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Life is very, very simple and easy to understand, but we complicate it with the beliefs and ideas that we create.

Don Miguel Ruiz

Santa Marta, sunburn, new apartment

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Last sunday I visited a small tourist city about an hour bus ride away - Santa Marta. It's southeast of Barranquilla. The drive there takes you thru the playa, I guess that would be the same as a delta, then along the beach and finally into Santa Marta. There is a big mountain range on one side and the Caribean on the other side. I didn't really see much of the city itself as we spent our time at the beach. The beach reminds me of the beach at Miami - lots of people, tent things with lounges to rent, restaurant waiters walking around asking if you want to order food, venders walking selling their stuff. It was nice and relaxing and hot. We we sitting in one of the tent things, trying to stay out of the sun, but of course as it moved across the sky the shade also moved, exposing my feet to the sun, and over the few hours we were there my feet got enough sun to get burned. For a few days the sunburn was painful becuase, of course, it's my feet. The top of the feet and the area at the front of the ankles. But today it's not so bad, I was actually able to spread on some aloe vera lotion without pain.

I met another guest here at the hotel - he's from Peru. He came to Barranquilla to watch the big game (Colombia vs Peru football (soccer)game). He must be very brave to be one of the few Peruvians in Colombia during a big game like this. The stadium is just a half mile or so up the road from the hotel. The traffic and crowds were unbelievable in the morning before the game, which started in the afteroon. Plus the bus drivers and taxi drives went on strike, made a protest, and parked their busses in all the intersections, thus bringing gridlock to the city. It was quite a mess to say the least. But they stopped the protest and started driving again just a couple hours before the game started because it is too important an event to miss. It's just about treated as a national holiday, every game. Many businesses close for the day on game days. And since Colombia won, 2 to 0, there were big celebrations.

Oh yeah, the reason I mentioned I met the other guest - he told me what they do in Peru for a sunburn (he speaks English). First, at night before going to bed, pour some Magnesia (Milk of Magnesia) over the sunburn and let it dry thoroughly. Then put on the Aloe Vera lotion. The Magnesia has zinc in it and apparently that is good for the skin. So I did that, but the burn was still too bad to rub aloe vera into it, so i just left the magnesia on all night. That has made a huge difference already. I was able to wash the burn and dry it, without pain, and rub on aloe vera, without pain.

I have rented a 3 bedroom apartment/house/townhouse, I'm not sure what to call it as some people say house and some say apartment. Most of the houses that people live in here are more like townhouses of the US. The one I am in is a second floor house with no unit on either side, which is a little unusual, but nice since I have no direct neighbors except the people in the apartment downstairs. The rent is 350 mils per month, which is less than $200 per month. The two spare bedrooms will be used as classrooms for teaching english. It is located just 7 blocks behind the hotel.

As for the school - we are on track to start classes within days! Yay! Our plan is to run english classes for a couple months, save up money, and then get another building for the English school. My friend George, and business partner, is renting a house/apartment/townhouse just like mine just a couple doors up the road and across the street. And, the one below his is coming up for rent in a few months. Our plan is to rent that, then he will be right above it and I am just a couple doors down the road. The school is in a neighborhood that is quiet, has tiendas nearby (markets) and many other shops, pretty much everything we need is right here in our neighborhood. And if we need to go to a mall or big shopping center, they are only a 15 minute walk up the road. Bus service to anywhere is just a 5 minute walk away.

I met a gal at the shopping center nearby, a small mall, and we went out ancing a couple nights ago. I've never been much of a dancer. Cheryl and I had done some salsa dancing lessens many years ago, I enjoyed it, she not so much. Other than that, I'm no good at dancing. I told the girl, Carolina, that I would go dancing with her but I would probably step on her toes often. And I did a few times. But it was fun. I had no idea what I was doing dancing to Colombian music, but she is going to teach me. She will probably have quite a few sore and bruised toes before too long.

That pretty much updates you to today. Today, this afternoon, I check out of the hotel and move into the apartment. Now I have to work on getting internet access at the apartment. Till next time - Chow! (I know that's not how it's spelled, It's not in the English-Spanish dictionary I bought). Here in Colombia they don't say adios, they say chow.

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