A Few Days in Cartagena

Sunday, June 17, 2018
Cartagena, Bolivar, Colombia
It has been a few days since we left home for our annual summer trip to Colombia.  We usually combine some pre-Feast on site planning and attending our UYC summer youth camp in one trip.  As always the days are plenty busy.  Sometimes the busy is not so much that we had a lot planned or that we did a lot, it is just that sometimes (or many times here in Colombia), it just takes a long time to do most things.  So even with just one thing planned for the day, sometimes it takes all day. The culture is so very different.
We had a fairly uneventful flight down here.  We made our connections, and we didn't lose our luggage. So that makes for an excellent trip! While waiting for our flight in Orlando, there was a flight to Mexico City departing right next to our gate.  They had a mariachi band at the gate and the all-women band sang and played for 20-30 minutes.  It was enjoyable and very festive. We had difficulty hearing the conversation we had with the airline check in desk, but all worked out well.
We spent part of Friday recovering from our trip.  We ate our dinner close to midnight Thursday upon arrival and crawled into bed around 12:30 a.m. Friday…a long day of traveling. Having been without internet connection for basically the whole day, (while in the air) and little time to answer between flights, the emails stack up and they need attending to. 
We spent a few hours with this hotel manager talking about hotel accommodations and changes at the hotel.  We three walked through the hotel together very slowly and discussed things. We have a good hotel for the Feast and it suits most of our needs for the Feast, but situations at the hotel can change, which would make it necessary to find a new hotel.  For this reason, we are always keeping our eyes open for other possibilities.  It is good to have a back-up plan in case one is needed. Scott and I like to build a network of people across multiple fronts to keep options viable and available. Contracts, things, and personnel can change at a moment’s notice in this country. We don’t like to have all our eggs in one basket.
We enjoyed a relaxing Sabbath at the hotel.  We took the opportunity to listen in to the entire UCG webcast from our local congregation in Mobile, AL.  Scott does this too to keep the speakers encouraged. He tries to call them after they’ve spoken as well even while out of the U.S. Today, Scott also called back to talk to several brethren in the U. S. congregations we pastor.
We have had a bit of a challenge when going to eat at different restaurants.  The World Cup from Russia is going on, and Fútbol (soccer) is very popular here in Colombia.  Whenever there is a match on, the restaurants will fill up with people watching the match.  The person may only buy a beverage, but they will stay at their table during the whole match. Fortunately, Colombia hasn’t been playing in any of the matches or it would be worse than it is.  Colombia plays on Tuesday, and we will be traveling, so that is convenient for us.
We had planned to go visit a couple places today as possible activities for group activities during the Feast.  Before we left, I double checked to make sure of the opening time. This was fortunate as the establishment happened to be closed today in addition to tomorrow, their regular day of being closed.  We figured that it must have had something to do with the national election taking place today. 
Scott wanted to watch Brazil play Switzerland today, so we did that for a while over a meal. He prefers Fútbol over most U.S. sports when he has time to watch the game.
We then ended up taking a ride on the double deck tour bus instead.  It has a stop right outside the entrance to our hotel, so we only had to wait a few minutes to catch it.  We noticed a few changes since we were here for the Feast of Tabernacles in 2017.  One luxury condo building was just starting to dig a foundation; now we see the superstructure starting to be built. Today, there were a lot businesses and restaurants in the old city that were closed.  It seemed like more than usual.  We also saw a new Juan Valdez coffee shop/restaurant/store open in the old city.  It is a huge place.  I can see that after walking around the hot city, it would be a welcome place to take a rest.
Our second and last trip on the tour bus was right at sunset.  This is a relaxing time to take the bus as the city is shutting down; people are coming out to stroll the sidewalks with their family or pets, and vendors are packing up and heading home for the evening.  Scott enjoys the tour bus a lot, as he loves to observe people and society as it functions, and it was a nice way for him to spend his Father’s Day.
One more day here and then we’ll head back to Bogota to meet up with a staff member, stay overnight, then the next day on through the country via bus internally to San Gil for camp!

Photos & Videos

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Comments

Caty
2018-06-18

Thanks for the blog Gayle, is always interesting to read about your trips. The pictures are fabulous! Have a great time, be safe and say hello to all the brethren there. And have a wonderful camp!

bernie
2018-06-18

Thanks for the blog. We like the birds and the flowers. Good video recording of "Serenata Huasteca". The chorus lines in this song are: Qué voy a hacer si de veras te quiero, ya te adoré y olvidarte no puedo. What will I do, If I truly love you, I did worship you, And now, I can't forget you . . . https://youtu.be/JfOl9Ts1VQk Enjoy your time in Colombia with God's people.

gayle_hoefker
2018-06-18

Thanks, Bernie, for the words to that song. I did not know what they were saying. They also sang, "Guantanamara," which was very lively and energetic!

Robin
2018-06-19

Looks like a beautiful place to be

mom Hoefker
2018-06-19

it is good you find times to enjoy the surroundings there. you deserve times of refreshing like this. thinking of you, and appreciating your blog. Mom H.

Judy Averill
2018-06-20

Like to read about your trips. Keep up the excellent work!

2018-11-20