Aguacate

By Oren:

In Colombia, what the people that live there think of as an “aguacate” (avocado) is different to what you think it is…

When we first arrived here, whenever we went to the supermarket we always looked at the fruit section because the fruits there were new to us. Once we saw what looked like a melon in one of the boxes and we couldn’t believe that it was an avocado. Here is my dad’s expression when we got our first giant aguacate:IMG_7953

Another thing about avocados in Colombia is that the stall holders aren’t the quietest of people. They walk past the apartment blocks and houses pushing their wheelbarrows and shouting, sometimes through a megaphone, trying to get people to come and buy their fruit and vegetables. They talk really quick, telling you all the things they are selling and it sounds quite funny.

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This man has persuaded someone in their house to buy some of his fruits off his cart and he’s just passing them through their window. If you look closely you can see on the handle of his cart a megaphone which he had been shouting into: ‘Sandia, Papaya, Aguacate, Tomate…’  If you are walking past they stop and try persuade you to buy things and say “es muy barato”  (its very cheap). Here’s a clip of what they sound like:

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In case you don’t already know avocados grow on trees and we walk past them very often. You can tell that we have got used to them because when we went to Don Diego, Brae and I used some to play catch because we didn’t have a ball!

Bugs, creams and medicines: update

By Brae:

As I mentioned in my other post we can’t drink water from the tap but there are also other things that are different to England about the water.

Since a few weeks ago, at some times of the day we don’t have water at all, because there is a very big water shortage where we are living because it doesn’t rain for nine months of the year. Every day between 8.30am and 10.30am if we turn on any of the taps or showers in our house, nothing happens. The only thing that comes out is a hiss and maybe one drop. So, that means you can’t wash your hands, no showers, no washing up, no washing machine etc. We have to remember to fill up a large bottle of water so we can wash our hands when the water is off. Then the water comes back on but then it goes off again at 2.30pm until 5pm, and it goes off again 10pm and stays off all night until 5am.

We are lucky enough to have a swimming pool in our building but now they can’t fill it up with clean water so this week they filled it up with dirty green water and here is a picture of it before and now!

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It has made me think about water. Do you?

For example:

  • When you turn on a tap in England to fill up a glass of water, and you can just drink it without worrying if you will get sick, you don’t normally think you’re so lucky.
  • Or if you turn on the shower and there is nice warm water, do you think you are lucky then?
  • Or when you go to flush the toilet or wash the dishes and there is water, are you grateful?

When I go back to England I will try to think about water more.

You can read the first Bugs, creams and medicines post here.

Weird stuff update 2: moon

By Oren:

In Parque Tayrona we were walking back to our cabaña after dinner one night, when I looked into the sky and was amazed to see the moon in the shape of a letter ‘u’ . It looked like a bowl shape and it was like the moon had fallen over. 

moonIt was really cool to see it because I never knew the moon could look like that. Wherever I’ve seen the crescent moon it has always looked the same so it was a bit of a shock to see it like that.

When we got home we looked it up and found out that it was like that because we are near the equator and the moon has different phases depending on where you are in the world. 

You can find more weird stuff here.

The story of a coconut update

By Oren:

In my last post about a coconut, I told you that we managed to open one in Palomino by smashing it with a stick. It took me, my dad and Brae about 30 minutes to get it open. But this weekend, in Parque Tayrona, we found out the real way to open coconuts.

We were walking along the jungle path after a swim, when we saw a man hacking skillfully at a coconut case with a machete by the side of the jungle path. He saw us watching him and my mum told him the story about how we opened a coconut with a stick, and she said we were pleased to see what the real way to open a coconut was. We think he was going to drink the coconut milk because he was thirsty. It was a really hot day and he was doing hard work fixing a fence and he didn’t have anything else to drink. But because we were watching him he asked if we wanted the coconut he’d just opened, to drink it ourselves! We tried the milk and it was delicious and refreshing. We tried to offer him some but he said we could have it all. After we had drunk it he chopped the case up some more and gave each of us a quarter and let us eat it! My Mum also took a video of him chopping.

It was really nice of him to give it to us, but we weren’t as surprised as we would have been in England as we have found that Colombian people are really nice and kind.

To see the previous post of story of a coconut see here.

Another Colombian animal update

By Oren:

One of my favourite things about Colombia is the wildlife and some of my most amazing nature memories were made in a town called Minca. Last weekend we went back to Minca so we could see our good friend Niall and meet his girlfriend, RyAnn, and also to see the wildlife. Because last time was so awesome I thought that we might not manage to see as much new nature, but I shouldn’t have worried.

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Brown basilisk just after it ran on water!

While we were in Minca we saw a lizard when we were out swimming one day, basking on a rock by the edge of the water. We must have startled it because suddenly it shot away from us into the water right next to a waterfall and Brae and I thought it was going to drown! But amazingly it didn’t because it actually ran along the surface of the water like lightning and scampered out the other side!!!!! If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes I wouldn’t have believed it. When we got home we searched online and found out that it was a brown basilisk, which is sometimes known as a Jesus Lizard. I have read about these lizards but I never thought I’d actually see one doing it. It was insane.

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Chicharra

The other new wildlife experience that I will never forget (but not in a good way!) was the sound of a very annoying bug in the jungle in Minca. On Saturday, we tried to go out for a peaceful evening walk to see the sunset but it turned out to be torture! It was all thanks to a bug that a Kogui tribesman told us was called a ‘chicharra’. We were walking down a path and we were deafened by a horrible buzzy drone, which seemed to be coming from the trees around us. It was so loud that it seemed like someone was drilling the road and we had to cover our ears! These nasty cicadas were all over the mountainside and the noise got carried on the wind so you could hear it wherever you went. If you don’t believe how loud it was play this video on full volume and it still won’t be as loud as it was in real life.

minca2-17 When we got home to our apartment the next day, a chicharra flew right into our lounge through the door to our balcony. It flew around the room bashing into the walls and making a big racket. This one was green and you can see how big it is by comparing it to my dad’s phone.

In my previous post about animals, I mentioned that the last time we went to Minca we saw a massive Iguana. We were hoping to see it again but this time we saw a different one! We were making a video to send to Emerald class and as we were filming Brae spotted a baby Iguana. We had to stop the video so we could get a good look and some proper photos of it (sorry Emerald class!). It was a baby one and it was bright green and we had never seen a baby before.minca2-2minca2-4

 

Everything is so awesome in Colombia and I am so lucky to have seen so many incredible things, but I still have one dream – to see a monkey in the wild. Next weekend I really hope to see one when we go to the national park “Parque Tyrona”, so wish me luck!

You can find the previous Colombian animals post here.

And in case you don’t already know, we’re now trying to do something amazing and really help children in Colombia. Check out our fundraising page: EverettsInColombiaFundraising

Colombian birds update

By Brae:

This weekend we went to Minca again and we saw even more amazing birds than the last visit.

Last time we were walking for hours but we only saw a toucan from far far away. So we went back to Minca and this time we did see a toucan and it was the best view of a toucan ever!!! It landed on a tree really near us and did not fly away for ages so we could get really good photos of it and focus on it with our binoculars! The toucan was so many different colours and it was amazing.

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To see a toucan was a thing that we had been wanting to do for ages so when we saw it we were so so happy! It was like a wish come true.

We also saw three different fabulous blue birds. One pale blue, one really dark blue and a blue headed parrot (but we could only see its head because it was in a tree).

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Blue-grey Tanager
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Blue-headed parrot
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Red-legged Honeycreeper

One thing I can tell you is if you want to see birds, go to Minca!

minca2-16As well as seeing amazing tropical birds we also saw some birds that you will probably recognise!

 

The first Colombian birds post can be found here.

Not normal for Norfolk!

By Brae:

A while ago my Grampa made a comment on the blog and he said that maybe we’re getting so used to things in Colombia that we don’t even think about some of the things that are different in our life here. He said:

“Maybe you could do a blog entitled: ‘Now I think of it… here’s what’s different about an ordinary day in Santa Marta… I already take these things for granted, but now I think about them, they’re like nothing I’ve seen or done before…”

We thought this was a good idea so this week, just when we were going to school as normal, we tried to notice the things that we’ve got used to, and remember that they really aren’t at all like life in England. My dad asked us to look for things that would not be normal if we saw them in Norfolk!

  1. We see pelicans flying past and iguanas and lizards on the wallspelicannnfn-2-2
  2. I haven’t worn long sleeves or trousers for 8 weeks, even when we go out at night!
  3. Like I told you, people sometimes ruffle our hair as they walk past us
  4. Having a cold shower is just completely normal!
  5. The road to school hasn’t been built yet so it’s all dust
  6. We see stray cats, ducks, chickens, geese, big packs of dogs and donkeys all the time on wrecked streets (there is really a lot of rubbish here). These photos were taken on our way to school:nnfn-5nnfn-6
  7. Arepas, patacones and empanadas just seem like really normal food now. As normal as toast, chips and pizza!
  8. It seems normal to buy our breakfast at the side of the road on the way to school
  9. We don’t really think about not having a seat belt in a taxi or the crazy driving and beeping horns. By the way, you can have as many people in a taxi as you can squeeze in – sometimes 7 people in a tiny car!
  10. People here don’t talk about the weather because it’s always exactly the same. Boiling hot.
  11. We have got used to having bug spray and sun cream as soon as we wake up and now we do it really quickly
  12. If someone has no crash helmet (and no t-shirt on!) on a motorbike we just look at it like its normal now. (But we’re still not completely used to seeing small children and babies on the front of a motorbike, even though that happens a lot too!)
  13. We eat mangos and pineapples and passionfruits all the time, even on our cereal
  14. When we go in the sea we never, and I mean never, get cold, and there are tropical fish swimming all around your legs
  15. There are huge cactuses and palm trees everywherennfn-4
  16. On the way to school we see mangoes on the pavement where they’ve fallen off the trees and we just step over them like rubbish. IMG_8101

It’s weird how we were really amazed by lots of these things when we first arrived and it all seemed so strange and sometimes even made me a bit nervous but now it seems normal. I’m going to try to remember that when I am doing something new that I don’t really want to do, because now I know that I should just try it and I’ll get used to it.

I’m even used to getting up at 5.45am every day!

Weird stuff update: Colombian manners

By Oren:

In Colombia, you have to be a bit careful what you do as some things that aren’t rude in England might be rude in Colombia! There are different rules about what is rude or what isn’t.

One of the things that is fine in England but is rude in some parts of Colombia is measuring with your fingers. For example, my teacher Mr Frost really likes fishing and if he caught a really big fish and then showed you how long it was using his fingers you would think it was normal. But in some parts of Colombia the people here would be shocked about how he was measuring things! I don’t know why but doing that means something really rude.IMG_8037 The way to measure things in Colombia is by putting one hand up your arm and the distance between the tips of your fingers and your hand is how long the thing is.

IMG_8041One of the other things that isn’t very rude in England is beckoning with one finger.
It means something rude too but I only discovered you shouldn’t do this here recently.

mannersThe last thing I found out was that if you show how tall someone is with your hand horizontally, that’s rude too. You have to have your hand vertical because you only have your hand horizontally if you’re talking about an animal. So if you do that about a person then they think you’re calling them an animal and they really don’t like it.

There are also things that would be rude in England that aren’t in Colombia. One of the things is that waiters in restaurants clear your plate as soon as you finish your last bite, before anyone else has finished! The other thing that is not very good manners in England is people saying they’ll do something ‘ahorita’ (now) and then not doing it for hours or days, or saying they’ll do something ‘mañana’ (tomorrow) and then not doing it until next week, or never!

The first weird stuff post can be found here.

And in case you don’t already know, we’re now trying to do something amazing and really help children in Colombia. Check out our fundraising page: EverettsInColombiaFundraising

Money

By Oren:

In Colombia the value of money is very different. They have pesos instead of pounds and one pound is five thousand pesos! Things in Colombia usually cost at least one thousand pesos, but you can still get things for much less than you would get them for in England.

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For example, a few times a week we go out to breakfast to an ‘arepa’ stall and the last time we went, Brae’s breakfast was an arepa with sugar and aniseed and it cost 500 pesos (ten pence) and mine was an empanada stuffed with meat for 1,000 pesos (twenty pence). icecreamAlso, you can go out for lunch and get a pretty large set meal with a soup, fish, coconut rice, salad and patacones with a lovely fresh tropical fruit juice for between 7,000 and 15,000 pesos (£1.40-£3)! Lastly, this ice cream cost me 60p!

At first we were just thinking how cool it was that things were so cheap then I found out that some of the parents of the children we met at the football game, who come from La Lucha, only earn about 5,000 pesos (£1) a day. So they might have to find cheap food, and lunch for 7,000 pesos doesn’t sound so cheap any more! So now we realise how lucky we are.

So, if you think about what people can buy here with just a few British pounds, your donations to our fundraising page could really make an impact on these children’s lives, even if it just seems like a small amount to you. So please keep donating if you can. Here is our fundraising page: EverettsInColombiaFundraising

Thank you!

 

Simón Bolívar

By Brae:

The reason I wrote this post is because my class in Norfolk (Emerald class) are learning about Colombia for their topic. I am really happy that my friends are learning about Colombia so I wanted to help them by telling them about Colombia’s history. Last week we went to a place near where we live that told you all about the life of someone called Simón Bolívar and I learnt lots of things about Colombia. There was also a really cool tree there to climb on.

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Before 1499, there were lots of tribes living in Colombia. They didn’t all live together, they lived separately. They believed different things and they spoke different languages and some hunted their food and travelled around following after the animals they hunted.

In 1499, some Spanish explorers arrived in Colombia on boats. The head explorer was Christopher Columbus but it was some of his friends who actually came. They built Santa Marta as their first city.

The Spanish saw that lots of the tribespeople had gold and emeralds and jewels. They wanted to find the gold city and take all the gold and jewels back to Spain. The Spanish beat all the tribes and called Colombia theirs. They named it New Granada and they built more great cities like Bogotá that is now Colombia’s capital city.

For 300 years Spain ruled Colombia (New Granada). The Spanish called in thousands of slaves from Africa, so Colombia was then a mix of 3 different people, the Spanish, the tribes and the Africans, and the Spanish had all the power.

But some of the people were not happy with what the Spanish were doing. One of the people who was not happy about it was called Simón Bolívar. He got himself an army of rebels and called war on the Spanish. He wanted Colombia to be in charge of itself instead of Spain ruling it.

Simón Bolívar took down the Spanish and in 1821 he made a new country called Gran Colombia but it was much bigger than Colombia is now because it covered all of Colombia and Panama, Ecuador and Venezuela and some bits of Peru and Brazil.

But later on he fell ill from an illness in his lungs. They sent a doctor to him but when the doctor arrived he was already too ill so he died. We went to the place where he died and it is now a Simón Bolívar museum.

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When he died he thought that he still hadn’t done his mission. His mission was to make Gran Colombia a single country that was really big and powerful but when Simón Bolívar was dying all the people were planning to break it up into smaller counties (like it is now).

I think that quite sad that Simón Bolívar fought all his life but then when he died he still felt bad.

BolivarWhen you walk around Colombia you see statues everywhere and museums about Simón Bolívar and lots of parks and streets named after him so he must be a very important person to Colombia. People think he is a hero and that he freed Colombia from the Spanish.

I might not have wrote down everything about Simón Bolívar but I think that what I have written is true and I wrote this completely on my own.

 

And in case you don’t already know, we’re now trying to do something amazing and really help children in Colombia. Check out our fundraising page: EverettsInColombiaFundraising