OK so I was cut off pretty quickly last post. Just confirming that we are in Cartagena, Colombia. We are staying in a VRBO house in Getsemani which is the poorer, artier part of the old town. It’s hot, colourful, and old here. Nice walled city, plenty of character, completely different to the formality of Bogota. Back into Spanish after Grand Cayman too of course. It was also nice to get back to Latin America and directed to the front of the immigration queue as we had kids.
It’s currently Saturday afternoon. Ash continues to have tummy problems, the poor fella, so we are having a quiet day today. I get more and more worried about his tummy. He had an endoscope in Mexico before we left which fortunately found nothing, but unfortunately found nothing that could be cured.
This week we have tried to get into some sort of routine with school work for the kids. I don’t think we have done too well, but at least we have started. Kids are willing and able, but parents probably need to get a bit more organized. We have maths and English books from Singapore which are now used pretty universally which we will get through but that won’t be enough. Big kids will read heaps of course and we are sending book reviews back to school. Science and project work can come from where we are travelling (Africa, ancient Rome, global warming when we see the polar bears in Manitoba, etc). The teachers from Humanitree in Mexico City have been hugely supportive.
Ash also did a “Mystery Skype” this week dialing into his class in Mexico. The kids had to ask questions to work out where he is. Was lots of fun. Thanks Mr Ben!
Yesterday was Nesi’s 3rd birthday! We had the morning at home with pancakes with hundreds and thousands, then went out into town for a walk around and some pasta. She was particularly happy with her new Frozen sandals and mobile phone. Happy girl. The highlight for me was the two of us having a long afternoon snooze in the hammock. As she had such a long sleep we went for a nice evening walk around town which was really nice – much cooler than during the day and a lot livelier.
Interesting comparing Nesi with Nicky at this age. We had Nicky’s birthday lunch at Betty’s Teahouse in York just before we moved to Chile. Very different kids!
I am so Happy I can dive! I am going to go Scuba diving not often, but every now and then. The last 2 dives we did on the 7, it was really choppy and there was quite a lot of swells. I enjoyed the dives we did on the last day, but the water was really rough and getting out two guys at the Riviera had to lift us out of the water, with our equipment on. Diving was an incredible experience, and I loved it.
We have now left Grand Cayman, but I cannot say where we are yet as Ash has a mystery Skype into his class back in Mexico this week and I don’t want to give anything away. We flew here from Grand Cayman via Miami.
Grand Cayman – didn’t think too much of the place to be honest. Obviously amazing diving (I am told), the ocean was incredibly clear, but above water it was nothing too great. It lacked character, felt a bit like Surfers Paradise might have been 40 years ago, was really expensive, and seemed to sort of live for the massive cruise ships that pulled in each day. It was, however, a good place to start the trip – nice to sit on the beach and do nothing for a week after the mayhem of packing up in Mexico.
And I am super proud of Ash and Princess getting their open water diving certificates. There is a lot to study and be tested on before they let you dive and then 3 days of pool and ocean diving, The last dive they did was in particularly choppy conditions and not for the faint hearted. I wonder where their next dive will be.
A few folks have asked about Pedro. With the short trigger for heading off, we couldn’t get him organised to comply with either Singapore or Australian quarantine regulations. So the lucky fella is enjoying an extended stay in Mexico. That is him below, thinking he is invisible on the rug.
He is staying with friends Jono and Claire. Jono is not a bad bloke, although a bit obsessed with buying new running shoes on his weekly trips to New York. He is also a kiwi, but then Pedro is all black after all…….(sorry I couldn’t resist). Claire is lovely, not a kiwi, and grew up with labs, and we are super thrilled that Pedro is actually having a great time with them staying in Condesa. He will head to Sabrina’s folks in Singapore in a few months’ time. We miss him terribly and I am sure he misses Nesi’s full body “cuddles”. Photo below is him mountain biking today.
This week was full of excitements, just because of the SCUBA (Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) diving. I enjoyed diving at the Riviera, and I saw many, many cool things, including a barracuda the size of me and a moray eel! I also saw many beautiful angel fish and parrot fish. Swimming at the beach was also so exciting.
At the pool in our apartment place I made the most amazing catch, one handed, jumping, and leaning back a lot!
I had lots of fun towards the end of the time at Mexico and some sad experiences as well. I enjoyed the farewell party I had at school with my friends. The cake of Mewtwo and Rayquaza was sick as well, and the sleepover I had with my friend Luigi really helped me to feel a bit better leaving Mexico
This first week of February is so far super awesome. We are in the Grand Cayman Islands, and I have nearly gotten my SCUBA certification for diving. I have found my experiences very fun, and quite funny. My instructor is quite hilarious too, and diving is so fun! My second dive was in open water, and I saw a barracuda the size of Fede! I also saw a moray eel! SO MUCH FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The training involves what to do in an emergency, what to do if your mask gets flooded, and what to if you lose your Regulator. (The mouthpiece you breath from).
For anybody who plays Pokemon: I found M Gyarados EX Full Art – ON THE STREET.
Today was our last day in Mexico … for now. I’ve had a bit of a lump in my throat for a few weeks now caused by concern about the journey we are about to head out on and upheaval to our very settled life here, and for leaving Mexico.
I will miss this place terribly. I said to Princess a week or so back that I have felt more at home here than pretty much anywhere else. It’s an incredibly misunderstood country. Most folks, and particularly Australians, find it hard to jump over the security reputation. Whilst there is obviously a serious national problem with the drug cartels, Mexico City itself – all 25m residents thereof – is considerably safer than many US cities. It’s a complicated place and I can’t hope to describe it in a first post but what I will miss is the absolute priority of family first always, the community second and doing things properly a very long way down the list. Oh – food might be up there with family. Happy, welcoming, colourful, noisy, generous people. The culture, history, travel places, food and so on. You don’t need to think of things to do here – there is always something going on. I was thrilled to see the WSJ put Mexico City, or DF to the locals, at the top of their 52 Must See places for 2016.
I did my final Sunday morning run down to the Zocalo and back this morning. A nice 16km round trip. Below is one of my favourite photos from here – sun rising over the Golden Angel whilst running down the main drag (Paseo De La Reforma) on my way to the main square in the centre of town. The second photo is about 7am this morning arriving onto the square with its magnificent cathedral and the Palacio Nacional.