Sunday, September 27, 2009

Senior missionary trip to the Gold Museum, etc.

Last Wednesday, we had the privilege of meeting a new missionary couple serving in Lima as the Area Medical Director. They came to get acquainted with Dr. Malouf, the Assistant Area Medical Director and the mental health specialist Hermana Stull. Their names are Elder and Hermana Slingerland. He was a pediatrician in Provo. Six of us went over to the mall for lunch on Wednesday.

On Friday, the medical group kindly invited Royal and me to go sight seeing with them. Due to the pressures of our two upcoming NeoNatal projects Royal could not go but I was not about to miss out on a fun outing so I joined them. We went out to the MTC (CCM) and had a tour and met with the MTC Director for about an hour and then we went off to the Gold Museum. The picture above is Sister Slingerland standing next to the ever present guy on stilts in front of the Gold Museum

The Gold Museum is a treasure here in Bogota. Justifiably so. There are some exquisite pieces of gold to look at dating back to the 1700's. The above picture; a display that is located in the floor.

The museum is beautifully done and it is truly amazing to see all the various pieces of gold.
Notice the shadow behind these gold pieces. You cannot detect this shadow which looks like the frame of a person to me when you are in the museum. I only noticed this after I took the picture.

After a delightful lunch in an elegant Italian restaurant we walked across the street from the Gold Museum to browse the shops. This shop is where I found a little souvenier for my children and grandchildren.

This is my new favorite shop. It is upscale and has exquisite hand made items mostly made by some of the indiginous people in the remote areas of Colombia. Most of the beautiful items are made from leaves, bark, etc. from the trees that surround their villages.

Here I am taking a break and admiring all the beautiful crafts surrounding me.

There is quite an amazing story that accompanies these gorgeous baskets. A must have for me for Christmas!

Another piece I fell in love with is this beautiful handmade Mary and the baby Jesus.

At the end of our day, we had a group photo taken by our driver. We really enjoyed meeting the Slingerlands. In the photo from left to right. Hermana Stull, me, Hermana Malouf, Elder Malouf. On the top is Elder and Sister Slingerland and Elder Stull. We missed Royal!!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Monday Market

Last Monday Elder and Hermana Stull took me with them to the Monday Market. We took a taxi and then took a "bicycle taxi" to get over to the market. Hermana Stull is standing next to the bicycle taxi.
You can see me peeking around the corner. Very smooth ride and very cheap.

Our first stop was at the fruit stand. A beautiful array of fresh fruit, mostly grown here in Colombia.
The young man in the red hat knows how to pick out good fresh fruit. Here he is filling the Stull's order.
We wandered down the streets stopping in at a fish market, a bread market and then the meat market. Everything in the market waas clean and the meat looked very fresh. Today I am cooking the pork roast I bought.

At another meat market we passed, I couldn't help stopping and taking a picture of these cow hoofs. I am sure they have a purpose but anything that has a cow hoof in it shall never cross my lips.

My fruit purchases included baby bananas (very sweet), a miniature watermelon (not so sweet according to Royal), a mango and some concord grapes. It was a great experience and I hope to go back again soon.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Trip to Ibague, Girardot, and Neiva

We traveled to three Colombian cities, Ibague, Girardot, and Neiva, not far from Bogota. The purpose was to give presentations on Church welfare and home storage principles to stake, District, Ward, and Branch leaders. We went in a Church SUV driven by Carlos Fernandez who gave Church training on the Employment Service in the same cities. The photo above shows a big bus called the Transmilenial. These buses constitute the rapid transit system for Bogota and run on their own special roads.

The trip to Ibague, the first city, took about 5 hours. Along the highway were a variety of places to stop and get things to eat and drink. At this stop, hunks of pork hung in view for purchase and for eating. The restrooms at this particular stop needed serious upgrading.

Cooking the heart, kidneys, etc. of the pig.

We stopped for lunch at quite a nice restaurant with quite clean restrooms. However, Carolyn didn't like the idea of chickens roaming throughout the restaurant.

The District Presidency in Ibague, along with Carlos Fernandez and Elder and Sister Shipp. Taken outside the stake center in Ibague.

A view of the city of Ibague taken from our hotel window.

More Colombian delicacies sold along the road between Ibague and Girardot. They are crunchy like crackers and quite good although Carolyn thought she could taste sand in them.

At a restaurant in Girardot, where the temperature was very hot and the city had a definite tropical feel, like on those old movies with fans, bars, palm trees and drunken expats.

The chapel in Girardot had no piano. It did have a key board which had to be played standing up and only half of the key board worked.

Crossing the Magdalena River, famously featured in novels by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, between Girardot and Neiva. The river flows all the way through Colombia to the Caribbean near Baranquilla.

A Colombian milk cow, quite unlike the Jersey and Holstein cows of my growing up years.

Outside our hotel in Neiva, with the first lady of Neiva in white, Carlos Fernandez, the first lady's assistant, the stake public relations person, and Dr. Casallas, first counselor in the stke presidency and a medical doctor. We all had lunch together and talked about ways the Church could collaborate with the city government of Neiva and related foundations in supporting health and social service programs and projects. The Church has a long history of working with this particular first lady. The hotel was elegant and the Stake President had planned an exhausting schedule for us. The climate in Neiva is very hot and by the end of the day on Sunday we were exhausted and ready to return to Bogota with its lovely climate.

With our friend Jose Luis Cardenas the day before we left on our trip. Jose Luis's last day of Church employment was the Friday of that week. He is already busily engaged in getting his own business set up.