This is a cross post from my guest-stint over at “Raising Colombian Kids”. A Top Ten List of Things I love about Colombia and look forward to doing, eating and experiencing on our trip. Thanks for the great suggestion Melinda. I loved putting this list together. Note: Except for Number 1 this list is in no particular order.
10. La Candelaria: I love Colonial architecture and I could walk around this Bogota neighborhood taking pictures and admiring the view for days.
9. Ciclovias on Sundays: Every Sunday the main arteries of Bogota are closed so that families can ride bikes, run and walk through the city. I can’t wait to spend time walking down the Avenidas with my little boy.
8. Beautiful Churches: Churches in Colombia are open to the public anytime. When I lived in Chile I used to wander around Santiago and visit churches to pray at totally random times. Last year I visited many churches and prayed that we would be given a child. This year we have so much to thank God for!
7. Hot Dogs: There is lots of great food in Colombia but I love the hot dogs. They are topped with crushed potato chips and a whole lot of other stuff that I’m sure is not part of the 5 a Day diet. I’m already stocking up on salad to prepare myself for the “No hotdog left behind tour”
6. Empanadas: No explanation needed. Order many, many empanadas. Apply directly to face. Repeat as many times as necessary.
5. Cumbiaaaaaaaa!: I used to teach latin dance. My specialty was salsa. Colombia has the best dance and music scene in Latin America. Shakira, Juanes, Cabas, Grupo Gale, La Sonora Carruseles. The list goes on and on and on. The second CD I ever bought was Pies Descalzos by Shakira. That was A LONG time ago. When I bought that first CD I didn’t speak spanish and I never imagined I’d ever go to Colombia, let alone have family there. Life is sometimes a wonderful surprise, que no?
4. Christmas Lights: You know the crazy person who puts lights all over their house? All of Bogota is like that house. It is the place where Christmas exploded. I love to walk around listening to villancicos and crashing novenas being held at the malls.
3. Chocolate and Cheese: Take delicious hot chocolate, add one rainy day and some delicious fresh cheese as an oozy treat at the bottom. Savory and sweet, it’s a classic combo, like salted caramels. I like La Puerta Falsa, it’s more than 100 years old and super-close to Plaza Bolivar .
2. Street Vendors! I love buying stuff on the street. Obleas and aromaticas are especially welcome in drizzly Bogota. In Bogota bargaining to get a good price is half the fun. Not for obleas of course, but always for your “Se habla espanol” t-shirt.
1. My family. Colombia has already given me my husband, my wonderful extended family and many good friends. In a few days Colombia is giving me the greatest gift of all, my first child. Te amo Colombia querida, de todo corazon!
Today over at Raising Colombian Kids I’m meting out advice regarding packing and traveling in Bogota. Click here to absorb my wisdom!
Perhaps my guest-blog gig is going to my head? I’m starting to believe that I am some sort of Colombian travel Martha Stewart.
And in not-really related news I saw this a few days ago on Tyler Watson’s Blog and I love it. My cousin Sage makes a strong effort not to do presents with her kids and I think it’s wonderful. In fact I think it is a small step than can be world-changing. Don’t get me wrong I love both buying and receiving presents but I also love justice, mercy and quality time with my loved ones. Advent Conspiracy supports my Charlie Brown-esque love for Christmas as it should be.
Arnold shows Rice Pudding who's the Boss at Rice to Riches.
We ate a lot in NY and by a lot I mean ENORMOUS ridiculous definitely unhealthy amounts of food. We were on the kind of schedule where you are taking cake breaks regularly and having your 2nd dinner around 2:30 am. Seriously, after West Side Story I dragged Arnold all the way back down to Houston to eat at Katz’s deli at 2 in the morning. Which by the way was so totally worth it. There’s a reason that this is the place they chose for Meg Ryan to fake her orgasm in When Harry Met Sally.
The great thing about NY is that you also are forced to walk at least 5 miles a day so it helps to balance out the gluttony, or so you tell yourself. I would gladly bore you with tales of everything we ate but I’ll hold back just this once in favor of telling you about Pearl Oyster Bar in the Village.
We went there in search of what Kat deemed “The best lobster roll outside of Maine”. I have actually never had a Lobster Roll anywhere let alone Maine so I was excited. I’m a fancy girl, I like lobster. The restaurant was so cute and warm and it was so windy and cold outside. Everywhere I looked people were eating Lobster Rolls. I was pretty excited.
I think Arnold and I both ate the whole meal with our eyes closed to better savor the experience.
Even better there were two adorable old men sitting next to us. They were the kind of old-time New Yorkers with those incredible accents that Californians only see in the movies so I was extra enamored. And when the one sitting next to me put down his spoon as he finished his appetizer he said slowly “Well, I am sad that part is oveh. That was really good.” And his friend said “I think this is the best lunch in the city”. To which adorable old man Number 1 said “What are you talkin about? They serve dinner too!”
And that pretty much sums up how I felt about everything we ate in NY. At the end of each meal I felt like “Well, I’m sad that part is oveh. But now it’s time for dinner.”
In High school I was a nerd, a VERY HAPPY nerd. Not an angsty nerd with low self-esteem. A HAPPY nerd who could’ve cared less about my innate geekiness. I embrace it. Still do, always will but I digress. Nerds and Model U.N go together like peanutbutter and chocolate so obviously I was in Model U.N. But no, I couldn’t just be in Model UN I had to be extra geeky and think that Model UN was the BESTHINGEVER! And honestly, it was, it was so much fun!
You know what else I loved in high school? Weezer. (Trust me I’m going somewhere). And guess who was the UN Secretary General when I was in Model U.N. Boutrus-Boutrus Ghali! The man so nice they named him twice! (Don’t worry I’m still on track) And guess what Weezer song perfectly lent itself to a Model UN paroady song?
Ding ding Ding! Buddy Holly….. oooh eeeee oooh I like Boutrus-Boutrus Ghali. Oh oh and your Adlai Stevenson. I don’t care what they say about our policy. I don’t care about that! Bang bang gavel on the floor. Fight broke out 20 delegates dead! Oh no! What do I do… Yeah, there are numerous verse and a bridge but I’ll spare you the details. Just suffice it to say that I am totally willing to sing it at social functions.
Actually just a few weeks ago I sang it for Dahlia’s astonished husband Mark who apparently did not previously realize that Model UN is SERIOUS BUSINESS! I think he thought Dahl named their cat Boutrus for her Egyptian roots. The look of disbelief on his face as we belted out the third stanza was priceless. Fresh off this triumph I could not resist taking this picture at the UN in NY last month. Here you go my high school friends and fellow nerds. This one is for you!
Me, Arnold, Mom, Nate, Andres, Maritza and Kat
I’m both hospitable and competitive so when Andres and Martiza said they were coming to California I felt this irrational drive that they must leave my homestate singing it’s praises. So I busted out some of the best that California has to offer: Maghanoy’s and wine. Oh yeahhhhhhhh We arrived to the fairyland that is my parent’s house after a 14 hour drive. My GAD had cooked pitch-perfect adobo and my Mom had fired up the spa. (They have a spa now! Excellent.) I was so tired after the drive I almost cried. Andres took one taste of my parents meal and declared it the best food he’d had since his Mom moved to Argentina two years ago. And if you know how Colombian men are about their mommies you’d know that was HUGE compliment. When I gushed to my GAD about how good it was he said “I know.” Classic Maghanoy.
Anyways the next day we took it too another level. That would be my brother Nathan and wine tasting. Yup, we got our own personal wine-tasting and tour, complete with a stop to the VIP wine tasting room. Oh, yeah, and then after resting up from our exhausting morning of wine tasting he took us to swim at La Jolla. Hard Day, but we made it.
Andres, Martiza and Nathan.
We’ve been been MIA for the past week and that’s just not because our DSL cut out on us. It’s because our friends Martiza and Andres have been visiting from Colombia! They are our first ever international visitors and I’ve been hell bent on taking them on the California cultural and culinary tour. We basically took them from the airport directly to food and all week we’ve been plying them with Dim Sum, Banh mi, bubble tea and all sorts of other deliciousness. The biggest hit so far has been fish tacos and of course… my Dad’s adobo.
One of the best things about their visit is seeing everything through their eyes and remembering how amazing it was when I first arrived in Chile… or China for that matter. One thing that they still can get over is how organized our roads are. Every time we cross the street they say “I can’t believe that the cars will stop for pedestrians!”