Archive for October, 2018

7 Habits of Highly Effective College Students

October 30, 2018

College was a great time in my life. By 2 p.m. each day I would be finished with my classes and homework. By 3 p.m., I would be asleep or playing Super Nintendo with my room mates. While I was studying at Chico State, I enrolled in the study abroad program and got accepted to study in Queretaro, Mexico.

Before leaving, several of my friends offered to store my Super Nintendo at their house in case I didn’t come back. I was really scared that living in Mexico might be detrimental to my future. I decided that I had no evidence to support Mexico being a dangerous place. I would therefore have to go there in person in order to prove or disprove my North American society’s view towards Mexico as being a dangerous place. Too often society uses fear to take away our freedom and keep us “on track.” I decided not to let unnatural fear dissuade me from achieving my dreams.

The morning of my departure for Mexico finally arrived. My step dad Alan came to pick me up early Friday morning. As I wheeled my luggage to his car, there was already a problem that we hadn’t anticipated. How was I going to fit two huge suitcases and a carry-on into the tiny trunk of his Mazda Miata? My step dad did some quick thinking, he bungee-corded one suitcase onto the trunk, opened the convertible top and seat belted the other bag into the backseat. We drove to the airport. During the ride, we gritted our teeth against the 80 mile-an-hour winds that blew into the convertible. Meanwhile, our feet baked under the car’s heating vents. While checking in for my flight at the San Francisco airport, the ticket agent gave me some bad news.

“I’m sorry Mr. Ward but your connecting flight through Los Angeles has been delayed until 5 p.m. due to bad weather.”

“Impossible. If I take the 5 p.m. flight from Los Angeles, I won’t get to Mexico City until 2:30 a.m. At that time, it will be too late to get a bus to Queretaro,” I replied. After saying that, a Mexican guy behind me offered to help me get onto the bus to Queretaro with him. I accepted. Before I even boarded my first flight, I had already met a local person from my host city.

His name was Rafael and he was connecting in from Hawaii. He had visited a girl he’d met at the same university where I would be studying.

After we both checked in, Rafael and I went for a meal together. I had so many questions to ask him about Queretaro.

“What kind of food do they eat in Kae-taro?” I asked.

Rafael laughed when he heard my pronunciation of Queretaro. He told me that most North Americans pronounced it that way.

He took a pen and wrote down the pronunciation, kah-RAY-tah-row. It was easy.

We didn’t get to Queretaro until 5 a.m. the next day. I fretted about calling my host family at such a strange hour. I imagined myself being awakened in the middle of the night by some Huckleberry Finn character saying he was to be my new housemate. I made the call at the bus station and explained to three members of my host family who I was and yes I was sure I had the right number. They told me to wait at the bus station and someone would be there to pick me up. Rafael gave me his number and told me to call him in case nobody came to pick me up. The truth be told, I think he would have let me move in with him if I wanted to. As I waited outside for my host family to pick me up, I got my first glimpse of Queretaro. It definitely didn’t fit the description of the Mexican town I pictured. At night it looked like any town in California, with gentle hills that were so perfectly illuminated by street lights, the town reminded my of Chevy Chase’s roof in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. I don’t think Santa Claus himself could have done a better job.

The campus at Queretaro, a city of 800,000 people, is about 125 miles Northwest of Mexico City. My school, El Instituto Tecnologico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (El Tec), was founded in 1975 and during my stay was enrolling 3,000 students. El Tec currently operates 26 campuses throughout Mexico in 25 different cities.

Queretaro also has many well-maintained historical buildings from the Spanish colonial period and limitless options for night life. Many multi-national corporations like Kellogg’s and New Holland are opening up headquarters here, providing a number of high-paying jobs.

International Programs at Chico State recommended that I get to Mexico two months before classes in order to adjust to the food, culture and layout of the town. I arrived less than 24 hours before classes were to begin.

On my first day of school, I was given a cookie-cutter schedule of classes which included Mexican culture and basic Spanish. On the 3rd day of sitting in Spanish classes with a bunch of Americans I realized that I wouldn’t learn anything surrounded by Americans all day. And I probably wouldn’t receive credit for the work I was doing, since none of the classes had anything to do with my business major. I decided to go to the International Programs office and change my classes to ones that would give me credit in my major and expose me to more Mexican students. This turned out to be a very memorable day in the history of higher learning in Mexico. I grabbed my new schedule of classes and set out to look for my first class of the day, which had started a half hour earlier.

As soon as I walked through the door of my first class, all heads swung in my direction. After I introduced myself, my teacher greeted me by saying, “How you feeling, man?” Whispers resonated throughout the rows of students,“…..que, que dijo?” (what did he say?). My teacher explained to the class that he got his teaching degree at USC and loved California.

The classes were a lot of work for me. This was mostly because I couldn’t speak or understand Spanish completely. During class lectures, even if I could understand the teacher speaking in Spanish. I tried my best to translate the lectures from Spanish into English and then write the lecture into my notes. I could never make any sense out of my notes when I read them after class.

Even getting to school sometimes was a bigger chore than the classes. I was taking a bus to and from school four times a day. At midday I returned home to eat lunch with my host family. After I finished lunch at my host family’s house, I took the bus back to school. This back and forth four times a day left me exhausted. Sometimes I was so tired that I would walk into the wrong class.

When I made it to the right class, I did well on the homework but bombed the tests. After a particularly bad grade on an accounting test, I walked into my teacher’s office crying and asked what could be done. He introduced me to the teacher’s aid and she was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen in my life. I was still crying a little but tried desperately to wipe the tears from my eyes. I couldn’t get my hand in front of my face because my thumb was caught on my backpack strap, so I gave it extra force and ended up punching myself in the face.

Her name was Bianca and she was of medium height and light-skinned. I could tell she was older than me because she dressed in high-heels and business suits with her hair tied back. She told me I was welcome in her office whenever I needed help with my accounting class. She also suggested that I should bring my accounting book to class (What a novel concept?), because the formulas I was writing down in my notes were mostly wrong. If I copied them directly out of the book, I would have less chance of getting them wrong. Even if I was going to flunk out of accounting at least I could use that as an excuse to come see Bianca every day.

I started to become self-conscious about my clothes after meeting Bianca. I was the only guy in my classes who wore clothes from the Goodwill. I started to want to dress more normally when I was around Bianca. I still wore a lot of goodwill clothes but instead of wearing ripped clothing, I wore new T-Shirts and tucked them into my pants. My test grades continued to suffer, but I kept up with the homework.

After I bombed yet another test, this time in Service Marketing, I went into my teacher Miguel Angel’s office and told him I couldn’t understand why I was doing so badly on the tests when the homework was easy enough. He opened his grade book to find out what grade I had. It turned out that I had an 83%, I couldn’t believe him. After looking at my grade I showed

Please view/share the book “Single Abroad: Confessions of a Boyish Man,” by Brian Ward on Amazon.

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#elephantwhite

October 20, 2018

In the last decade, many foreign companies have started to augment their filming operations here in Colombia. The reason for this increased presence of film projects in Colombia are numerous:
#1) Colombia has many different shooting locations to offer in one country (jungle, the ocean, historic architecture and modern cities).
#2) Colombia’s weather allows for film companies to shoot during the whole year.
#3) The exchange rate to the US dollar makes filming in Colombia very accessible.
#4) Security in Colombia has increased dramatically in the past decade (the US State Department has lifted warnings on Bogota, Medellin and Cartagena). The filmed productions in Colombia range from syndicated TV shows, to car commercials, to movies, such as the comedy El Paseo (The Stroll).
If a foreign person is seriously thinking about

making a career working as an extra/actor in Colombia, then the first step this person should take is to register with as many casting agencies as possible. Once a foreigner registers with a few agencies, they will likely be sent on casting calls for movies and commercials as well as have semi-consistent work as an extra.
The advantages of working in Colombia as a foreign extra are numerous:
#1) It is a job that is easily done (and probably preferably done) while drunk.
#2) The foreign extra needs nothing in the way of work visas, a Colombian bank account, nor proof of health insurance to work in Colombia.
#3) Speaking Spanish is not necessary either and it is to the extra’s advantage the less Spanish he or she knows (the costume designer’s assistant won’t insist that you try on the same size of pants that are two sizes too small fifty times, if you can’t understand what he is saying).
Which foreigners will have the most success in movies and TV in Colombia?
“Foreign white guys who look like cops or ex-marines will always have a solid future in the movie and TV business in Colombia,” replied Irish actor Pádraig Victor Ciarán Sweeney.
Are there any foreigners who shouldn’t work as actors/extras in Colombia?
“Gringos with glasses, a concave chest and unable to grow a mustache have no business working as extras in Colombia,” replied the always candid Mr. Sweeney.
For those of you without a concave chest, once registered with a casting agency, you will receive calls that will be for anything from:
Extra roles in TV programs – the pay is $90,000 – $120,000 pesos ($45-$60USD) a day
Appearing in movies – anywhere from $300,000 – $600,000 pesos ($150-$300USD) a day
Recording commercials – $700,000 – $1,600,000 pesos ($350-$800USD) a day
Modeling jobs – The pay can go up to $3,000,000 pesos ($1,500USD) a day

After registering with a few casting agencies, I got my first call to go to an audition for a movie. The only thing I knew about the audition was that I needed to report to 70th Street with 9th Avenue at 10 am in the morning. I, of course, got there at 9.30am, introduced myself to a few people who were either on their computers or cleaning the floors and sat until they needed me. After, I sat down, a woman named Lucy approached me and asked where I was from and if I spoke English. I confirmed that I was from California and yes, I could speak English. She asked for my “escenas.”
She realized by my expression that I was lost, which probably was the highlight of her day. There is nothing more likely to make a Colombian grin than watching a gringo stumble through life in a foreign country. She then switched to English.
“Do you have your scenes?”
It still didn’t register. After a few more seconds of uncertainty, I guessed that she thought someone may have sent me some kind of instructions or a reason why I was in her office on a Tuesday morning.
“Did someone tell you why you are here?” she asked.
“No, I was just told to come here at 10 a.m.”
She smiled at me for a short second and then told me she would be back in a few minutes. I opened my book about wilderness survival and waited. At least I was indoors and in a comfortable chair. A few other people introduced themselves to me as I was waiting. I even opened the door for a few people coming in that morning.
Finally, it was time to go upstairs and chat with the people who would decide if they wanted to hire me to work on the new movie, Left to Die, which was being filmed in Bogota. When I got upstairs, I was introduced to Diana and Rodrigo. They were dressed like J.Lo and Marc Anthony. Diana told me a little about the part I was going to audition for and asked me if I had any previous experience acting. I named off a list of Colombian soap operas, hoping to impress her.
“Big Boss 2, Divorced, The Prepaid, Cocaine Route, Happy Saturdays and The Parabola of Pablo Escobar.”
I don’t know if this impressed her or Rodrigo, but it gave me more confidence. I didn’t mention that my roles in these other soap operas were limited to driving a car, sitting in a hotel lobby, looking out a window as I drank whiskey and opening the door for a jury that was entering a court room.
I was then handed my scene and given a few minutes to rehearse.
The scene was eerily familiar, I had actually been given a version of this script a month prior by my German friend and urged to practice it. My scene was supposed to be for an American woman aged 20 to 25, but I guessed probably women foreigners were less common in Bogota than male foreigners. In the scene, I was working as a congressional aide in a small congressional district in Florida and the daughter of a woman who disappeared in Colombia was asking me for information on how to get in touch with her district’s congressman.
Feel-good movie productions in Colombia like Mi Abuelo, Mi Papa y Yo (a movie about the amusing ups and downs of love in its many forms) were long ago replaced by more aggressive productions like Elephant White….

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

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I Speak Colombian

October 16, 2018

The first expression that most foreign people in Colombia will learn is, “Estás amañado en Colombia?” This is a general question that basically is asking you, “Are you getting acclimatized to Colombia?” Sensible responses to this question would be, “Of course, I love the fact that I don’t have to tip any of the waiters in this country and also I can buy $400 pesos ($0.20USD) worth of deodorant in a small envelope at any corner store if I am running low on cash.”

Spanish in Colombia is pretty easy to pick up, due to the fact that every Colombian who sees you wants to talk to you. Colombian people are naturally drawn to foreign people. In some cases they treat the foreigner as if they were the smartest most trustworthy people they have met. So much goodwill can be downright unnerving sometimes.

Probably the best thing about speaking Spanish in Colombia is that you 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.

An everyday phrase here in Colombia is, “Hay un inconveniente.” 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 inconveniente.” 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.

Another oddity in Colombia is the fact that 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 you, “A sus órdenes 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 ($0.75USD) 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 common 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 crazy one.

At home, I always hear my girlfriend say these bizarre expressions over the phone like, “Mommy, make sure to put all your 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 out of the ordinary 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.”

Many people complain about riding the buses here in Bogota. They say that the drivers are crazy and the people who ride the bus all smell like ham. Trying my best to keep an open mind, and mostly failing at it, I always try to control my anger towards the driver, who seems to speed up every time he is approaching a red light. One day, I heard the voice of a woman who had just gotten out of her seat and was walking towards me on her way to the back exit of the bus, “Qué pena con usted.” (What a disgrace with you). Wow, this woman must have really done something bad. The situation then righted itself as the distracted man quickly moved out of her way. I realized the only thing she was guilty of was wanting a clear path to get off the bus.

Many Colombians are eager to speak English with foreigners. But, they sometimes start a story without enough vocabulary to actually finish the story. An example of one such story I heard from a Colombian; “I was at the quick stop, and a large man with a gold chain, a leather jacket and many tattoos asked if I could loan him some money…” followed by a long pause. You then see by the look of terror and shame on your Colombian friend’s face. Alas, 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 isn’t sure of the correct way to express his idea.

Or you will be going to the movies and waiting in line with your Colombian neighbor Giovanni. The line seems to go on forever. Out of frustration Giovanni will announce, “There are a lot of Chinese here.”

You look ahead at the line in front of you, and it seems like all the people are typical young Colombians out on the weekend. There is no evidence to believe there are any Asian people in or near the movie theatre. So, you turn to Giovanni and ask, “The people in line don’t look Chinese to me.”

“Ah no, ‘Hay muchos Chinos aqui,’ means that there are a lot of youngsters here at the movie theatre.”

Another widespread turn of phrase to be heard in Colombia happens when you are having trouble hearing the other person you are talking with on the phone. To make sure that the line hasn’t been disconnected you ask, “Are you still there Juan?”

Juan then replies, “Sizas.”

Suizas? (Swiss women?). I thought you preferred Portuguese-speaking women?” you ask Juan.

“No, sizas, just means ‘yes’ in Colombian Spanish.”

Another expression that fascinates many foreign people is hearing a Colombian say, “Me saca la piedra” (It takes the rock out of me).

This is usually heard when a Colombian goes to the corner store to pay his water bill (via the online lottery machine/bill paying teller). As the clerk starts entering the billing information, the machine spits out a ticket that….

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

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Colombian Cupid

October 13, 2018

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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Goodwill Hunting in Colombia

October 10, 2018

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 thought up this delightfully evil music? Who was this Vlad Drac fellow and what planet….

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

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