chip wiegand


Welcome to my blog and website, I hope you find your visit interesting.

It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.

-- Mark Twain

Added pics to my photo album, Puerto Colombia, Usiacuri

I have uploaded many pictures to the photo album - look in the Colombia folder for the new folders called Puerto Colombia and also Usiacuri, and also a folder called Misc Pics. Puerto Colombia is a small town just outside of Barranquilla. It has the remains of a very old pier, which was the longest pier on the Caribe coast, at something like 1 kilometer. Then a couple years ago during some very high winds part of the pier was destroyed. You can see me on the pier, or what's left of it, and in the distance you can see the end of the pier. There is a move to get funding to restore the pier. Usiacuri is a very small town (village) about 38 kilometers outside of Barranquilla. It's a very nice little town, and it is very small. In the pics you will see a view of the main street, it's about 2 blocks long. They have a fairly large park with a statue at the top of the hill in the park, there is a pic of me standing at that statue. There is a historic church, and I uploaded pics of it.

Visiting Usiacuri is only a half-day trip, but it is worth while. Usiacuri is the home to most important indigenous reservation in this part of Colombia. Usiacuri was discovered in 1533 by Conquistador Francisco César. Usiacuri well known for its medicinal healing waters. In Usiacuri you should visit the "Julio Flórez" House Museum, there are many local handicrafts made from Iraca palm: purses, baskets, picture-frames, and mats. Their commercialization provides local artisans with a steady income, as well as tourism. Be sure to check out the photos of the colonial-style church "Santo Domingo" in my photo album. There is also a nature reserve known for its mineral cold springs. Once inside the tropical dry forest you will see native flora and fauna and, if you want, you can swim in the springs.

Teaching is going well. My schedule is just about full with private students, and many more people contacting me for lessons. There's just not enough evenings in the week to take them as students. One of my students owns his own company and is going to hire me as an employee, thereby sponsoring me for a work visa. And a company I worked for a few years ago has asked me to come back and continue teaching with them.

Recently in the USA there was another mass shooting. What is that society coming to? When are they going to figure it out - you have to have some kind of gun control. Allowing any kind of gun a person could want is not going to solve anything. And there are plenty of examples of countries that have made strict gun control laws and have seen the numbers of mass shootings, and murders, and gun-inflicted injuries fall massively. One big difference between Colombia compared to life in the US is that here we do not have, in the back of our minds, the thought that maybe some crazy guy is going to pull out guns and start shooting everybody in sight. Here life is less regulated by the government. But guns are strictly regulated. Here people have more freedom to live the life they want to live, the way they want to live it. Some of my students ask me why I am here, why I would rather be in this country than in the US, and those are some of the reasons I give them. I tell them that the US has a motto - "The land of the free", but they are not really free. Here in Colombia we are freer than people in the US. Sure there may be trade-offs, but what is the cost of freedom? A life regulated by the government. A life which is lived the way the government allows, within the many constraints of rules and regulations and laws. That is the cost of living in the "land of the free". I don't call that living - living with my hands tied behind my back, living with one eye out for possible shooters, the thoughts in the back of my mind wondering if I will be safe at the park or movie theater. That's not my kind of living, that's not my kind of freedom.

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