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Yet another report from the series:All about Colombia.
As always it is rather longish, but I hope it is enjoyable!

San Agustin.
We made another excellent excursion. The 20th of July is national day in Colombia and the Thursday was free. We took a holiday and went for a four day vacation. In Colombia there were many different indian tribes of which someof them did large stone monuments. During the pre-Columbian time, (up to the time when the Spaniards came in the beginning of 1500 century), the Indians were mostly situated around Bogota, in the large valleys and at the coast. There is limited knowledge about that time and very scarce info regarding some cultures.

There are many gold treasures from that time. The Spaniards were very eager to find gold. In the famous lake, Guatavita, there were offerings made by the indians. The lake, which is a large and deep crater with a dimension of about 800 meters, was emptied several times to find the gold at the bottom. From a almost perfect circle bowl which was the crater, they made a large hole to let the water out. Many of the gold findings from Guatavita and other places can be found in the gold museum. I found it to be much smaller than expected. Even so it is a must!

We went to San Agustin by car. It was about 10 hours. Going down from Bogota (at 2600 meter) into the valley and continuing south almost until the mountains meet, you will encounter the sites that was used by one larger tribe of Indians. The most important location for their culture was San Agustin. In San Agustin they have found very many burial sites with large guarding stones and pottery. We started at 6.00 Thursday morning with three cars from my building. It takes about two hours to go down to the valley. We continued south, passing through gerilla territory. Including a late lunch and a visit to a dam we did not arrive at San Agustin until about 19.30. The climate in the valley is very warm we had to stop to change to shorts, because we started with about 12 degrees in Bogota.

San Agustin is, like Bogota and many other Colombian cities, also situated up in the mountain at about 1 600 meters, which makes the day temperature very agreeable. In the morning the next day we went to the famous park and luckily we found a guide who was willing to tell as all about the park and its former inhabitants. After a long struggle we agreed to pay him 10 000 pesos for over an hour. 10 000 is about 100 SEK. The actual rate is now 0.0081 which makes it 81 SEK. It rained so we all where equipped with umbrellas. Of course we also all had cameras. My camera got destroyed and all the pictures were on top of each other on the negative. I was really disappointed. I had to copy everybody elses pictures. It owrked out rather well because I am on much more pictures than usual. As photographer you do not end up on so many pictures normally.
It was interesting learning about the old culture even though we were mostly running around and having fun. Since we are obvious foreigners we can behave a little as we like. It is a different feeling knowing that everything you do is being observed by the locals. But it is fun to be able to do as you like.....

I have a Spanish teacher trying to improve my spanish. I see her every Tuesday and Thursday mornings at seven. She has finally been able to get hold of some books from US. They were promptly copied and we now how a paper copy each. I am working with them whenever I have time. Normally just before the next lesson when I have to. Last month she came up with a wonderful idea. We were to make kites. Normally August is the month of wind and sun, and lots of kite and festivals. So we made a nice kite in blue and yellow with a long tail.

Villa de Leyva
With the kite we made another small excursion. Olle and I with some friends from Ericsson drove off in two cars. [Cris y Mafe] This time to the picturesque little town Villa de Leyva, where I had been before, and the international kite festival. Of course one must start with ambitions after making your first own kite. Here is a picture with Cristina, whom I later married, and Maria Fernanda. Off we went Saturday morning and after about four hours we arrived there and finally found our hotel. It was really crowded and at night the town square was turned into a giant disco with lots of drunk teenagers. The weather was excellent and we were watching the different kites doing there flying from the town square. I tested my kite and it flew beautifully. We approach the town square to let the public have a look at the beautiful kite and see it fly. Unfortunately it just got up when it broke. Incredible what amount a teasing from ones friends such a small thing can create. Apart from that, it was a nice relaxing weekend. For instance Olle brought a set of boccia and we were walking around in the garden with the drinks playing boccia. (Boccia is when you through a small ball a few yards and then chase it with some bigger ones. The idea is for one team to get closer then the other). What was even better was the news about Bogota where it had rained all weekend. Normally we try to use the bridges (as it is called in Spanish or long weekends) for those kind of trips. A bridge is when there is a holiday of any kind, which they always put on the Monday. There are 16 free Mondays during 1995.

I was, together with most Swedes here, invited to play golf by Bjorn, the president of Ericsson. We practiced on the day before and then set off to Club Militar to play on the 10 of September. We had a small problem. Normally when we play there is always somebody who can not and we can borrow the equipment from each other. This time Olle and I went off to our club to by the shoes with these nasty nails under. We tried to borrow some bags and I had Peder old clubs. Olle had to borrow at the club. That could explain the result which was terrible. I had 98 shots net on a normal 72 shot track. That was including my handicap which is 32 shots extra. A quick mathematician adds it all up to a 130 shots in total. Horrible. I quickly bought me some new clubs and now I am down to 74 net. Only two over my handicap. Well, it happended once anyway! This handicap system is great. But in Colombia they treat it differently. Normally if you one day out of ten years make an excellent round you get that handicap and thereafter never plays on that again. That is in Sweden. Here you choose a handicap, like 16 which the former Ericsson president has. But when he plays there is no problem for him to make a round like he had 8 or lower.

On our 'home course' Florida, we played with a guy who said he had 16. That is almost one shot extra for all of the 18 holes. He only needed about 4 of them.... Then there was the two journalist who always forgot one or two shot each hole. I wonder how they make up articles....

Ericsson Telecom threw a small party for us working for telecom. That means that the mobile department was not invited. We went to a huge restaurant, casino, horse farm just outside Bogota which is called Margarita del 8.
From 3 o'clock there was beer and aguardiente, which is the local vodka, just not as strong. We danced and rode horses and things until the food was ready. We queued up for some meat and sausage and more meat and French fries and more beer. It was excellent. I got home at 11. I am still not sure what we celebrated but I think it was the accumulated amount of contracts we have signed. The sales will be ten time higher that panned this year!! Some negative news. Some people continued to a nice restaurant called Ramon Antigua, where you dance on the tables. They left rather late and one guy who was going to drive was rather drunk. Peter told him it was better if he drove and dropped him off. He did not like that idea and he took off rather angryish. Unfortunately he was probably fooled in some way because he was put to sleep somehow by the drug escolopina (or something similar) Maybe he lowered the window at a red light or something. It is not recommended to even stop during the night at roads not well lid up. He was put to sleep and they took the car and all the things he had.

What else! Yes, my birthday is coming up. It is the 4 of October for all of you who wants to surprise me. I am preparing a party on the 30 of September. I have invited about 40 people to my small apartment. There should not be any problem, because like most airlines I have calculated and made a small over invitation. Just in case I reserved the apartment next door, (also Ericsson employee), so there are possibilities of expansion. All the receiver of this letter are also very welcome.
My address Calle 74, 5-19, Apartamento 801.
Tel Home 57 1 345 0881, Mobile +57 3 332 1090.
Yeah, right: It is at 7 pm.

PD:I found an invitation to a party to bid farewell to a collegue here. She is going to Manchester to do a master. We were about eight people who went to the large disco/restaurant and had really fun!! Unfortunately I never found the object of the party, even though some later investigation shows that she was really there!?! Even so I wish Liliana P the very best in the land of mist and strange humor.

See you later everybody!!!

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Last updated: 26 JUL 1997 by Johan Stjernberg.
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