Colombia, day 1

Last year my brother, Cahir, got engaged to a girl from Colombia, Myma.  They have been working on getting her a visa so she could come here and they could get married, but it has been difficult.  Towards the end of last year they decided they were tired of waiting for the visa to come through so they planned the wedding for the end of January and said if the visa came through they would get married in the States, if not they would get married in Colombia and live down there until they could come back up here.  Well, the visa did not come in quite on time, and Cahir and Myma realized it was not likely not going to they began getting everything ready for the wedding down there, and my family began getting everything ready for a vacation in a foreign country.

We arrived in Colombia on Saturday the 23rd.  Our first stop was Cartagena, right on the beach.  As we were getting our luggage from baggage claims some men kept taking it from us and putting it on luggage carts.  Different men were doing it for many of the people getting their luggage, so we let them.  They got all of our luggage gathered, then took us outside, helped us find a taxi, and got us all loaded up.  Dad wasn’t sure what the custom was down there, so he gave both of them, plus the taxi driver, about a $10 dollar tip each.  When we got to our hotel we found out that is not what you are supposed to do, they do not usually get tips.  Even waiters they put the tip in our bill almost every time we ate out, so we only had to tip a waiter at a restaurant once.

The hotel was different from what we have up here in the U.S..  First off, to use the elevators you need a key card, and then you can only go to certain floors with your key card, namely the floor your room is on and common floors such as the top floor with the swimming pool.  Once you got in your room the have a little slot just inside the door that you put your key card in.  In order to turn on any of the lights or the air conditioner you need to have your key card in the slot.  This means that if you leave the room and take your key card with you the lights and air conditioner both go off.  The lights were not such a big deal, but the air conditioner going off meant it was sometimes very hot in the room when we got back.

By the time we got to the hotel and were all settled in the day was almost over.  Since our hotel was two blocks from the beach we walked down there.  It was getting dark, so we didn’t go swimming, but we had fun walking along the beach for a few minutes.  After that it was time to get dinner.  We found a restaurant that said they served traditional Colombian food near our hotel, so we went there.  This is where things got tricky, because Kaanas was the only one with us who spoke Spanish (Cahir and Myma flew in separately and weren’t there yet).  I felt bad because Kaanas was so stressed trying to translate everything for everybody.  Finally everyone ordered and it was delicious.  I got a steak with potatoes, and it was really good.  Kaanas’s dish was more Colombian, and I tried some of it.  He has a bean soup, rice, shredded beef, pork rinds, a sausage type thing, plantains, and a little bread thing.  The soda was also different there. I thought it actually tasted much better, and so did Kaanas.

When we got back to the hotel Cahir and Myma were there.  We didn’t stay up long, because we were tired, but we were all eager to meet Myma in person.  It was fun to get to talk for a little while and get to know her, and I am excited that she is part of our family.

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