October 20, 2011

We went to our brother in-laws restaurant, at least that’s what he calls it I think it’s more of a store front take out joint; it’s called PANCHOS ARAEPAS AND NACHOS. Now araepas are the basic breakfast food served with just about anything on them. You must understand that although Nacho has a great heart, everybody thinks he’s absolutely nuts and I ‘am inclined to go along with that train of thought. It was an interesting experience Jeff had a hot dog (stay with the safe stuff) Ruby had an araepa, her sister Nelida and her son Hader both had Nachos (although Jeff who is a chef had never seen a nacho that looked like these). Of course Nacho charged us full price for everything .After dinner we picked up a small TV from Olga and nacho so Jeff and Ruby wouldn’t go crazy.  Now they have TV and the cable is making them nuts first a program will be in English with Spanish subtitles then the next time you got to it will be all in Spanish with no subtitles and the volume goes up and down from commercial to program, from station to station, or sometimes just for the fun of it. I personally don’t care, because when they get upset I just leave the room and find a new place to curl up and take a nap. I do that a lot must b the air down here; we are about 1 mile above sea level. The only animals I get to see now are my friends the lizards and the buzzards that are always flying around waiting for garbage day so that they can eat. You see when people but there garbage out to be picked up the buzzards come down and pick any food that might be left out of the bags (they have some really good fights with each other when they do this) then they fly away and wait for the garbage truck to come and go then they come back down and clean up the rest. Then garbage trucks have about six people on them mostly kids they actually recycle everything on the way to the dump the kids get paid for the recycled stuff. Apparently if you can stand the smell you can make enough to live on they let the people do this it’s better than paying them unemployment or welfare I guess. Ruby isn’t babysitting full time yet John wife got laid off for a couple of months, I should explain unemployment down here .When you get a job you usually sign a one year contract at the end of which you are laid off for a week or two or as in Vanni’s case a couple of months and she works as a civil engineer for the metro she has been told to wait because she’ll definitely get rehired on a three year contract for much more money than they were paying her but she will still have to reapply for the job. Ruby’s other son Hader works for a company that runs the jails and every year they lay him off while they reapply for the contract. It sounds pretty messed up but it seems to help both employer and employee something the US should think about. Well I need to take my nap for this morning maybe I’ll be back this afternoon with some more stories for you. Hey I’m back, not sure where I was. You know Jeff was telling about how some people just find a spot on the street and sit down with their kids and beg while others will sell water, juggle at intersections, sell chewing gum, or cell phone minutes. I know there is no unemployment benefits down here so  I can understand  but some people just seem to give up and That I don’t understand especially when there are kids involved .I still think that the no unemployment benefits is a good idea I know I just sent a lot of people into shock by saying that  but you know down here it doesn’t cost a lot to live so and where we are the climate is great and if you’re willing to do something  people will respond to you faster than if you just sit around and wait for charity. Well enough of that soap box preaching for awhile. All our furniture and stuff is here now so were all set for the coming holidays. It’s just like back in the US down here in the stores they put out the artificial Christmas trees and ornaments out at the end of August then in the middle of September the Halloween stuff comes out. Halloween is bigger down here because kids and family are very important down here .Jeff’s grandson Hari is going to be a Smurff this year and Jeff has to get a costume or mask to go out trick or treating( I told him he doesn’t need a mask and he wasn’t too happy with me ). I remember our friends from Colombia back in the US always made a big party at Halloween. They even celebrate Thanksgiving down here and they want Jeff to cook a turkey. Only one problem with that, no oven, it seems that not every home has an oven sense most of the cooking down here is stew based. Speaking of cooking down here Jeff has a lot of trouble getting all his favorite spices down here and only Exito has boneless chicken breasts. But the overall quality of meat down here is great. There aren’t as many fresh veggies and fruits available in places like Exito, but if you don’t mind walking around the city you can get a really large selection. If you want fruit you go to the fruit stand if you want veggies you go to the veggie mart. Right now the quality is not the best because it’s the rainy season and I do mean rain. You have to go to the Gulf coast of the US to see storms like these. You can get 2 inches of rain in 5 minutes down here I have never seen the weather change as fast as it does down here. You can leave the house and it’s beautiful out then five minutes later it’s thundering and lighting and raining so hard you can’t see across the street. So anyhow we expect the quality of produce to greatly improve in a couple of weeks that is we don’t float away first. Good news the main produce market had some good stuff in it today and we were able to get some nice oranges for juice and bananas for snacks plus Ruby was able to get some sort of fruit that is supposed to be good for menopause. I don’t think she really has it but what do I know I’m only a cat. Speaking of being a cat I needed my claws trimmed do you know vet’s make house calls down here, pretty cool huh. When you walk around town you’ll see some strange sites like dogs or cats walking around the roofs I have no idea how they get up there but they do and no one is particularly disturbed by this so I guess it safe. Also you’ll see dogs just about everywhere and they’re perfectly trained and only once in a great while will you see a dog that looks starved or sick .The laws concerning animals down here are pretty strict and rigidly enforced. The animals in most cases aren’t homeless there owners usually work nearby and the animals just hang out. They will sleep in the street and no one will bother them or they sleep next to the mall like at Exito or one of the other large stores. You’ll also see cows grazing just about anywhere there’s a patch of grass and horse’s  feeding on the island in the middle of the highway .People just ignore them and sooner or later they go home. Did I mention that 99% of all animals dog and cats included are not restrained at all the only dogs that are, are police dogs and of course cats just don’t do leashes. There are two kinds of police dogs those that sniff for bombs and drugs and those that are used for crowd control. The bomb and drug dogs are yellow labs and the crowd control one are German Sheppard’s or Mastiffs they are kept muzzled most of the time.

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