Saturday, and our first real venture into the world of Colombia. Catalina (foreign teacher’s co-ordinator), who had been taking us around the past 2 days, left us on our own for the weekend. So we decided to hike up to UniCentro, a big mall. It was a bit of a trek, but not too bad. Turned out to be just like every other mall in the world, big shock.
By the end of the day, when it was time for me to walk back from Robert and Megan’s (about a 15 minute walk), it was dark. It gets dark here around 7:00, which is highly annoying. And, seeing as I’d been living here for about 3 days, not overly safe either. Or so we thought (this will change in the coming days, as you will see). We tried to get a cab, but there were none – 9:30 on a Saturday night, duh. The doorman was nice enough to give the building president a call though, and HE was nice enough to offer me a ride. The ride home was pretty informative, actually. Apparently there’s nothing wrong with walking around at night here, assuming you have an idea where you are and some of the language. Since I had neither at this point, it was probably better to drive, but that wouldn’t last long. Done for now!
Piss me off, I have to redo this post because I’m an idiot and closed Netscape in the middle of doing it the first time. Here we go again, probably not as well done though…
Yesterday we had to go in to apply for our cedulas (legal alien card – I’m an Englishman in New York?). Took a while, guarded by men with Uzis – fun stuff! Afterwards we went out for a really good lunch, then some grocery shopping in the afternoon. Not a big day.
Today we had kind of an orientation day at school. We got a chance to look around the school (which is really nice, pictures hopefully to come soon), had a great lunch again (I love the food here!), had a couple of meetings and then got our textbooks. I’m teaching 8 and 9 bio, which should be pretty good.
This post is going to cover the trip down, for the most part. We (my parents and I) drove down to Toronto on Monday, Tuesday I picked up a digital camera (photos to come soon :) and Wednesday afternoon was my flight.
The flight itself was pretty good, we actually got in a few minutes early. I had some issues with baggage (both were overweight, had to buy a 3rd and pay for extra baggage, dammit). Got to see Hellboy on the flight down, yippee (please note the sarcasm). And, just for fun, I got to endure a (approximately) 5 year old literally scream at the top of her lungs on a couple of occasions for about 15 minutes at a time. Just for the hell of it, because she felt like it. Five year old girls have very piercing screams. Luckily I was in a window seat and didn’t have to be arrested when the plane landed – too many seats between us.
The Bogota airport was a zoo, since for some odd reason they schedule all of their flights to come in at the same time. Customs itself was easy, they didn’t care about me, baggage was a bit more of an adventure since I didn’t have any way to get my bags out, but it wasn’t too bad. They have porters who help you out. And conveniently, Robert and Megan Mimms had landed about an hour before me so Robert was sent in with a sign with my name on it to collect me. Worked out just fine for me :) Leaving the airport was interesting too, there were hundreds of people pressed up against the glass windows – I felt like a celebrity!
Check for more tomorrow…
Well, picked up the work visa today – it’s basically just a page glued into my passport, actually. Not much to it. So, that means I have everything I need, as far as I can tell. All that’s left is to (ugh) finish packing. Anyone want to do this for me? At least I’m getting rid of a ton of crap, which is good – there’s only so much I’m going to be able to store!
Howdy everyone! I’ve been a bit slow on the updates over the past few days – not exactly sure why, it’s not like I’m working or anything. Ha! Anyway, here’s the scoop: after several trials and tribulations, I’ll be picking up my work visa tomorrow. Took me a few attempts to get it right though.
I went in last Wednesday to apply for it, but wouldn’t you know it – I couldn’t find the consulate! You would THINK 1 Dundas St. W would be easy to find, but NOOOOO. I had to make it difficult on myself by trying to find it from Yonge St, and I just didn’t go far enough west on Dundas to see it. Turns out it’s attached to the Eaton Centre, but it’s not quite part of it – who knew?
So, with slightly better directions and a different route of attack, I went in on Thursday to try again. This time I found it easily, but I was missing one item. I didn’t have my diplomas translated into Spanish. So, away I went again. I faxed them into my translator on Friday, then on Monday she dropped the translations off and I went into Toronto to pay for the work visa. This time, no problems, woohoo! So, I get to go back in AGAIN tomorrow to pick it up – only took 4 trips, not bad :)
In other news, I now have an address and phone number in Bogota. If anyone needs to get in touch with me, here it is:
Cra. 13A # 107 – 79
Phone: (571)619 – 0445 (I’m not sure what the country code is off hand)
So, there you go! Talk to you again soon…