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Merry Christmas

Our Monthly Newsletter

Merry Christmas to you from Colombia. You may already know that it never snows in Bogota, so a white Christmas is out of the question for us. This is the season though of the Novena. Rather meaning for nine days prior to Christmas many homes host gatherings  of family, friends, co-workers and others. For a longer explanation of the Novena you can read THIS BLOG by Stuart Oswald.

The 45 minute wait and still nothing - The United States pretty much relies on personal cars to get around. But in Bogota public transportation is the mainstay for most people. Not to mention that even if you own a car you cannot drive it every single day. They have a law keeping your car off the streets two to three days each week. One thing most Bogotanos can complain about is the poor public transportation service. But for us they hit a new low the other day as we waited over 45 minutes for the C77 SITP bus and it never did arrive. Before finding exactly how long it took we decided upon a different mode of transportation. Then more recently we waited for any of the four different route buses plying Avenida 19. It took 30 minutes for even one to show itself. And it was not because of heavy traffic. To help visitors we did write a blog Visitor’s Guide to Getting Around Bogotá, Colombia. And for those wanting more help we did find a taxi driver who speaks fluent English. Just never expect to get anywhere in an expedient manner in Bogota.

The real bullshitters and scammers - Every now and then we hear from tourists to Colombia about being taken or cheated. This country is nothing though in comparison to some other places. On many Caribbean islands the entire population seems to be trying to get money from you. But I think Frank over at the blog site of The Travels of BBQboy and Spanky found the world's winner in Morocco. Read his blog My 5 week Morocco Itinerary. And on dealing with liars, scammers and bullshit. 

Gabo's niece freed - We reported in an earlier newsletter that the great niece of Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez had been kidnapped. Melissa Martínez García has now been freed. The kidnappers initially asked for $5 million. At this moment details of her release are sketchy.

Are the students wrong in demonstrating for wanting more money spent on schools? - Many citizens have been upset because peaceful student demonstrations have still disrupted such things as public transportation. Police are accused of being overly aggressive with the students. Companies in other countries mentioned to me that often Colombian graduates are not as knowledgeable and ready for the work force as their world peers. This UNESCO chart might explain a few things.

Again a report stating it is not working - Published Dec 12, 2018 yet another report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) shows America's Plan Colombia is failing miserably in reducing cocaine. The beginning statement from the report is: "The U.S. government has invested over $10 billion in counternarcotics and security efforts in Colombia since 1999. Security has improved but cocaine production has more than tripled from 2013 through 2017." Doing the math that means that each taxpayer in the USA has contributed about $70 to the Plan. Interesting to note is on the Wikipedia website about Plan Colombia it states: "Policymakers in both countries consider Plan Colombia to be a foreign policy success for the U.S." That remark came from a speech by President Obama about increasing the aid to Colombia. 

Then there is the article entitled, The DEA in Colombia: Losing the drug war, but having a lot of sex.

Over 50 million have been sold around the world (and one to me) - The holiday price pulled me in and I purchased an Amazon echo dot. Since Colombia is not one of the countries supported it took a little tweaking for me to set up. But I am now testing it (playing according to my wife) and will write a future blog about setting one up in this South American country. But so far so good. I am really enjoying it but my other half is far less than impressed.

Thank you for reading wishing you Feliz Navidad.

 

Copyright © 2018 Michael and Graciela's Colombia, All rights reserved.


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