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.


  1. What great pictures and an amazing trip! I especially loved the live chicken running around the restaurant while you were eating, that does not pass sanitation codes!! Very funny!! Love you!!

  2. Love the pictures! You guys look fabulous! Thanks for posting. Love you!

  3. Great pictures!!! I felt like I was right there on the trip with you. You guys are having such a great experience. So fun!

  4. Is being able to pick out your chicken running through the restaurant akin to selecting your lobster from the tank?