Love In A Time of Facebook

June 27, 2019


TLC Network (@TLC) Tweeted:
Things are about to get a whole lot more unruly! The scandals and feuds continue when the first-ever #90DayFiance inspired book debuts on Amazon.com 🇨🇴Middle-aged and reckless, this dimestore shrink shakes up the Colombian dating scene with his provocative, pop-inspired tips on finding love in strange places. This is a true adventure story about a gringo who goes to Colombia in pursuit of a woman he met online.Read Safety Third : Colombia, the book about a throwback tourist who rises from his emotional ashes and becomes Capitan Clutch#natgeo #colombiancupid #hulu #foxtv #colombiatravel #usatoday #getaway #blogtravel #wanderluster #Disney
#passportlife #facebook #redboxprojectuk

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Feelings and Dealings: The Snapchat Guide to Mastering Romance and Emotions in Colombia

June 26, 2019

Before coming to Colombia, I myself, decided to go online and look for a girlfriend.
“Our South American tour to Colombia is an unforgettable experience that may very well change your life forever. You will be introduced to literally hundreds of stunning women from Cartagena, as well as other surrounding Colombian cities. Why Colombian women? They just so happen to be some of the most beautiful, genuine, and sincere women in the world. These women are extremely friendly, warm and sincerely looking for someone with whom they can build a serious relationship. No matter how much we try to prepare the men who attend our Cartagena romance tours, they are always overwhelmed by these very special women.”
This is the hook introduction to the Colombian section of an internet site that specializes in romance tours all over the world. With tour packages starting at $1695USD, this might be a great way to justify taking a nine-day trip to Cartagena, or, this may be a south-of-the-border hail mary for middle-aged divorcees, who have been looking for love in all the wrong places. My personal opinion is, that if you are going to get into a serious relationship and possibly marriage, you might as well double down and come start a relationship in Colombia. With the divorce rate hovering around 50-60% in most of the English-speaking countries, it is probably a safer bet to search out a relationship with a foreign, non-English speaking person than risk marrying someone from your own national origin.
The $1,700USD tour is pretty impressive and well thought out. For your money, you are given two fully catered, special invitation, large socials. These are basically ballroom parties that take place in the same hotel that the tour has booked you into. Of course, there will be many intelligent and beautiful women there to meet, as well as probably a few women who fall into other categories. The tour also includes hotel accommodations in Cartagena, unlimited personal introductions, complimentary interpreters (provided at all socials), airport pickup as well as 24-hour hospitality and guidance from the website staff.
For the rest of us (people who don’t have $1,700USD to spend), there are dozens, if not hundreds, of websites specializing in meeting Colombian and Latin American singles. The one that is most familiar to me is ColombianCupid.com. This website is free to use if you just want to see who is on the website. If you click on “advanced search,” on the portal page, you are instantly presented with a two-paged form that helps you best search for romance, based on your own criteria. Say for example, you would like to meet a 30 to 35-year old woman, living in Bogota, with a profile photo, who is searching for romance/dating/marriage, speaks some English, has a bachelor’s degree and is willing to relocate to another country. After hitting search, there are over 1,000 profiles that come cascading down your screen (in order of which members are most active on the site).
I wanted a girl who lived in Bogota, because I figured that Bogota would have the highest concentration of women who had a good education, spoke neutral Spanish and had were most used to dealing with foreigners.
After viewing several hundred profiles of girls online, I decided to spend the $25 for one month and start emailing the girls I was attracted to. I was careful to upload of photo of me with a hat on, covering up my high forehead.
Once I got registered, a standard question I was asked by the female members on ColombianCupid.com was, “What is your job?”
I always made a point of answering this question the following way, “I paint fences for a living.” No matter what your employment status is, the best strategy is to never to make yourself sound rich or important. This is a highly effective way to reduce the number women emailing you who are just looking for a sugar daddy.
If the girl was still emailing me after she found out I was a fence painter, I would start asking her questions about herself. My opening line to all the girls was pretty bad. I asked them all the same question, “How do you like Shakira?” If the girl responded, “What kind of crazy question was that?” I figured I would have to scratch her from the list. If the girl responded, “I really like Shakira,” I figured we were off to a good start. I would then ask more random questions like, “Tell me about a time in your life when you did something embarrassing,” and, once again if the girl asked, “What kind of question is this?” I would scratch her from the list. I ended up chatting with a lot of interesting girls who told great stories about getting dumped in elevators or falling down stairs at church. I quickly had a group of about 10 girls from Bogota, who I was chatting with five times a week. And, because there were so many Bogota profiles of single women, I could also eliminate all the women who weren’t smiling in their photos, had visible tattoos, had their underwear showing, too much cleavage hanging out (this means that they are either overeager or possibly using someone else’s photo) or were on the verge of black-out drunk. I spent probably a solid 80 hours on the site during my first month of membership. I soon had a solid list of three girls I was emailing at least five times a week.
There was one girl in particular (let’s call her Ms. Barragan), who I really wanted to chat with, but, she didn’t respond to any of my emails. I was nervous about one specific email I sent which I went into some pretty specific details of my obsession with Shakira. This email, might have made me sound like a stalker. This infamous email went as follows:
“Since seeing her 2004 DVD entitled Live and Off the Record I have been an admirer and have had a crush on Shakira. In this DVD, not only did she speak for the rights of 3,000,000 children in Colombia who don’t attend school, she also gave a great concert for her fans in Rotterdam. Shakira doesn’t see herself as being above her band, so she actually tours on the same bus with her group and hangs out with the other band members, even though she could have her own bus if she wanted one. She also held true to her fans in Colombia by insisting on doing a concert in Baranquilla, Colombia, even though it wouldn’t make her any money. Her promoters also warned her about talking about politics in her concert, but she held true to her values and put up a puppet show of Bush and Saddam fighting over the world oil supply on the projection screen while she performed on stage. Not only does Shakira refuse to be censored, she has also made it a priority by sticking up for the rights of people who can’t defend themselves (poor children).”
As luck would have it, after my fourth email to Ms. Barragan (and one marriage proposal) she finally responded. Her message seemed like probably she couldn’t understand any of my Spanish, which….

P

lease view/share the book “Safety Third: Colombia” by Brian Ward on Amazon.

#colombia #bogota #venezuela #90dayfiance #falcao #medellin #mexico #argentina #colombiancupid #cali #nationalgeographic #garciamarquez #culture #travel #colombian #amazon #caracas #botero #chile #colombiatravel #panama #elpibe #vamoscolombia #cartagena #brasil #gabriel garcia marquez #travelwriting #vergara #elgabo #barranquilla #valderrama #shakira #esl #hurricane #idefineme #learnspanish #southamerica #sofiavergara #workabroad #hostel @48million #tarantino #rcn #caracol #mountmonserrate

🇨🇴

Middle-aged and reckless, this dimestore shrink shakes up the Colombian dating scene with his provocative, pop-inspired tips on finding love in strange places. This is a true adventure story about a gringo who goes to Colombia in pursuit of a woman he met online.

Read Safety Third : Colombia, the book about a throwback tourist who rises from his emotional ashes and becomes Capitan Clutch

#natgeo #colombiancupid #hulu #foxtv #colombiatravel #usatoday #getaway #blogtravel #wanderluster #Disney
#passportlife #facebook #redboxprojectuk

Things best learned on an empty stomach…..

June 6, 2019


In the eyes of Raul Cuero’s high school basketball coach, everybody is born with one particular attribute. And, according to Raul Cuero’s coach, Raul would never be anything more than a big and burly guy who could play sports. Why would anyone expect anything else from a guy whose grandmother couldn’t even speak Spanish. Here was a 109-year old woman who had lived in Buenaventura, Colombia her whole life and still could only speak an African language that wasn’t spoken by many people in Buenaventura. The change of house and language did provide Raul with a break from the regimented household of his parents.
Living in Buenaventura in the 1950’s makes Steinbeck’s Oklahoma dust bowl in Grapes of Wrath set during the Great Depression look like Melrose Place. In Buenaventura, during the 1950’s, 30% of all children died before the age of 10, due to parasites, malaria and other tuberculosis. Of those who did survive, only 30% of them would ever learn how to read or write. The only black people who ever left Buenaventura were the coffers and truck drivers. Buenaventura, like many other parts of Latin America, depended on the assistance of the USA. So, school children like Raul enjoyed the cheese that was sent to Colombia by the Alliance for Progress program in the USA. In addition to the cheese, powered milk was also shipped to Buenaventura for the poor school children. Unfortunately, once the powered milk was mixed with the unsanitized local water, the milk became undrinkable. So the people adapted. Instead, the people would mix the USDA cheese with the powered milk and created a kind of “jungle yogurt,” called Kumis that school children like Raul enjoyed very much. Interesting enough, Kumis happened to be very nutritious and had a high protein content.
In addition to Kumis, many school children (including Raul) in Buenaventura, would eat natural products; such as guava, mangos, banana and others fruits that they collected from food markets (galleria) and/or from the nearby tropical forest. And the minority of the other kids with a slightly better economic situation used to buy a “bonbon” for their school break. Not wanting to miss out on a chocolate “bonbon,” Raul used to do the homework for the “rich” kinds in exchange for a “bonbon.”
When Raul finished school, he would hang out with a Pastuso auto mechanic who saw promise in the boy and taught him to work on carburetors and weld radiators.
Despite his two jobs, Raul still didn’t have extra money to go to the movies or buy comic books. Instead, Raul actually spent most of his afternoons in the hut of his great grandmother who was over 100. Raul’s great grandmother, Petrona, was even poorer than Raul’s mother and father. Despite there being not much food around, the house was always filled Raul’s aunties who provided plenty of laughs and happiness.
Instead of toys, Raul had to use his creativity to find something to occupy his time. So, instead of playing with toys, he observed the roaches on the floor in the hut of his great grandmother as a way to fill his time. He observed them so often that he learned that during the hottest times of the day 11am-3pm, the roaches would actually disappear into the holes in the hut. When they came back out at 4pm, Raul, full of joy would celebrate their arrival and continue observing them. Through observation, he learned that there were more roaches in his great grandma’s hut than in his wood and brick house. The reason for this, Raul learned one day while watching a roach eat the bamboo in his great grandmother’s hut. He learned that day that roaches need wood (which contains cellulose) to survive.
Raul’s family, seemingly, was very similar to the other families in Buenaventura. His father used to work on the docks, loading and unloading cargo from the ships. And later, he worked as a seamen for the main shipping company. Despite Raul’s father’s modest income, his father was able to build his own house in Buenaventura. Raul’s father was the first black man in Buenaventura to have his own house. At the beginning, the house was made of wood only, and was later made into a combination of brick and wood. The house took his father 40 years to build and there was more than one night when Raul didn’t eat because his father used the grocery money to buy bricks instead. Determination and resiliency are qualities Raul learned with any empty stomach.
The completed house, actually caused quite a bit of resentment from his neighbors. So much so, the neighbors would actually walk up to the house at night and spit on the ground around the house as a way to curse the Raul’s family for having the nerve to build their own home.
As a 7-year old boy, Raul would wake up every morning at 4 am to study, play basketball and bring the family his its morning breakfast from the neighborhood bread maker. Raul would then go to school. It was during the times after school that Raul has his fondest memories, from his childhood. These times were spent walking with his elderly great grandmother and picking herbs to be used as remedies for many different ailments. These walks stimulated Raul’s interest in plants and inventing things that would make people more health.
On other afternoons, Raul would hang around the Buenaventura docks where he would search through the piles of rubbish looking for magazines and books. It was during one of these visits when he found his most enduring memento of the USA in the form a dime that was sitting on the dock. He couldn’t believe his luck, in a town as poor as Buenaventura, no many people had the luxury of misplacing ten cents. He held on to this coin and made a plan to one day spend it in the USA.
When not observing roaches, searching through the rubbish for books or welding radiators, Raul would play soccer with the neighborhood kids. Until one day when his brother was kicked in the leg and suffered a deep cut from a metal soccer cleat. Regrettably for Raul’s family, the soccer cleat was tainted with tetanus and Raul’s brother died shortly there after. It was at this point when his family banned Raul from playing soccer. Instead of playing soccer, he switched to basketball. And, due to his size and hard work he excelled. At age 17, he became a member of the Colombian National Basketball Team.
Raul then made the decision to then focus on academics instead of sports. He decided to study at Universidad del Valle in Cali, which at that time was one of the best universities in Latin America in academics. It was at the university where Raul met a visiting professor of plant physiology, Percy Lily. Lily was so impressed by Raul’s his first discovery, which was in plants. He successfully found a way to raise a parasitic plant without its host. Raul really didn’t have much time to sit around at home., that he offered Raul an academic scholarship to Heidelberg University in Ohio, USA. He would finally be able to reunite his American coin with its original home, but more importantly he would be able to continue his work in plant pathology (the study of plant diseases caused by infectious organisms and environmental factors) and show that a poor Afro-Colombian basketball player from a obscure South American city could be a valuable part of the scientific community. Or as Raul Cuero likes to put it, “It is good to be good.”
Despite the fact the United States was suffering from widespread racially-fueled violence due in part to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Raul never felt threatened by racism.
To the contrary, there were many Goodwill Hunting moments where Raul was actually able to entertain and impress his fellow students and teachers with his vast knowledge. He found that many of the students were very respectful and even more willing make friends and interact with him than what he expected.
Raul obtained his Bachelor of Science from Heidelberg University in Biology and “For the first time, I finally felt like I was going to make it,” recounts Raul. One day, while at Heidelberg University, his entire class was given a question to solve. The question had to do with the concentration of a molecule. As soon as the question was given, Raul looked around the room as all his fellow students took out their calculators and began working on the problem. Raul didn’t have a calculator because he couldn’t afford one. So he just sat there in a stupor, wondering what to do. Finally the teacher looked over at Raul and asked, “Cuero, do you understand?”

🇨🇴

Middle-aged and reckless, this dimestore shrink shakes up the Colombian dating scene with his provocative, pop-inspired tips on finding love in strange places. This is a true adventure story about a gringo who goes to Colombia in pursuit of a woman he met online.

Read Safety Third : Colombia, the book about a throwback tourist who rises from his emotional ashes and becomes Capitan Clutch

#natgeo #colombiancupid #hulu #foxtv #colombiatravel #usatoday #getaway #blogtravel #wanderluster #Disney
#passportlife #facebook #redboxprojectuk

#Fear, Twitter and an Interrogation Room

May 30, 2019

img_20190114_183013_459522216544.jpg

I randomly called up my old hotel job in Florida. Luckily the guy who answered the phone in reception was a familiar voice. I quickly converted into Jerky Boys mode and pretended I was a hotel guest.

“I asked for 6 Löwenbräu Light beers in my room last night. When are you bringing my six beers over?” I said to Anthony Carnazzo.

He had a fleeting moment of uncertainly. He asked me to repeat my request.

“Do you speak French?” was my reply.

“No sir, I am just having a little problem understanding you,” answered Anthony.

“Ok, we are going to do this in English. I met you on the golf course yesterday and we spent half an hour talking about how you were going to help me draft a letter to my ex-wife to try and get my child support payments reduced. Are you saying I made the whole thing up?”

“….uh, are you sure that was me?”

“Listen guy, I was up until 11pm last night waiting for you to bring me my beers. I had to drink my mouthwash. Are you coming up with the beers or not?”

“Ward, is that you?”

“Doh! Foiled again. What’s up Carnazzo? How many women have you kissed in the last 6 months?”

“Around 6, but I have regretted kissing all of them.”

“How do you feel about Ron Artest’s 2011 playoff season with Los Angeles?” I loved to bring up Artest because Anthony had seen Artest play high school basketball against his high school team in the late 1990’s. Even then, everyone was talking about how much a of legend the guy was. During the game that Anthony watched, Artest actually threw a chair at the referee.

“You mean Metta World Peace?” Anthony replied.

“Yes.”

“He got thrown out of Game 2 against the Mavericks after close-lining JJ Barea with 26 seconds to go. Phil Jackson still doesn’t get it. When the Lakers are losing big at the end of a game you must take out Metta World Peace (Artest) because he gets very frustrated at the end of losing games,” replied Anthony. “If Phil Jackson doesn’t do it the referees will do it for him.”

“Have you worked on any new poems?”

“Yeah, let me read you a few, I am at the desk but nobody is here and I have my notebook. First one:

14 years old and in deep infatuation
I stared at her picturing our life, our wedding, our kids
We would be happy
I garnered all my courage, I dug down deep
I told her how I felt
She tried to let me down gently, trying to tell me how great and special I was as she informed me that she liked my best friend
I begrudgingly set them up
We all chilled as my stomach was in more knots than a rope on a sailing vessel
She brought along her homely friend, what a quartet we made
We went to the movies
I was holding 64 oz pack of Starburst
She asked me for a red one
I removed about a third of the gross of reds
Threw them on the floor
Revenge is sweet.

“Nice job, you showed her,” cheering the kid.

“Mosher is here, do you want to talk to him?”

“Put him on.”

“This is Mosher.”

“Are you in charge of beach volleyball?”

“Yes, is there a problem?”

“What time does it start?”

“Every day at 10.30am.”

“I showed up there at 10.30am and the lines weren’t set. I waited a half hour, but nobody showed up. Then, I go around the corner and find your man Teddy is by the pool rubbing down some Mexican girl’s buttocks.”

“Well, Sir . . . I . . . I am sorry . . . . Uh . . . .”

“Yeah, and whose job is it to keep the water cooler filled by the basketball court?”

“Is this Brian? Why did you drop me from your friends list on Facebook?”

“Listen, is Club Intrepid Bay paying you to be on Facebook all day or to run the sports at Sandpiper Bay? According to Anthony, you are getting more tush than a toilet seat down there.”

“Where are you calling from?”

“I can’t say the name of where I am, but you know where I am.”

“Are you on a Colombian pay phone or what?”

“Not even, I am on a Chinese Blackberry with two SIM card slots.”

“I am surprised you finally bought a cell phone. You should come back here to Florida and help me pass out towels to the guests.”

“Well, we will have to see, at the moment I know a girl here in Colombia who is helping me with my confidence problem.”

“All right bud, stay in contact.”

“There are two kinds of people in this life: talkers and doers. I think we all know which category you fall into.”

“Thanks,” replied Mosher.

“Brian?”

“Hi Anthony…have you talked with your dark girlfriend recently?”

“I called her once, I think she realized that I am un-handsome.”

“I gotta clean my bathroom here, can you hit me with one last poem?” I asked Anthony Carnazzo.

Soft a cookie fresh
Out the oven
Vital organs exposed
Tears wash the sad away
Twenty-something boy’s manhood is not a number
But an accumulation of pain, toil and self-sufficiency
As years pass we become more spineless
No draft, No epic wars
Just internal battles that we are losing one bunker at a time
Rap videos pulling guns, doing crimes
These fantasies evaporate in the interrogation room
Sweat before the lights turned on
If a squirrel ran up your leg he would starve

“Thanks bud, remember that time when you and I had lunch with the mother and son after the son had a few beers?”

“Which time?” asked Anthony Carnazzo.

“You’re right, we have had many meals together. We were having lunch with a mother and son, the son was getting progressively more drunk at the meal and every time the son asked what I did for a living back home, you would tell him that I danced with snakes for a living. Each time you talked about dancing with snakes, he started to become happier and happier. Then, the son got up to grab another beer from the restaurant and his mother started to yell at him to slow his drinking pace. Clearly frustrated with his mom, he turned to us and explained that the reason they were having such a rough time was that his father, her husband, had passed away only 7 weeks earlier. Then you ask, ‘How old was your father when he died?’ Then he replied, ‘48.’ Then you say, ‘You can’t replace 48 years of memories in 7 weeks, nor can you replace 48 years of memories in 2 years, nor can you replace 48 years of memories in 5 years. The next……
🇨🇴

Middle-aged and reckless, this dimestore shrink shakes up the Colombian dating scene with his provocative, pop-inspired tips on finding love in strange places. This is a true adventure story about a gringo who goes to Colombia in pursuit of a woman he met online.

Read Safety Third : Colombia, the book about a throwback tourist who rises from his emotional ashes and becomes Capitan Clutch

#natgeo #scottstuber #hulu #foxtv #20thcentury #usatoday #getaway #blogtravel #wanderluster #Disney
#passportlife #facebook #redbox

Power of Vulnerability

May 27, 2019

Power of Vulnerability

Probably the best thing about speaking Spanish in Colombia is that you can don’t have to really learn the names of any Colombian men. Instead you can just refer to any man you have met on the street as maestro. In English, maestro is reserved for an artist who has their work displayed in many different museums around the globe or for someone who has been paid to conduct a symphony. Here in Colombia, you can call someone a maestro just because you like the quality of chips he is selling out of a shopping cart near the mini stop.

habloColombiano

An everyday phrase here in Colombia is, “Hay un inconievente” (There is an inconvenience). In English this phrase would be used if maybe the meal you ordered at a restaurant is going to take 5 or 10 minutes longer than expected to arrive to your table. The waiter would tell you, “Sorry sir, there is an inconvenience, the pork sandwich you ordered is going to take an extra 10 minutes before it will be ready.”

Good luck if you are in a hospital in Colombia and the doctor tells you, “Hay un inconievente.” This no doubt means that what they thought was just a little routine acid reflux really means that your kidneys have exploded and you have 3 minutes to live.

Also in Colombia, the customer is made to feel almost like royalty. This example is illustrated when you enter the small corner grocery store and the sales clerk says to, “A sus ordenes su merced” (At your service your mercy).

You thank the clerk for such a warm welcome and try to explain to her that really you aren’t anyone important. You actually just came in to buy $1,500 pesos ($.75USD) worth of that good Bocatto ice cream and are not worthy of being called “Your mercy.” To this the clerk will promptly respond, “Para servirle” (another cute way to say ‘at your service’).

Even the older gentleman with the fleet of dogs by the bus station is always asking “Me colabora?” (Would you like to collaborate with me?) Like we should get together and work on a project, just him and me. When I inform him that I really already have enough business partners in place and he should use the capital he was going to invest in my company to maybe buy some more food for his dogs. He then looks at me like I am the one who doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

At home, I always hear my girlfriend Kary say strange expressions over the phone like, “Mommy, make sure to put all you books in your backpack for school tomorrow,” or “Mommy, make sure not to spend all your money on candy, save it for your lunch.”

I would then ask my girlfriend two questions,

#1) I didn’t realize your 53-year old mother was still in school and #2) Isn’t it a little strange to lecture your own 53-year old mother on how she should be spending her money?

“When I say Mommy, I am referring to my daughter, not my actual mother.”

“Oh ok, that’s clear,” I would reply.

Another strange occasion involving my girlfriend’s daughter arose when she showed me a text message she sent to her daughter, “Mommy, don’t let the other girls ride you in school.” (Mommy, no dejes que te la montan en la escuela).

“Ok, I understand the mommy part now, that’s clear. I am a little confused about your daughter being ridden around like livestock while at school. I thought she was going to private school.”

“No, te la montan, is referring to when the other girls pick on my daughter at school.”

A common occurrence when you are talking to Colombians in English is that they will start off telling you a story, for example; “I was at the quick stop and a large man with a gold chain, a leather jacket and many tattoos asked if I help him give his car a jump”….long pause….You then see, by the look of terror and shame, on your Colombian friend’s face that the needle has slipped off of his record. He politely makes eye contact with you and says, “The dove has left me” (Se me fue la paloma). This means that whatever he was going to say he forgot or isn’t sure of the correct way to express his idea.

Another widespread turn of phrase…..

🇨🇴Middle-aged and reckless, this dimestore shrink shakes up the Colombian dating scene with his provocative, pop-inspired tips on finding love in strange places. This is a true adventure story about a gringo who goes to Colombia in pursuit of a woman he met online.Read Safety Third : Colombia, the book about a throwback tourist who rises from his emotional ashes and becomes Capitan Clutch#natgeo #scottstuber #hulu #foxtv #20thcentury #usatoday #getaway #blogtravel #wanderluster #Disney
#passportlife #facebook #redbox

1) In order to feel comfortable, you must let yourself be seen

2) If you have love, you believe that you deserve love

3) Courage means being able to tell who you are with your whole heart

4) You must love with no guarantees

5) Let go of who you should be to be who you are

6) Blaming another person is a way to discharge pain and discomfort

7) Children are hard-wired for struggle

The #1 secret to happiness isn’t fame or money

May 25, 2019

Probably the best thing about speaking Spanish in Colombia is that you can don’t have to really learn the names of any Colombian men. Instead you can just refer to any man you have met on the street as maestro. In English, maestro is reserved for an artist who has their work displayed in many different museums around the globe or for someone who has been paid to conduct a symphony. Here in Colombia, you can call someone a maestro just because you like the quality of chips he is selling out of a shopping cart near the mini stop.

habloColombiano

An everyday phrase here in Colombia is, “Hay un inconievente” (There is an inconvenience). In English this phrase would be used if maybe the meal you ordered at a restaurant is going to take 5 or 10 minutes longer than expected to arrive to your table. The waiter would tell you, “Sorry sir, there is an inconvenience, the pork sandwich you ordered is going to take an extra 10 minutes before it will be ready.”

Good luck if you are in a hospital in Colombia and the doctor tells you, “Hay un inconievente.” This no doubt means that what they thought was just a little routine acid reflux really means that your kidneys have exploded and you have 3 minutes to live.

Also in Colombia, the customer is made to feel almost like royalty. This example is illustrated when you enter the small corner grocery store and the sales clerk says to, “A sus ordenes su merced” (At your service your mercy).

You thank the clerk for such a warm welcome and try to explain to her that really you aren’t anyone important. You actually just came in to buy $1,500 pesos ($.75USD) worth of that good Bocatto ice cream and are not worthy of being called “Your mercy.” To this the clerk will promptly respond, “Para servirle” (another cute way to say ‘at your service’).

Even the older gentleman with the fleet of dogs by the bus station is always asking “Me colabora?” (Would you like to collaborate with me?) Like we should get together and work on a project, just him and me. When I inform him that I really already have enough business partners in place and he should use the capital he was going to invest in my company to maybe buy some more food for his dogs. He then looks at me like I am the one who doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

At home, I always hear my girlfriend Kary say strange expressions over the phone like, “Mommy, make sure to put all you books in your backpack for school tomorrow,” or “Mommy, make sure not to spend all your money on candy, save it for your lunch.”

I would then ask my girlfriend two questions,

#1) I didn’t realize your 53-year old mother was still in school and #2) Isn’t it a little strange to lecture your own 53-year old mother on how she should be spending her money?

“When I say Mommy, I am referring to my daughter, not my actual mother.”

“Oh ok, that’s clear,” I would reply.

Another strange occasion involving my girlfriend’s daughter arose when she showed me a text message she sent to her daughter, “Mommy, don’t let the other girls ride you in school.” (Mommy, no dejes que te la montan en la escuela).

“Ok, I understand the mommy part now, that’s clear. I am a little confused about your daughter being ridden around like livestock while at school. I thought she was going to private school.”

“No, te la montan, is referring to when the other girls pick on my daughter at school.”

A common occurrence when you are talking to Colombians in English is that they will start off telling you a story, for example; “I was at the quick stop and a large man with a gold chain, a leather jacket and many tattoos asked if I help him give his car a jump”….long pause….You then see, by the look of terror and shame, on your Colombian friend’s face that the needle has slipped off of his record. He politely makes eye contact with you and says, “The dove has left me” (Se me fue la paloma). This means that whatever he was going to say he forgot or isn’t sure of the correct way to express his idea.

Another widespread turn of phrase….

🇨🇴

Middle-aged and reckless, this dimestore shrink shakes up the Colombian dating scene with his provocative, pop-inspired tips on finding love in strange places. This is a true adventure story about a gringo who goes to Colombia in pursuit of a woman he met online.

Read Safety Third : Colombia, the book about a throwback tourist who rises from his emotional ashes and becomes Capitan Clutch

#natgeo #scottstuber #hulu #foxtv #20thcentury #usatoday #getaway #blogtravel #wanderluster #Disney
#passportlife #facebook #redbox

The Gringo Guide To Online Dating, Learning Spanish, Limiting Your Enemies, Avoiding Deportation And Making Money In Colombia

May 25, 2019

After more than a month of looking for a roommate, we finally got a lead from a guy who seemed interested. We met him in a shopping center on Calle 72 and he started to tell us about himself. His name is Jorge, he is a Chilean and he has come to Bogota to design vertical gardens that will be attached to the Transmilenio stops as well as many downtown buildings. His introduction was flawless. Then his story took a somewhat ominous turn. “On my first day in Colombia I was robbed outside of the Western Union at knifepoint and the guy got off with $1,600,000 pesos I had just received from my wife in Chile,” recounted Jorge as we sat on a bench in the shopping mall with him. From that point on the story became even more fishy. Apparently, according to Jorge, Western Union sells insurance on any transaction it does for an additional $10,000. “I didn’t want to get the insurance, but the teller insisted. I told her twice, ‘No thanks, I don’t need insurance.’ She then told me that 3 people had been mugged in front of that Western Union location and she would strongly recommend that I get the insurance,” said Jorge. “I finally said, yes.”

Up until that point he seemed like a nice enough guy, he had those cool reading glasses that detach at the nose with a band that went around his neck. He was wearing a blue, button down long sleeve T-shirt and a grey hat with the Brazilian flag. He looked like the kind of guy who hung around George Clooney on the weekends. Just based on his attire and personal hygiene, we probably would have rented him the room even if he told us that he was an almost recovering heroin addict. So, we started walking to the Transmilenio to take him to our apartment. I paid his way and gave him some tips about riding the Transmilenio (always sit or stand the closest to the driver as possible and never show anyone your cell phone).

After we gave him a tour of the apartment, he said he loved it and didn’t complain about the price. There was one more piece of information he gave, “I won’t be able to pay the rent until I get the refund from Western Union, which will take 10 working days.”

He moved all of his stuff in within two hours. As he was moving in he told me a story which I really didn’t pay too much attention to. “I was watching you in the parking lot take out the trash,” he said as he wheeled his suitcase down the hallway. “That’s strange, I took out the trash more than 30 minutes ago, why would someone sit in the parking lot for a half hour while we were inside waiting for him?” I thought to myself.

From that point on, he was the ideal roommate. He was gone early in the morning and would spend all day out of the house. He never cooked any food, therefore there were never any of his dishes lying around. On the weekends he was never around. I started to wonder, “This guy is too perfect, there must be something going on.”

Then two weeks went by and Jorge still hadn’t paid us. It was at this point that my girlfriend Kary and I started to get suspicious. To buy time, Jorge would think of some clever way to convince us not to worry about the rent money, even if what he said contradicted itself. In the evening he might say, “Tomorrow I am going to sign a contract worth $30,000,000 pesos with an architecture firm on 74th Street.” Then an hour later he’d ask, “Do you know which bus passes by 74th Street and 7th Avenue?” Why would someone about to sign contract worth well over $15,000USD take a bus to work?

Then the next day there would come and due to some clerical error he wasn’t able to sign the contract. And, when it asked when the….

🇨🇴

Middle-aged and reckless, this dimestore shrink shakes up the Colombian dating scene with his provocative, pop-inspired tips on finding love in strange places. This is a true adventure story about a gringo who goes to Colombia in pursuit of a woman he met online.

Read Safety Third : Colombia, the book about a throwback tourist who rises from his emotional ashes and becomes Capitan Clutch

#natgeo #scottstuber #hulu #foxtv #20thcentury #usatoday #getaway #blogtravel #wanderluster #Disney
#passportlife #facebook #redbox

Reckless and Almost Colombian

May 25, 2019

When the country of Peru is mentioned, one imagines a peaceful scene of an Andean alpaca grazing along an Incan stone wall. When Ecuador is brought up, we imagine a rain forest panorama of frogs jumping off branches while butterflies mate in the background. When Colombia is mentioned, we envision a post-apocalyptic city full of overturned buses, being pillaged by men in ski masks. It is obvious which country any rational person would seek to avoid while searching for an internet bride.

“48,000,000 Colombians Can’t Be Wrong” is a true adventure story about a 37-year-old socially-awkward man who decided that the best way he could deal with a life sentence of microwavable burritos and 10-hour Facebook marathons was to look online for a girlfriend in Colombia and then hop on a flight to Colombia’s capital in pursuit of a woman he has never met.

During his first month in Bogota, Brian falls in with two white, self-assured backpackers who the author describes as, “…not the kind of guys who pump the brakes before going through an uncontrolled intersection.” He is then nearly kidnapped during an encounter with a woman he met online, almost becomes business partners with a Korean man in the “diamond business” and is forced to sleep in the DVD room of his hostel due to lack of funds.

Brian quickly regroups after his first month and auditions for the part of “congressional aide” in a Colombian feature film called “Left To Die.” He then lands a job as a writer for an English-language newspaper where his first interview is with a “suspected undercover CIA agent.” Brian then gets thrown off a TV set for refusing to take off his shirt from under his police uniform. While Brian is not getting thrown off TV sets, he marvels at all the discarded construction materials Colombians throw into pot holes to lessen their depths. Because of this strategy, a bus going over one of these open trenches (full of construction materials) will occasionally sling a chest-high brick through a group of panic-stricken pedestrians.

Brian sincerely believed this trip would put him on a track towards a life of excitement, intrigue and exotic women, far from his increasing first world debt. Instead, he unexpectedly falls into a job as an extra in a Colombian soap opera, visits a world-famous Ayahuasca investigator, has panic attacks, watches other gringos lose their marbles and blows half his paycheck on bootlegged DVD’s. Along the journey, he chronicles his friendships, the deranged ex-pats he meets, and his struggles/triumphs, including one fateful night in a Israeli restaurant that would change his life forever.
🇨🇴

Middle-aged and reckless, this dimestore shrink shakes up the Colombian dating scene with his provocative, pop-inspired tips on finding love in strange places. This is a true adventure story about a gringo who goes to Colombia in pursuit of a woman he met online.

Read Safety Third : Colombia, the book about a throwback tourist who rises from his emotional ashes and becomes Capitan Clutch

#natgeo #scottstuber #hulu #foxtv #20thcentury #usatoday #getaway #blogtravel #reckless #Disney
#passportlife #90dayfiance #redbox

An Insider’s Guide To International Romance in Colombia

May 25, 2019

What are your reasons for travelling solo?

Bogota, the youthful capital city, is perched on an 8,000 foot high plateau called “the savannah.” This is the modern heart of the country. With a teeming population of over 10 million, this sprawled out city stretches out into the surrounding Andes Mountains.

During my first week at the Hostel Sue (in La Candelaria section of Bogota), I met a guy from the Czech Republic named Chris. I had originally heard stories about this guy from his Australian friend Scott who arrived a few days before him to the hostel. The two had met each other while working as English teachers in Ukraine. So, basically, I was getting pumped full of stories about Chris involving his exploits through Eastern Europe and his followers on Facebook.

When I finally met him, Chris seemed to be the kind of guy who doesn’t pump the brakes before going through an uncontrolled intersection. One night, while we were eating at a Mongolian Barbecue restaurant, two college-aged girls came into the restaurant to play some Gypsy songs for us. Between songs they would go around accepting donations from the people in the restaurant. Instead of giving them a few bucks for playing for us, Chris offered to spoon feed them heaping mouthfuls of his stir fry and to use his spoon to redirect any of the Eastern flavor that went amiss, back into their mouths. Keep in mind, this was Chris stone cold sober. When going out to a discotheque with this guy, he would direct women towards you every fifteen seconds, if you weren’t constantly chatting with three girls at the same time.

One such opportunity occurred, when Scott was playing the loner role at the bar. Chris immediately picked up on this and sent a Colombian girl over to chat with him.

“Why don’t you like Colombian girls?” she asked Scott.

Scott looked up at her, without having a clue what she was talking about.

“Your friend Chris told me you don’t think Colombian girls are friendly.”

Scott immediately had to regroup and adjust to the situation thrown at him by convincing the girl that he really did like Colombian girls and that his friend was trying to help him meet women. The next morning at the hostel Scott was a little upset at Chris’ “speed dating” approach to meeting women in Colombia. However Scott couldn’t find Chris anywhere around the hostel so he sent Chris a message about his disapproval of his speed-dating. A text message apology came from Chris and everything was sorted out by midday.

I still didn’t know Chris that well, but was invited to have a meal with him the following night with Scott and his Dutch friend William. William had been hanging out with Chris in Medellin for several months prior to their arrival to Bogota. Chris came over with William, because William had gotten a girl pregnant in Medellin and was trying to get his Colombian citizenship. At dinner, William informed me that the cousin of his Colombian girlfriend was already a grandmother at age 38. During the meal, we were all treated to an in-depth description of a bug bite Chris had gotten a few weeks prior on the bottom of his foot, which was slowly developing into a throbbing red vein that was slowly spreading throughout the rest of his body. Instead of opting for a visit to the doctor and finding a solution for the problem, Chris decided to post photos on his Facebook account of the throbbing red vein, in order to draw sympathy from women his was romantically interested in.

“Have you ever been to a live rock concert?” asked Chris.

“Yes.”

“Have you ever seen the lead singer do a back flip into the drum set?”

“No.”

“Obviously you have never been to a Mr. Bungle concert.”

“Who is Mr. Bungle?”

“Imagine the following situation: it’s 1991, Mr. Bungle is suggested to me by my brother, who is currently discovering cool music in college. I’m in ninth grade. That night while doing my homework, I popped in Mr. Bungle. I remember everything up to this point very clearly.

The next hour is gone.

What I do remember is the true fear that I felt when the album stopped spinning and I came to. Fear of how close-minded my musical sense was. Fear of what I didn’t know or understand. My head hurt. How could someone have even…..

🇨🇴

Middle-aged and reckless, this dimestore shrink shakes up the Colombian dating scene with his provocative, pop-inspired tips on finding love in strange places. This is a true adventure story about a gringo who goes to Colombia in pursuit of a woman he met online.

Read Safety Third : Colombia, the book about a throwback tourist who rises from his emotional ashes and becomes Capitan Clutch

#natgeo #scottstuber #hulu #foxtv #20thcentury #usatoday #getaway #blogtravel #wanderluster #Disney
#passportlife #90dayfiance #redbox

A Foreign Affair

April 21, 2019

Before coming to Colombia, I myself, decided to go online and look for a girlfriend.

“Our South American tour to Colombia is an unforgettable experience that may very well change your life forever. You will be introduced to literally hundreds of stunning women from Cartagena, as well as other surrounding Colombian cities. Why Colombian women? They just so happen to be some of the most beautiful, genuine, and sincere women in the world. These women are extremely friendly, warm and sincerely looking for someone with whom they can build a serious relationship. No matter how much we try to prepare the men who attend our Cartagena romance tours, they are always overwhelmed by these very special women.”

This is the hook introduction to the Colombian section of an internet site that specializes in romance tours all over the world. With tour packages starting at $1695USD, this might be a great way to justify taking a nine-day trip to Cartagena, or, this may be a south-of-the-border hail mary for middle-aged divorcees, who have been looking for love in all the wrong places. My personal opinion is, that if you are going to get into a serious relationship and possibly marriage, you might as well double down and come start a relationship in Colombia. With the divorce rate hovering around 50-60% in most of the English-speaking countries, it is probably a safer bet to search out a relationship with a foreign, non-English speaking person than risk marrying someone from your own national origin.

The $1,700USD tour is pretty impressive and well thought out. For your money, you are given two fully catered, special invitation, large socials. These are basically ballroom parties that take place in the same hotel that the tour has booked you into. Of course, there will be many intelligent and beautiful women there to meet, as well as probably a few women who fall into other categories. The tour also includes hotel accommodations in Cartagena, unlimited personal introductions, complimentary interpreters (provided at all socials), airport pickup as well as 24-hour hospitality and guidance from the website staff.

For the rest of us (people who don’t have $1,700USD to spend), there are dozens, if not hundreds, of websites specializing in meeting Colombian and Latin American singles. The one that is most familiar to me is ColombianCupid.com. This website is free to use if you just want to see who is on the website. If you click on “advanced search,” on the portal page, you are instantly presented with a two-paged form that helps you best search for romance, based on your own criteria. Say for example, you would like to meet a 30 to 35-year old woman, living in Bogota, with a profile photo, who is searching for romance/dating/marriage, speaks some English, has a bachelor’s degree and is willing to relocate to another country. After hitting search, there are over 1,000 profiles that come cascading down your screen (in order of which members are most active on the site).

I wanted a girl who lived in Bogota, because I figured that Bogota would have the highest concentration of women who had a good education, spoke neutral Spanish and had were most used to dealing with foreigners.

After viewing several hundred profiles of girls online, I decided to spend the $25 for one month and start emailing the girls I was attracted to. I was careful to upload of photo of me with a hat on, covering up my high forehead.

Once I got registered, a standard question I was asked by the female members on ColombianCupid.com was, “What is your job?”

I always made a point of answering this question the following way, “I paint fences for a living.” No matter what your employment status is, the best strategy is to never to make yourself sound rich or important. This is a highly effective way to reduce the number women emailing you who are just looking for a sugar daddy.

If the girl was still emailing me after she found out I was a fence painter, I would start asking her questions about herself. My opening line to all the girls was pretty bad. I asked them all the same question, “How do you like Shakira?” If the girl responded, “What kind of crazy question was that?” I figured I would have to scratch her from the list. If the girl responded, “I really like Shakira,” I figured we were off to a good start. I would then ask more random questions like, “Tell me about a time in your life when you did something embarrassing,” and, once again if the girl asked, “What kind of question is this?” I would scratch her from the list. I ended up chatting with a lot of interesting girls who told great stories about getting dumped in elevators or falling down stairs at church. I quickly had a group of about 10 girls from Bogota, who I was chatting with five times a week. And, because there were so many Bogota profiles of single women, I could also eliminate all the women who weren’t smiling in their photos, had visible tattoos, had their underwear showing, too much cleavage hanging out (this means that they are either overeager or possibly using someone else’s photo) or were on the verge of black-out drunk. I spent probably a solid 80 hours on the site during my first month of membership. I soon had a solid list of three girls I was emailing at least five times a week.

There was one girl in particular (let’s call her Ms. Barragan), who I really wanted to chat with, but, she didn’t respond to any of my emails. I was nervous about one specific email I sent which I went into some pretty specific details of my obsession with Shakira. This email, might have made me sound like a stalker. This infamous email went as follows:

“Since seeing her 2004 DVD entitled Live and Off the Record I have been an admirer and have had a crush on Shakira. In this DVD, not only did she speak for the rights of 3,000,000 children in Colombia who don’t attend school, she also gave a great concert for her fans in Rotterdam. Shakira doesn’t see herself as being above her band, so she actually tours on the same bus with her group and hangs out with the other band members, even though she could have her own bus if she wanted one. She also held true to her fans in Colombia by insisting on doing a concert in Baranquilla, Colombia, even though it wouldn’t make her any money. Her promoters also warned her about talking about politics in her concert, but she held true to her values and put up a puppet show of Bush and Saddam fighting over the world oil supply on the projection screen while she performed on stage. Not only does Shakira refuse to be censored, she has also made it a priority by sticking up for the rights of people who can’t defend themselves (poor children).”

As luck would have it, after my fourth email to Ms. Barragan (and one marriage proposal) she finally responded. Her message seemed like probably she couldn’t understand any of my Spanish, which….

Please view/share the book “48,000,000 Colombians Can’t Be Wrong,” by Brian Ward on Amazon.

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