My Last Visitors: Adventures with my mom and Mel!

Just 10 short days after I saw Matt off at the airport, I was back there picking up my mom. That same evening my friend, Mel, arrived after having spent a few weeks on the Colombian coast. We spent their first morning visiting my school, my office, and my university’s beautiful campus, and then in the afternoon we were whisked away to beautiful, sunny Santa Fe de Antioquia where we enjoyed an amazingly relaxing and fun weekend with my host counselor, Claudia, and her wonderful family. As with most weekends at Santa Fe de Antioquia we enjoyed a ton of poolside lounging, beautiful walks in the morning, some meandering around the old colonial town, a trip to the old Puente de Occidente (Bridge of the West), lots of tasty food, and absolutely wonderful company. My mom and Mel just could not quit commenting on how darn nice EVERYBODY here in Colombia is, and I couldn’t agree with them more.

My mom showing her youthful spirit and competing in the kids' egg race!

My mom showing her youthful spirit and competing in the kids’ egg race!

Mel made a good choice deciding to not be vegan or vegetarian while in Colombia!

Mel made a good choice deciding to not be vegan or vegetarian while in Colombia!

Stopped at our usually spot on the way to Santa Fe to feast on grilled meats!

Stopped at our usually spot on the way to Santa Fe to feast on grilled meats!

________________________________________________________________________________________ While Mel stayed back to spend the week exploring beautiful Medellin, my mom and I headed off to the beautiful island of San Andres, Colombia, which lies in the middle of the Caribbean.  We enjoyed 4 1/2 days in paradise there, filled with adventures, relaxation, and beautiful weather. The highlight of our trip was the incredible amount of snorkeling we were able to do (my mom’s first snorkeling experience, and my best snorkeling experience by far!). San Andres has a number of unbelievable locations to snorkel and scuba dive, such as the tiny island call “The Aquarium”, aptly named for its unbelievable quantity and variety of fish, stingrays, and coral, which leave you feeling like you’re swimming inside an aquarium. Amazing. We had an incredible experience wherein we were able to hold and interact with a giant stingray, which my mom said, “might be the coolest thing I have ever done in my life”. It was so wonderful to have my mom on this awesome adventure with me, having so many first time and memorable experiences. Another first for her was jet skiing, and on the ocean to boot! Super fun, but all the wave jumping gave us old ladies some really sore backs…which we were able to resolve with some massages on the beach. It was just a reeeeally rough week! 😉 For more pics from our San Andres adventure click here: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.858566628771.1073741842.34001194&type=1&l=09de418f2a

The beautiful island of San Andres!

The beautiful island of San Andres!

Taking a jet ski out on the ocean!

Taking a jet ski out on the ocean!

Such a fun bonding trip with my mama!

Such a fun bonding trip with my mama!

Enjoying the island life on the island of Johnny Cay

Enjoying the island life on the island of Johnny Cay

Mom and her new stingray friend!

Mom and her new stingray friend!

Stingrays! Such a cool experience!

Stingrays! Such a cool experience!

The snorkeling haven known as "The Aquarium"

The snorkeling haven known as “The Aquarium”

____________________________________________________________________________________________ We spent my mom’s last couple of days touring around Medellin with Mel. In addition to seeing the famous places, like Botero square (with all the chubby statues), our touring included a whole lot of eating. They tried all the typical foods, my favorite street food indulgences, local fruits and beverages, sweets, and more. We spent my mom’s last day up in beautiful Parque Arvi, where we enjoyed the nature and beautiful weather on horseback (another activity my mom is sure she hasn’t done in over 40 years!). It was an awesome way to wrap up my mom’s trip, and I was super sad to have to bid her farewell the next day (as were all my Colombian friends and family, who fell in love with her contagious laugh and jovial personality).

With Botero's plumpy dog statue in Botero Park

With Botero’s plumpy dog statue in Botero Park

Horseback riding in Parque Arvi!

Horseback riding in Parque Arvi!

Mom and Mel meeting my good girlfriends!

Mom and Mel meeting my good girlfriends!

Mom and her first bandeja paisa (typical platter from the region!)

Mom and her first bandeja paisa (typical platter from the region!)

_______________________________________________________________________________________________ Mel and I spent her finally few days in Medellin visiting the local malls (a big thing here), checking out the Science Center (Parque Explora) and finishing up with an awesome day trip to beautiful Guatape and the Peñol. It was a very Antioqueñan adventure, filled with lots of Aguardiente (the local Colombian liquor…which our tour guide began pouring out shots of at 9:00am!), lots of tasty typical food from the region, music, and dancing. I bid Mel farewell in the early morning hours of the next morning and with her departure came the end of my tour guide Cam role here in Colombia this year. With just 62 days left here I am now trying to put my nose to the grindstone and finish up all of the projects I need to finish in order to wrap up my masters program (woohoo!), as well as make good progress on the planning and development of our Rotary water project. So much to do, and so little time! As always, thanks for reading and I’ll be in touch! 🙂 For more pics of my adventures with my mom and Mel click here: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.858557317431.1073741841.34001194&type=1&l=88fae9b274

In the colorful town of Guatape!

In the colorful town of Guatape!

On top of the Peñol overlooking beautiful Guatape!

On top of the Peñol overlooking beautiful Guatape!

Getting ready to climb the 740 steps to the top of the Peñol!

Getting ready to climb the 740 steps to the top of the Peñol!

Science Center fun at Parque Explora!

Science Center fun at Parque Explora!

Fun optical illusions at Parque Explora!

Fun optical illusions at Parque Explora!

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