Wednesday, December 21, 2011

word of wISdom

The words you are about to read are not mine.  I would never claim them to be such.  However, I feel that they must be shared.  I happened into this blog when I was fourteen years old.  Sadly to say I lost the tab on the history of the house computer and could somehow never find it again.  Through many searchings, I tracked it down again, about four years later and successfully saved it into the tab bar on this here laptop.  The protagonist of this blog happens to be the cousin of the kid who sat at my table in 8th grade Art class.  He was a delightful kid, popular, but with a lot of depth to him.  He was terrible at art and erased his grid like there was no tomorrow, scrubbing holes into the watercolor paper and making it hard for his table partner to draw anything resembling a straight line.  Anyway

This man, hIrSch, as he likes to call himself, is an adventurer.  In the current 2006 blog post where I swiped this excerpt, he was biking from northern Canada to the very dregs of Patagonia, Argentina.  To see if he finished the trip, you must finish the blog.  hIrSch is in Colombia during this entry and the words and thoughts really hit home for me.  As a Spanish major, these topics seem to crop up and dominate the conversation when people find out that my dream location to study abroad is in fact Colombia.  Have a taste of this wISdom...

so colombia. yes, how is it? well, allow me to tell you. it is just fine. no, i will not be foolish and call this country perfectly safe or pretend there were and are not serious problems here. there have been more military checkpoints here than in any other country i have cycled through. and yes, at these checkpoints, there are machine gun wielding youths. but let me explain what these checkpoints involve. a slight tapping of the brakes, a smile and a wave and a pleasant phrase, and a continuation of my ride. one time, needing to acquire a colombian flag to add to my collection, i stopped, by choice, and much to the delight of the guarding soldiers, to ask them for one of their flags, which they warmly gave me. only once have i had to stop and show a passport and this was simply a matter of curiosity and boredom on the part of the soldiers. the people here, as they have been in every country i have ridden through thus far, though perhaps even more so here, have overwhelmingly been warm and welcoming and incredibly willing to help and to answer any questions i have. yes, there are dangerous places in colombia. just like yes, there are dangerous places in australia. and just like yes, there are dangerous places in the united states. so if you watch and read the fear-inducing (lock your door! pull the blinds! and by god, jimmy, load your gun!) monopolized media, you have choices. would you say that having your child attend school in the states is dangerous based on the shootings at columbine and other isolated, but highly covered and publicized, events? is that a fair assessment? and so, based on what is fed to us about colombia, you would probably never want to come here. however, if you maintain an educated and level-headed perspective, talk to and heed the advice of locals, and decide to see for yourself rather than through the eyes of cnn, you might just never want to leave.  

things like this happen in colombia. did katie couric tell you about it?

think about it, 

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