Monthly Archives: August 2004

Botero and Swackhammer

Okay, time for Weekend Update! This week was pretty quiet during the week, at least in terms of things going on here in South America. Saturday was a pretty good day. A few of us went down to the National Art (I THINK it’s supposed to be Art) Museum. We actually attempted to do it last weekend too, but never ended up getting there – Robert needed pants :) Anyway, it was interesting. The first floor was primarily archaeological stuff – bones, artifacts, some very cool mummies. Second floor wasn’t all that fantastic – it was mostly historical portraits. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think people smiled a lot back in the 18 and early 1900’s. Maybe their dental plans sucked…

Anyway, the top floor was MUCH better. There were some really neat paintings, including some from an artist named Enrique Grau Araujo – very interesting stuff, look him up of you have a chance. There was also some stuff by a very well-known Colombian artist named Botero, who…well, paints large people. They kind of look like Edward Gorey characters, but fat. Even his trees are fat. Some of it’s really good though, certainly original.

So that’s about it for stuff down here. There have been some developments from home though. I’m going to keep stuff about home home (ie family) off of here, but friends are still fair game :)

Ryan Swackhammer got married on Friday. Holy crap, he didn’t get gunshy after dating someone for two years for once :) Just kidding buddy, I’m proud of you – you did what we all hope we can do someday, you married your best friend. Congratulations. It’s interesting – when I hit university, I’m pretty sure most people thought I’d be the last person to ever get married. Then, for a little while at least, it almost looked like I would go first. Now, I’m back to going last again :) Funny how cyclical life is. Guess I’m going to have to find a Colombian chiquita to bring home…better be careful though, don’t want to get used for a green card ;)

That’s it for this week, next round will probably be next weekend.

Captain’s Log, Supplemental: Always wanted to say that legitimately. Anyway, just wanted to add something. As you all know, I have cable down here. As a result, I’ve been able to watch SOME North American programming – mostly drama stuff. Anyway, I watched ‘Without A Trace’ this week, and they showed an episode from this past February. Really, really touching episode – probably something a lot of high school kids should see. Interesting to see what can make a 12 year old kid want to kill himself, and it was stuff that happens everyday. Well, almost everyday. Regardless, there was a song at the end of the episode that I’ve fallen in love with. Kind of in the vein of Ryan Adams, Nick Drake, Jeff Buckley, etc. It’s called Fire Sign by David Berkeley – it’s been added as a bonus track to his new album ‘After the Wrecking Ships’. I’ve heard some of it, and it’s pretty good – and even if it wasn’t, it’s worth it just for this song. I’ve had it on repeat for the last 2 days now that I’ve finally been able to download it (Can I still be charged for doing this in Colombia even if I’m a Canadian and it’s legal for us? Probably, huh. Oh well, let’s see Sony or whoever come down and get me). Beautiful song, well worth the effort to find. You can get his album online at, if you’re interested. That’s it, bye bye.

I need a Babelfish

Oooooooooooh, my first posting since I got down here that’s actually recent as opposed to going backwards in time a month. My messages are going to be about once a week from now on, now that I’ve settled into a fairly regular routine.

We’re now into our third week of school. Things have been going pretty well so far, no major issues. Had a bit of a hassle with one of my classes on Friday, but all is fixed and forgiven. Have I mentioned that the kids here are actually really nice kids? A bit pampered, but I’ll fix that :)

This past weekend was an interesting one. Saturday night Barbie had a little dinner party, then she, Simon and I went out to a club. Apparently the place is really trendy and often has celebrities in it – none on this night though, it was pretty quiet. In fact, there were only about 10 people in the place when we got there at 11:30. A few more showed up, but not too many. Didn’t matter though, the music was great. I had a fantastic time, it was a lot of fun.

Sunday afternoon Alan, Megan and I decided to go to a movie. We checked out CineColombia to find times and locations for movies, and we went with Goodbye Lenin. It’s a foreign film, but it’s listed as an English film with Spanish subtitles. No problem, right? WRONG. It’s actually a GERMAN film with Spanish subtitles. Now, Alan has been living in Bogota for a year, so he’s fairly good with his Spanish. Megan and I, not so much so. Our lessons don’t even start until this week (first one today!), so it was a bit of an effort. We were both able to follow along well enough to understand the story, but holy crap it was exhausting. I was ready for bed afterwards.

Done for now, more updates soon…

Oh, almost forgot. I got myself a gym membership last night – maybe if I’m in decent enough shape they’ll let me go on the trip to the Amazon in November :)

My own little time machine

Well holy crap, I finally got down to doing this. I’ve now been in Bogota for almost 3 weeks, so I figure it’s about time I actually got everyone updated. So, here’s how I’m going to do it – since there’s going to be quite a bit to write (I have a lot of catching up to do), I’m going to magically go back in time and create the individual postings! Hallelujah, praise the power of the Blogger! And since I now am hooked up at home, I can take my time doing this – or, at least, I can actually DEVOTE some time to doing it. So, assuming you’re interested (since you’re here, I would guess you are), you’ll have to go to one of the pages where past postings are saved. Click on the July and August links at the bottom, that’ll get you there. Enjoy!

Week 1 in the books

Okay, let’s go through week 1! We got some new people last weekend – Barbie on a teacher exchange, and Ben and Sara. Seem like pretty interesting people so far.

The week itself went pretty smoothly, despite my screwing up computer room booking (twice!). The kids seem pretty good so far, although I still don’t know who most of them are. Name tags are coming out on Tuesday :) The planning has gone pretty well so far – it’s REALLY odd having to prep 2 weeks in advance and having to have photocopying in at least 2 days ahead of time (we don’t actually make our own copies), and I can very easily see some problems potentially occurring in the future, but so far it hasn’t been too much of an issue.

Friday night was the first time we actually went out to a club since we’ve been here. We’ve gone out for dinner almost every night, but never actually out for drinks afterwards. I had a great time – 2 o’clock rolled around long before I thought it should have (we could’ve stayed later, but the other Norte Americanos were getting tired, the poor babies ;)

Saturday was a dinner party at Alan’s. The food was great. We were actually going to go out (at least that was the tentative plan), but we ended up in a big socio-economical discussion of the history of Colombia with one of the Colombian teachers. I think we’re going to take a trip down to the southern end of the city one day soon; apparently we’re not getting a real idea of the living situation in this city. It will be a nice wake up call I think, we need it. Simon had worked down in that area before teaching at Nogales, so he’s seen some pretty terrible living and school conditions. Hard to learn when you have hypothermia – no roof, no warmth. Sad.


Happy birthday to me

Opening up our accounts turned out to be pretty easy. Not as easy as picking up the cedulas though – that took all of five minutes. Much faster than the 2 hours it took for us to apply.

So my birthday was on Thursday. A group of us went out for dinner, which was very good. Yesterday (Friday) was a horribly long day, and it will be for the rest of the year. 6:45 is a ridiculous time to start school, I can’t imagine how they expect the kids to function properly at that time. We went out for dinner last night to a sushi place and Alan and I split the Osaki Boat – an enormous tray of sushi that was fantastic. GREAT food here, have I mentioned?

Today we went up to EXITO, which is basically Bogota’s version of Wal-Mart. I picked up an egg-crate/carton/whatever it’s called padding for my bed, which was WAY too hard after spending most of the last 9 years on a futon. Now it’s very comfortable – full night sleeps from now on!

To top the day off, James had a little party at his new place which has an incredible view of the city – this place is absolutely enormous. Food, drinks, dancing – good time had by all :)