Monday, April 8, 2013

Hi Everybody, I am still getting relatively frequent hits on this blog and just wanted to let you know that my blog is now Although I am now living in the D.C area and not traveling quite as much (sadly) I do try to update my blog frequently.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

To my 10 Loyal Fans

I've decided to change blogs. I'm going wordpress now. I like the format better.

So check it out at:

Friday, March 26, 2010


I have to admit I'm looking forward to going back to Panama.

As much as I complain about the heat, the lack of a sophisticated capital city (a la Bogota), and all the expats (despite being one myself)  it does have a special place in my heart. I went there in early 2008 not knowing a soul, and being relatively shy and introverted, I ending up spending a lot of time alone, just me and Panama. But I think I stopped feeling like a teenager in Panama. Anway, I'm looking forward to Panama the way you might look forward to seeing your high school boyfriend (not that I had one): Nostalgic and excited, all the while knowing there's no hope for a real future. But it doesn't make the reunion any less meaningful.

So, I will be in Panama April 27-May 23. Except for family members, my vacation invitations are rarely accepted, but being of an optimistic nature, the invitation is extended once again. As a selling point, Panama is a really tiny country, so unlike Colombia, it's perfectly realistic to see the rainforest, mountains and the beach in one week. Plus Panama City offers some excellent Miami-Vegas type partying.

April 27-May 1: Panama City, Gamboa and Gatun area
May 1-May 3: Isla Grande and Portobello and Valle de Anton
May 4-May 10: Bocas del Toro, Boquete and Boca Chica
May 11-15: The interior provinces.
May 16-20: San Blas and the outer Darien
May 21: Back to reality. OK, so not actual reality. But back to my everyday life.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Alone. At a Cafe. Doing nothing.

There is an old man sitting in front of me at Diletto (my cafe/office). He is all alone, drinking a glass of red wine and eating chips. Mostly he's staring out at nothing in particular. Maybe he had a fight with his wife or is in Bogota for a business trip and doesn't know anyone. Except he's wearing khakis and one of those safari-tourist jacket-shirts, definitely not Bogota work attire. So maybe he's foreign. And the fact that he's alone is a big foreigner indication. I don't think Colombians are all that fond of doing things alone. I always feel so sad when I see people eating/drinking alone.

And then I remember that I am here alone almost everyday and don't feel sorry for myself. Well, at least not most of the time. And I would not like it if other people felt sorry for me. But at least I'm doing work. This poor guy doesn't even have a book or newspaper. I don't think I'm the kind of person who can go to a restaurant and cafe with no computer, no book and no company. I prefer to do my thinking while moving. I'm not sure if this preference is because of efficiency (exercise and thinking in one) or because the act of doing something physical doesn't let me concentrate 100% on what I should be thinking about. If you're sitting still, you really have no choice.

Man, khaki pants has his head in his hand and is looking particularly meloncholy. It's a very sad scene. An old man with glasses and a white beard sitting in a big leather chair drinking red wine from a gigantic wine goblet.

Good news: His girlfriend just arrived. Now he looks happy. I assume it's his girlfriend and not his wife because they look happy to see each other. Now it's just me and the fat, six-foot tall gringo sitting alone.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Things Happen

Things happen here that remind you why Colombia has a bad reputation. When you think things are under control and the violence has passed, it turns out a government worker gets assasinated in Antioquia and a car bomb kills six and injures 30 in Buenaventura. Both incidents, I'm guessing, are somehow related to the FARC or another armed group. It's not particularly shocking news by Colombian standards, but I'm starting to think Colombia is kind of like Tilikum, that killer whale who killed its trainer despite years of good behavior. Unpredictable.

I wonder if anyone has ever written a book exploring why Colombians (as a society) are prone to political violence and organized crime. And it's not just something that started with goes back to the 1800s. I suppose the drug trade fueled things further, but what mix happened here that didn't happen elsewhere? Or what historical factors could have contributed to this kind of prolonged, low-grade civil war? I wonder if the elections will be peaceful.

And in other news, I have my first Year of Yes date tomorrow. He's asked me out a few times and I always said no. Maybe this new spirit of YES will make my blog more exciting.

Also, Frommer's contacted me to update the next Panama Guide. So I will be in Panama from May 23-June 23 or something like that. Quite exciting. Anyone looking for a tropical vacation is welcome to join me. Week-long vacation applications are acceptable. So between the U.S. and Panama, I should be back in Colombia by the end of June. Because I can safely assume to gain some 10 pounds in two weeks in the U.S., I will be starting a hardcore exercise program in order to lose weight so I can gain weight at home. Go me.