Another walk!

I had a fairly relaxed morning, we couldn\’t go anywhere, because Marcela had a meeting in the city just after midday, then visiting a Client, before visiting her Sister. So when Marcela left here, I packed up, and went off for a walk.

As I sure sure that many of you will know, the best way to get to know an area, is to purposely get lost, and then find your way to where ever you want to go, well I got lost a little earlier than planned, and saw a lot more of Bello than I had bargained on. However I eventually found my way to the Centre, and then wandered a while, and had some lunch before heading home.

I had not been back long when I received a call from a mystery English woman… it turned out to be Marcela, she had better not try to tell me that she cannot speak English, she was very good, even though it did not last long!

It has been getting warmer and warmer today, so in the end, I gave in, and climbed into my lycra, and went for a swim, the water was lovely and refreshing, I just did a few lengths, and then came home.

Tomorrow, Marcela goes with her Mother, for the final trial of her wedding dress, I offered to give my opinion, but I have been told that I cannot go in with her… I can\’t think why! I was going to stay here, but if it is not bucketing down with rain, then I will go for a mooch nearby.

Do not go to the Dentist in Cadiar!!

It has certainly been an enlightening day, and one that anyone still living in Cadiar should learn from!!!

I had my first appointment with a Dentist here, this morning, just for a check up and a clean… or so I thought.
I had been told that Dentists in Colombia took a lot of beating, when it came to quality and workmanship, but even this one made me sit up and listen.

Magnolia (the Dentist) did a thorough examination, then told me that she was going to have to undo all the work that had been done by my Dentist in Cadiar, and redo it, as it was some of the worst dentistry she had ever seen, and then came the hard part, this in total is going to cost me 13,000,000 pesos, or just over €5500,

If this is what the Cadiar Dentist is doing to us, it would be cheaper to return to the UK for private treatment! I had to smile, Marcela asked me if his name was Dr. Frankenstien!!!!!!!!!!!! That being said, I start my treatment Monday morning!

Whilst in Bello, we witnessed an accident on the main street, an elderly man walked out in front of a motorcycle, and both ended up on the ground, but the Elderly Gent came off worse, this time no one could blame the motorcyclist, as he was not going fast. There were enough siteseers, so we left them to it.

We had a call to say that Marcela\’s sister, Sandra was being admitted to a Medical Clinic, where she had some treatment a week or two ago, she has had complications, which need resolving, and hopefully she will not be there long, but we had to meet up with Maria Elena and collect some things, we then had lunch, before taking Maria Elena back to the Clinic, and now we are back home.

Let loose at last!

We left here early yesterday morning, and arrived in Medellin for our first appointment at 9am, at the Salon where the Wedding and Reception are to be held, we went through the final seating plans, and gave them the place markers we had made,  Marcela changed the table colour scheme, and the, we left!

From there we went to find out where the Hotel is, that we will be staying at on the Wedding Night, this took less time than we thought, Marcela wanted to go in and look around, however since this was my gift, I continued passed without stopping.

We were too early for our next appointment, so we went off, for Marcela to do a work visit, then we headed into the City, where we collected our Wedding rings.

Time for lunch,  and then drove back to Bello for Marcela\’s afternoon hair session, en route, we stopped at a hat shop, to get me a hat suitable for saving my head from the sun, however they did not have my size, and are ordering one, but true to form, Marcela decided she wanted a similar one, so she is kitted out. I am trying to think of something I can buy, that she would not want…ha!ha!

Marcela went off for her hair appointment, and I decided that it was time to go for a drive on my own, and had no trouble getting to the Shopping Centre, at least now, I know I will not starve, the City is a different matter… I had a wander around, only buying an extension lead, but looking at the prices to replace my workshop, it is going to be a costly business, however I noted that it would have been a big mistake to send my workshop over, as all the tools here are 110v, similar to the U.S. , although Marcela has since told me, that you can have your electric updraded, there does not seem much point if all the tools work on the lower voltage. I then went for an icecream, before returning home. As I passed the hairdressers, I heard Marcela chatting, apparently her Mum was with her, and saw me pass, because I had only just got through the door, when the phone went, to ask where I had been, so I told her to mind her own business, but that I had enjoyed my icecream! that did not go down well!

Today, I have been house cleaning, whilst Marcela gets on with some work.

All change!

We went for our walk, down through Bello, stopped for a sandwich and a drink, and then continued round and back home, it was nice to get some exercise, that didn\’t involve racing around shops or the city!

I was ready for bed last night, but Marcela was watching a program about two men, one well endowed with an appendage 33cm long, and the other with one only 1cm long, I wouldn\’t mind, but she kept waking me up to give me an update, as a result when she came to bed, she went to sleep, and I lay there, wondering if I would ever go off again!!  I was then woken by heavy rain on the roof, and it went on for hours.

Today, we were going into the city to complete wedding arrangements, but as we left, Marcela was informed that our rings will not be ready until tomorrow, so we changed all the arrangements and headed back to Bello.
Once at the shopping centre, we bought everything on our list, and then to keep the Natives happy, I bought a pair of speedo shorts, the shop assistant was concerned that I got the colour I wanted, until I told her, that an elephant looks funny in speedo\’s whatever the colour, that brought a smile to her face!!! and for those of you, who have requested photos… FORGET IT!!! it isn\’t going to happen hahaha!

Tomorrow, we will have to leave here early to be in the City for our first appointment just after 9am, as we have to be back for early afternoon, as Marcela is spending four hours in the hairdressers! I think she will be hoarse by the time she gets back!

Bad Boy!!!

This morning I spent preparing lunch, as Maria Elena, Sandra and Sebastian were coming, and I didn\’t want to be responsible for giving them food poisoning!

On their arrival, I went with Sebastian to the swimming pool, but that only lasted ten minutes, as I was kicked out, for wearing swimming trunks!!!! apparently they only allow lycra, haven\’t a clue why… and can you imagine me in lycra, I don\’t think so. What made me angry, was not so much the regulation, but that since our arrival, loads of young lads have been using the pool in Bermuda shorts and nothing has been said, and nothing was said the last time I went either! Anway, the rest of the family went back to the pool with Sebastian, so he did not miss out!

Lunch came and went, I was a bit disappointed with this shepherds pie, I think it was the sauce, instead of using stock cubes for gravy like last time, I found a goulash mix, that in the picture looked like gravy, but when made was bright orange!! so it is back to the stockcubes!

I have decided to leave Facebook, with the oncoming invasion of privacy, I do not feel that it is any longer the place I want to be, so I have started using Google+, when and if I get those people I want to stay in communication with, to open an account, then I will close my FB account, or if they are not interested I will close it anyway.

Now Marcela is just getting herself ready, and then we are going for a walk.

Could do with more hours in the day!

While I was getting ready downstairs, Marcela was forcing herself to get out of bed…ha!ha! I went up to use the bathroom, to find that the proverbial was well and truly blocked, so a Plunger was something else to add to the shopping list!

We set off just after 9am, and headed into the city, the mapping I bought for my Garmin is rubbish, so we ended up turning it off, I will be sending an email to Garmin, and see if I can get a refund. I will have to buy a new machine locally.
We eventually found the Immigration Office, and met my first challenge, they would not let Marcela in, only me, but I did not have much of a problem, however, I was told that the requirements listed on the website had changed, and I needed more photocopies, so I left, to find that Marcela had disappeared,  I could not phone her, as I was not allowed to take my mobile into the building, so her was taking care of it…five minutes later she  turned up, and after a couple of false starts we got the required copies, and I returned to the Office, to find a longer queue!
All my documents were checked, and in order, I then had to sit and wait my turn to be processed, at which time, I found that I was sandwiched between a Canadian, who could speak no Spanish, and seemed proud of the fact, and a man from New York who had his own business here and seemed disillisioned with all the red tape. When I was being processed, there was a commotion behind me, and I saw another American being ejected, he had apparently taken it for granted that he would receive an extension to his visa, and booked his return flight in a months time, but they woulod only give him ten days, due to his attitude, they certainly have you by the short and curlies!
Having had all my documents scrutinised, I was taken through to be fingerprinted, at which time I asked if I had to return to declare my change of status after the wedding, and was told that was not necessary, only if I decided to work or move house. I thought of a joke at the time, then thought better of it, after seeing the earlier incident!  I was then told, that the Cedula (Residency Card) should be ready in fifteen days, and I left.
We then headed into the city, as Marcela had some errands to run, then back to Bello for lunch, and to buy some bits, including buying a plunger.
Back home and loo unblocked, we set about doing some more wedding planning!

Change of Plans

Todays plans went out of the window, quite early! Marcela was having her shower, when half the electrics in the house blew. Other than the shower overloading the circuit, I could think of no other explanation, the fuses had not tripped, and that baffled me… not that it takes a lot these days!

Marcela rang the property Agent, who agreed to call out an Electrician, and rang back to say he would be here about 10am. I then decided to mess! and flicked each fuse off and back on, and the last one, brought the electrics back to life. Marcela contacted the Agent, who said she would still send the Electrician, as the fuse should have tripped.

Sure enough he turned up as arranged, and after wandering around turning on all the lights, he removed the fuse box cover, and discovered the problem, the cables were far too light for the current they were carrying, and the fuse box itself was something out of the ark, someone when building these apartments had saved a few bob by using old stock. He described the system as dangerous, but as a temporary measure agreed to change the fuse on the offending circuit, which was 20amp, and he said it should be 40amp.

The local shop did not have the right fuse, so whilst I prepared lunch, Marcela took him to buy the fuse, which he then fitted, but warned us that when using the shower, to ensure that nothing else on the circuit was being used! I have told Marcela, that a priority now it to get some contents insurance, in case this place goes up in flames!

After lunch, we headed off to the Shopping Centre, to one of the Banks, to pay for and get a receipt for my Residency card, to take with us, now tomorrow, but neither the Bank, not the Call-Centre for the relevant Ministry knew what should be done, so we were kept hanging around whilst they worked out what to do, which they did…eventually!

Then it was to my favourite shop, to buy a hosepipe, so that we can wash the car. That done it was back home, and we are now waiting for the rest of our furniture to arrive.

Collected my Visa!

This morning we were on the road by 8.40am, and went to pick up my Passport, with the attached Visa, now I feel more comfortable, at least I will not need the return plane ticket!

From there we headed back home, or so I thought… Marcela had other ideas, as it had not taken us long to pick up the visa, we went to a clinic to obtain my blood group certificate, required for my Residency card. On arrival, there was a sign outside saying they were completed within two minutes!!! quick work by any standards, then I found out why. The lady asked me if I knew my blood group, so I told her, and the certificate was completed without any blood being taken! I am not sure that it should be done that way, but I\’m not complaining.

I said previously, that I would write a bit about the local culture, I know it crops up from time to time, but driving in Colombia, is something, I find fascinating and frightening at the same time!

Drive here, and you take your life in your hands, I know that city driving is aggressive where ever you go, but here it is tantamount to suicide. You not only have to watch in front, and behind, but both sides as well, and to be safe, above and below as well!

Professional Drivers are the worst culprits, especially Taxis and Bus/Coach drivers, they will drive out of junctions at speed, and cross three lanes without any indication, the road is theirs, and woe betide anyone who gets in their way. If you try to drive defensively, you might as well stay at home, because you will get nowhere. Leave a gap for safety and two seconds later someone has filled it, motorcycles will pass you on both sides at the same time, and at 80kmh with no helmets or protective clothing, it makes your blood run cold.

If you are in a queue of stationary or slow moving traffic, make sure you are tight up against the vehicle in front, otherwise, you can guarantee that a motorcycle will try to weave in and out of the traffic, and not be too concerned whether they hit your car when passing, with no chance of catching them for any details if they do.

When you are at the front of the queue waiting at a red traffic light, do not take your eyes off the lights for a second, because, when they change to green, if you have not done a formula one start, the drivers behind will immediately sound their horns, once a millesecond has passed.

Most of the road around and through the city, are either dual carriageway of three lanes, once you are on these roads, you hit the fast lane and stay there, the other lane is only used for ancient wagons and men pushing handcarts, yep! pedestrian vehicles happily take up a lane!!!

On the plus side, the cities, have what is called Pico and Placa, which depending on the last number of your registration plate, restricts the days you can freely you can drive into the city, and eases traffic congestion. Private vehicles are restricted, and not allowed on the city roads between 6.30-8.30am and 5.30-7.30pm, Taxis and commercial vehicles are not allowed at any time during that day. There are cameras all around the city, monitoring, and ensuring that drivers comply with this regulation, and it seems to be one of the few that is enforced.

The other fascinating fact is that people seem to be able to adapt their vehicle to suit their needs, most of it self done by the looks of them, and apparently unless there is an incident, the Police are not interested, and that is backed up by the fact that despite riding or driving along beside these contraptions, that range from ingenious, to downright dangerous, they ignore them. When I remember to put my camera in the car, and I am not driving, I will try to get some photos.

Having said that, and you haven\’t been put off, then welcome to Medellin!!!!

Busy again!!!

Yesterday was taken up running around for Sebastian\’s Birthday, he was four going on ten!!! 

This morning it all started over again, we were out early and met up with Marcela\’s brother-in-law Oscar, and Sebastian, at the Wedding Outfitters, where they were kitted out for the wedding, and I just needed a waistcoat and cravat. Sebastian was hilarious, he caught the eye of all the women working there, and he loved being dressed up, and did not want to give his suit back!

That done, it was off to the Notary, with our documents, to enable the marriage to go ahead, fortunately it all went smoothly and everything is now in place for the wedding to go ahead.

From there we headed back to Bello, where we had lunch, and then did some shopping, before returning home.

Back home, I washed the car, whilst Marcela was doing some phone enquiries for me, whilst doing this, I received a call to say that my visa/passport had returned and was ready for collection subject to the fee payment, so we have altered our plans for tomorrow, and first thing, we will go and collect it, if a copy is not received in Spain tomorrow, I have to pay another months storage, on my items waiting shipment.

I then tried to ring my Brother on a new Voip program I had found which enables me to ring the UK at a cheap rate, but although I could hear him clearly, he could not hear me, and from reading forums online, this may be a problem I cannot resolve. I have sent a Technical Support Request, before giving up. If this does not work then  I have two options, one to top up my skype account and use that for talking with the family, which is not a great reception from here, or pay for an international plan with the phone company, which is not cheap but cheaper than not doing so. As a result of the problems I was having, Marcela, went on the phone Company\’s site, and found that each call to the UK was costing  six pounds a min¡ute, and three calls had cost me over one hundred pounds… Don\’t they know I am a Pensioner!!!!!!

Marcela is now in contact with the Ministry for Foreigners, and arranging for me to go and apply for my Residency card. Hopefully once that is sorted, we can sit back for a while, as it is the last hurdle. although this is just a formality now my visa has been issued, I have to go and get a certificate to show my blood group, I already have the photos, now I need to go to the Bank and pay the fee, before going to submit the application. Knowing the cost of getting Residency here, those in Spain get it on the cheap!!!

First easy day!

Yesterday afternoon, we went to do some shopping, and then at 6pm we set off with Maria, Marcela\’s mum, to the Salon where we are having the wedding. The place was set out for an evening reception, and looked lovely, albeit the colour scheem was different to ours.

We were sat down, and a sample meal was brought out for us to eat, don\’t get excited, it was one meal between three ha!ha! and it was lovely, generous portion, and much to my relief. the sweet, was not on the same plate as the meat! it will certainly be value for money. We were also brought out a sample of the coktail we will be having, but I passed on that, much to the delight of Maria and Marcela, who shared mine between them, and it got the thumbs up.

Today, has been the first day since my arrival, that we have not had to rush around, it has been bliss. When the swimming pool opened at 9am, we went across and had the pool to ourselves for half an hour, and I managed to do some serious swimming, for the first time in years.

Maria, came for lunch, and then Sebastian came to keep us occupied, ha!ha!