Archive | March, 2012

Ultimate Frisbee al estilo Colombiano!

23 Mar

Today is Friday March 23, 2012 and my trip is coming to a close. I am back in Quito, staying at Lou and Jhuly´s house again. This time it´s a little different though because they are not here; they are both back in Yosemite. Again someone has shown great generosity towards me letting me house sit for them while they are gone. I go home in five days. There is a lot of catching up to do, let me start with the ultimate frisbee tournament I played in a few weeks ago:
I had been practicing with my new team Matanga for about two weeks at this point and was feeling fairly confident in my abilities again. I was back to 100% stomach wise and my conditioning I will put at about 85-90%. I of course could have been in better shape, but I was running around and playing lots of points sin problema. The tournament was supposed to be Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but our team opted to only play Saturday and Sunday, which ended up coming back to hurt us in the end. Our captain was under the impression that we would play the games scheduled for Friday on Saturday, but we ended up forfeiting those two games. He decided that because a few of our players would not have made the Friday games. So Saturday morning we started 0-2 before any discs started flying. It´s all good though, we´re just here to have a good time! We won our first game on ´ultimate point,´ which means we were tied 9-9 as time expired and it´s a game to ten. We were overall happy with our performance, as I personally was with the way I played. We then had another game as soon as the first one ended. We ended up losing this game by two; I think we could have won, but we didn’t. No excuses right? The team we lost to ended up coming in 2nd place losing in what was a very close final.

After losing that second game, it virtually made it virtually impossible for us to go into the upper pools, meaning we couldn’t finish in the top 8. Oh well, we ended up finishing in 9th place, and if it weren’t for us forfeiting our first two games Friday, I think we could have competed for the title. Either way, we had a lot of fun. Saturday the weather was typical Bogotá weather, meaning it would be sunny and hot for a short while, then start sprinkling, followed by a five minute torrential downpour, back to being sunny and repeat.

We had one more game that day, which we won by three or four points. Genny, who was back in town by this point, showed up right as that game started and got her first taste of what ultimate frisbee is all about! She did take some pictures and as soon as I get back I´ll get her pics from her and post them online for everyone to see J.

After the games on Saturday there was a party on the fields. Not a-typical at all for a frisbee tournament, one thing that makes it the best sport in the world! We had some food, a few beers and just hung out enjoying each other’s company. There were some entertaining events taking place as well, like the slip-and-slide relay race. What is a slip-and-slide relay race you might ask? Well, each team had four people. The first person would slide down the slide, chug a beer, and as soon as he or she was done drinking the beer, the next person on the team would do the same. Pretty simple and quite entertaining. I would have participated, but it was damn cold outside and sliding down a slip-and-slide did not seem like fun at all. But I appreciated everyone who did it for our enjoyment. Crazy frisbee people.

We ended up going home around 10 pm, cramming 13 or 14 people into two different cars.  I passed out, woke up, and did it all over again on Sunday. It was a fantastic time and I finished the tournament with a lot more friends than when I started. I loved playing with my team and hope that that wasn´t the last time I get to play with them. There was talk of a tournament last weekend in Medellín, but it never happened, it was pushed back to a later date. After the tournament a few of us went to El Corral which has some of the most famous hamburgers in Colombia, then said our good-byes and went our respective ways. I think I fell asleep around 8 pm that night, but it was a fantastic weekend!!

Alone, but not solo in Bogotá

13 Mar

Thursday Genny and I had plans of our own, very different plans. After breakfast, she took a flight to Cartagena, a beautiful northern coastal city with a lot of history, close to some nice beaches. I woke up starting a new part of my journey, the solo part. It was great having G as a travel buddy for a month, but at the same time I was looking forward to the challenge of trekking around Colombia by myself. I wasn´t sure exactly where I was going to stay, but had a few options. One of those options was my friend Iván´s house, but he hadn´t given me a 100% yes yet. After asking what my plans were, he told me he´d talk to his family and let me know mañana if I could stay there or not. So I took the initiative and made a reservation at a hostel in Northern Bogotá. After seeing the northern part of the city the day before, I new I wanted to move to that part of town. It was closer to frisbee, closer to my new friends, and overall it was just a nicer,  newer part of town.

When I called Iván the next day and told him I made a reservation at a hostel and didn´t want to be any kind of inconvenience, he said that wasn´t necessary and I should stay with him, his parents, brother, sister, dog and cat at their house. I graciously accepted and made plans to meet up with him again by his office after work. I left my bag with the hostel I´d been staying at for the day and went out to enjoy Bogotá. I explored downtown Bogotá, stopping at a number of different museums, churches and other similar places you would expect to find in the old part of town. Some of my favorites were el museo del oro, museo militar y el museo de la policia. It was a good, productive day.

After exploring Bogotá, I met back up with Iván and he took me to my new home (for a week :)). I first met his mother, Marta, and brother, Juan Sebastián. I could tell right away that they were good people. I ended up crashing on a mattress on Ivan´s floor, but that was perfect for me. That night we just hung out at his place and I got to meet his family. They were all pleasantly surprised an American could hold down a conversation in Spanish; they had all sorts of stories to tell me. Marta made everybody a wonderful, typical Colombian dinner of carne asada, beans and rice, and I went to bed happy.

I stayed at their house for an entire week, until Genny got back from the coast. They were all very generous people and I truly appreciate them allowing me to stay there and get to know them for a week. It made my trip so much easier and I am grateful for the help and generosity they showed towards me. They went out of their way to show me things, take me places, and even refused to let me pay for things. I ended up getting them some presents and invited them all to California, so who knows maybe one day we will have some Colombian visitors in Cali!!

Hemos llegado a Colombia!!!

6 Mar

Tuesday night we arrived in Bogotá, Colombia. Genny and I found each other easily, which was a pleasant surprise. She arrived in a little earlier and in a different terminal, but the timing couldn’t have been better, I spotted her right away. We hopped in a cab and went straight to our hostel. Our first hostel was called Platypus Bogotá and was located in the Candelaria district of Bogotá. We stayed there because it was a place that Genny had stayed at before. It was a fine hostel, but the truth is I wouldn’t recommender it to fellow travellers. The hostel was fine, but the neighbourhood was not necessarily the best. We didn’t feel comfortable walking around the Candelaria, especially at night. Now don’t get me wrong, the Candelaria is a must see part of Bogotá. It has the most history, the most churches, the most museums, and literally is where the city was founded. That being said, my recommendation would be to stay somewhere further up north and commute to the Candelaria for the day. I understand that it has a fun night life, but I’m not super concerned about that. And in the short time I’ve been here, I’ve heard of at least 4 or 5 travellers getting robed in the area. To me, it is just not worth it.

Anyway, the first night we didn’t do too much. We checked in, went to the Macarena district for dinner, then came home and passed out. The next day we woke up and went out exploring our new turf. It was great to just get a feel for the city. We had a nice lunch at an Israeli restaurant, then I took a cab up north to meet up with my friend Iván and go play some frisbee! I know you might be asking yourself why didn’t I try some local Colombian food? Well the answer is I’m travelling with a vegetarian and there are not a lot of veggy options in a typical Colombian diet. Not to worry, I will have plenty of time to explore the cuisine.

So as I mentioned, this was my first Colombian frisbee experience. I wasn’t worried, but I knew that I wasn’t at 100% for a number of different reasons. First of all, I haven’t played much frisbee at all since I played at the world championships in Prague 2010. So I was a little out of frisbee shape. Besides that I’ve been travelling for about a month and in that time I hadn’t had much exercise at all, just lots of good food and a few long nights. Then on top of that, I was just finally getting over a stomach bug and getting my appetite back. It seems like it happens to everybody, but I definitely caught something somewhere in Ecuador. Just the body getting used to the new environment. I wasn’t stuck in bed or anything, just didn’t have much of an appetite for about a week. I’m very over it now though, and am back to enjoying food :).

Anyway, I took a cab up north and met my friend Iván at his office and he drove me to practice. As expected, I got my ass kicked, but in a good way. It felt good, and forcing myself to exercise I really do believe finally pushed me over the final hump of my stomach problems and brought back my appetite. It was a tough practice for me; it was a very physical practice filled with more drills and cardiovascular exercises than actually playing, but I think I proved I have some frisbee skills, just that I was a little out of shape. We only ended up playing about 5 actual points before we got the lights turned out on us, and I’m happy to say I recorded a Callahan (Paragraph #2) in one of the two points I played. Overall it was a success and I was happy to meet my new teammates. I had some work to do, but I was looking forward to it. We had a tournament coming up in a week and a half, and I was committed to being ready!