“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Facebook, MySpace, Bogota, and Spanish

Well, I am back in a foreign language again. This time I'm signing into Blogger in Spanish. Thankfully, no new format so I found my way reasonably easily. Yes, I am in Bogota, Colombia! Wow, it feels good to be in exciting Latin America! I made it!! It's overcast and quite cold--13 degrees or something like that. I didn't bring any warm clothes at all, so will go out and buy some later today! The same thing happened last year when I arrived into Vienna. Silly summers are not really summers yet!

I tried to join mySpace, but it's got such a silly format. I'd add things and then they'd disappear. Not to mention that it tried to make me join the Spanish language page! Ooops. I love facebook. It's easy, and there's just so much in there. Everyone, please join facebook!!! It rocks.

Hayley and Stu live in a very fancy appartment highrise by the mountains. Haven't seen much except the airport. That was tiny and very crowded. Have heard horror stories of people gassing you to control you and take your cash. Apparently I'm never to hail a taxi off the street either. Otherwise, there are large hypermarts, pizza huts, and blockbuster video so no worries there. The internet is fast and uncensored, and the electricity hasn't gone off yet, so its automatically a step up!

It was such an insanely long flight and I didn't get any work done on it, so am trying to struggle through it all now so that I can enjoy my holiday. Still have no idea where I'm going while I'm here! I flew from Yangon to Bangkok to Taipei to Seattle (lovely airport) to Chicago to Miami (not so nice airport!). I was amazed at how multicultural Miami was, however.

Landing in Bogota was exciting--even the plane ride showed evidence of the cultural change. All the air hostesses had Spanish as their first language and their mannerisms. Gone are the polite niceties of Asia, in come the bossomy, energetic, vibrant latinas, shouldering their way down the aisles with their rapid, rhythmic responses.

I have never been anywhere in the world that has made me so ashamed that I do not speak the language. In most places, tourists don't speak the language, but here, EVERYONE is Spanish speaking, and I don't blame them for expecting it. I am truly out of my element. I speak almost no Spanish at all. I remember going into a Spanish class when I'd first arrived in the Philippines in 7th grade and feeling extremely overwhelmed by the foreign sounds. I quickly transferred to French, which, with my ballet experience, at least felt moderately familiar. I would have loved to have learned Spanish, but to be honest, it isn't until more recently that I've fallen in love with the Spanish sounds. I had to learn to love the music and the salsa dance, and hear the accents and see Spain. Now I want more! I want to come and live here--perhaps Buenos Aires will be my next post? Or Peru or Chile or Costa Rica. What exciting thoughts! Wasn't my last dream to move to Europe? It will change again, no doubt. The job will be the decider!

At the Bogota airport, everyone was excited--I could immediately tell that people were returning home. So few places show that kind of vibrant returning energy. Most are passive and polite! The musical rhythmic language! Wow. I truly was the ignorant foreigner out of my world. Haven't felt like that in a while. It felt multicultural as well, with blacks, latinas, and people who could've looked just like me. Perhaps its just that I've come from Asia, but I honestly would not have been able to tell who was a native Colombian and who was not.

I love it here!


Rama said...

I'm considering learning Spanish as well... more for practical reasons though. I chose German in school because every girl took French and Spanish seemed too easy. :P We'll see if I was correct in that assumption, eh? Can't hurt to know a language that's useful (as much as I love my Norwegian and Gaelic psuedo-proficiencies...)

I met a lady from Chile at LAX on Monday... that convo led me to consider it a travel destination. Peru is on the list as well, after seeing pics from my friend's trip last December...

Anonymous said...

I am sooo happy you are enjoying Latin America. It holds a special place in my heart and reading your comments brings me back to many similar memories. This is why I speak and teach Spanish. You go girl! vaya bien chica. tamara