Saturday, November 27, 2010

La Ciclovía.

Although I no longer live in Bogotá, there is one thing among the many that I never wrote about that I will unveil today. Bogotá is the first city in the world to organize a Ciclovía. What this awesome event is occurs every Sunday and holiday in the great capital of Colombia. Sometimes there is a holiday on a Monday, which means two days of Ciclovía in a row. Translation, Bogotá, a positive city for riding bicycles on Sundays. Probably the only true and nice thing one can say about Bogotá ;)

Every Sunday and all holidays, the city of Bogotá closes nearly 100 miles of major roads in the city from 7am until 2pm, and they are clear for cycling, strolling, roller skating or roller blading, even skateboarding, dog-walking and the like. This blew my mind when I learned about it, nearly 100 miles car-free!! Here I was thinking I had come from a cycling conscious city(Denver)/country(USA)and here in grimy, cloudy Bogotá, they are closing the streets and the Colombians are coming out in droves. I have heard statistics that up to 2 million(!!!)people will come out for these events, impressive numbers in this city of about 8 million residents. The event is fully supported by the Bogotá police, with a traffic officer at every single intersection where cars will need to pass as lights change. This means hundreds of intersections across the whole of the huge city, all with a traffic officer(albiet an 18-year-old with a whistle and a beret, it'll do). Barriers are set up at appropriate spots to prevent the passing of cars and there is no shortage of traffic cones and yellow "CAUTION" tape to guide the riders and cars in the right direction. At certain points, maps of the never-changing route are displayed for all to guide themselves throughout.


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And, before anyone gets any ideas of spandex-laden, peloton-type crowds racing in the streets, I believe the above picture clearly demonstrates it's anything but. It's a plethora of crappy bikes, with unskilled and inexperienced riders. Jeans are not an uncommon choice for attire and I'm not sure I saw a properly worn helmet the entire time I was in Bogotá. Also, can't leave baby at home, so she'll just sit on the top tube while we cruise. Hilarious!



Because I participated in the Ciclovías, I was able to see many areas of Bogotá that otherwise would have been inaccessible by bike or just simply to dangerous to go to. I cruised many, many miles of the Bogotá, and did some great climbs in the mountains that flank the east side of the city. I was also privy to some of the endless antics of the Colombians. I prefer to ride fast, but this is not possible in the crowds that come out. Instead, I took it slow and tried to avoid as many potential accidents as possible. My favorite obstacle was the roller-blading, hand-holding, dog-walking couple. This frequently sighted group of three had the uncanny ability to block the entire street sometimes. However, the Colombians ability to be a clueless pain-in-the-ass to others is never surprising.





Not only do activity craving types come out, the salesmen and women are also lining the streets of the Ciclovía. Latinos selling crap are present at every opportunity to make money. Everything from juice and water stands, to sellers of fried pork rinds amongst the most unhealthy of gastronomic delights. Got to balance out all that exercise. The above picture is actually from a Ciclovía. Either this guy is taking advantage of the car-free streets to transport his giant mirrors and paintings, or he actually thinks that someone is going to buy one of those things and just put it under their arm and ride home. Ambitious. For me, no giant mirror, but I have bought three t-shirts for $5 at the Ciclovía out of some guy's trunk. If one so desired, there was also plenty of Colombians selling single cigarettes and various candy and gum from a sort of brief case thing hanging in front of them. My favorite time to enjoy a cigarette and a caramel is usually mid-ride. There is also many bicycle repair stands, providing the most basic of maintenance and air pumps for all the squishy tires.



I loved the Ciclovía for it's cultural value. So funny and amazing to me every week to see the randomness and the variety of people, pets, bikes, "cycling" clothes, food for sale, and ways to try and make me crash. My Ciclovía career came to an end when one Sunday afternoon as I weaved in and out of the staring masses I slammed right into a kid(bringing my grand total of hitting kids on my bike to four). At this point, I had ridden in a lot of Ciclovías and was satisfied with the enlightenment it had brought to my life. Simply, I was fed up with the crowds.

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The Ciclovía continues to inspire me as it is one of my fondest memories of living in Bogotá. A true and rare opportunity to see culture in a very unique form, to do something I absolutely live for, cycling, and to do it in a place where so much clouds the beauty of life. Though one of the most violent and seemingly ass-backwards countries in the world, Colombia is slowly getting things right. Thanks to Bogota's innovation of La Ciclovía, cities the world over are starting to experiment with similar events. Imagine, someday in United States, the most car loving country on the planet, cities closing down the most major roads for a few hours and people coming out to enjoy a cruise or a skate, or a stroll for the simple enjoyment of it. The day I can ride my bike down the middle of Colfax will be a beautiful day.
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Sunday, October 31, 2010

A barber's Halloween.

Halloween, in my opinion, is the single greatest thing ever to be thought up. A celebration of costumes and candy, genius. This barber had a super night with various activities enjoyed and many costumes viewed. In honor of my time spent in Colombia, your's truly went as the biggest, richest, most famous and most evil drug lord ever to crawl the planet, Pablo Escobar. Most people don't seem to know who Pablo Escobar is, but that didn't matter, I still offered cocaine to everyone on the streets and in the clubs.

The night started after working all day at the barber shop. I was invited to go to the Avalanche game with a client and I accepted. Dressed as a Colombian man, I was accompanied by my client who dressed in this flight suit from his time in the Air Force. We were a great match, a bastard narco-terrorist, and a part of the team who hunted him down until his very timely assassination on a roof top all those years ago. To our dismay, there was not many people at the game who were in costume. No bother, the Avalanche dominated the game and ended up winning 5-1.

After the game, I wanted to see a friend at the bar where she tends to the needs of drinkers. This time, to our delight, there were many people in costume, as the bar was offering a $1000 prize for best costume. The prize translated into some of the best and most creative costumes I've ever seen. Above is part of the competition; somebody(perfectly)dressed as Bender from Futurama, and two Legomen. Never in my wildest dreams would I ever have thought up the Legoman costume. Made me want to pop their little Lego heads off.

The bar where this costume contest was is a piano bar. Between rounds of the contest, the band and piano players were jamming and I had the pleasure of hearing a live version of "The Devil Goes Down to Georgia". What this means is there was a fiddle player in the band. I was hypnotized with his playing! I have never seen anything like that, the speed and accuracy of the notes was mind-blowing and it actually brought tears of amazement to my eyes as my brain could not process what it was seeing at the rate it was happening. But bastard Colombian drug lords are not sentimental for long and we soon left the bar for a house party.
Now, Pablo Escobar was a super horrible person, causing terror in the lives of Colombians and many others for years. I could not glorify this. Naturally, I chose instead to glorify his assassination with a properly placed bullet hole in the side of my head, the exact spot where he was shot and promptly died. Great job Colombian Ejército. Thanks from all of us! My skin is still stained red from the fake blood, but fortunately for me all the rest washed off.

I have no photos of the house party, which is not important. What is important is that I have a photo of the single most amazing and creative costume I have ever seen. These two women have built a roller coaster seat, made fake legs in front so they could walk around beneath the seat, and appropriately styled their hair to look like they are riding a roller coaster and walked around all night acting like they were at the peak of the thrill. This is beyond genius, this is genuine Halloween commitment, obviously true lovers of all things Halloween. Congratulations roller coaster riders, you are the winners of the costume contest in my head. God bless you Halloween, you bring out the best.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Costumed trivia.

So Denver is a special place, mostly because of the hodge-podge of people that are in this city(not to mention this never-ending summer). What Denver lacks in many cosmopolitan aspects it makes up for in kookiness and downright awesomeness. I explain.
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Last night after getting off work at the barber shop, I decided it was time to deposit some of my earnings in the ATM. I make my way to the Wells Fargo ATM on Blake and 16th Street. I do my business and as I am about to depart for the late night ride home to Littleton I see four women sitting in what appeared to be zombie costumes and eating burritos from the Illegal Pete's that is across the street from the aforementioned ATM. As usual, curiosity got the best of me and I had to find out what was the deal with the costumes. I approached the group and inquire as to the occasion of the costumes. I am told by the lovely ladies that they occasionally get together in costumes, make their way to multiple locations in the city and play Trivial Pursuit in public. Being the month of Halloween, they had decided to do Spooky Pursuit, hence the zombie costumes. It was explained to me that the idea was sort of a "why not?" thing, to which I agreed, and done purely for the entertainment value, which ranks high. The ladies told me about another night aptly named Princess Pursuit due to the princess costumes worn that night. I was beginning to understand the sheer magnitude of awesomeness involved. Amongst the group was a baby girl also in costume, a tiny spider with sprayed purple hair, terribly, terribly cute. I was very impressed with the creativity of the idea and bid them a good night.

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The night really was young, and still warm enough that I did not fear a cold bike ride home yet. As I made my way towards the bike path, I realized how neat all of this really was, and thought myself an idiot to at least not have gotten a phone number from one of the gals for next time. I made my way around the block and arrived back at the bank, announced to the ladies I was genuinely interested in playing to which they promptly invited me to play a round. I saddled up right there on the sidewalk, removed my cycling shoes and helmet and was explained the rules. They play at one location until everybody has at least one chip, and if anyone gets three chips at any one location, they get to choose another player to blacken in a tooth, hillbilly style. This explained the blackened tooth that one player was sporting already. We rolled the dice and began the round.

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I quickly realized I was playing with people whom play on regular basis, and have all the normal habits of anyone whom plays Trivial Pursuit on a regular basis. Everything from, for example, if the questionee doesn't answer the question correctly, everyone else also wants a guess before the correct answer is read, to exclamations of "I was gonna say that!" once the answer is heard. I learned that only one country in the world claims it's official language as Japanese, that Professor Dumbldore has a scar on his knee, and that Marlboro cigarettes are named after a street in London. All valuable knowledge in the trivial world. The baby was staring at me through the first part of the round and after getting antsy in her mom's lap came to me with a squeal and a laugh and as soon as she sat down in my lap, looked up and me and gave me a big "Wow!", it made my week. She was probably amazed that I was the only one not in costume, unless you count cycling spandex with skull and bones leg warmers as a costume. Another woman of my same name was one of the group and as I scolded another player for not putting the used trivia card in the box correctly, I was informed that other Sara(no h for her)is also a card Nazi. We do not need the same questions repeated in the same game, Sarah and Sara will make sure of that.
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At one point the ladies mentioned they had eaten cupcakes earlier in the evening and I must have had a dreamy look in my eyes because they told me there was six more cupcakes available for feasting. I did a back flip of excitement and ate three homemade red velvet, frosting filled cupcakes. One of the ladies in the group is a master baker, I have met my new best friend. In the cupcake tin was also what were described as phalanges, basically giant stick pretzels surrounded with white chocolate in the form of bones. I helped myself to some fingers. The night was really coming together for me; really cool women in costumes, a cute baby that loves me, one of my favorite board games, cupcakes, candy, bahhhhhh! I was in heaven. I even got to witness the hilarity of a player receiving three chips, and the blackened tooth of another player that ensued.
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It was getting late, the baby was sleeping as was her mother, practically. After about two hours of play, we decided to call it a night. As new found friends, we exchanged all pertinent contact information, I thanked them for letting me crash the party and we bid farewell.
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I rode home five degrees cooler but fifteen times happier and awestruck at the randomness of life and the beautiful opportunities that present themselves to be either ignored or stormed like a castle. I have met four really great, and obviously creative women, all of whom have inspired and helped me in my personal pursuit to be more social. I cannot wait for the next Costumed Pursuit, because I will definitely be in appropriate gear this time. Look out Denver.
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Monday, September 13, 2010

Para: Bogotá

Bogotá:

¿Como te digo todo lo que siento, todo lo que pienso, y todo lo que he vivido en tus calles?

Yo llegué aqui a Colombia para vivir, para conocer, para empezar la otra epoca de mi vida. Cuando llegué, yo pensé en vivir en Medellín, aunque no la conocía. Pero, Bogotá, desde el primer dia, me tenías. Yo estaba encantada con todo lo que veía, los parques, la gente, las montañas a tus lados, tus obras de arte a todos lados, tus barrios, y la vida. Nunca yo había pensado que eres así, tan linda, con tanta vida.

Despues de solo unos dias, me enamoré con una de las personas que has creado. Me enamoré totalmente, y yo decidí a quedarme en tus brazos. Yo podía sentir una vida para mi en Bogotá.

Yo conseguí mi propio apartamento, y todas las cosas. Yo corré por toda la ciudad para llenar mi vida con tus cosas. Como pasa el tiempo, yo viví, yo conocí, y yo aprendí contigo. Yo tuvé la oportunidad para tener un buen trabajo, uno de los sueños. Tambien, yo busqué un doctor para curarme de mi enfermedad misteria. Yo estaba enamorada. Todo me pareció bien.

Pero, la vida tiene su manera, y la vida para mi aqui en las calles y carreras de Bogotá tiene así mismo. Cosas malas empezaron a llegar. Unas de las cosas mas feas de toda mi vida pasó aqui en Bogotá. Sabes lo que es. Yo no siento que tienes la culpa, Bogotá, nadie tiene la culpa. Pero, yo sufrí demasiado de esto. Mi relación empezó a caerse. Mi oportunidad para trabajar estaba aún muy lejos del tiempo. Y tus ladrones y criminales me atacaron tres veces en tres semanas. Yo decidí a irme a mi pais para pasar un rato, trabajar, relajarme, y pensar en mi vida. Yo pasé el mejor tiempo alla.

Durante este tiempo en EU, tambien mucho cambió. Yo sabía que ya no podía vivir en tus calles, con tu gente. Se cayó mi relacion con tu hijo, y con eso yo sentí que se cayó toda mi vida en Bogotá. Ya no estoy tan encantada con tu gente, me ha mostrado que no tiene respeto de uno al otro.

Bogotá, me has dado unas cosas muy bonitas, y muy feas. Estoy tan cansada de los cambios de la vida que me vienen siempre, ¿pero, que hago? No me puedo quedar contigo, no me has abrazado como te abracé. En la realidad, yo no sé lo que tiene mi futuro, pero por ahora, yo sé que no tiene mas de ti. Yo no quería que nos despidamos así, con mucha tristeza en mi córazon. De verdad, yo quería vivir años en tus brazos, con tu hijo, y todo más que tienes para ofrecer a alguien. Tengo que irme.

Me has cambiado Bogotá. Me has enseñado un monton. Me has mostrado otro lado de la vida. Yo sé que yo necesite años para entender lo que significas en mi vida, por que yo viví lo que viví aqui. Tambien, yo sé que no te vas. Te vas a quedar aqui en los Andes hasta el fin del mundo. Yo sé que podré volver en cualquier momento. Hasta entonces, gracias por todo Bogotá. Aunque no me diste lo que pensaba, no siento nada de odio por ti, poca tristeza, pero nada de odio.

Nos vemos Bogotá. Ciao.

Sarah.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Liquidation!!

Don´t worry, I haven´t been robbed, surprisingly enough. This is what my apartment looks like after the Colombianos had their way with purchasing my things.

With my decision to leave Bogotá, I find myself needing to sell all of my things that I ran all over the city to buy only a short eight months ago. However, it has turned out to be more entertaining and much faster than I could have hoped. I decided the best way to go about the quick-sale of my goods was to post advertisements in various locations around the barrio. However what ensued made these advertisements totally unnecessary.

Before obtaining my own apartment here in Bogotá, I stayed at an old hotel near to where I eventually lived. Naturally I befriended the staff, namely an old man named Jorge who is the manager. As I posted the ads, I stopped by the hotel to tell Jorge that I am leaving town and needed to sell my things. He said he would let people know, and I bid good afternoon. Five minutes later Jorge calls me and tells me that one of the young men that works at the hotel was interested in the stove I was selling. I promptly returned to the hotel to chat with a cute 18-year-old Luis(not like that, but I thought about it, I'm still thinking about it). I quoted Luis a price for the stove the gas tank and all necessary connections. Luis and Jorge said they would come over the next morning and look at the things.

As I was dreaming about Cristiano Ronaldo the next morning, my phone rang and Jorge told me that he and Luis were on their way over. Upon arrival, Luis dismanteled the stove, disconnected the gas and decided to buy my set of pots and pans, all of my dishes and utensils, and the small table and benches I also had. Sweet! Whilst Luis made a few trips back and forth to his nearby apartment, Jorge and I chatted. We discussed the price of my small fridge among other things.

When this all ended, Jorge and Luis left and a few minutes later, my neighbor Jaime knocked on the door. He wanted to come in and look at what was remaining as to advise the neighbors that the gringa is splitting town and liquidating the goods! Jaime looked around and left. Minutes later, Jorge calls, says he is on his way over because he knows someone who wants the fridge. Jorge arrives and hangs out again, during which time I give him some small gifts for helping me out. The fridge purchasers never arrived so Jorge left, promising to return. Then Jaime arrives yet again with one of my other neighbors. She is very interested in a mirror and shelf set I had, I quote her an insanely low price at which she jumps. She takes the things and returns shortly after with the $15,000 Colombian pesos($8). Another knock at the door, Jorge is back, he hands over the loot for the fridge and takes off yet again, securing the purchase and making my day.

In the meantime the husband of a couple whom are also neighbors of mine shows up at the door asking about the bed, Jaime is with him. I am selling the bed complete with the pillows, blankets, sheets, matress, frame, the whole package; easy for all. The man looks at the bed and I quote him the price. He, in a very Colombian manner, tells me that he will pay all cash up front so I should bring the price down a little bit for him. Duh, of course you are going to pay me all cash, up front, there is no other choice here. However the price will not come down as it´s already a great deal. He said his wife will want to see the bed and that I should stop by their little store later to have her come look. Ok. During all of this Jaime is hanging out and taking in the negociations, he asks me the price for the fridge. Already sold brother, too little, too late.

Neighbor guy and Jaime leave. Phone rings, Jorge is calling to tell me the two young men from the hotel are on their way to pick up the fridge. I wait for them and a few minutes later they knock the door. Luis and Adrian enter, cousins from the coast of Colombia, costeños with an accent nearly impossible to understand. The have arrived with a dolly to take the fridge, but ask me what else I have to sell. The cousins take a look around and decide to buy my remaining mirror, a shelf for clothing and my electrified shower head(a necessity for heating the water in a land with no water heaters). I tell them no problem, and that I will let them know when to come pick up these things as I still need them to live for my last week in Bogotá. This left me with only one table(pictured above), and my bed.

A completely crazy Welsh friend of mine who has made himself a life here in Bogotá tells me he wants my uber-cherry mattress. I tell him I want to sell the bed as a whole so he should pay me for my mattress and give me his making it possible to both sell the bed as a complete set and to lower the price. I see it all coming together. This is genius.

This morning I went to the tienda of the couple wanting the bed. They come over and look at the bed again, this time wifey comes along. I tell them I am going to swap the mattress, but that it will take a lot off of the price. They eat it up. I have sold my bed. The wife is so excited she wants to pay me now, to which the husband and I both say no. The bed is theirs, they also want my last little table, and we will talk again next week when we will exchange money for goods. No deposit necessary though it is hard to believe anything that any Colombian says. I can only hope for the best, but I also know where to find them and I have learned how to give proper Colombian guilt should they decide to back out.

Just like that. One day and the Bogotanos eat up my stuff. I guess being a friendly spanish-speaking gringa can get you more than harassement. Jorge is the best damn seller of anything I´ve ever seen and I´m convinced that once the word was out in the barrio amongst the gossipy Colombians, my stuff was as good as sold. Colombians are good for something besides coffee, emeralds and cocaine. They are also good for off-loading used goods at record speed.




Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Back to Bogsy-babes.

This post is more for my own self-help therapy purposes than anything.

Did three months pass just like that?! Yes, they did and I'm back in Bogotá. It is still as cloudy as I remember. I arrived without a hitch and all in my apartment has proven to have stayed put. Amazing in this land of ladrones. But I'm grateful. . .always grateful to win the battle with thieves the world over.

In the few hours I have been back I am reminded of all the little charming things that made me choose to stay in this city in the first place. The cute old ladies selling empanadas and tinto on the street, Janet at the bakery, my neighbors(all of whom have been delighted to see me again), the market, my few friends, the mountains, the broken sidewalks, the narrow streets of the old colonial neighborhood in which I live, the list could go on. I am surrounded by all of the things that are easily forgotten when one is away for so long. The noises of the streets resounding in the barrio; the street dogs, always street dogs, children everywhere, 18-year-old police everywhere(can also qualify as children), the roller skate sized taxis on every street and corner, the fruit vendors. Bogotá is special. And how could I have forgotten how cute the Colombianos are?! Seriously now, hot brown Colombians everywhere!

And I am also feeling that my heart is right in telling me that my days here are coming to an end. As smitten as I am yet again by Bogotá, I no longer see this place through the same innocent eyes as I did in my first weeks and months here. I have had enough bad experiences with street crime and with the dysfunctional Colombian society and culture as a whole. Getting older and living life sometimes sucks because it can show some really ugly things in really amazing places. Colombia has a long way to go and will likely never totally escape its violent ways. I have also had enough experiences with the Colombian people to know that I do not want to struggle on a daily basis to feel even the slightest bit accepted or understood by them. Their lack of exposure to foreigners has left the Colombian people unable to function in a healthy manner regarding tourists. The staring, the being a target for harassment or crime, the people who ask to take pictures with you or just take them anyway, the general lack of respect that Colombians have for each other and all people in general. Another stressful factor for this laid back Westerner is the obsessive madness(some call it Latino passion)with which they deal with every single daily situation. Colombians deal with all things with some degree of drama, usually totally unnecessary drama. All of this leads to a degree of dysfunction that I am chosing to no longer live with.

It's sad to me because I am very charmed by Bogotá. It's inexplicable, there is just a magic to this place through all the grime. But I have been there, done that, and I even have the Homero Valdez t-shirt to prove it.

Will I travel in Latin America again? There is no doubt in my mind that I will come back to Latin America. I will even very likely be back to Colombia and to Bogotá at some point. Traveling in a place and living in a place are worlds apart. A huge plus for me as well is my ability to speak the language, and the fact that at least I won't be confused when the Colombianos act crazy.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Ahhhhhhh. . . . the Tetons.

House-sitting in Teton country has obvious benefits, especially since I am here in the best part of summer. I have made it my personal duty to take as many shots of these majestic mountains as I can to prove to myself that views of the Tetons never get old. All of these shots were taken on various road bike rides that I have had no shortage of. And yes, you lazy bums, I rode up that road, it is the first part of the climb to the Targhee ski mountain.
Once I arrived to the base of the ski mountain, I left my bike outside a bike shop, took the lift up, took my road cycling shoes off, and walked in my socks to this view. I looked like a complete idiot, and I just happened to be acting like a complete idiot behaving in this manner, walking on mountain terrain in socks and spandex. But a much safer option than walking on the same terrain in road cycling shoes. Have you seen those cleats? Not designed for walking. Hey, I had no idea that all of this was going to ensue, I just wanted to ride from Driggs to Targhee. However, the painful mountain sock walking, two words: worth it.
Idaho is farm country, and thank god for it or we probably wouldn't have french fries and tater tots. Another nice thing about all this agriculture, the beautiful views of fields and Tetons. This photo is from my ride to Bitch Creek(refer to Signs of Life posting for more information).
Grand Teton National Park. The ride I did this day will go down as one of the most perfect and beautiful, mind-blowing rides of my life. The weather, that bike path(so smooth!), the epic scenery. . . ahhhhh, the Tetons.
Jackson Lake, Grand Teton National Park.
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Passing by many views along various scenic byways, or in national parks, I have learned a lot about the Tetons from informational signs. First of all, they are the youngest range in the Rocky Mountains, at about 10 million years old. They were created when one tectonic plate slid dramatically underneath the other pushing up towards the sky the piece of rock that is what we now know of as the Teton range. This geological action also created the valley where Jackson, Wyoming is located. The Tetons were once one giant mountain, but years of glacial action has broken it down into the three Tetons we now recognize. Bored yet? The best is yet to come.
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Today I learned about that crazy name, the Tetons. I passed yet another informational sign that stated that the original name is French, Les Trois Tetons. This is literally translated into The Three Breasts. No lie, the sign said all of this. Leave it to some crazy French explorer who has been wandering the west without sight of a woman for months to see these mountains and the first thing he thinks is, "three giant boobs!". Men never change, imagining giant naked breasts at every turn. Maybe it's just me, but I have never seen breasts like that, god help me the day I do.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Milo vs. Gatita

This is a competition, a legitimate competition in which each kitty will be judged by my kitty standards. I love two kitties but now they battle each other for my love. I wish it could be a real fight, but my heart would break, I would have to interfere in the fight and I would probably get clawed to death in the meantime. Whatever. Enough small talk.

The above pictured kitty is my mother's cat, Gatita(Spanish for kitty, original). I love Gatita so much and I cannot to this day identify why. Gatita tortures me with her cuteness and her sass. She walks by me and even rubs up on my legs sometimes, but that's about as good as it gets. The thing about Gatita is that though I love her, she hates me. Gatita will not let me pick her up, she barely even lets me pet her without a hiss and an attempted clawing of any reachable extremity.
I think the longest I have been able to touch her is under five seconds. My family thinks this is funny, and it is, but I'm dying inside.

Gatita has proven to be quite the huntress as well, blood lust we could call it. Gatita kills multiple animals weekly, especially in the summer. It's mostly mice, but small birds and sometimes large birds show up dead in the yard. One time she was playing with a half-dead dragon fly. Last summer Gatita brought home a snake. Fortunately for the snake it was alive and unharmed. We kept the snake for a few days, we named it Jose.

Gatita has an indescribable allure, something that makes me want to cuddle her for like eight hours straight. It is probably the fact that I never will be able to cuddle her for even eight seconds. I should be careful what I wish for. It is clearly a lop-sided relationship. But that will never make me stop trying to get her to love me. The most painful part is that my little brother can hold her like a baby and she doesn't budge. She even slowly leans her head to the side to make sure I'm looking. Bitch.

Then there is Milo. Milo is the kitten of my sister's family in Idaho where I am currently house-sitting. Milo is terribly cute. Milo is hilarious and one of my favorite things about him is his experimental palate. Milo is always in my face when I'm eating, and all other times for that matter, but he loves to try new things. So far things Milo has eaten includes, but is not limited to, peanut butter(natural crunchy), lemon yogurt, frosting, dog food, Saudi kabsah rice, raw egg yolk, Teddy Grahams, cookie dough and has drank strawberry iced tea. I think Milo's dream is to be a dog.

In the above picture Milo appears very tranquil, and sometimes he is. However, Milo is a kitten and that puts a whole new twist on things. One may assume that he has a natural advantage as a kitten, but the one that assumes that has never spent five minutes with a kitten. Milo has two speeds: attack mode, and sleeping. Even as I have sat here typing this I have been clawed four times and Milo is currently locked in the bathroom until I am done. Milo has no self- awareness. Milo not only loves to play, he NEEDS to play, usually at everyone elses expense(dogs, chickens, and rabbits not excluded). Milo chases anything, and is usually in attack mode if I'm around. One of Milo's favorite things to attack are my bare feet. Awesome! Not. First thing in the morning, my feet get attacked and he does not sleep in the same room as me, that only lasted one short night.

Though it is some kind of sick torture to be around Milo when he is in attack mode, he is also super cuddly and loves to be held and petted. Bonus! When Milo is feeling lovey and calm(read: has ran himself sleepy), he will sit with me for minutes on end and be petted, maybe even up to an hour. This would never happen with Gatita, never, ever, ever. Milo is adorable and almost wants to be loved too much as opposed to never.

In the kitty competition, it's hard to say. Gatita hates me, Milo loves me(too much). Milo attacks me, Gatita ignores me. Milo makes me laugh with the things he eats, and Gatita disgusts me and makes me clean up after her. It is a delicate balance folks and one with which I will not mess. I can deal with Gatita ignoring me because at least I know she won't claw me(unless provoked), or jump in my lap when I have no pants on. On the other hand, I can deal with Milo scratching me and jumping on my lap when I have no pants on, because when he finally, finally calms down, he will seek me out and let me cuddle him. Milo in my face when I'm eating is always better than finding a half-dead creature in the lawn, courtesy of the huntress, Gatita. I hate having to finish the job by crushing things with a shovel and then bury them in the garden.

Kitty competition is a draw. I should probably go let Milo out of the bathroom now.

Friday, July 30, 2010

One more from the road.

Apparently this is 2-hour parking forever, because September 31st will never come.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Signs of life.

I've been in Idaho for only a few days now, but nonetheless, I am discovering that this may be my true second home. There are signs everywhere to prove it. Cougar Corner. No way. Now I know where I can spend my lonely Friday nights. Funny thing about this, when I did a u-turn to get back on the highway by this sign there was a group of middle-aged women pulling up on their bicycles across the street, spandex and all. I know I'm on the right path in life.
This is nothing special, except for my little sister, who now knows where she can go and buy more center pivots for herself. Not to mention jacuzzi pumps. True story. I did an 80-mile round trip drive and a 25-mile bike ride to this creek in hopes of photographing it's sign. The map said it's called Bitch Creek. Tragically, every single creek in Idaho has a sign except this one. That's what happens in a state full of easily offended Mormons. They should realize that vandalism and destruction of property is also offensive. I want my Bitch Creek sign!! Either way, knowing there is a creek for ladies like me makes up for it, sort of.
You play? I play. I think my brother is taller than your average leprechaun, but they got the hair color right, not to mention the huge nose. However, Brady's ability to grow sideburns does not match that of his cartoon self.
This is self explanatory. In Colorado, we just go to the doctor and then to the dispensary. In Idaho, you call 656-WEED, and apparently this truck shows up. Genius.
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Post script. Blogspot is weird and I have no idea why some of the script is underlined and other parts not. Deal with it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Saying goodbye.


This is a story about loss. This is a story about saying goodbye to one of my best friends over the past years of my life. I have lost a hot, brown friend. In fact, the hottest brown friend I've ever had. This friend has been with me all the way, pulling me through the good times, the bad times, and the very early morning times. This friend has been there for me whenever I've needed, has been there for me literally everywhere I have gone. This friend is the most consistent, the most trustworthy, and without a doubt, the tastiest. This friend calms worries, soothes fears, and even invites others over to play by it's sheer existence. The loss of this friend comes at a great price to my attitude, and willingness to care about anything beyond a half-assed shrug of the shoulders. I have had to quit coffee.

It's horrible, I know, as I am living the nightmare. But due to issues with my stomach, I thought it would be a good idea to cut out some of the stronger irritants. It has worked amazingly, I cannot explain how much better I feel physically; spiritually however, I am dead. I wander the streets on my break from work lost, aimlessly wandering, nowhere to go. I wake up in the morning and am confused as to where to start my routine, normally fueled by that morning cup of the nectar-of-the-roasted-beans. When I decide to spend the afternoon with a friend, I am at a complete loss for anything to do. Sitting sipping coffee seems to pass time amongst friends better than almost anything. Especially in this short time I have in Colorado, I have had many invitations to go out for coffee, catch up with friends or family. I keep my secret, not wanting to disappoint. I guess I can just drink water, or a juice or something. . . so sad. There is a strong air of mourning.

Needless to say, this friend tortures me wherever I go. Coffee shops on every block, like fifteen of them. Vendors in the streets. The smell of the sweetness when a coworker brings in a cup to jazz them through the day. A constant reminder of ending the best relationship I've ever had. Taunting me to come back, try it again, you know, maybe it can work out this time now that we've had some time apart.

Is this forever? Hard to say. Considering how much better my stomach problems are without it, seems best to swear off the stuff forever. But then again, there's decaf. Will that irritate me as much? There's only one way to find out! I love coffee for the caffeine just as much, so decaf will satisfy the first half of the love of taste and aroma and tradition, but may come up short on the second half of sweating too much, talking mile a minute and laughing too loud. Decaf seems like the friend that comes over only half the times they say they will come over, leaving me waiting for nothing in the end. Constantly calling saying, "I'm on my way", then never showing. Maybe just too much of a tease in my fragile state.

Whatever happens, I will never forget all the good times coffee and I have had over the years. All the places we've shared together, all the friends brought together, all the slightly less painful early mornings(as if there's actually been any early mornings in my life). Coffee will always come to me in my dreams in all it's wonderful forms; french press, espresso, tinto(this one is for the Colombianos out there), soy lattes, iced. . .the list is endless. Goodbye my hot, brown love. 'Til we meet again in hell.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Life is funny.

Any opportunity to take a photo this hilarious is proof that no matter how crazy things can get, life is always so damn funny. And, yes, this is real. Thank you, hilarious Colombian shop dog, for making people laugh.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Lame!


Dumbest graffiti ever.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Labor Day.

Labor Day in United States conjures up memories and traditions of BBQ's, end of summer, back-to-school, and in Denver, Taste of Colorado in Civic Center Park. I have never passed a Labor Day in USA that wasn't anything but peaceful. However, the same summer afternoon traditions are not celebrated the world over. Let me share the story of Colombian Labor Day. Labor Day in Bogotá is more about potential violence. My best guess is that the Colombians like any excuse to throw rocks. Really though, I believe it is because Colombia has the highest unemployment in all of South America, whilst being one of it's best developed and most progressive nations. I'm not sure if the same display of power y'all are about to witness via the interweb is displayed in all parts of Colombia. Being the capital of this on-edge nation, Bogotá usually has a greater threat than other areas. Thus a more AWESOME display of military and police when the shit might hit.
Labor Days past have proven to be very violent here in the captial, and the police have learned from that. Labor Day seems to translate into all cops working, every one else off for the day. As I strolled around downtown Bogotá on the afternoon of May 1, I was truly impressed with what I saw. Never in my life have I seen such a show of power, not even the DNC in 2008 in Denver could come close to this quantity of cops. I would guess there was more cops and military in downtown than regular citizens walking the streets.

First and foremost, we, la policía of Bogotá, must protect the peaceful eaters of McDonald's. People need their burgers!!!
When this almost riot almost happened, I was there to make sure I saw the blood flow in the streets. This group of riot police arrived in a flash to quell a potentially dangerous situation of screaming drunken and bird-flipping Colombians. I should have been a journalist. . .
This is Labor Day, not go-to-church-day. No prayers today folks, God's got the day off.
One of the many riot vehicles in downtown Bogotá on Labor Day. This one even has the scars to prove it has been hit by many rocks in riots past. I saw one of these things in action earlier in the week unleashing it's water jets on a group of protesting school-aged children and madness ensued. An awesome vehicle, truly.

Part 2.

Because the display was beyond impressive, I have included a second part for all to enjoy.Being a riot cop is boring when there are no riots.

Talk about impressive! It is clear that this guy thinks I'm a total idiot, and he's right. I am trying my best to look tough, but with his Robo-Cop gear and death stare(or is that confusion?), he wins. There is no need for this cop to do anything to prove his power over me. The fight would go something like this: I punch him, I break my hand doing so, I run away crying. Fight over. However, my foolishness and lack of self respect make for one of the most classic photos of my life.Good lord man. If these are transit police, and they are, where is all the transit they are supposed to be protecting? Oh, I guess since it's Labor Day, the drivers have the day off, but obviously the police force hired to protect them do not have that luxury. Instead, they will gather in the main plaza and stand around.
Don't stare too long at this group. You will either go blind from their fancy jackets or start hallucinating. Either way, you'd get arrested.
What the hell are you guys sitting here for if you aren't gonna do your damn job? Cops the world over daydream of donuts whilst the hoodlums have their way with windows. Ironic photo if there ever was one.
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All in all, Labor Day was uneventful, if not full of photo opportunities. There was the threat of a riot in my neighborhood, and the hordes of police arrived in the drop of a hat. Of course I ran towards it, as opposed to away from it, which would have been the smart thing to do. But nothing happened, for the better of all in Bogotá. Can't wait 'til next year!





Friday, April 23, 2010

Doomed.

I am doomed to a life of seeing snow as much as I try to avoid it. I hate you snow.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Chi-chi.

The best thing about rainy season in Bogotá is that the daily rains, often very heavy, wash away the smell of piss left by all the Colombianos who don´t know how to look for a bathroom. They will literally whip it out and piss in any corner they please, often making for a smelly city. It is so completely disgusting, and makes me happy that the rains are here to clean Bogotá for a few months until the sun comes back out and bakes the piss into an odorous wonderland again.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sweet, sweet redemption.

Sometimes the sweetest redemption comes in the form of dramatic haircuts done in one´s bedroom, in one´s underwear and tank top at 9pm at night.

BOO!!! (who is that person? seriously?)



YAY!!! The nightmare is over and I´m back!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Bath time.

Taken literally three minutes apart, these photos prove that apparently it was the day to bathe in Las Aguas.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

¡Chistoso y cierto!

Buenas noticias para todos. Qué chévere. Completemente chistoso y cierto en el mismo tiempo.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Military state.


An inquiry. When is the last time a soldier armed to the teeth with a huge machine gun, and god-only-knows-what in all those pockets, knocked on your front door?

For me, it was yesterday. He needed a place to recharge his cell phone.