Friday, December 08, 2006

Thursday

Sorry for the lack of posts - the connection here can be sketchy some nights. I've finally gotten around to posting the update from the last few days. I hope you enjoy them.

We didn't see our little guy for most of the day today. Our new friends A and E picked us up this morning to take us to the Catedral de Sal. It is about an hour's drive out of the city, and enjoying the scenery was almost as good as our destination! Colombia has an absolutely beautiful countryside, the mountains are amazing.

The Catedral de Sal (Cathedral of Salt) is a church inside a salt mine. There are 14 stations of the cross, as well as the usual parts of a church carved into the salt (It really is salt by the way, I tasted the wall). When you first walk in, you enter a very dark tunnel. The stations of the cross are big crosses carved in the salt and illuminated in the darkness. Our tour guide only spoke spanish so I wasn't able to understand everything they said, but you could feel the tranquility and spirit in the place. After the 14 stations we visited the parts of the church. The room with the baptismal font had a huge "waterfall" of salt. There was an opening high on the wall, and the water dripping from the opening deposited salt down the wall, which crystalized into a formation that looked like a real waterfall. It was a very quiet, dark place, with illumination only on the crosses or other statues. It was very peaceful. It was quite an amazing place and we were very glad we got to see it.

After touring the cathedral, we walked through another exhibit that explained how the salt is mined there. Then we stopped at an Archeological Museum which had very old artifacts found in various parts of Colombia. All of these things are located in the town of Zipaquira (see-pa-kee-RA) which was an extremely cool place. Lots of colorful things - stores, people...we really felt like we were experiencing the culture here. Upon recommendation from a police officer, we went to a local restaurant called La Cascada (the waterfall). I had Pollo a la Plancha (kind of a seasoned flattened chicken breast) and Jim had some Churasco (flattened roasted meat). For dessert we had Cuajada con Melado (click on the name for a picture) which is a typical Colombian dessert. It was like almost like a flan, but more sour than sweet. It's like a little mound of milk pudding sitting in a pool of thin caramel. It was pretty good - although I'd much prefer something with chocolate!

After lunch we tried to race back to Bogota. To alleviate traffic, there are certain hours you are not allowed to drive in the city, depending on the numbers on your license plate. For example, if your license plate ends in a 7, 8, 9 or 0, you are not allowed to drive in the city on Mondays and Thursdays between the hours of 4pm and 7pm. If you are caught driving during these hours, you get a very expensive ticket, like $300-$400. Unfortunately, we didn't make it in time. We got to the very outskirts of Bogota by 3:50 and A would not be able to drop us off and get home in time. So we had to stop somewhere until 7:00. Guess where? Yes, a mall! I have to find out how many malls there are here, it is so many I can't believe it. This one was new and HUGE. We walked and walked and walked. We looked at all the Christmas displays for the children - we were amazed at how many things they had for them to do. One area had a place where kids could write letters to Santa, another for Karaoke, another for building small wooden toys, another for decorating wrapping paper...I wanted to join in the fun! Of course Santa & Mrs. Claus were there walking around and saying hello to all the children. Although here they are called Mama y Papa Noel. We went into a shoe store and bought the boy these shoes that are popular here called Bubblegummers. Most of them have rubber soles that smell sweet. We bought a cute blue pair for him (although they didn't smell), we are told they are very high quality and are popular with the kids. Also a weird thing about the public restrooms here - and something you do wrong only once - the toilet paper is OUTSIDE the stalls...you need to remember to bring some with you into the stall. Weird. What is it with Colombians and bathrooms?

We finally got home about quarter after 7, and the baby was fast asleep so I guess he didn't miss us too much. I was so tired I barely ate dinner. We didn't go out to see the lights for the Festival of the Virgin Mary because it started to rain tonight. We did run out of the house to see a few fireworks though. No plans for the day tomorrow, but A & E invited us over to their house tomorrow night after dinner. From what I understand, her sister in law gave her a cake as a present of the Christmas season and she would like us to come over to help eat it. The baby gets to come too! They are just the nicest people. I asked them if they were tired of us yet, but they said no. Go figure. I do like to talk to them, we teach each other words in english/spanish and it is fun to try to communicate.

17 comments:

Barely Sane said...

Hahaha... yeah, I guess you dont want to forget the TP!! I remember being in the Dominican, and going into a bathroom where the attendant handed you the TP. What if it's not enough!! Anyway, I guess it's because if they don't, it gets stolen. I remember that in Mexico too. Just be glad you had a door on the stall!!!

Ani said...

Its good to hear from you again. Awesome that things are moving forward and that Sebastian is thriving. Can't wait to see his little face! Hope you are called to sign the Sentencia early next week - after that, how much longer til you come home?
Take care and happy weekend!

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's crazy about the license plates and not being allowed to drive.

And I'd probably take to carrying TP with me everywhere I went. I have a thing about public bathrooms anyways. :)

So when are you coming home?

Miss Scarlett said...

Loving your posts - so educational and interesting. Like the bit about being a Mom with the spitup on your shirt!
Sounds like an organized and laid back sort of place - the license plates and just stopping at a mall as a way to cope with the problem. The restrictions might also help with pollution. Interesting.
Cannot wait to see Sebastian on the site!!
I hope things keep moving quickly after the sentencia is signed.

Anonymous said...

the license plates reminds me of when we had the gas problems in the 70's... i am old!

it sounds like you are goingto have wonderful memories and photos of sebastians birth country to share with him.

Anonymous said...

That Cathedral sounds gorgeous.
Very odd about driving in the city only when your license plate is up.
In Guatemala you have to pay for your toilet paper and then you get 1 square and a piece of newspapaer. Strange bathroom's in other cultures.
So glad you found some good friends to spend time with while you are there.

Anonymous said...

That Cathedral sounds gorgeous.
Very odd about driving in the city only when your license plate is up.
In Guatemala you have to pay for your toilet paper and then you get 1 square and a piece of newspapaer. Strange bathroom's in other cultures.
So glad you found some good friends to spend time with while you are there.

Anonymous said...

That Cathedral sounds gorgeous.
Very odd about driving in the city only when your license plate is up.
In Guatemala you have to pay for your toilet paper and then you get 1 square and a piece of newspapaer. Strange bathroom's in other cultures.
So glad you found some good friends to spend time with while you are there.

Anonymous said...

That Cathedral sounds gorgeous.
Very odd about driving in the city only when your license plate is up.
In Guatemala you have to pay for your toilet paper and then you get 1 square and a piece of newspapaer. Strange bathroom's in other cultures.
So glad you found some good friends to spend time with while you are there.

Debbie said...

That Cathedral sounds gorgeous.
Very odd about driving in the city only when your license plate is up.
In Guatemala you have to pay for your toilet paper and then you get 1 square and a piece of newspapaer. Strange bathroom's in other cultures.
So glad you found some good friends to spend time with while you are there.

Anonymous said...

That Cathedral sounds gorgeous.
Very odd about driving in the city only when your license plate is up.
In Guatemala you have to pay for your toilet paper and then you get 1 square and a piece of newspapaer. Strange bathroom's in other cultures.
So glad you found some good friends to spend time with while you are there.

Anonymous said...

Opps! Sorry just realized it was posting.

Anonymous said...

Opps! Sorry just realized it was posting.

Denise :o) said...

Yep, the same is true for the bathrooms in Russia. I only did that once too!

Sounds like a beautiful city. I think maybe Los Angeles should take Bogota's lead on the driving situation. It sounds good to me! ;o)

How much longer until you come home????

Elle said...

yeah, TP is outside the stalls in Russia too. Old skool squatty pottys in the former USSR though.

Thalia said...

It's good to hear all your news, sounds like you are really making the most of your time there! How come you aren't taking sebastian with you on the trips? Is he not allowed to go with you?

MMrussianadoption said...

In GUM (the mall in red square) they have the toilet paper outside the stalls too.