Sunday, February 01, 2009

Before leaving on Saturday I went up on the roof of the dormitory and got a wonderful view of the surrounding valley and the mountains. Columbia is a beautiful country with the Andes Mountains and all the tropical greenery and flowers. There were flowers blooming everywhere and some very fragrant.
A couple of the people wanted to be sure we got to go down to the river. I'm so glad they insisted and even held up the bus for us. It was pretty much a straight shot down and very slippery. One of the guys walked backwards in front of me holding my hands to be sure I didn't fall ... and he almost fell. It was so gorgeous around the river. Orchids of all kinds were in the trees and vines everywhere. It felt very much like a jungle. It was a pretty large river and a "rushing" river. There were all kinds of plants and fruits. One thing I didn't know was that a large flower blooms on the end of each bunch of bananas ... it was kind of purple or burgundy. We also saw coffee plants and I confiscated a coffee bean. It was well worth the trip down and back up the incline!
We loaded our things and we were on our way back to Bogotá! We wanted so much to stop in the small village just outside of the retreat center and were excited when Dianna talked them into stopping. It was a very small village and the two of us "white folks" definitely drew some attention ... and of course Jim was taking pictures which drew even more attention. There was a beautiful Catholic church and what I would call a village square with a couple of very unique statues. We went in a couple of shops. In one little coffee/pastry shop we went we were treated very special. The owner seemed very excited that we stopped in. We sat down and had some snacks ... not sure what .... some type of meringue and pastries and a wonderful cup of coffee. And when we came out of the shop we found everyone looking for us and worried about where we were! Back on the bus others shared some of their treats with us too. One fruit they shared (actually on the way to the retreat) was very interesting. It was full of this rather "slimy" stuff full of seeds and you sucked it out and ate the seeds and all ... it was very sweet and very good.
The trip back we got to see some the area that we weren't able to see coming due to darkness. The trip back was pretty uneventful other than when our bus driver decided to pass a couple of 18 wheelers while we were coming up on a curve and you couldn't see what was coming. Passing makes me nervous anyway but this was crazy. And of course around the curve a truck comes barreling down on us and stopped right on top of us ... actually seemed like his hood went under us ... and I had a perfect view as I was sitting on the front seat! This truck driver was livid. He jumped out of his truck and took a picture of the bus license plate with his cell phone, said something (I'm sure some choice words I wouldn't repeat!) and then he did something stupid ... he went speeding into our lane with oncoming traffic to go around the bus. But we made it safely back to Bogotá and our home for the week. Our host family had supper waiting on us ... we ate and crashed for the night.
The next day was Sunday and our final day in Bogotá! I will share that in the next posting

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