Jasai's Family!

Trip Start Jan 22, 2006
Trip End Jun 23, 2009

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Flag of Colombia  ,
Sunday, May 21, 2006

We it is a good thing our bus was so nice... because the 14 hour bus ride turned into 18. Which was really bad since Jasai's family was waiting for me at the bus terminal for 4 hours. For those of you who don't know, Jasai is a friend of mine that I played basketball with in college. She was born and raised in Colombia, however, has lived in the U.S. for 8 years. Which also means she hasn't seen her family in 8 years. So it was my honor to go and visit her family in her place... although I could never actually replace her. Anyway, her brother Thalex was at the bus terminal with a little sign that say "Farah Wellcom!" and wearing one of his sister's Colorado State shirts. Too cool! So after saying good bye to Brittany and Julia, I was swept away to "El Ranchero de Jasai"... that is the name of her mother's restaurant. It just goes to show how much they miss her. When her mom (Magali) saw me, she almost exploded with excitement. Just the smile on her face made my journey worth it. They quickly fed me and had all sorts of stuff to talk to me about... however, I only understood bits and pieces. I was then so tired from my bus ride, I had to lay down for a quick nap. When Jasai's sister (Lilia) woke me up, it was dark and there was a party going on downstairs. Turns out Jasai's cousin and her husband came to welcome me to Bogota too. We then just sat around having some beers and dancing, until I was about to pass out it was so late.

I spent the morning reading my book (The Di Vinci Code... so good!), before heading over to the restaurant so Lilia and I could head into the city center to see the Plaza Bolivar and check things out. The plaza was huge and surrounded by beautiful old buildings. We then got a guided tour of the main cathedral by one of the tourist police. He then took us over to the Museum Botero, a famous artist who makes everyone and everything really fat. It was really cool, however, I kept laughing at it... too funny! The guide was a nice guy, however toward the end he started to get on my nerves. Where ever I would walk, he would follow, when I was looking at a piece of art, he would be looking at me. It was driving me nuts. Finally I started messing with him by walking in all sorts of weird directions around the Mueseum... sure enough, he followed. After a nice time of walking around, it was back to the restaurant. Magali fed me again and I hung out in the restaurant the rest of the day, before going home to read my book. I think Jasai's family thought I was a bit of a nerd cause all I wanted to do was read my book. Plus, speaking Spanish all day, with no breaks, made me really tired.

The next morning it was off to the restaurant for breakfast before meeting Ryan's (Jasai's other brother) girl friend Vanessa for another tour of the city. Vanessa speaks really good English, so it was a pretty easy day. We headed to the Monsorrati, which is a big church built on top of one of the big mountains that surrounds Bogota. You ride up in a funicular and then back down in a cable car. The views were wonderful... I could almost see my house from there. Inside the church there is a statue of the Fallen Christ. It was very realistic, real hair and all, and totally gave me the hee-be gee-be's. After admiring the city some more we headed down the cable car and Vanessa gave us a full city tour. She went to university near by, so knew the area well. We then headed into the Museo del Oro (Gold Museum!!!). It was amazing! So much GOLD! Everything was Pre-Colombian, however also really intricate and beautiful. I have no idea how they did such amazing work with the tools they had. We each found the piece that we wanted... only problem was all the guards near by. We then did a bit of shopping before heading back to the restaurant to eat and hang out.

The next day I spent time just relaxing and helping at the restaurant during the lunch rush. It was really fun! I worked hard keeping silverware where it needed to be, glasses full of juice and cleared off tables like no other. I was a table bussing fool! Everyone thought it was so funny for some reason. The people at the tables would bust out whatever words they knew in English. It was so fun. Jason (my boyfriend) and I were also able to finally get his plane ticket so he could meet me in Santiago! Yippee, I am the happiest little girl in South America.

Thusday afternoon Lilia and I also tried to go to the National Museum. We got a bit lost and I was trying to get her too speed up... since the museum was about to close. But right before we got there we noticed a whole bunch of people getting set up for a parade. I decided to skip the museum and watch the parade... a lot more exciting and more cultural. It turned out to be National Afrocolombiano Week. There was also going to be a big concert in Plaza Bolivar. So Lilia and I walked all the way back the same way we had just come and watched our favorite dancers. It was really amazing. Once in the plaza we were able to get a pretty good spot for the concert. It was Spanish rap and everyone in the crowd was going crazy for the group on stage. I have never felt so out of place. Mostly because I'm not black, or Colombian... but it didn't really matter. The group we were standing next to was pretty wild and kept handing up shots of whisky. I didn't want to be rude, so of course I drank it. It was so much fun!

Friday was also a pretty relaxed day... just worked in the restaurant some more. I even had some regulars already. There was this one lady who had a son going to school in New Hampshire. Every day when she would come in she would be so excited so see me. That night I went out with Vanessa, Lilia and some of Vanessa's friends. We just hung out for a while at a little shop before heading to this really cool reggae bar. The music in the bar was about the only thing I didn't like... not because it was reggae, but because it was being played at ear piercing volumes. I wasn't able to hear a thing anyone was saying. It was cool though. The floor was covered with sand it give it a beach feel. There were also these two guys that were either really drunk or something, cause I don't think anyone could have that bad of rhythm. They were worse than me. We all got a kick out of watching them.

My last day in Bogotá was spent going to the near by Cathedral de Sal (Salt Cathedral for those of you who aren't bilingual). Lilia and I went out there, however I felt bad that I didn't have enough money to pay for her to go in too. So she just waited out in the sun while I had my own personal English tour guide. The original cathedral was built by the actually miners who were working in the mine back in the early 1900's. However, the Government realized, after a lot of people wanted to see that cathedral, that there was money to be made. So in the 1980's the Cathedral that I saw was opened. It consisted of 14 stations of the cross, that thousands of people flock to during Semana Santa, and a huge main Cathedral. It was all designed and built by architects and engineers, which takes away a bit from the idea that the miners built and used it. However, it was still amazing! They still hold mass and all other church activities, ie. Baptisms, weddings, I don't think funerals... but you get the idea. It was all very beautiful and all of it tasted like salt! Afterwards, Lilia and I headed back to Bogotá and rode on the bus system for about an hour trying to get across town to have lunch with Magali and Marta. However, there was a miss communication and we had to ride the buses back another half hour home. I was pretty tired and hungry by this time... which for me is never a good mixture. However, that all changed when I talked to my mom and found out that she bought her ticket to meet me in Santiago (after Jason leaves)!!! Yippee, I am the happiest little girl in South America... again! Later that night one of Vanessa's friends had a birthday party at the restaurant. It was cold and raining like crazy. Ryan and I ran as fast as we could down to the ATM (I needed money for the bus trip in the morning) but still got super wet! I was too cold and wet to party so I went home early and called it a night.

I heard everyone get home around 4 am... it wasn't so bad, since I had to wake up in 30 minutes to catch the bus to Popayan. Thalex was the unlucky guy who came with me to the bus terminal. I say unlucky cause in stead of there being a 5:30 am bus, it didn't leave until 7. So he waited there with me, on 30 minutes of sleep, until it was time to go.

My time in Bogotá was really fun and even more so since I was able to spend time with my friends family. I am so excited for the day they will get back together... stupid Visas!
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