Sunday, June 15, 2014

Colombia Cartagena: Day 9

We left Cartagena yesterday. The hotel and streets were very quiet because the big game - Colombia's chance to shine in Mundial - started in the morning. All of the hotel staff were wearing bright yellow sports shirts with navy trim - the Colombian team colours. We saw the same yellow sports shirts on people everywhere, including a very cute toddler learning to walk in the airport lounge. 

Bogota is beautiful as you approach it from the air. The surrounding hills have a geography very similar to those we see flying over the more northern Rocky Mountains, except that in Colombia they are not snowy or rocky but amazingly green & lush. 

By the time we disembarked from our flight & found our gate in the international end of the terminal, we had very little time to kill. I find it interesting how the sense of language gets diluted so quickly! At the gate while waiting for our flight to Toronto, it was refreshing to hear a few pockets of English here & there after a full week of very intense Spanish. Once contained within the airplane, it seemed almost half the conversation was in English. And as soon as we disembarked at Toronto, the Spanish thinned out so quickly that within a half-hour it was a novelty to hear it nearby.

As it turned out, I had plenty of time to hang around the airport & listen to the Spanish peter out of the background noise. My suitcase did not arrive with me but it takes a long time to confirm that that is indeed the sad truth & it takes even longer to fill out all the paperwork to start the baggage trace.

At this point, we have another hour or so before landing in Calgary. It's been a successful assignment, although somewhat frustrating at times.  It would be helpful for me to a) learn to work efficiently with a translator; b) learn to work more effectively in a bilingual situation; or c) learn to speak & understand more Spanish.

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