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Might As Well Enjoy The Ride - Take The Long Way Home

Today Jerry and I explored a bit. We walked a couple blocks from the house to the nearest bus stop and did something we've been wanting to do for awhile...we got on the bus!

We had no idea of where it was going so we were off on an adventure. :)  The driver looked at us like we were bonkers and asked me a question in Spanish, which I didn't understand, but told him, (in English of course) "Yes...this is the bus we want". He shrugged his shoulders and took off.  And boy you better be ready when they take off because they're in a great big hurry to get to the next stop and if you're not holding on to something, you're gonna go flying. 

After taking the front seat we realized quickly that we were headed down the hill to the south. Pedro, and others, have warned us that there are many places to the south that we don't want to be so I got a little nervous when the bus kept taking turns onto these narrow roads that didn't look like they went anywhere. Anywhere safe that is. The neighborhoods are obviously very poor and shabby and rather depressing. I hate to think that so many people right here in Barranquilla live with so little. Unfortunately these are also the neighborhoods with the most crime. We finally came to a crossroad that we recognized from when we went to the airport but we crossed it and kept going into areas that I really didn't want to be.

I had to paste a smile on my face so the Colombians getting on and off the bus wouldn't know that I was scared. I never get scared. So...with half of the trip preoccupied with my  head trying to get my thoughts into a 'happy' place, I missed a lot of the scenery. I was worried about taking the camera out of my bag and then remembered those big words I wrote about on that very subject...was that yesterday?!? and bravely started taking pictures.

Here's one that's a little wonky but hey...those buses really do fly...so by the time I realized I wanted to take a picture we were way past. I didn't want to be stupid and flaunt my camera so I held it rather low and couldn't see that it was crooked. It made me feel slightly better to see that the area was so well patroled. :) God bless la policia!

That must be a  cooker for the restaurant sitting out there on the street. Yes...that's a restaurant. 

 All of a sudden we were in a market area and passed by several tiendas (stores) and realized we were the only two on the bus so I got braver with holding my camera up and took this picture:
It's really quite pretty, isn't it?

We quickly found out that the reason we were the only two on the bus was because we were at the end of the line. I had asked Pedro if he knew if we could get on a bus and ride until it came back to the point of origin and he wasn't sure but thought we would have to transfer. I totally did NOT want to get off the bus and try to find out where or when to catch the next one.

Again, our driver gave us a questioning look and I twirled my pointer finger in the air and thankfully he understood that to mean we wanted to stay on. He stopped, flipped his sign which said "Centro" (downtown) and we took off again. This picture was taken while the bus was backing up to retrace his route.

When I look at it I feel foolish for being afraid. I mean, don't those women and child look scary to you?!?

OK - so in this next picture, we're back at the crossroads I mentioned earlier and if we'd taken a left at this street, we'd be headed north up to our barrio (neighborhood). When you click on these pictures, they'll open up larger in a new window and you'll be able to see the tall buildings on the hill. Those are a couple miles west of where we live. If we'd taken a right, we'd be on the road to the airport which is at the southernmost end of Barranquilla. Yes, we do need to clean up our city. I'd love to see a campaign started like the good ole US of A did back in the 60s with
'Give A Hoot - Don't Polute'.

Soon we were back in familiar territory and kept asking each other, "Should we get off here and take another bus"? We didn't want to push our luck but both of us wanted to see where he went next so we stuck it out and actually ended up in an area that I'd hoped to explore. 

We got off the bus in a section of downtown (around the corner from where I get my nails done) that's almost all commercial and happens to be fairly familiar. We waved goodbye to our bus driver  - he was all smiles and honk honk see ya later by this time - and jumped out the back door to do some sight seeing by foot. There's a part of me that knows he was looking out for us the whole way and that's the real heart of the Colombian people that I've seen, time and again.

Right away we ducked into a fabric store because part of my mission this month is to find WonderUnder - or anything like it. They sent us down the street and we looked at Modiste after Modiste. They sell buttons, beads, buckles, sequins, thread, some paint and many other sewing supplies, but no bondable web. I've put it on my list to buy when I'm in the states next month!!!

Woo Hoo! We're in Florida from October 1-8 and Kansas 8-14!!!

OK - enough for now. Hope you enjoyed the ride!


This is addictive.

My whole point in blogging is to share art and
Barranquilla, Colombia with you and I've been doing
some exciting stuff but I'm a little anal (possibly) and
feel a need to begin at the beginning. You don't know
how hard it was to skip over the pictures of the one
way flight when we moved here in May.

But...I'll fast forward a bit and mainly concentrate on
projects in progress (or completed). I mentioned
earlier that we had to wait for our belongings for 6
weeks in an empty house so I bought some paint and
painted my version of sunflowers on the wall enclosing
our lanai.

That wall is beautiful but
it's there to keep out the
bad guys. Same with the
metal gates out front that
you see in the picture below. Unfortunately,
there is an abundance of thievery in Barranquilla but I'm fully expecting them to stay away from the gringos (that's us). The flowers look quite different now because with the rainy season, some of the black tar that you see at the top of the wall has crept down into them. I love the look - nature only greatly improved what I did. Anyway, this project isn't finished yet but I don't want to work on it until December or January when things dry up a bit down here. It rains almost every day but the clouds move fast and furious so we see lots of sun on a daily basis too - usually. (I thought the storms in Florida were something but these put them to shame. Maybe it's because we're up on a hill. Remind me to tell you about the streets turning into
arroyos). I plan to add wildflowers and a few bugs to the wall around the sunflowers, along with lizards and
whatever else strikes my fancy. The whitewashed wall
goes all the way around the lanai, so I have high hopes for making it into a bit of wonderland. That is if I can tear myself away from the play room. The plant in the pot with the pink flowers is one that we bought at a nursery downtown and brought home in a taxi. It totally filled the front seat. You can see it out front in the pix below.

Jerry has taken over the care and maintenance of the plants and it's incredible how quickly seeds grow. He put a mango seed into a pot and Voila! we now have a little tree. Same with cantelope seeds that I scraped off the first one we bought and ate here. He also planted watermelon and tomato seeds that have a lot of greenery, but no fruit yet. They've been flowering like crazy so I don't get it.

I've been told many times (by strangers and friends)
that I should put my camera away but I dont' listen
and don't believe it will be taken from me. As my
friend Brenda said, I might as well take my chances
on it getting stolen because it doesn't do any good
stuck away somewhere. The point in having a camera
is to take pictures and at this time I have 24,610 of
them in Photoshop. Here are a few taken when Pedro,
Jerry and I went downtown to look at a Land Rover.
(Yes...we ended up buying it and that's another

These pictures are of art on the sides or front of buildings in the old, poorer part of town:

They're taken from the window of a moving taxi so
they're not the best pictures - especially since you
can't see the buildings - but I'll get back down there
one day and take more. I've been warned that it isn't
an area I want to be in after the sun starts to set and I will heed that advice.

This picture (right) is typical of the walls around buildings in the city which in their own way, are beautiful. At least I think they are.

I have some awesome pictures of grafitti, taken in
Bogota, which I'll show you another day. The grafitti
in Barranquilla isn't quite as refined (I guess that's the
word I'm looking for)but still very expressive and way

Colombia is known for a few sculptors (Julio Abril,
Ramiro Areiza, Rodrigo Arenas and Fernando Botero
are a few of them) and I don't know who did this one
but there are several sculptures and statues scattered
throughout Barranquilla. This one is around the corner
from where I get my manicures and pedicures:

I pamper myself about once a month because the
cost for BOTH is only $9.50. I always thought it was
frivolous to have my nails done but this lady, Cheve,
knows how to give a pedicure and it's health thing for
me as much as a pretty thing. Those that I had in the
States didn't do a thing for me.

OK - just one more thought before I get off my...
computer. We hung the American Flag on the balcony
for the 4th of July and I felt so happy and proud to
have it hanging there.


A few of the neighbors gave me a 'thumbs up' and the
fellow next door mentioned it the next day and while I
don't understand most of what he says, I know he recognized it as Cuatro de Julio. Anyway, I was in my playroom and a vendor came by selling avacados. I wish you could hear them call out what sounds like
On the 4th, when he passed the house, he yelled out
a-wha-cot-tay gring-o!
To this day, I'm sorry Ididn't buy avacodos from him on the spot. I did and still do get a laugh when I think about or re-tell the story.

God Bless America! and Gringos!

Oh Happy Day!

Do you ever have those days when you think “things” are conspiring against your plans and decisions? I’ve been practicing the law of attraction – again – and it’s like an avalanche of negative things were poured out on me as a test. I decided yesterday, after much thought, that I’d like to blog about my life here in Colombia: specifically as it relates to art and the local culture. I like to sit with my cup of coffee and write in my journal while Jerry watches the news in the morning and after putting down some personal thoughts in my hard copy, decided I’d come upstairs and post an entry here. Well…yesterday and today have been two of the worst internet days I’ve experienced. We may have a connection for 5 minutes and then it goes away for 15; comes back for 20 minutes and goes away for 3. Frustrating. Especially while trying to find and book flights Friday night and yesterday or load pictures here, etc. It seems to happen with more frequency in the morning and since I don’t speak Spanish – yet – I can’t even call the company to complain (Pedro does that for me) (He doesn’t complain nearly as good as I do) which wouldn’t do me any good because sometimes the attitude here seems to be “the way it is, is the way it is”. So…I’m again learning patience and the law of attraction helps tremendously. For those of you that haven’t heard of it, I’ll try to explain it in a nutshell without getting preachy. What you focus on, with emotions (feelings) is what you’re going to attract to yourself. So…if I get pissed and focus on how aggravating the internet is and how frustrating not to be able to communicate my problem due to my lack of Spanish – then I’m just going to attract other feelings of aggravation and frustration that make me pissy about not only the internet problem, but anything else. Instead of letting the problem get to me, I’m writing this blog post in a Word document and will copy and paste it as soon as my connection is restored. It makes me feel good to ‘get around’ the problem so it’s win-win. I’ll also spend some time today learning the Spanish language which is beginning to not seem as hard. So, my focus has changed, actually just since I’ve started writing this and I’m feeling good; hence I believe I’ll attract good.

P.S.(My family knows how badly I need to practice what I preach).

We have a doorbell that rings at least once a day and sometimes hourly. The Colombian people are very industrious and vendors continuously walk (or drive donkey carts) the streets shouting out what they’re selling. Some ring the doorbell to make sure you see or hear them. My friend calls it the traveling yard sale but I don’t think of it that way because they aren’t yard sale prices. I do love the practice though. I learned the names of fruits and vegetables and the voices of who is selling what. We have vendors that sell the aforementioned fruits and veggies along with shoe repair men, ladies who carry bowls full of candy on their heads, donkey carts full of plants and pots to put them in, cleaning supplies such as brooms and mops, a sweet corn drink that we haven’t tried yet, ice cream, and bollo (pronounced boy-YO) – which is made from white corn (I think), is tasteless (at least the white variety is) but very popular as a side dish here in Barranquilla. We’ve been collecting plants and large pots since moving here and finally went to the nursery last week and bought a couple more to complete a grouping for the front yard. We have NO grass in our yard – just concrete but we do have a planter along the wall in the back around the terrace. I wrote all that because the doorbell rang a few minutes ago by the man delivering soil. He sold us pots last month and then brought back a bushel of soil the next day. These terracotta pots are very large and heavy and he had three on his shoulder the first time he came by, which we bought, and then again yesterday, another three. He also carries the soil on his shoulders and I’m here to tell you that Jerry and I together can barely lift it. And this man is always smiling and happy and extremely fair with his prices.

Anyway, it looks like we have an internet connection now so I’m going to copy/paste this and post it online with a picture of our beautiful plants. This  was taken from the far corner of the driveway which shows the house next door along with part of ours. Those little pieces of fabric hanging on the line up on the balcony will be described at a later date.


Alligator Quilties

You know, I don't always like some of the cutsey names that people come up with for...whatever, but Quilties just sounds so...cute...and appropriate. So I'm happily calling these...Alligator Quilties...
When I returned from Bogota, I couldn't wait to get into the playroom for the first time and also couldn't wait to intrepret the alligator wallpaper border (see below) into fabric. I dug out surface designed fabrics that I had done previously and came up with enough to make three quilties. I love to make things 'assembly line' style and figured if I made three, I'd be able to choose the best to give as my gift. The orange alligator will be given to an as yet unknown recipient; the blue one in the middle will be for my inspiration, Julio and Maria's baby boy and the pink one will go to Sophia's room as soon as we can coordinate a time for Jerry to bring his drill down to Hillary's house and hang pictures. The houses here in Barranquilla are made of concrete block and in order to hang a picture you have to drill a hole for a screw. It really makes you think about what you put on your walls. Of course that didn't stop me from hanging around 50 pictures so far. (I haven't finished upstairs yet). (Or the lanai). But I digress. The fabrics used were mostly those that I've painted, stamped, stenciled, burned, batiked, dyed or discharged. I hope I didn't break any copyright laws in taking a picture of the wallpaper and then making the quilts. I drew the alligator template free hand while looking at the picture and tried to make them matchy so they would coordinate well in the nursery but I'm not selling them and don't claim them as original work. I did look online at many websites for the jungle print nursery wallpaper so I could give the proper credit due but didn't find it. After the gift is received by my friends in Bogota, I'll ask where they bought it and will publish the information. What do you think? Did I break copyright laws?

WHOOPS! - Still learning!

OK - That's the picture of the Jungle theme wallpaper border I mentioned in the last post. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like I have any control over where the pictures land when I add them. They keep wanting to attach at the top of the page...not under what I've written...but I'll muddle through.

Baranquilla Inspired

I'm back!

I've been making a lot of art in the last couple months and thought I'd blog my art notes and pictures online instead of in my journal which I like to use for more personal stuff. What I should do (I don't like shoulds) is update my website but I'm just not able to make myself work on it, so...here I am.

Since moving to Barranquilla, Colombia last May and receiving our belongings a very long and tedious 6 weeks later, I've set up my play room and have been in it almost daily. I l-o-v-e, love my play room! So does Sophia, my 2 3/4 year old grand-daughter and reason for moving. I've set up areas in the room for her crayons, TaDoodles, markers, sketchbooks, coloring books, etc and her favorite chair at one of the tables. It's pure joy to watch her high-tail it up the stairs and make a bee line right to her things - pick up what she wants and arrange everything at the table. The only thing I have to do is have my camera ready.

After the container arrived, it took me a little over 3 weeks to organize the house. Afer I 'roughed it in", I got the playroom semi-organized. I was ready to go...finally...on July 15th - my mom's birthday - but we were leaving in the wee hours the next day for a trip to Bogota so I cleaned and oiled my machines and did a tiny bit of utilitarian sewing and happily left the room that night knowing I'd be back the next week.

We stayed in Bogota for the weekend with a wonderful couple, Julio and Maria, who have been friends of Pedro (my son-in-law) since he was a young boy. They graciously gave us a comfy bed to sleep in, delicious food, hot showers (houses in Barranquilla aren't equipped with hot water heaters) and took us to see the sights all day Saturday and Sunday. And what sights we saw! Bogota is awesome and if you haven't seen them already and would like to...I have an online photo gallery with some of the favorite pictures I took there which I'll be happy to share with you. Just ask. We (my hubby Jerry and I) went with Hillary (my daughter), Pedro and Sophia just for the weekend and then flew back home alone. Yes...we thought of it as home while in Bogota and were happy to get back. The kids had some business to attend so they stayed most of the week. Maria and Julio are expecting their first child, a son, in September and had just finished decorating the nursery the week before we got there. The wallpaper border was a jungle theme pictured below: