Felipe, amazingly as soon as they started exploring the tunnels and catacombs of the castle they didn't want to leave.  We headed back to the apartment for one last swim and to gather our bags before the airport.  On the cab ride to the airport we realized we forgot to print the boarding passes.  The cost of printing the passes at the airport was 25,000 COP almost half the cost of the price of the tickets!!  Dumb dumb.
We bide a fine farewell to the heat of Cartagena and said hello to the cold (50 degrees) and rain of Bogota. We took a quick taxi to the Airbnb which was in a cool, tranquil neighborhood. After a little confusion on getting into the apartment. We headed out to get a snacker and breakfast food. We found a cool, hip bistro and had yummy sandwiches and mashed potatoes and a nice glass of wine. Then headed back to the apartment to settle in.

Aq note: Bogota is my favorite. It's artsy, intellectual and a little bit gritty. It's the capital as well as having lots of universities so there is a cool young vibe to the city; like Portland.