Colombia has the reputation of being a dangerous country, but the only dangerous aspect I´ve observed so far are the roads. They twist through mountains and ravines, with traffic flying along at high speeds- it´s a bus plunge waiting to happen. If you look closely, there is some evidence of a country with a troubled past. The police and military are everywhere, and there are some strange laws designed to increase security. For example, everyone who rides a motorcycle is required to wear a helmet and vest with the license plate number printed on them. Also, when I changed some money at the bank, they photocopied my passport and took my fingerprint. Last night at a dinner party with Caro´s frineds from college, one told us the story about how he was kidnapped. "It wasn´t for very long," he said. How long? "Eight days." Yikes!
Okay, enough sensationalism. The people are typical Latin-style friendly, greeting each other with hugs and kisses. Luckily, I haven´t attracted nearly as much attention as I thought I would. After spending two years being the star of every show in Nicaragua, it´s a relief to walk around (relatively) unnoticed. My Spanish is doing okay but not great- I understand almost everything (except for jokes- has anyone else noticed that jokes are the HARDEST thing to understand in another language? I think the main problem is that everyone tends to talk faster and start laughing as they approach the punchline, so I´m often left looking puzzled while everyone else erupts into laughter. "Hey guys, I understood everything except for the funny part at the end."), but my speech is lagging way behind my thoughts. By the time I find the words for what I want to say, the conversation has moved on, so I´ve been much quieter than normal. I´m sure many of you agree that my listening skills could use some practice...but hopefully in a couple more days I´ll return to my normal loquacious self.
Anyways, today we´re heading out for a weekend at Caro´s family farm, so no more updates for a few days. Have a happy new year, everyone!