We have a page on our blog that shows us the statistics. It tells us how many people are enjoying our blog and where they are. We didn’t have the statistics on the blog before 4 February so we don’t know how many people looked at it before then, but since 4 February we have had 323 visitors, 1,467 page views and 149 comments! We also know that at least one other school apart from Colby is looking at our blog to learn about Colombia. It is a school in Scotland and we don’t even know the children there. We think this is really awesome because now we know that our blog is useful not only to Colby but to other schools too – ‘hola’ to our readers in Scotland!
The other thing that is so incredible is that we can see all the different places where people are reading the blog. We have a map and every time someone looks at our blog, the country they are from goes blue! And it keeps getting darker and darker blue the more people look at it in that country. So, England is very, very dark blue by now and Colombia is dark blue too.
Here is a list of countries that are blue so far:
Europe: UK, France, The Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Switzerland
Middle East: United Arab Emirates, Qatar
Americas: USA, Canada, Colombia, Brazil
Africa: South Africa
Isn’t that brilliant! We are world famous now!
Our top 4 countries for readers are UK (178 readers), Colombia (78 readers), USA (23 readers) and Australia (12).
Now we have a mission for you! If you know anyone who is in another country please tell them about the blog because we would love to see more countries on our map going blue (especially Russia, China or India because they are so big, or Africa as we only have one country there so far)! Please send them our blog address www.everettsincolombia.co.uk and tell them to take a look!
If you give someone the address, don’t forgot to write a comment below saying you’ve done it and then we can tell you when that country goes blue (or bluer) on the map.
Last weekend we went to Barranquilla, the fourth biggest city in Colom…OK, enough of that, let’s get to the important part: carnival!!!!
Every year Barranquilla has a completely mental party that goes on for 4 days and nights. Nearly 2 million people go to the ‘Carnavales de Barranquilla’ so it’s pretty big. The second biggest carnival in the world after Rio in fact.
We had tickets for seats in a stand which meant we were high up and had a really good view. There are thousands of people performing in the parades with lots of dancing, people pretending to be zombies, cannibals, animals and other stuff and the most incredible costumes ever.
The parades went on for at least 4 hours every day but we never got bored for one second because of the interesting things that they were doing and the party music and atmosphere.
One of the things that made it so much fun was that you were given little boxes of flour
and you could throw it at each other or squirt people with foam. Everyone was wearing weird carnival clothes and funny hats and acting completely crazy! Here is a picture of some kids that threw flour at us, but then they gave us some of their flour so we could throw some at them and at our parents!
I hope that the photos and videos we took help you imagine what it was like to be there.
Did you notice the ladies balancing bottle on their heads? These are full of aguardiente which is like whisky. People drink it a lot.
One of the main reasons we came to Colombia was to see our good friend Diana, who looked after me and Brae when I first started school in London. She lives in Bogotá now, the capital of Colombia, but she was living in London then. She looked after us for two years and while she was in London we met her brother Luis Fernando and her cousin Angelica. Also, when my mum went to Colombia with work, Diana’s family looked after her really well and made her feel at home. So you can see why Diana became like family to us. This is why we were so excited about being invited to her wedding to Ernesto.
The wedding was in a church by the sea and it was really beautiful. All the men had to wear special shirts called guayaberas which were white and they had a pattern on the side. These are traditional so we all had one. My dad and I bought one to keep and Brae rented one from a special wedding shop. It was so nice to meet some more of Diana’s family while we waited for the ceremony to begin. When we saw Diana arrive everyone started taking photos because she looked so pretty in her wedding dress.
The party was at a beautiful house with a swimming pool and garden on the shore. We had delicious food and drinks, but the best bit was the disco. They played Colombian music and in Colombia everyone knows how to dance and they do it really well. As well as the disco they had Colombian musicians playing music to dance to. Brae and I got taken up to the dance floor by Diana and her cousin and also my dad got taken up to dance in a circle with a crowd of ladies! We tried to copy people’s dance moves to try and dance like a Colombian doing ‘salsa’. Throughout the night I danced with a lot of people.
At midnight, when I was first starting to get a bit tired, everyone went absolutely crazy! Angelica said it was called ‘la hora loca’ (the crazy hour)
and everyone dressed up and the band put some crazy music on and everybody danced until I was really tired (it was later than one o’clock in the morning!). Brae and I fell asleep
in the taxi on the way home. Over all, the wedding was a huge success and very different to an English wedding.
The other day we went up the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. This is world’s highest coastal mountain range and we went there to see the sunrise and the rare mountain birds. We had to get up at 4 o’clock in the morning! The mountains are so high and steep the only way to get to the top quickly is in a jeep. I got travel sick. So on the way down the mountain Oren and I went on the roof of the jeep! We enjoyed it more than when we were inside because we didn’t get travel sick. It was scary at first because the road was super steep and full of great big holes,
but after a while
we got used to it and we started to concentrate on what was around us. There were loads and loads of coffee trees planted in between the tropical fruit trees and jungle plants. We were surrounded by them. Everywhere we looked there were coffee trees.
We didn’t only go on a roof of a jeep but we also went on a motorbike taxi. They took us to a waterfall in the mountains. Each bike had a driver with me and Mum on one bike and Oren and Dad on the other. It was a bit squished but we got through. The ride was very bumpy but fun at the same time. It was amazing watching all the birds. There were all sorts of different kinds. We saw bright yellow fly catchers and scarlet tanagers.
At home, I have to be in a booster seat with a seat belt so I can’t believe what we are doing in Colombia. Perhaps my mum and dad have gone a bit mad. But they say that we are on the adventure of a lifetime so the rules are very, very different. I think that this is the kind of school trip that Mr Brown would like to take Emerald class on!
On Monday I went to a mountain town called Minca, where we stayed in a very nice house called Emerald Green. We had a cozy room with a big double bed and bunk beds. We also had a balcony, which had a lovely view of the river and an enormous, ancient tree. The host of our guesthouse was a man called Niall who was the best! He was Irish and he was very kind and fun and made us do things during our four days in Minca that seemed scary but they turned out to be really thrilling and we didn’t want to stop. Niall has been living in Minca for six and a half years because he went travelling there and didn’t want to leave (don’t worry, I do like it here but I will come back!). When we arrived we dropped off all our possessions in our room and found out he had a dog and two cats who were all adorable and mostly really friendly (but one of the cats was a bit scratchy!).
After a while my family and I went on one of Niall’s tours to the lost waterfall, which he and his friend had discovered, with his dog Ishka running ahead. When we had been walking for a while Niall spotted a kind of palm tree that had very vicious looking spikes all over its trunk, which Niall said were poisonous and we definitely should never touch one.
Then we hiked up the mountain through the jungle for a little bit more and we came to what looked like the most ginormous clump of grass you’ve ever seen. It was more than ten meters high and Niall said it was bamboo and it was a grass (so I wasn’t wrong thinking it looked like grass).
This kind of bamboo is a very useful material for constructing houses and scaffolds in Colombia, and also when they plant it by the side of the road on a steep bit of mountain, the roots act as an anchor preventing land slides and erosion of the road or path so it doesn’t get destroyed. It was fascinating to discover that houses, which were made out of bamboo, have been known to survive earthquakes when brick and concrete houses have been falling down. We also discovered that the only time you can harvest it is after a full moon at four o’clock in the morning because it makes all the water go to the bottom of the plant, and when it gets cut it can re-grow itself! It is against the law to cut it down at any other time.
We continued to trudge up the mountain path, higher and higher, feeling sweltering hot and sweating all over. Finally we emerged through the jungle and saw an incredible waterfall. We slipped into the freezing water. It was like swimming in a bowl of ice! Niall said we’d get used to it though. We also leaped off a huge rock into the pool.
Then it was time to follow the river back down the mountain so off we went. When I say we went, I don’t mean we walked. I mean we were swept down the river for a long distance, down waterfalls and mini waterslides with Niall. We climbed over rocks and my mum and dad had to get washed down a really powerful waterfall and Brae and I went down a smaller one. That’s when Niall gave us the nickname chickens because Brae did the funky chicken when we were supposed to be tucking our elbows in while we were going down a waterfall! Then Niall told us to clamber across some rocks and we stood under an amazingly strong waterfall and it was so strong that my trunks almost came down! ☹ When we finally reached the house we were soaked! After that we had a very laid back afternoon because we were exhausted.
So far I bet you think Colombia is amazing because it is. But there are a few annoying things.
First, we have to have 3 sun creams every day (1 at the beginning of the day, 1 in the middle of the day and 1 at the end of the day). We don’t only have to have 3 sun creams. We also have to have 2 mosquito sprays (1 at the beginning of the day and 1 at the end of the day).
Another quite annoying thing was when we went to Palomino on the Caribbean coast, in the night we had to sleep under mosquito nets to make sure we didn’t fall ill. They kept us really hot, which was annoying, but kept us safe from malaria.
Malaria is a very serious disease. To keep us safe from malaria we have to have some malaria pills every day after dinner. When we very first started it was quite annoying but we have got used to it now. Mosquitos also carry other diseases that have quite funny names like chikungunya and Zika. You might have heard about Zika as it is in the news.
The last frustrating thing that I can think of is that we can’t drink water from the tap because it is not clean enough to drink. So we have to carry heavy bottles home every day. We can’t even use tap water for brushing our teeth.
Colombia is still an amazing place because you find annoying things wherever you go. The sea is warm in Colombia all year round, whereas in England the sea is pretty cold even in summer. Also, it never gets dark here really early like in the winter in England. Things are just different around the world!
When we went to Palomino we had an incredibly friendly driver called Javier (pronounced ‘Havier’) and as we were going along I spotted what looked like some old fashioned milk bottles hanging in a small, wooden stall under a roof of cloth, standing by a MASSIVE banana plantation. I asked him what was in the bottles thinking it might be something to do with bananas but he said that it was shark oil!
Shark oil is an oil made from shark liver, and people sell it in their little stalls by the side of the dusty road. Colombian people believe it cures asthma and flu. I thought nobody would get flu (because it is a type of cold and it’s really hot here) but they do.
Lots of Colombian medicines are made out of plants and animals, and many of them were discovered by the tribes of Indians living in the mountains. People from all over Colombia use these medicines instead of, or as well as, buying them from pharmacies.
On the way back from Palomino we tried to buy a jar to take picture of it, but all the stalls hadn’t got any left. But as I mentioned Javier is really nice so he sent us a photo of a jar he bought, for our blog. Here is the picture he took of the oil:
In Colombia the transport is different. For example, the buses drive with their doors open, there are no bus stops and you just tell the driver when you want to get off and on. The buses are blue.
The taxis are yellow, so Rachel [Hare], Mae and Lily will understand that the ‘spot the yellow car’ game that my family plays in Norfolk is a very different game in Colombia, because almost half the cars are taxis! Also the taxis don’t have seat belts.
There are not only normal taxis in Colombia, but also some of the motorbike riders offer to give people a lift so there are also motorbike taxis here. I can’t decide whether to go on one or not because it doesn’t look very safe to have something like three people on a motorbike.
Sometimes, a horse or a donkey with a cart comes along the road. We’ve figured out why they have those covers by their eyes. It’s so they can’t see the cars, taxis and buses all whizzing by. If they did, they would become scared and then it would be chaos.
There is a lot of beeping everywhere as the cars beep their horns a lot.
The roads are normal mostly, but in some places the road is completely made out of dust, like the road our school is on. Here is a picture of it.
It’s much much hotter in Colombia than in England. It’s so hot that people don’t even have hot water in their houses in Santa Marta (the city where we live). So that means cold showers every day! It sounds really bad but we’ve kind of got used to it now. There is cold water for washing up too and cold water in the washing machine. It’s not a big problem to clean clothes as there is absolutely no mud here. There is just dust.
Because of the hot temperature the sea is really warm. It’s so hot in the daytime that most people go to the beach in the evening, just when the
sun is going down. Here is a picture of the sunset. We also have a swimming pool that the people who live in our building can use but it’s on the shady side of the building so the water is really cold. That can be quite useful if you need to cool down.
One more thing about the heat is that there are lots of cacti around. Opposite our school the hill is covered with them. This next photo is for Mrs Ward and Sapphire class because my mum told me that they are doing their topic on the Sonoran desert. I remember doing this and learning about cacti.