Life is an Adventure in Montería!

Thursday, April 21, 2016
Monteria, Colombia
We had a relatively good night's rest. Sleeping in different beds and having different pillows at each hotel, makes it challenging sometimes. We have a relatively quiet hotel with air conditioning so that makes any night nice when it is 38 degrees Celsius (100 F) during the day, and still quite warm and humid at night.

We took our morning walk and then returned to the hotel for breakfast . We ordered for Scott a plate of strawberries, hot water (for instant coffee) with a portion of milk on the side, grilled chicken breast and a salad. I ordered scrambled eggs with tomato, cheese and onion, and arepas, plus a plate of watermelon, and coffee with ONLY a little bit of milk, plus two glasses of water. That was the easy part.  

The waitress brought the glasses of water, and Scott’s hot water, which was only tepid. Then she brought the fruit plate, and Scott’s strawberries were half white. Then my eggs arrived. Then we waited. Finally, Scott’s chicken arrived. I still did not have my coffee, nor Scott’s milk for his coffee. After asking four times, I finally got my coffee, which was ¾ milk and ¼ coffee. So, I asked for a plain cup of coffee, and milk for Scott. Finally, she arrived with a pitcher of milk for Scott’s coffee—which was now completely cold, and a pitcher of coffee. She was going to add coffee to the cup I already had. I asked for another cup, and explained that what I had was milk with a little bit of coffee . I wanted a lot of coffee and little bit of milk. Six times I had to ask to get my cup of coffee. I don’t think my Spanish is that bad! I think they don’t listen and just do what they normally do without paying attention to what is asked of them.

After breakfast, we went to McDonald’s to get a cup of espresso since the coffee experience at the hotel left us with the desire for a relaxing cup of java. McDonald’s is only one block away, but we have to cross a major four lane street to get there. There is a cross walk, but no stoplight. Every time that we cross the street it is a strategic maneuver. We wait until it is clear on this side, hope a bus does not stop in front of us at the last moment, look again to make sure that no motorcycle zips around or a truck accelerates at the last moment, and then we dash to the center; look again to see if it is clear, repeat the process above again, and then dash across the next two lanes. we step on the bike path, look to see that a bike is not coming, and then turn left and walk 50 feet to the corner and then cross the side street, and breathe a sigh of relief that we made it, because now we can go enjoy our coffee!

After our espresso, we walked the back streets for about three blocks to avoid walking next to the major four lane highway . Then we repeated the street crossing process to get to Éxito! to buy the wine for Passover. We found a bottle of Cabernet. We returned to the hotel which is on this side of the four lane street, but we still have to be aware of cars driving on the frontage road, and turning into the parking area. The sidewalks do not go all the way through, so we end up walking in the parking lot or along the frontage road. If there is a side walk, it is only wide enough for one person, so we cannot walk side by side.

We return to the hotel and catch up on e-mail, church bulletins for the US congregations, and some blogging. We discuss about what to do for lunch. After breakfast, the hotel restaurant is not appealing—besides it is quite expensive for what you get. Since it is Passover tonight, we have to eat dinner early, too. We could eat at Éxito! at the cafeteria, but they only have chicken and no plain cooked vegetables or salad. We decide to go to McDonald’s for a Caesar salad—healthy, fast, and not too expensive .

After lunch, we decide to do our afternoon walk now—even though it is the heat of the day—so that we have plenty of time to shower and get ready for Passover. This turned out to be a really good choice. No one was in the park, and we were able to see a lot of Caporo and Iguanas. When they run away, they are very quick! Be sure to check out the many pictures of these beautiful creatures. We did not see any of the really big ones that we saw last year, but we saw more varieties of lizards.
At about 4 PM, we decided to go back to McDonald’s for another Caesar salad for dinner. Scott waited at the counter while I went to the coffee bar to order our lattés. When we sat down, Scott said, "You won’t believe what I just saw."  While he was waiting for our food, a young girl came and ordered an ice cream cone. The clerk made a vanilla cone and tried to give it to the girl. There was a discussion—obviously something was wrong. The clerk then took the cone and opened up the Taylor ice cream machine and dumped the ice cream part of the cone back into the top of the machine, and then went and made a chocolate cone . That would not pass inspection in the US.

We ate our salads and had our coffee and returned to the hotel. We changed into our church clothes and had a few minutes of quiet time before Olga arrived to take us to Passover. On the way, we picked up Rena, and then arrived at the apartment of Jaime C. and Lyda. Their apartment is on the third floor. They do not have air conditioning, but there was a nice breeze. They said the breeze blows all day. If I would ever need to live here and live without air conditioning, I will choose an apartment on an upper floor, too. I took a tour of the rest of the apartment, and poured the wine. Now, everything was ready for the Passover. Sundown is early here and we start about 6:30 PM.

We had nine people for the Passover and four observers. After the service, we stayed and fellowshipped for a short while and had a very delicious piece of watermelon. Then we returned to the hotel. Another day completed and we collapse into bed.
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Ailsa Braun

Good thing you didn't decide to order ice-cream there! Although maybe this isn't an uncommon occurrence. :/

Glad Passover went well; have a very wonderful NTBO!

I like the iguana pics. Maybe you will see a turtle, or even a sloth. :)


there are different varieties of strawberries. last year we grew white ones and they were quite sweet.