Man, do I ever have a good horoscope for the new year, courtesey of freewillastrology:
Your main assignment in 2008 is to become highly skilled at feeling good. Does that sound like something you might want to do? (editor’s note: YES) If so, here’s the beginning of a regimen you could follow: (1) Be constantly taking notes about what experiences give you delight and what situations make you feel at home in the world. (2) Always be scheming to provide yourself with those experiences and situations. (3) Take a vow that nothing will obstruct you from seeking out and creating pleasure, peace, love, wonder, and an intimate connection with life.
Yay! Good to know. Meanwhile, here is a travel blog styled entry for the past week or so.

Friday December 28th– Corey arrives! I wait nervously at the airport arrival gate, surrounded by mobs of families. I envision terrible scenearios on my head: Corey doesn’t get off the airplane, there was no record of him having ever been on the flight, he disappears completely into oblivion. Fortunately, he steps out of security in one piece. We embrace with great enthusiasm.
– We drive home. Corey observes on how the driving here resembles Grand Theft Auto, and comments on how you could mount a camera on the car and put it on youtube for people’s entertainment. At home he is promptly introduced, one, two, three, to the siblings, British cousin and cats. Twin sister seems to be in a bit of a daze when they are introduced.
– We go out on the town, a barbarian horde. The car is so cramped I have to sit on Corey’s lap. We pick up two of Thomas’ hoodlum friends, who ride in the trunk and make our driver extremely nervous. Corey seems overwhelmed by the general dark griminess and gritiness of the Cali streets.
– After dropping everyone off, we retire to the sanctuary of my friend Andrea’s apartment. There is a reunion with several of my Colombian girlfriends whom I haven’t seen since high scool; much high-pitched squealing and screaming is involved. Also butt-slapping with Alex shouting, “Why do you never call me back, you slut?” A fair enough question. The evening is fairly mellow, with everyone drinking Club Colombias and talking. Thankfully another gringo boyfriend is present, so the conversation is mostly dominated by English. I think up jokes involving gringo boyfriend holding pens. Corey does very well (a theme for the entire week!) considering he is in a roomfull of people he doesn’t know. He almost gets into a semi-heated argument with gringo boyfriend #2 involving welfare for single mothers in the state of Louisiana. I gidily interrupt several times in an attempt to change the subject; fortunately in due time the conversation topic switches over to the fall from grace of Britney Spears’ little sister.
– The three of us (sister, Corey and I) take a cab to meet my little brother. We are in a neighborhood of Cali I do not know very well (I hardly know any of Portland well, let alone Cali, my sense of direction is utterly hopeless). I begin to feel, as they say in the Star Wars movies, “I’ve got a baaad feeling about this.” Little bro is at a party with throbbing lights and various sunglasses-wearing, gum-chewing characters. It’s a testament to this party’s sketchiness that my cousin later told me that around 5am when he and his friend Juan showed up, Juan took one look at it and was like, “Dude, we are not going into this party.” Anything that exceeds my cousin’s baromenter of sketchiness is thus VERY SKETCHY INDEED. Corey wants to leave and I don’t blame him; this is Advanced Introduction to Colombia as opposed to 101. I give my sister the cellphone and leave her and my little brother there. If there’s one thing about families, you can’t tell them what not to do. Corey and I thus retire for the evening.

Saturday, December 29th– A quiet day. Corey and I go on two hikes. One goes past my regular jogging route over the river (is it the rio Cauca? I honestly don’t even know… if there’s one thing that never fails to embarrass me, it’s how little I know about the country in which I live for basically 18 years).

We take a dirt road through the mountains to a valley that opens up over a soccer field.

We then scramble down the side of a hill and sit with our feet in a river, watching a family on the other side picnicking. I scratch my many mosquito bites.

In the afternoon we go to Parque de las Garzas, another nearby walk to my house. I am glad that I get to show Corey my neighborhood and perhaps make up for the disorientating near-horror that was last night.

We found a lot of ferns he got really excited about, which made me feel pleased and proud, as though I ‘d planted them there myself.

– That night, we go out on the town. We take a taxi to Martyn’s, the expat bar in the north. I use an address I found on an online blog that was possibly wrong because I swear I didn’t recognize the place that the cab took us. They wouldn’t let us in anyway since Corey was wearing shorts. We decide to walk to La Sexta (main disco-clubbing strip) and have a beer.

We also drink a bottle of aguadiente and have some grilled chicken with chimichurri. Corey is much more cheerful and relaxed than the night before; I think how much easier it is to get around and do the fun things that you want to do with only two people, as opposed to a group of them (even if it’s “only” three!). We enjoy watching the fruit tree bats fly around and eat the mosquitos around the light. Properly and pleasantly drunk, we then go to a salsa disco called Las Cascadas and have a brilliant time dancing. Corey claims people are staring at him, most likely because of his beard (I can’t believe I never noticed how no one Colombian has a beard here; I guess it makes you look a little too jungle treking, Marxist guerilla-esque).

Sunday, December 30th

We go on a family hike to Nirvana, not the state of enlightenment unfortunately, but a nature reserve about an hour and a half away. Corey takes many interesting pictures and stops to study the plants intensely several times.

We see a surprising amount of wildlife, including:

a giant spider,

an unidentified bird,

and a bee (wasp? hornet?) hive.

(not a wild animal)
The views of the valley were muy, muy bien.

For lunch we eat the giant trout from the trout farm.

It is of course delicious, and I of course end up eating practically all of my food and scraping the leftovers of Corey’s plate onto my fork or scooping them up with my fingers. Yum, yum. Corey enjoys drinking the poker. We make my sister gag by being smoochy-woochy. He pats her on the arm and tells her, “don’t worry, one day you’ll get to kiss a boy too!” I feel glad that he doesn’t let her push him around.
– The next day we left for Gorgona. In Real Time my family is leaving for Cartagena tomorrow, so this blog may just have to wait to get up to date on both that little adventure and this next one.

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Filed under cali, colombia, travel

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