Logbook: 5/20


TRAVEL NEWS

How far did we travel this week?

1,204.9 km = 748.3 miles

How far have we traveled on our journey so far?

18,820.8 kilometers = 11,694.3 miles

How did we get around this week?

On Tuesday this week, we took our last finals and had a going away party. The next morning my friends from the United States, Nick and Anna and I got on a bus at 7:00 a.m. to go to Colombia. Anna is also a Reach the World correspondent!

A Colombian Mototaxi

Boy, did we travel this week! We rode the bus for six hours from Mérida to San Cristobal, which is southwest of Mérida. Then we switched to a different bus for an hour and a half on our way to San Antonio. After we went through immigration to legally leave Venezuela and enter Colombia, we took a taxi to Cúcuta, which was our first stop. When we were there, we stayed with a friend of mine. From there, we took an airplane to Bogotá and I said goodbye to Nick and Anna. I rode around in taxis in Bogotá and also got to ride the Transmilenio, which is their version of an above ground subway system. When I toured around Bogotá I rode in taxis, cars, a train, and a cable car! I then went to a city called Villavicencio and stayed there for four days before returning to Bogotá.

Standing in the center of Colombia

My Colombian sister, Tatiana, and I took a trip to the “the bellybutton of Colombia” this week. You might be wondering “What in the world could be the bellybutton of Colombia?” Well, it is the exact geographical center of Colombia. In the very middle of Colombia there is a tall statue that you can stand underneath to be in the very middle of Colombia. It was really neat! Have you ever been in two places at once? I felt like I was in every part of Colombia at once without leaving one spot.

NATURE NEWS

Weather Tally :

Sunny: 1

Cloudy: 0

Partly cloudy: 2

Rainy: 4

Snowy: 0

What is the air temperature right now?

14 Celsius = 57 Fahrenheit

How was the weather this week?

The weather this week was pretty rainy and fairly chilly in comparison to the normal weather. This is normal during the “winter” months. Their “winter” is from May to August.

What animals did we see this week?

I went to the zoo in Villavicencio this week and I saw monkeys, crocodiles, anacondas and all sorts of other animals. Did you know that there is a huge problem with people stealing animals in Colombia? They take them out of their natural habitat and sell them in the black market. When the police catch animal bandits, they confiscate the animals and take them to the nearest zoo. I got to see where the new animals were kept and I even got the chance to see where they kept the mice that they use for food. Have you ever imagined laboratory mice? It is almost exactly what I had pictured in my mind: glass cages full of white mice that were climbing over each other to reach the water bottle. What do you think about using mice to feed other animals?

What was the coolest thing we saw in nature this week?

The coolest thing I saw in nature this week was the flatland/plains area of Colombia. It was beautiful! There were a few trees, many cows, and fences as far as the eye could see. I am slightly partial because I love the country, but it was wonderful and my favorite part about Colombian nature so far.

This week’s nature news:

What is the weirdest thing you’ve eaten? Why was it weird; the taste, the texture or the type of food it was?

The fried flying ant

This week there were large ants flying around our home in Villavicencio. One flew into the living room and my Colombian host mom caught it and brought it to me. She told me that Colombians eat the butts off of the ants. Apparently it tastes like butter and is a delicacy. She asked me if I would have the guts to try it. Of course, I don’t like to turn down challenges, so I told her that I would. For some reason, that particular ant wasn’t clean enough to eat, and I was safe from having to eat it. Later, another one flew in but she didn’t have me eat that one either. Finally, when I thought I would never have to eat the ant’s butt, a third one flew in. Third time’s a charm! She tore off the butt, fried it and salted it and I had to eat it. Do you like french fries? That is kind of what the ant reminded me of. It was so weird because it was an ant’s butt, but it was delicious!

OUR NEWS

What languages are spoken here?

Spanish is the main language spoken here as well! I am the only English speaker around so I haven’t spoken any English since I said goodbye to Anna and Nick in Bogotá.

What type of money is used here?

The money they use in Colombia is called the Colombian Peso (Peso Colombiano) and $1 USD is about 1,800.00 pesos. However, when we exchanged money in the airport we only got 1,700 pesos. Can you imagine getting a bill for a bottle of water that looked like this: $2000? It was very hard to get used to having everything written in bigger numbers.

How much does a bottle of water cost?

An average sized bottle of water in the airport cost 2000 pesos which is a little more than one U.S. dollar.

What was the best meal this week?

Carne Llanera

The best meal this week was something called “Carne Llanera” which means meat from the plains. It is regular pork and beef that is cooked over a fire, which is typical in the plains region. It was delicious and tender, however I am a little biased because I love meat!

What music did we listen to this week?

This week I listened to Carlos Vives a lot. He is a Colombian “Vallenato” singer and he is very popular. I really started to like him! If you are looking for some Colombian music to listen to, I think you should listen to him.

What activity was the most fun this week?

This week, the most fun activity was watching my Colombian sisters play “Just Dance 3” on the Wii. One of my sisters is 3 years old and she tried her best to dance and looked very cute while doing it.

What did I read this week?

This week I didn’t read anything. I have been so busy and exhausted by the end of the day that I can’t concentrate on literature. I didn’t think speaking Spanish would make me so tired, but it really wears out my brain.

What games or sports did I play?

I played “Just Dance 3” on the Wii. I also played cards this week. My first day in Bogotá we went to an arcade and played some arcade games as well. I had a lot of fun and I even won at air hockey!

This week’s news:

This week I got the chance to hang out with my friend Alejandra and her family. Alejandra and I met in Brazil, but hadn’t seen each other for almost three years. It was wonderful and we did lots of marvelous things. One really ironic thing, however, was that in Venezuela I hardly had internet but I almost always had hot water. I had hot water in fact, almost every day except my last week in Venezuela. In Colombia, I had wonderful internet, but it was even colder outside and the water was ice cold! As much as I loved getting in contact with everyone on the internet, I would have liked hot water better. What would you prefer?

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