Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Yes, we do celebrate Thanksgiving, and most other holidays, out here. Sometimes there's a mad search for a turkey--what is the word for turkey in Spanish? You get some funny looks as you flap your arms and gobble to the butcher. We were resigned to getting a nice roast chicken--preferably roasted by someone else to avoid heating the boat up--but Club Nautico marina saved the day by planning a big Thanksgiving bash, complete with five turkeys and all the fix'ins. Our family will be a bit bigger than usual this year. They'll be from all over the world. Some friends counted 27 different countries represented by boats in the anchorage and in the marina. Maybe we don't really have United Nations, but when it comes to a party, cruisers are of one mind. Bring on the food, bring on the drinks, bring on the dancing! Colombians are of the same mind. Mention a holiday or a special occasion and Colombia breaks out the streamers, the live music, and the smiles. The country has a lot to cry about, so it makes up for it by laughing a little bit longer and harder when the chance presents itself. Holdiays are good here.

Monday, November 13, 2006

It is different out here

Cruisers are different. I look at our children. They are not segregated by age or grade level in school. The teenagers play with the young ones. The English-speaking kids play tag with the French and Dutch kids. The Colombians love to talk to the English-speaking kids, everyone struggling to understand but enjoying the struggle. The kids don't hold back--they shout, "Look, there are kids on that boat, let's go over and say Hi!" The adults are the same. Some wear neat khakis and polo shirts, but they're likely to be having beers with a group that looks like pirates, with torn T-shirts and no shoes. If there's an emergency there is no hesitation. Boats converge on the boat that is dragging anchor and tow it out to safe water, even though the owners are ashore somewhere. Someone needs to go to the emergency room and we all open our wallets to lend her money, even though we have never met and don't even know her name. We have no doubt she will pay us back. It might be days or weeks, but she will pay us back. She would do the same for us. I once had someone toss me a $250 engine part as his boat passed by--I found him two days later and returned the part--he never learned my name or even where I was headed. What goes around comes around.