Archive for the ‘Cultural Tidbits’ Category

Teacher’s Day

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Last Friday was Teacher’s Day in Colombia, which meant we got a half day of school and only the teachers of “important” subjects (i.e. everything but music, art, computers, and PE) had classes.

I like having a non-core class.

On the other hand, students remembered to get candy and other presents for every teacher except us non-core teachers (though that’s not quite true since I got German Hazelnut chocolate from the family I live with).

Stock Image of RitterSport Hazelnut Chocolate

In the afternoon, the school board took us to Parque Jaime Duque (James Duke Park) to hang out for the afternoon. After a delicious meal, we looked around the place a bit. There are many things I did not see (e.g. the whole zoo part), but I did get to see such things as a very large relief map of Colombia, a full-size replica of the Taj Mahal, and a whole host of replica statues and the like.

Picture of a replica of the Taj Mahal

All told, it was nice to relax for an afternoon before stressing out again over grading and other tasks related to the end of school.

No Car Day

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Yesterday was “No Car Day” in Bogotá, meaning that no four-wheeled personal vehicles could be driven in the city. This only left buses, taxis, motorcycles, bikes, and feet for the city’s 8 million or so people to get around in or on, but it sure made traffic run more smoothly.

I noticed that people with SUVs were apparently exempt from the personal-vehicle ban. It might have something to do with the loophole in Colombian law that if you put a toolbox in your “truck,” you can register it as a service vehicle (although I’m not entirely convinced that it wasn’t simply because SUV owners generally are not required to follow rules, regardless of their country of residence).

In Bogotá

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

I made it!

I’ve been spending my time getting my bearings in town.

I’m staying at the home of the school’s director and her husband for a few days while we figure out more permanent housing.  A number of other teachers from the school also live in this neighborhood, which you can see in this picture from my bedroom for the next few days:View from my current bedroom

We went north of town to a couple of cities today, and I had my first Colombian hot chocolate:

Chocolate

I found out that Colombians often put cheese in their hot chocolate! It’s not as strange as it sounds: the tastes don’t mix into each other, and the cheese basically stays stuck to itself.  As you drink your hot chocolate, you scoop the melting cheese out with your spoon to eat it.

I got to take a tour of El Camino Academy today and was able to see the computer lab I’ll be teaching in.  It’s quite a nice setup.  Here’s a little tour of the lab:

I went to a mall this evening with a couple of other new teachers and the high school principal and his family. The mall is built in an old hacienda.  I didn’t get a picture of it (when was the last time you took a picture of a mall?), but I took a picture of the building across the street:

Skyscraper

I hope you are all doing well.

Mark