Monthly Archives: August 2023

Family Adventure: Colombia

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We had an excellent trip to Colombia.  

I realize that Colombia is probably not the first country folks would consider visiting when going to South America.

However, my cousin’s wife is from Colombia, so we went to celebrate her birthday, see her family, and tour three cities: Bogota, Medellin, and Cartagena.  Also, having a native Spanish speaker was almost mandatory, since, unlike other tourist destinations like Costa Rica, etc., it seems that most Colombians do not speak English.

We would definitely go back.  Medellin was the most friendly for international tourists and seemed to have a bunch of nearby sites and outdoor activities.  Cartagena is a beach resort town, although I think primarily for South Americans.

Here was our trip itinerary.

Day 1: To Bogota

Our first day was all about flying to Bogota.  We flew Avianca airlines direct from Orlando to Bogota; a fairly easy three hour flight.

Immigration and customs was straightforward.  Make sure you have your travel visa in order.

We were met at the airport by my cousin’s wife’s brother – who lives in Bogota and a driver.  As you will note throughout this post – finding English speaking drivers & guides is not common in Colombia.  So traveling with a native speaker is a huge plus and almost mandatory.

Day 2: Bogota Museums

Three museums and a market.

We visited three museums:

1) Museo Nacional de Colombia – the national museum of Colombia, which was great and housed in an old prison.  For non-Spanish speakers, I would recommend a guide since most of exhibits do not have English subtitles.

2) The Botero Museum – not a huge Botero fan, especially his people.  I do like some of his landscapes.

3) The Gold Museum

This was worth it, although after two other museums we were a little museumed out.

The pigeons were the highlight of the market; although the churro was pretty solid too.

Day 3: To Medellin

We had a morning flight to Medellin from Bogota that went according to plan.  Then we toured the city a bit ending up of Nutibara Hill for some sightseeing and food.

Day 4: Medellin Coffee Plantation

A highlight of our Colombia trip for sure.  We got lucky with an excellent tour guide who spoke great English and knew a lot about coffee.  We went to a smaller, family owned plantation that was low key.  We tasted four different kinds of brewing techniques and picked some coffee.

Plus,we got to dress like Juan Valdez.

This is an excellent restaurant that I would never have set foot in if not for a recommendation from our tour guide (hint: it is down a somewhat scary alley with little signage).

Day 5: Taxi Flat Tire & To Cartagena

I am now sure how to say “shit show” in Spanish, but that is what you get when you are in a taxi with seven people and all our luggage and the taxi gets a flat tire on a very busy street in downtown Medellin.

All luggage and most passengers were accounted for.

We regrouped, ate lunch, and then headed to the airport for our flight to Cartagena.

But let’s not end on that note, since we really enjoyed Medellin, so here’s a picture of the city from our hotel.

Day 6: Cartagena Beach Day

Recovery day spent at the beach and pool.  Much needed.

Day 7: Cartagena Castille & Pool

This was mostly another recovery day spent at the pool.  However, we did taxi into town to see the Castille and walk around some.

Yes, more pigeons.

Day 8: To Miami & Orlando

A relatively uneventful return trip flying from Cartagena to Miami and then a shuttle up to Orlando.

Yes, I said “gracias” to the guy behind the counter of the Pizza Hut at the turnpike rest station.

Influential Reads – July 2023

Reading Time: 3 minutes

“Luck doesn’t just happen, it’s created. You can do things to increase the odds of serendipity. Meeting more people makes you lucky. Learning more skills makes you lucky. Being willing to fail makes you lucky. Offering to help others more often makes you lucky.” – Mark Manson

We are ensconced back in Utah as of a few days ago.  Amongst our travels included eight days in Colombia.  It is humbling and exhausting to not speak the language.  Regardless, our trip was amazing.  Some notes on that are forthcoming.

Finally finished Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk.  I had started reading a hard copy and then went traveling around and the book didn’t make the packing list.  What a good book?  Why did it take me this long to find this? I need to review and write up my notes.

Here are my most influential reads for the month – in no particular order:

  1. Is Cash the Best Insurance Asset? – “In other words, when cash yields a high real return it becomes the ultimate insurance instrument because it gives you a risk free inflation beating return in the short-term. And that is the ultimate form of financial certainty.”
  2. Against Cassandras: Inflation – “In essence, what we have seen in the decade between 2010 and 2020 is what you expect to see in a low interest rate environment with global financial markets and no capital restrictions. You create high-flying financial assets and persistently high valuations that look nothing like the valuations we were used to in the past.”
  3. Musings on Markets: Market Resilience or Investors In Denial? A Mid-year Assessment for 2023! – “The Fed has raised the Fed Funds rate multiple times this year, but those rate increases have clearly done nothing to slow the economy down and inflation has stabilized, not because of the Fed but in spite of it.” SMS here: A must read; so many insights in this piece.
  4. Identifying Investing’s Anti-Patterns – ” Learning how not to lose money is more important than learning how to make money.”
  5. Naval on Twitter: “How to Get Rich (without getting lucky)” – “Ignore people playing status games. They gain status by attacking people playing wealth creation games.”  SMS here:  Is this a tweet?  An X?  Maybe they’re history?
  6. How to Read: Lots of Inputs and a Strong Filter – “Similar to dating, a book you’re not into after 10 minutes of attention has little chance of a happy ending. Slam it shut and move on.”
  7. Threadzilla – ” There has never been a firm in the modern economy that’s fallen this far, this fast that has not been accused of fraud.”
  8. How Fortunes Are Made: Revisiting From Predators to Icons – “Instead, they argued, great fortunes arise from a set of favorable initial conditions (perhaps today they would use the term ‘privilege’) in combination with Strategic Intuition, the ability to recognize and take advantage of extraordinary opportunities that lead to an “intense accumulation of capital.””
  9. Dynamic MTB Fit – “A RideLogic dynamic MTB fit focuses on out-of-the saddle handing. We position your bars relative to your feet. This is critical for technical/expressive riding. Independently, we position the saddle relative to your feet. The saddle-to-bar relationship is incidental.”
  10. Crest and Oral-B have a new way to get rid of your old toothbrushes and dental products – “All you have to do is pack up a box with your used oral care products, print the free label, and ship it out to the recycling facility. “

Note: This is based on when I read the article, not necessarily when it was first published.  Unfortunately, my backlog of things I would like to read always seems to dwarf the amount of time I can devote to reading.

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