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The first weeks are over.

We usually go to a special lunch restaurant on fridays I learnt. We have an office in a big building, but have to go out to different restaurants to eat. This friday we went to a rather neat place.
It is of course small and cosy with meat hanging in the ceiling and almost open fire to make the food. Anyway, during the meal we started trying the local aguadiente. It can be compared to Absolute with peculiar taste. To drink it you need to add some lemon, preferably a fresh one. We were about 7 people toasting higher salaries and others important causes. After 1,5 bottles we all paid equivalent to 47 SEK each.
We had a presentation from someone from Switzerland directly after coming back, (which I did not know). You can imagine what happened. I almost fell asleep....

At three there was a party because Ronaldo, manager of product marketing, had been working in Ericsson for 20 years. We were all served glasses of white wine and it was like a cocktail with strange small things to eat. They had meatballs with sweat and sour sauce. It turned out to be chicken, but it did not matter. uring this our they kept serving new glasses with wine. Being a swede makes you a little special and they always try to serve you etc...

The working day sort of faded away and around 5.30 when we finally gathered everyone, we went to a restaurant nearby to have some beer. A few more people joined as we were drinking more aguadiente with lemon. It was getting really good....

After a while (it was dark) we got into the cars and took of to go to la Zona Rosa, where most of the discos and restaurants are. We were standing still in the cars outside the discos/restaurants waiting for the cars to move so we could find a parking place. After that we walked around looking for a place that played salsa. Finally we reach a nice place and the two girls from work danced with we me and everybody. Nice of them. I got several compliments for my dancing, although I claimed to be a beginner all the time. The day after was not so bad as I anticipated...

Two neighbours on the same floor are Swedish. Also I met other neighbours when a lady from the embassy of Peru invited all of us for brunch last Sunday morning. She has been in Sweden for sometime and are used to us Swedes. There were people from France, India, Switzerland, Bolivia and a couple from Colombia. There were a lot of languages exercised, not swedish though, even if the Swedes were in majority.....

Being a diplomat seems to be the thing, because she had a guy working in the kitchen doing all the preparations including serving the juices etc. in the apartment. What bothers me is that she has two terraces and I have none!
The day before this lady and I went to the movies. It was my first movie in Colombia and we saw, leyendas de pasion or Legends of the fall. I was very happy to find out that the film was shown in English, with Spanish subtitles. I will definitely see some more films. especially since I still don not have my Tv cable yet. I am trying to arrange it.

There is a major problem coming. From Friday morning and all through the weekend the water will be turned off due to maintenance. If you think this is something small, do not! Almost 60% of the city will not have water during this period. There are almost 6 million people in this city. I think they will start smelling come Sunday. I am thinking of buying water in the shops, but it still won t be enough for a bath......
My lift, or personal things, are arriving. I was allowed to bring up to 3 cbm. I have about 12 boxes of things including a micro wave. That seemed to be a problem. I should have got all the things delivered on Wednesday. But the customs want taxes for the micro oven and that will take some more days. Maybe Friday when I don not have water.....
This is the major thing before I can change from living like in a hotel to living in an normal apartment with my own things. By the way, the war with my helper goes on. She keeps moving back the kitchen things her way, like the toaster and the things to dry the dishes etc. I move it during the weekend, and moves it back during the week. My dirty clothes, which I carefully assembled out of site, have all been moved. I can t even find anymore. Once it appeared on the shelves cleaned. I am not complaining anymore.

I try to by fruits. That is one of the reasons I got here, to be able to makes a fruit juice with fresh fruit in the mixer. I tried but once the mixer exploded and the other time if was as liquid as Swedish yougurt. I am starting to get the mixture between fruit and water better now. By the way, it is delicious. I also try to have fresh fruit available on the table. I discovered that is was diminishing although I was not taking anything. It is the housekeeper again, I am certain.

I had a very special Colombian thing, it is called Ajiaco. Remember to pronounce the J, jota, like ch in German ach. However in south America this J is not emphasised at all so try it again with a softer j.
Yes, it is a soup. In it you should find three different potatoes, chicken and lot of vegetables. You poor some cream on it and it is really delicious.
I am beginning to discover other meals, since we go to restaurants every lunch. No, they don not have McDonalds! But rumours says,it is coming within a month or so. I asked if it was Colombian month or calendar.... Nobody laught...well some! I am waiting for Charlotte, my now former girlfriend to come, so we can start looking into much more of local fruits, vegetables and receipts. It is really plentiful.
Maybe I mentioned that I found a book shop with lots of English books. They also have books about Colombia, fruits, food etc. etc. I will buy some soon, I think. It costs 44.000 pesos about 440 SEK.

Big news.
My stuff arrived. I went home earlier on thursday because the things were suppose to arrive at 4 pm. I was waiting and waiting, eating somethings, reading a book etc. Nothing came.
Next day I complained to the import guy, and he went angry at them. We dedcided that today friday at 2 pm it would arrive, dead sure. We ll see, I thought. I arrived at a quarter to two and they had already arrived. The first thing I saw was the beds I bought at IKEA. I bougth them VATfree, no MOMS, since I am a foreigner... I had it sent to the NFB. They were supposed to store the beds, but instead they sent it togehter with the rest of the things, mostly clothes and kithchen things. Now I had two beds extra in my small apartment. I dismounted or dis assembled the original bed and put together the new ones. Nothing was missing by the way. I finished at midnight and slept like a log, or stock in swedish......

I spent most of saturday unpacking and orginazing. It was almost like christmas opening the boxes. Really fun.
Now i have to find 220 volts for the micro wave and other kithchen machines I have. They can fix that by using the electric stove and connecting a little. Do not ask me I am not an electrician.

Last weekend also had some surprices. When I got to the car on saturday it was missing the plate at the back, the registreringsskylt.
I had been robbed!! With a lot of difficulty I learned from the portero, the portvakt, that you must report it to the police not to get into trouble if the thief use your plate in something illegal.
On sunday I visited a friend, who just arrived, and she accompanied me to the police, to help with the language.
We finally found the place and entered through a backdoor. She explained that the plate was missing on the car. The police almost started to laugh. I had to take over. She did not use the correct words for plate, placa, and the car, carro. She used the spanish, spanish word, coche. I manage to explain and then they told me to get two papers to fill in. We got one paper and went to a hotel a couple of blocks away to make copies of the paper and of the car papers and passport as well. When we got back I got a stamp on the paper and that was it.

The water
The water was cut down on friday. It was on only between 8 and 8.30 friday night and saturday. I had bought some fresh water which I used to make food and washing etc. Since I worked with the lift and all the boxes unpacking on saturday I put the alarm on for 8 so I could take a shower. It was nice. On sunday it started coming back and I can do the dishes again today monday. Hopefully Sandra will fix it, let s see.

We are starting a short week this week. Thursday and friday are off and all of the swedes and families are going to the Ericsson farm place in the country. There you can rest, swim in the pool, ride horses, tennis etc and it is somewhat lower than Bogota and therefore warmer. I would like to do some riding, but I heard the horses were for mnidgets and not tall swedes. We will see.
The farm or Finca, is called Las Brisas. More about that in the next report.

I am planning for Charlotte to arrive in june. I don not have so much vacation yet but I am looking forward to it very much. I am thinking of booking a trip to the jungle, selva. It is a five day excursion to Leticia on the sothern most tip of Colombia on the amazonas. Other idea is to go to the island of San Andres in the carribian outside Nicaragua or the island of Rosalita, near Cartagena or all of them......
I can not wait.

As you might have gathered I have an extra bed if anybody is coming by, Not in june,july though.

Since I am adding parts to this letter continously I must apologize if I somehow get mixed up or report things twice or mixed.

All for now Felice Semana Santa or Glad Pask

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Last updated: 1 SEP 1996 by Johan Stjernberg.
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